The miracle of birth is every parent’s greatest joy. Yet when a baby experiences fetal distress and the medical staff fails to respond appropriately, the results can be devastating. When a fetus undergoes significant fetal distress, the attending doctor will often turn to the assistance of a cesarean section (C-section) to minimize the risk of birth injury. A cesarean section allows the attending doctor to promptly remove the newborn and improve the child’s chances of survival by providing nearly immediate medical treatment.
A C-section is a surgery that allows the surgeon to deliver the unborn child through an incision made in the mother’s abdomen and uterine wall. A cesarean section is a major surgery that should not be performed unless medically necessary. No surgery is without risk, and C-sections are no different. However, a C-section can sometimes mean the difference between life and death for the unborn child and the mother.
When a C-Section Is the Indicated Procedure
Sometimes a C-section is medically indicated. It is your medical team’s responsibility to recognize these instances in which a C-section may be required:
- Fetal distress
- Irregular fetal heartbeat
- Fluctuating fetal blood pressure
- Fetal entanglement in the umbilical cord
There are even some prenatal indicators that should direct your delivering doctor to plan for a C-section ahead of time, such as:
- Certain medical conditions—including preeclampsia, eclampsia, placenta previa, and placental abruption—that can make natural childbirth exceedingly dangerous or impossible
- The delivery of multiples
- A dangerously positioned fetus (breech or transverse presentation)
- A mother who presents with active herpes or another STD
In these situations, the delivering doctor is obligated to perform a timely C-section. Not performing a necessary C-section at the appropriate time can lead to dire health consequences. Recognizing when to perform a necessary C-section is as medically critical as recognizing that a C-section is necessary.
Cause for a C-Section
There are several instances in which a C-section is uniformly called for, such as:
- The fetus exhibits signs of distress that indicate it is not receiving adequate oxygen
- The mother exhibits signs of physical distress
- Labor goes on so long that it becomes dangerous for the child and/or mother
- The fetus is too large for the mother’s birth canal, which increases birth-injury risks
- The fetus is not well positioned for labor and delivery
- The timely performance of a necessary C-section can be lifesaving for both the baby and the mother.
- Delayed C-Sections
Not all cesarean sections are performed when needed. Unfortunately, even some high-risk pregnancies and dangerously protracted deliveries are not monitored carefully enough, and the signs of fetal distress can go unnoticed. In other cases, the medical professional in charge of the delivery fails to arrive or order a cesarean section in a timely manner to prevent an avoidable birth injury.
The following situations routinely lead to delayed cesarean sections:
- Inadequate or incorrect monitoring of a fetus throughout the pregnancy, which can make it difficult to detect fetal size issues and other risk factors for birth injuries
- Lack of consistent fetal heart monitoring (FHM) throughout labor
- Inability by the attending medical professionals to adequately interpret the results of the FHM
- Late arrival of the medical professional in charge of delivery
- Inadequate impartation of fetal distress information from the attending medical staff to the late-arriving delivery doctor
- Inadequate or faulty distress monitoring of either the mother or the fetus during labor and delivery, which can allow distress to go unnoticed
- Incompetent or inaccurate medical response to distress signals in either the fetus or mother
- Delay in securing a necessary second opinion or expert opinion, which can delay approval for a necessary C-section
When it comes to medically necessary cesarean sections, minutes often matter. Medical professionals are trained and duty bound to make these critical medical decisions promptly in an effort to minimize medical complications. If your baby suffered a birth injury because a member of your medical team failed to respond promptly or adequately, you may have a legal case.
If your delivery necessitates an emergency cesarean section, the consequences of not receiving that surgery in a timely manner can be grave for your newborn child and for your family. Birth injuries tend to be physically, emotionally, and financially overwhelming, and they often result in lifelong physical and cognitive disabilities. In fact, children who suffer from birth injuries may require ongoing medical treatment, special physical and cognitive accommodations, and specialized daily care throughout their lives.
The potential consequences of not receiving a timely emergency C-section are so catastrophic that you should seek legal counsel immediately if you are concerned that your child may have suffered a birth injury as a result. As difficult as your situation is, it is important that you act quickly. Determining fault in a case involving the failure to perform an emergency C-section is complicated, and your birth injury lawyer will need to immediately get to work collecting evidence, interviewing your medical team, consulting with medical experts, and determining fault in your birth injury case.
Contact a Clearwater Birth Injury Attorney Today
Modern medicine continues to progress, and having babies is much less dangerous than it once was. Nevertheless, the advantages of modern medicine also necessitate a modern professional duty to carefully monitor deliveries and competently and promptly perform cesarean sections when medically necessary. Some birth injuries are unavoidable, but in some cases, they are the result of medical negligence. Medical negligence is not always clear cut. If your baby suffered a significant birth injury, contact a skilled birth injury attorney as soon as you can after you discover the injury. The experienced Clearwater birth injury lawyers at the Dolman Law Group are dedicated to protecting the rights of birth injury victims and their families, and we are here to help. We have the experience, skill, and commitment to bring your birth injury case to its best possible resolution. Please contact or call us at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation today.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765