Can you sue for a bad C-Section?

Your Rights in a C-Section Medical Malpractice Claim

In 2019, the last year a full set of statistics is available, 2,558,882 vaginal births occurred in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During the same time period, 1,186,397 Cesarean deliveries or C-sections were performed across the country. Approximately one out of three deliveries in the United States was by C-section.

Unfortunately, not all C-sections proceed as planned. Every year, women and babies are injured as the result of medical negligence that occurs during a C-section. This reality raises the question of whether a woman or child injured as a result of medical negligence occurring during a C-section can sue for medical malpractice? The direct answer to this query is “yes.” If you believe that you or a somebody you know is a victim of a bad c-section, please read about our experience with birth injury law and reach out for a free consultation.

With this affirmative answer in mind, there are some facts and factors you need to understand in regard to pursue a C-section medical malpractice claim. These include understanding the trio of categories into which different types of C-section medical malpractice can occur.

Overview of a C-Section

The world-renowned Mayo Clinic provides a direct definition of a C-section or Caesarean delivery. A C-section is a surgical procedure to delivery a baby. The procedure involves incisions in a woman’s abdomen and uterus, the baby being delivered through the opening created by the process.

C-sections are not intended to be “just another way” to deliver a child. There needs to be an underlying medical reason to pursue a C-section. Examples of such medical reasons include:

  • Stalled labor
  • Abnormal position of baby
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Viral infection
  • Mother’s high blood pressure
  • Mother with heart issues

There are four general categories of C-section medical malpractice claims:

  • Medical negligence occurring during a C-section
  • Medical negligence from failure to perform a C-section
  • Medical negligence from unreasonable delay in performing C-section
  • Medical negligence from unreasonable delay in performing C-section

Injury to Mother or Baby Due to C-Section Medical Negligence

Injuries can occur to a mother, a baby, or even both as a result of medical negligence that occurs during the course of a C-section. If these injuries are caused because the doctor deviated from what is known as a reasonable standard of case, an injured mother, an injured child, or both may be in a position to pursue a C-section medical malpractice claim. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can provide a case evaluation to determine the viability of a C-section medical malpractice claim.

More frequently occurring injuries caused as a result of C-section medical negligence include:

  • Maternal surgical injuries (improper scalpel cuts)
  • Fetal surgical injuries (improper scalpel cuts)
  • Placenta previa
  • Placental abruption
  • Hemorrhaging
  • Infection (maternal and fetal)

Medical Negligence and Failure to Perform a C-Section

While malpractice claims can stem from mistakes made during C-sections, there is another classification of medical negligence associated with these medical procedures. This second category of negligence is the failure to perform a C-section.

The failure to perform a C-section at all typically occurs because a doctor fails to make a diagnosis of a medical condition or issue that requires this type of medical intervention. As as is the case with injuries occurring during a C-section, the failure to perform this medical procedure when necessary can constitute medical negligence.

Injuries to a mother and baby that can stem from the failure to perform a C-section can be profound. These can include permanent disabilities and even death.

Unreasonable Delay in Performing C-Section

An unreasonably delayed C-section typically stems from a failure to make a timely diagnosis of a medical condition warranting this medical intervention. The delay performing a C-section can result in potentially devastating injuries both to the mother as well as to the unborn child.

Performance of an Unnecessary C-Section

The final category of potential C-section malpractice involves a situation when this procedure is undertaken when it was not medically necessary. In other words, an OB-GYN performs a C-section when the procedure really was not medically necessary or advised.

Unnecessary C-sections tend to be performed for one of two possible reasons:

OB-GYN makes a mistaken diagnosis of a medical issue that would suggest the need for a C-section if it in fact existed.
Doctor fails to provide reasonably accurate information to a mother which leads her to elect for a C-section when it is in fact not necessary.

About 33% of all births in the United States involve C-sections. International medical procedure monitors suggest that about half of these C-sections are unnecessary. They simply should never have been performed.

Medically unnecessary C-sections put women at a higher risk for:

  • Infection
  • Physical injury
  • Postpartum depression
  • Prolonged fatigue
  • Longer delivery recovery period

Your Legal Rights and Your C-Section Malpractice Claim

If you are the victim of a botched, delayed, or unnecessary C-section, you best protect your important legal rights and interests by promptly scheduling an initial consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Indeed, you put yourself in the best possible position to protect and assert your rights by retaining legal counsel before you submit to questioning by an insurance company.

The standard practice for a medical malpractice lawyer is to schedule an initial consultation at no cost to a prospective client. A medical malpractice attorney typically charges no fee unless legal counsel wins a favorable settlement or judgment for you in your case.