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What Birth Injuries Can Result From Failure to Perform a C-Section?

Posted on in Birth Injury

Illinois medical negligence attorney

cesarean section, or “C-section” for short, refers to a surgical procedure during which an infant is born via an incision in the woman’s abdomen. An emergency C-section typically occurs when a mother planned to give birth vaginally, but unexpected complications make a C-section the safer choice. Doctors and medical staff are trained to recognize signs of fetal or maternal distress that may indicate a C-section is needed. In some cases, a physician’s failure to perform a necessary C-section may lead to serious birth injuries and even fetal or maternal death.

Medical Complications That Can Lead to an Emergency C-Section

Just under one-third of U.S. mothers who gave birth to a child in 2017 did so via cesarean delivery. Choosing to deliver a baby naturally or undergo a C-section is a very personal decision for expectant mothers. Many women understandably have strong feelings about whether or not they want their baby delivered surgically. Unfortunately, some expectant mothers do not have the birth experience they had hoped for because unexpected medical complications arise. A cesarean section is typically considered to be a riskier delivery method than vaginal birth. However, when a mother and her baby are in danger, this may be the best way to prevent birth injuries or fetal death. Some medical issues that may require an unplanned C-section include:

  • Prolapsed Umbilical Cord: When the umbilical cord drops through the mother’s cervix, this can cut off oxygen to the baby. In order to prevent asphyxiation, the baby may need to be delivered immediately by a C-section.

  • Breech Birth: If a baby is positioned upside down or sideways in the womb, a C-section may be necessary to prevent life-threatening injuries from occurring to the infant if vaginal delivery was attempted.

  • Prolonged Labor: When labor stops progressing, the best way to prevent birth injuries may be to deliver the baby surgically via a C-section. Complications with the umbilical cord, tearing of the placenta from the uterus, and shock to the mother can all occur with lengthy labor.

  • Placental Abruption: In certain cases, the placenta can separate from the uterine wall during labor, which reduces the amount of oxygen available to the baby and requires an emergency C-section to avoid brain damage and other health problems.

  • Abnormal Heart Rate and Signs of Fetal Distress: Unusual heart rate patterns, abnormal amniotic fluid levels, and decreased fetal movement are all signs that an infant may be in immediate danger. Further tests may be needed to determine whether or not an emergency C-section is necessary.

Injuries Caused by Failure to Deliver by Cesarean Section

If an emergency C-section is necessary, but a doctor does not proceed with the surgery, the baby can suffer significant complications. The most common birth injury caused by failure to perform a C-section is hypoxia or lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain. The lack of oxygen can quickly cause significant and lasting brain damage. Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a condition in which a lack of oxygen causes brain cells to release toxins that damage the infant’s brain tissue. This may lead to intellectual and developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy, and seizure disorders. Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) refers to the death of white matter in the brain due to reduced blood flow. This condition may cause the child to suffer from delayed cognitive development, motor disorders, problems with coordination, as well as vision and hearing impairments.

Contact an Illinois Medical Negligence Lawyer

If your baby has suffered from a birth injury, you may wonder if the injury could have been prevented by an emergency C-section. In some cases, a doctor’s failure to perform a C-section can result in lasting health issues, which may constitute medical malpractice. At Birth Injury Law Alliance, we help clients determine whether or not their child’s injuries sustained during labor and delivery are the result of medical error or negligence. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your concerns with a qualified and experienced Chicago birth injury attorney, call our office today at 312-945-1300.



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