Thirty-two percent of all births in America are via cesarean section (C-section), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In some instances, C-sections are planned to preempt medical issues, while in other cases, they are ordered during a delivery when complications during labor arise. It’s important for the medical team to stay on top of each and every labor and delivery. This way, if it’s apparent in a delivery that a C-section might prevent the mother or child from sustaining injury, then healthcare providers should not delay the cesarean section.
Cesareans Can Be Lifesaving
There are certain situations in which a C-section can reduce the risk of harm to the mother and/or the baby and even become a lifesaving surgery. Below are some examples of cases in which a cesarean can be an effective preventive measure.
- Labor is failing to progress at a normal rate. If the cervix doesn’t adequately dilate and the baby cannot fit or gets lodged in the birth canal, an emergency C-section may be necessary.
- The mother’s health becomes endangered.
- The mother is having a genital herpes outbreak.
- The baby isn’t getting enough oxygen, e.g., the umbilical cord gets wrapped around the baby’s neck.
- The baby’s heart rate drops; the fetal heart rate shows signs of distress.
- The placenta detached from the uterus in the middle of delivery.
- Placenta previa (the placenta is covering the mother’s cervix) occurred.
Reasons Delayed Cesarean Sections Happen
Our attorneys have been handling injury claims such as labor and delivery issues for nearly three decades. We have witnessed several cases in which serious and sometimes grave harm has come to mothers and infants because of a delayed cesarean section. In some instances, a C-section is delayed because the midwife, doctor on call, or hospital staff didn’t recognize that the fetus was in distress. This can occur if they are under-trained, understaffed or simply inattentive.
In other cases, medical professionals may have noticed that an emergency C-section was in order, but the hospital staff could not get a surgery team together in time. Again, this could be due to under-staffing or poor planning practices.
Perhaps most erroneously, some C-sections are delayed due to insurance issues. Cesareans are much more costly than vaginal deliveries, and some insurance companies and health care providers are sometimes unwilling to absorb those costs.
Holding Someone Accountable for Your Child’s Harm
Delaying a C-section can have severe ramifications. The child may sustain brain damage, develop Cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy, or suffer from shoulder dystocia. The mother or child also runs the risk of dying.
If your, your child or your partner recently suffered harm during labor and delivery due to a delayed cesarean section, you might be able to hold the hospital accountable for your damages. These cases are quite difficult to prove because ample evidence is necessary to prove that the injury or death could have been prevented with a cesarean and that the doctor or staff made decisions that were unreasonable.
Also, there is no exact protocol that advises doctors of the maximum amount of time they can wait before ordering a Cesarean after recognizing signs of distress. Although many medical experts agree that doctors should wait no more than 30 minutes to start the operation, hospital attorneys will argue OBG Management's standpoint: “There is no gold standard for decision-to-incision time.”
This is why it's crucial to have a quality attorney that specifically handles birthing injuries to assist you with your case. Your attorney can help collect evidence to support your claim and fight for the recompense you and your family deserve. For an attorney in Pennsylvania that’s passionate about helping families who’ve been harmed by medical mistakes, call Cordisco & Saile LLC today at 215-642-2335 for a free consultation.