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C-Section Delay & Medical Malpractice: What You Need to Know

The birth of a baby should be a joyous, exciting time for the new parents. However, happy births are often overshadowed by serious complications and in some cases, injury to the mother or the baby. C-sections are routinely performed in the United States and have a high success rate and a low incidence of complications when moving forward with vaginal birth is clearly dangerous. However, failure to perform a c-section or delaying the procedure when the situation calls for it can cause significant injury. Here’s what you need to know about c-sections and medical malpractice.

When is a C-Section Indicated?

There are many issues that can arise before or during labor that would indicate the need for a c-section, including:

  • The cessation of labor. For example, the mother’s cervix may stop dilating or the baby may not descend through the birth canal.
  • After the mother has been pushing for an extended period of time. C-sections may be indicated for first time mothers if pushing extends beyond 2-3 hours, or 1-2 hours for women who have given birth vaginally before.
  • Fetal distress. Fetal distress is usually indicated by an abnormal heart rate.
  • Malpresentation. The fetus may be breech or transverse lie, where the baby’s chest or back is closest to the birth canal.
  • Placenta previa. The placenta has grown over the cervix and vaginal birth cannot occur without significant hemorrhaging.
  • Previous c-sections. The uterus becomes weaker after a c-section and it may be dangerous to have a vaginal birth if the mother has previously had one or more c-sections.

When these situations arise, it is critical that a c-section be performed as quickly as possible in order to minimize risk to the mother and the baby.

What Happens If a C-Section is Not Performed or Delayed?

Many obstetricians fail to recognize the signs that a c-section needs to be performed, thus increasing the risk of serious complications during delivery.  This type of medical malpractice can occur due to inadequate training, distraction, an understaffed hospital or wanton disregard for the health of the mother and baby. Complications that can occur as a result of not performing a c-section when it is indicated, include:

  • Brain damage to the fetus. If the fetus has a compressed umbilical cord or is failing to descend through the birth canal, delaying a c-section could prevent the baby from getting enough oxygen, subsequently causing brain damage.
  • Uterine rupture. A uterine rupture during vaginal delivery can result in brain damage or death for the infant, and may potentially require the mother to undergo a hysterectomy.
  • Infection. 
  • Death. 

When to Contact an Idaho Birth Injury Attorney

If you have recently given birth and your doctor failed to perform a c-section when it was clearly indicated, and you or your baby have been harmed as a result, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact the Rossman Law Firm today to discuss your case with a seasoned Boise birth injury lawyer at (208) 331-2030.