The biggest concern for most expectant mothers is delivering a healthy baby. For many women, that means having a birth plan that includes a vaginal delivery. Unfortunately, some situations and complications make it necessary to have a Cesarean section instead.
A C-section is a surgical procedure during which a doctor delivers a baby via incisions in the abdomen and uterus. In some cases, having a C-section is the only option for delivery due to medical issues of the mother or baby. Doctors sometimes schedule C-sections in advance. However, some situations require that a decision to perform an unplanned C-section be made quickly so that a lifesaving procedure can be performed. The type of C-section depends on the level of risk and urgency.
Cesarean sections are typically divided into three types: scheduled, unplanned, and emergency.
A scheduled C-section is a procedure that is planned in advance because of a preexisting medical condition. For example, suppose an expectant mother has a heart condition or hypertension. In that case, her doctor may suggest a scheduled C-section to ensure her delivery is as safe as possible for the mother and baby. A scheduled C-section may also be recommended for women with a sexually transmitted infection that could be passed on to their babies if a vaginal birth occurs. Perhaps the most common reason for a scheduled Cesarean section is when a mother has had a C-section in the past. In some cases, the mother may wish to attempt a vaginal birth after having a C-section, but many decide to deliver via a scheduled procedure.
Many C-sections that are performed are unplanned because the necessity isn’t known until close to or during labor. In these cases, mothers have planned for a vaginal birth, but within the last couple of weeks of pregnancy through the beginning of labor, the doctor and mother decide that a Cesarean section is the best option.
Emergency C-sections are also unplanned but have a higher level of urgency. Typically, this means there is a significant and immediate concern for the safety of mother or baby, and an emergency C-section is needed for the best possible outcomes for both.
Your doctor may decide you need an emergency C-section because you or your unborn baby is in a dire condition, and immediate delivery is the only option. Some of the most common situations that require an emergency C-section include:
Traditionally, hospitals adhered to a 30-minute decision-to-incision time. In other words, an emergency C-section should be started within half an hour of the time the complication presents. This guideline is still relevant for some situations, like when labor isn’t progressing, but the baby isn’t in distress. However, in other situations, like those listed above, 30 minutes is simply too long to wait. For example, the Guidelines for Perinatal Care, authored by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of OB/GYNs, stated that when fetal bradycardia (slowed heart rate) occurs, the timeframe should be shortened to 15 minutes. Additionally, if a mother suffers cardiac arrest, the baby must be delivered by emergency C-sections within five minutes.
Usually, regardless of what transpires during labor, when the decision is made for surgical delivery of a baby, it must be done as quickly as possible to avoid injury to the mother and baby.
If a C-section isn’t performed promptly, the outcome can be devastating. Numerous types of birth injuries can affect the baby, including hypoxia or ischemia. Hypoxia occurs when there is an insufficient amount of oxygen reaching body tissues. Ischemia is a lack of blood reaching organs. Either of these conditions can result in brain damage, cognitive impairments, cerebral palsy, and other lifelong mental and physical disabilities.
When a doctor delays ordering a C-section, and the baby suffers injuries, it may be considered negligent, and the responsible doctor may be held liable in a birth injury lawsuit.
As an expectant parent, your biggest hope is that you will have a healthy child. But, when that doesn’t happen, and your baby suffers physical or developmental disabilities or cerebral palsy, your life is forever changed. Medical care and expenses may become overwhelming, and there may seem to be no light at the end of the tunnel. At Ross Feller Casey, we have worked with many families who have felt the same way.
If your baby suffered serious medical consequences due to a doctor performing an emergency C-section too late, you might be able to sue for damages. While no amount of money can change what has happened, a financial recovery can relieve the financial burden you’re facing. Filing a birth injury lawsuit may be daunting, but it may allow you to provide financially for your family, taking an enormous obligation off your plate.
Our medical malpractice attorneys and on-staff medical doctors are here to help you help your family. We have an unmatched history with birth injury cases involving delayed emergency C-sections and have won many multimillion-dollar victories and settlements for clients like you.
Contact our office today to discuss your claim with one of our experienced birth injury lawyers. The initial case review is free, and there is no charge to you until we win your case.
Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.