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Medical Malpractice

C-Sections and Medical Malpractice

October 31, 2022

C-sections (short for Cesarean section) are so common during labor and delivery that we tend to forget that they are actually surgical procedures. As such, they carry considerable risk – risks that, if not carefully managed, can result in serious harm to both the mother and the child. If you believe that you or your child have been harmed due to your doctor’s negligence in connection with a c-section, you should contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. 

Ignoring Prenatal Indicators

There are many prenatal indicators that often determine whether a c-section would be appropriate. These factors include the following: 

  • Placenta previa
  • Placenta abruption
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Prolapsed umbilical cord
  • Cephalopelvic disproportion
  • Abnormal birth position

While all of these conditions may not require a c-section, they should be carefully considered in determining whether a c-section would be appropriate. Failure to recognize these indicators and subsequently failing to perform a c-section could be medical malpractice if it resulted in harm to you or your child. If you experienced one of these conditions and a timely c-section was not performed, you should contact a medical malpractice lawyer right away. 

Timing is Critical with C-Sections

One of the most common ways that c-sections can result in medical malpractice claims is when the doctor fails to perform the procedure within an appropriate amount of time or declines to perform one at all. The doctor or medical staff may have failed to adequately monitor the baby’s vital signs or recognize the signs of fetal distress, resulting in adequate blood or oxygen supply to the baby. As a result, the baby can suffer brain damage or cerebral palsy. Failure to perform a timely c-section could therefore result in lifelong health problems and permanent disabilities for the child. 

However, there are also risks to the mother that can be caused by failing to perform a timely c-section. Allowing labor to go on for too long can result in harm to the mother. If you experienced a difficult labor and delivery that resulted in harm to you or your child, you should discuss your case with a lawyer who has experience in handling c-section malpractice cases. 

Surgical Errors

Another cause of malpractice claims related to c-sections is when the doctor makes a surgical error. As mentioned above, c-sections are a significant operation that involves opening the abdominal cavity. There is always, therefore, a risk of serious harm. Common mistakes include the following: 

  • Bowel perforations
  • Damage to surrounding organs or tissues
  • Nerve damage
  • Improper wound closure
  • Retained placenta
  • Internal bleeding
  • Fetal lacerations

Failure to provide adequate care after the procedure can also result in issues such as infection or sepsis. You should contact a medical malpractice attorney if you believe you have suffered harm as a result of your c-section. 

Wrongful Death

Tragically, failing to perform a c-section or errors during the procedure can result in death to either the mother or the child. This is a risk in both planned and unplanned c-sections. While some deaths may be the result of circumstances beyond the doctor’s control, many cases are the result of negligence. Death of either the mother or the infant could be caused by either a surgical error committed during the procedure or as a result of failing to perform a timely c-section. 

How Do You Know if You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim Related to Your C-Section?

The fact that complications arose or even that you suffered harm is not sufficient to prove that you suffered as a result of medical malpractice. To prove your claim and receive compensation, you must prove that the doctor, the nurse, or the hospital was negligent in some way. In medical malpractice cases, this means proving that they deviated from the standard of care. 

Proving that the doctor failed to meet the standard of care is somewhat more challenging than proving ordinary negligence. The standard of care is determined by considering what a medical professional with the same training and experience would have done in the same situation. Factors such as the location of the hospital (rural hospitals are considered less likely to have the ability to deal with difficult cases) and the difficulty of the case will be considered. This is why it is so important to talk to a medical malpractice lawyer – they will be able to determine whether the doctor or hospital failed to meet the standard of care. 

Contact the Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Ragain & Clark Today

Cases involving birth injuries are some of the most complex medical malpractice cases we handle. If you believe you or your child have suffered harm in connection with a c-section, we can help – call us today at 406-651-8888 (Billings) or 307-388-6400 (Worland) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.


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