About a third of all babies born in the United States are delivered via cesarean section, or c-section, as opposed to natural birth. C-sections are major surgical procedures in which babies are delivered through incisions made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus. Doctors typically judge that c-sections are necessary when a natural birth would pose a threat to the health of the mother or baby.
As with any surgery, complications are always possible with C-sections, but doctors can sometimes cause further problems themselves by acting negligently when making decisions. The C-section might have been unnecessary, or the doctor may have waited too long to perform the surgery and harmed the health of the baby.
Whatever the case, if a doctor was negligent in causing a patient’s C-section delivery error, and either the mother or baby was harmed as a result, the doctor must be held responsible.
If you have been the victim of a C-section injury and are unsure of what to do next, here is some guidance.
Reasons for C-Sections
Seeking justice for an injury done to a mother or newborn first requires you to contact a birth injury lawyer to see if you really have a case. These experts will likely first explain to you all the circumstances that generally require a C-section to be performed, both planned and unplanned.
A C-section is typically planned if the mother has already had a C-section in the past, is obese, has high blood pressure, is carrying more than one baby or an excessively large baby, or has had a stillbirth in the past. At the same time, C-sections can also be performed impromptu based on conditions that arise during delivery. These may include a long labor with little progress, the placenta coming detached, the mother or child becoming distressed, or the umbilical cord starting to constrict the baby.
Delivery doctors must always be ready to judge what is best in each situation. A planned natural birth can quickly go awry and require a C-section. If the doctor fails to anticipate such complications and either fails to act or makes an incompetent mistake, that doctor is said to be negligent.
When Negligence Becomes Malpractice
In legal terms, medical negligence is distinct from malpractice in that negligence is the incompetence that leads to the injury, which is the malpractice. So, in regard to what you and your birth injury lawyer will discuss next, malpractice will have to be determined based on what kind of injury was done to the mother or child.
Possible injuries to babies during planned or unplanned C-sections include infection, trauma, breathing troubles, and even death. In relation to the mother, a doctor would be said to have committed malpractice if he or she acts negligently and lacerates the mother’s bowels, causes a blood clot to travel to other parts of the woman’s body, causes infection, or inflicts another injury that leads to the mother’s death.
Other malpractice issues related to C-sections include a doctor delaying a necessary C-section that leads to injury, not performing a needed C-section at all, or performing an unnecessary C-section and injuring the mother or baby in the process.
What Your Birth Injury Lawyer Will Do
So, to answer the question of what to do following a C-section delivery error: your lawyer will review the situation with you to discover what exactly happened, including any of the previously mentioned injuries. Once your lawyer thoroughly understands the specifics of the delivery, he or she will need to acquire some additional information to build a case.
This information consists of the basic components of a medical malpractice case. First, your lawyer needs to establish that a legitimate doctor-patient relationship existed between the mother and her doctor. This is as simple as acquiring records showing that the mother had been seeing the doctor as a patient. Then, the lawyer needs to prove negligence. This will require the opinion of a medical expert who agrees to work with you and your lawyer. The expert needs to show that the doctor’s medical care deviated from the standard that a more competent doctor would have provided.
Then, the malpractice case needs to show that the negligence directly caused the patient’s injury. It is not enough for the patient simply to get hurt or die after being treated. The doctor must have clearly caused the injury. The injury itself, and the type it was, will form the basis of the lawsuit and determine how much the patient can sue for.
These are the types of expert services provided by the medical malpractice lawyers at Latona Law. We have been winning justice for our clients for more than 30 years. Call us today for a free consultation.