Lawsuits for Caesarean Section Errors
Pregnancy is truly an adventure, and deliveries, even more so. That said, some adventures can be harmful and even fatal. Cesarean deliveries may in certain unfortunate instances, fit this description. It is estimated that around 1/3rd of all the deliveries in the US are cesarean deliveries.
While cesarean deliveries are mostly performed to protect the mother and child against a known medical issue or an unexpected medical contingency, they do tend to heighten the likelihood of harm to the infant and the mother in some instances.
What does a cesarean delivery mean?
Cesarean section (commonly referred to as C-section) is a surgical procedure wherein a baby is delivered through an incision in the mother’s abdomen. The C-section is an alternative to the vaginal delivery of the child, as in some cases, a vaginal delivery would harm the baby or mother. However, certain mothers may also voluntarily elect to have a C-section. A C-section delivery is usually the norm when there are complications early on in the pregnancy. For example, the baby’s head is too big for the birth canal, the mother has certain pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure), developmental issues, issues with the placenta or the umbilical cord, problems with labor, and more.
Some C-sections are planned in advance, while others are performed because of unexpected circumstances.
What are the harmful concerns involved in a C-section delivery?
Broadly, the harm which may arise from such deliveries can be put into two categories:
- Injury to the mother and/or infant arising from the C-section delivery
- Delay in performing the C-section (or non-performance thereof) leading to harm.
By way of example, consider a recent Pennsylvania case where the Bucks County jury awarded $11 million to a mother and her child who were both harmed on account of the doctor’s failure to perform a C-section.
The C-section delivery (or lack of its timely performance) can harm both the mother and the infant and can even be fatal in some instances. The nature of the harm includes – bleeding, injury to the infant or the mother’s organs, infection, and higher risk for future pregnancies.
The most common complications for a baby during a c-section are breathing problems and surgical injuries.
When can you sue the doctor or hospital for negligence?
As is standard in such lawsuits, having a solid legal case requires establishing four key legal elements:
- The healthcare provider owed a duty of care to the patient/her baby
- They breached such duty (which is the commonly accepted standard of care in the course of the delivery)
- The breach caused harm to the mother or the infant
- The damage caused to the mother or baby was directly connected to the breach
It is crucial to bear in mind that not all complications stemming from a C-section can be prosecuted. Proving the breach of a duty of care and its resultant harm is necessary.
Other things to keep in mind
Filing a lawsuit of this kind may require expert testimony to prove the nature and extent of the harm caused. Further, several states restrict the time period within which one must file a medical negligence case. Therefore, state-specific rules should be complied with to avoid the suit from being dismissed because of filing it too late. Lastly, some states have a cap on the amount of money that one can retrieve for damages. As such, it would be advisable to consult a lawyer to formulate a litigation strategy.
Finding the right birth injury lawyer
A key aspect in receiving compensation in any personal injury lawsuit is choosing a well-equipped and experienced attorney. Thankfully, there are many birth injury attorneys who have unique experience in c-sections that can represent you. They understand the dynamics of these types of cases and will be able to walk you through each step of the process.
Having a child is a beautiful thing. The vast majority of the time, having children help us live our lives to their fullest. However, in case of a birth injury or any other medical malpractice at the hospital, make sure the situation is dealt with appropriately and you are compensated for any loss that you incurred.