Skilled Mississippi Birth Injury Attorneys Protect Patients’ Rights after a C-Section Error
Legal help for babies and mothers injured by Cesarean section complications
When a doctor delays performing a Cesarean section (better known as a C-section), or fails to perform one altogether, the health of the baby and the mother can be put in jeopardy. Many of the complications that might lead a doctor or obstetrician to schedule a C-section can be diagnosed during prenatal care. An expectant mother’s medical team should be monitoring her prenatal health to detect any potential problems, and a doctor’s failure to notice any of these issues and fail to perform a C-section when medically necessary can result in medical negligence if it results in injury to either the baby or the mother.
The birth injury attorneys at Merkel & Cocke, P.A. have decades of experience working with Mississippi families whose children have suffered injury from C-section complications or failure to perform C-sections. Because Mississippi has the highest rate of C-sections in the country, this is an important area of labor and delivery to watch out for. We will launch an investigation and analyze all your records, from your prenatal care all the way through to delivery to find out whether your doctor or another medical professional committed medical malpractice—and fight for your child’s rights.
When is a C-section medically necessary?
Doctors perform a C-section when, in their medical opinion, they believe the surgical option would be safer than a vaginal delivery for the health of the mother and child. Cesarean sections are performed via an incision made in the mother’s abdomen.
C-sections are typically used in high-risk deliveries like when the baby is in an abnormal position, when labor is prolonged or stalled, when the mother’s bleeding has become excessive, or if the mother has had more than one previous C-section delivery.
Most women don’t have their babies on their actual due date. If a mother is more than a week past her due date, however, some doctors might use an electronic fetal monitor to track the baby’s heartbeat. A slow or abnormal heartbeat indicates fetal stress, which can necessitate a C-section.
Risks and indicators for a Cesarean birth
In any pregnancy, it’s crucial that your doctor monitor your and your baby’s health throughout the entire pregnancy. Many C-sections are planned in advance according to any risks the doctor has observed during prenatal care. For example, an obstetrician may plan a C-section if the mother is small but having a large baby, or if the fetus weight for any mother’s baby is nine pounds or more. A doctor may consider a surgical birth if an ultrasound shows that the baby is in breech position (feet first or rump first), and all other attempts to re-position the baby have been unsuccessful.
Doctors may also consider a cesarean birth if a mother has health issues where the stress of a vaginal delivery could put her at risk. C-sections may also be medically necessary in the cases of multiple births, or if there is a risk of spreading an infection from mother to child.
Women with high blood pressure also have a higher risk for complications during delivery. Hypertension can be an indicator that more serious complications are developing, such as preeclampsia. This is a worrisome condition characterized by high blood pressure and damage to other organs, typically the kidneys. Sudden weight gain or vision changes can be an indicator of preeclampsia, and, if gone untreated, can lead to serious and possibly fatal injuries for both mother and baby. The general and safest solution, if the pregnancy is far enough advanced, is to deliver the baby immediately by C-section.
Health risks of failing to perform a timely C-section
When a doctor fails to perform a timely or prompt C-section, the infant and mother can suffer serious or fatal injury. Performing a vaginal delivery and having to “force” the baby through the birth canal can result in many kinds of birth injury, including:
- When a baby is showing signs of fetal distress, and is left in the birth canal too long, it can sustain several types of birth injuries and complications. A baby can suffer from lack of oxygen, causing hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).
- One common injury is called shoulder dystocia, which is when the baby’s shoulders become wedged behind the mother’s pubic bone. In cases like this, the baby needs to dislodged quickly, and some doctors will use forceps, which can increase the risk of injury.
- Some infants may suffer Erb’s palsy after a difficult delivery, which is an injury caused by improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors to free an infant from the birth canal. This type of birth injury can cause temporary or permanent weakness and loss of mobility in the arm, hand, wrist, and fingers.
- Using force during a vaginal delivery can also cause brachial plexus injuries. A bundle of nerve fibers that send signals that control movements in the shoulders, arms, and hands, brachial plexus injuries can be temporary or permanent. These nerves can become stretched or torn if too much force is used during delivery.
- When a mother is having a difficult delivery, and a necessary C-section is delayed, the mother may experience significant blood loss, leading to potentially fatal complications. For example, if the placenta separates from the uterine wall, a condition called placental abruption, can prevent the baby from getting oxygen and nutrients and cause dangerous vaginal bleeding.
If you have questions about whether or not your baby was injured because your doctor failed to perform a timely C-section, it’s imperative you speak to an attorney immediately. Our legal team will work with you to find out exactly what happened and why, and give you the answers you need.
The Mississippi birth injury lawyers you and your family can trust
If you or your child suffered injury or harm because your obstetrician or doctor failed to monitor your pregnancy properly, we can help. The attorneys at Merkel & Cocke, P.A. have years of experience helping families hold medical professionals accountable for their negligence. We provide services from our home offices in Jackson, Oxford and Clarksdale, and work with clients throughout Mississippi, including Tupelo and across the Gulf Coast region. We also handle cases in Tennessee and Arkansas. Please call us today at 662-799-1633 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.