June 27, 2019

Delayed Emergency C-Sections and the Law

Delivering a baby is entirely natural, but complications can arise, and obstetricians and other medical professionals in the delivery room must determine how to safely preserve the health of both the mother and the infant. If something goes wrong, the mother may use the services of a birth injury lawyer to file a malpractice or birth injury claim against the doctor’s and other medical staff who were present in the room. Some of these claims can arise when doctors attempt an emergency cesarean section.

What is a C-section?

A cesarean section, more commonly known as a C-section, is a surgical procedure designed to help deliver a baby. In this procedure, the baby is removed from the mother’s body through her abdomen. Some C-sections are planned, but others only happen when birthing complications arise, such as any health problems with the mother, the position or size of the baby, any endangerment to the health of the baby, or if labor is not progressing as expected.

This surgery in most cases is quite safe for both the mother and the baby, but it can mean a longer recovery time after the birth for the mother than a vaginal delivery, and it can raise the risks associated with vaginal birth in any future pregnancies. Some women who have C-sections are unable to give birth vaginally after giving birth via a C-section.

Emergency C-section delays

When it becomes clear that delivery will require an emergency C-section, this procedure should be administered as quickly as possible to keep the mother and the infant safe. However, sometimes, acts of negligence are committed, and a delay in the execution of the emergency C-section can lead to injuries to both the baby and the mother.

This can happen if the staff on duty in the delivery room fail to recognize fetal distress signs or abnormalities in the fetal heartbeat pattern. It can also occur if the staff realizes that a C-section needs to be performed but waits too long and insists on a doctor being present to perform the surgery.

“Decision to incision”

Decision to incision

The older rule that obstetricians used to go by when defending themselves from any litigation stemming from negligence relating to delaying a C-section states that a period of fewer than 30 minutes from “decision” (the decision to perform a C-section) to “incision” (making the first cut to perform the surgery) was appropriate and not negligent.

However, now that n hospitals have features such as 24-hour anesthesiology support, it is considered a violation of a hospital’s standard of care if they offer labor and delivery services and do not have the resources and staff on hand at all times to perform an emergency C-section.

Consequences of delayed emergency C-sections

If a C-section is delayed unduly, there can be several different birth injuries that can occur. These can include oxygen deprivation, a brain bleed, umbilical cord problems, placental abruption, or a traumatic or delayed delivery in general.

The pain and suffering this can cause to a newborn, the mother and their family can bring on excessive medical expenses, potentially lost wages, emotional distress, and other consequences.

If you believe that you or a loved one has experienced injuries due to negligence regarding a delayed emergency C-section and could be eligible to receive compensation, call 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-642-4529) to book a free consultation today with Eileen Kroll who is a registered nurse and trial lawyer on the medical malpractice team in our law firm. Eileen is also a member of the Birth Trauma Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice (AAJ). At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. we never charge a fee unless a recovery is made.

Tim is a writer and editor who earned his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Maryland and calls Washington, D.C., home after spending most of his adult life in the country’s capital. Although Tim spent most of his post-college years in the restaurant industry, he became interested in writing about legal matters after he recently moved to Colombia. Today, Tim writes professionally about medical malpractice, drug policies, and workplace injuries. Tim is focused on curating his freelancing career and plans to work remotely for as long he can.

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