Cesarean sections – referred to as “C-sections” – have become a more common method used by doctors for high-risk pregnancies and deliveries. But the number of low-risk procedures has also risen. Nearly one-third of all deliveries in the U.S. involve a C-section.
While cesarean sections have come to be known as routine, they are still major surgeries that sometimes cause serious or deadly complications for both the mother and child. OB-GYNs and others can be held accountable when mistakes happen related to the procedure.
Reasons for a C-section
Some of these procedures are planned ahead of time while others become necessary once delivery has already begun:
Emergency C-sections: A doctor may decide it’s necessary to perform this procedure after beginning a natural birth when:
- Labor stalls putting the mother at risk of infection
- The baby’s head is too big for a vaginal delivery
- The baby develops an irregular heartbeat
- The umbilical cord compromises the baby’s oxygen supply
- The placenta starts to separate from the wall of the uterus
Planned C-sections: The procedure can be scheduled in many instances when:
- The baby is in a breech position and can’t be safely turned for a natural delivery
- The mother has had a previous C-section
- The mother has placenta previa, meaning the placenta blocks the baby’s exit from the womb
- The mother has health issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease
- The mother has a sexually transmitted disease
- The baby has a congenital disability like hydrocephalus
- The mother is pregnant with twins or triplets
Potential malpractice claims from C-sections
Medical malpractice lawsuits typically result from a doctor’s failure to perform a C-section when warranted or they make mistakes during the procedure. Significant complications include:
- Blood clots
- Brain injuries
- Lung and heart problems
- Nerve damage
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Lacerated bowels
These conditions and others often lead to severe and long-term medical issues for the child or mother and can even result in death.
The medical standard of care
Oregon doctors’ actions are bound by a standard of care to know whether and when a C-section is necessary for the mother’s or baby’s benefit. The failure to comply with this standard often leads to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Birth injuries related to C-section errors can cause devastating emotional, physical and financial consequences. It is advisable to work with an experienced attorney who has handled these cases and consults with medical professionals to prove that negligence occurred.