Cesarean Delivery Medical Malpractice
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In certain circumstances doctors must perform cesarean (C-section) deliveries. A C-section is a delivery made through an incision in the abdominal and uterine walls. C-sections are considered a major surgical process and doctors and patients should give serious consideration to the justification for the procedure as well as any contraindications.
When Should a Cesarean be Performed?
Generally, a C-section should be performed when further delay for a vaginal delivery would risk injury to the fetus or mother. Some of the general indicators to evaluate when considering a C-section are:
- Prior C-section
- Fetopelvic disproportion
- Maternal disorders
- Transverse lie
- Tumor obstruction in the pelvis
- Certain prior uterine or vaginal surgical procedures
- Documented fetal distress
A C-section should always be performed in an operating room with proper support available and all reasonable surgical precautions taken.
Liability for C-Section Negligence
A doctor can be liable for medical malpractice in negligently performing a c-section or in reverse, for negligence in not performing a C-section.
What If My Doctor Failed to Perform a C-Section?
If a patient presents any of the risk factors that would suggest a C-section is necessary and the doctor fails to perform a C-section, a resulting injury to the newborn or the mother can be grounds for medical malpractice. The courts have established that when a risk factor exists, a doctor is liable for unreasonably failing to discover it or for failing to perform a C-section upon its discovery. However, in cases where there is insufficient proof of the existence of the risk or sufficient evidence that continuing with a vaginal delivery was medically reasonable despite the risk, the courts have found no negligence.
What If My C-Section Resulted in Injuries?
If the mother or the newborn suffered injuries as a result of a C-section procedure, then the doctor may be held liable for medical malpractice negligence for injuries during birth.
What If My C-Section was Unnecessary and Resulted in Injuries?
In certain situations it can be difficult to determine absolutely that a C-section is necessary. The courts have generally held that there is no negligence if a doctor reasonably evaluates the risk factors and proceeds with a C-section. Even if later review suggests that the procedure may not have been necessary, the courts have not held doctors liable for making a fair determination under the immediate circumstances. Only when a doctor presents no basis for the procedure have the courts held doctors liable for unnecessary C-sections.
Do You Need an Attorney Experienced with Medical Malpractice?
If you, or a loved one, have been injured by medical malpractice, you should speak to an attorney immediately to learn more about the value of your case and what types of recoveries are available to you.
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Last Modified: 01-13-2014 04:07 PM PST
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