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Failure to Perform a Timely Caesarean Section (C-Section)

Birth Injury & Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Louisville, Kentucky

A Caesarean Section is a fairly common surgery used in the delivery of a baby. A C-Section is generally used when a vaginal birth is not possible or in the best interest of the mother or child. Of course all surgeries carry some degree of risk, so a doctor and his or her staff should carefully consider all of the extenuating circumstances when making a decision to perform a C-Section. However, at times an unnecessary delay or a reluctance to perform a C-Section can have severe consequences for the health of the baby and the mother.

Medical professionals will consider performing a C-Section in the following cases:

  • If a fetus is suffering from oxygen deprivation (asphyxia)
  • If there is a risk of placental abruption
  • If the umbilical cord is compressing the fetus
  • Unusually high or low blood pressure in the mother
  • Position of the baby is not conducive to a vaginal delivery
  • Size of the baby is not conducive to a vaginal delivery
  • The mother fails to dilate
  • Prolonged Labor

Fetal heart rate monitors have a key role in the decision to perform a C-Section. An abnormal fetal heart rate often indicates that the baby is struggling for oxygen (asphyxia). Usually an attentive medical staff will catch and address any irregularity in the baby’s heart rate by increasing the oxygen to the mother and intrauterine resuscitation for the baby. Often this will solve the problem of oxygen deprivation to the fetus; however, it is sometimes only a temporary solution.

If these episodes of heart rate irregularities continue to repeat then it may be an indication of the necessity of a C-Section. The problem is that once the baby is in a dangerous state of asphyxia, there may not be time to assemble a medical staff that can administer anesthesia and perform the surgery. Sometimes the Obstetrician is simply not made aware of the fetal distress by the hospital staff because they have seemingly controlled the problem, and sometimes the doctor is involved and consciously makes the decision to not perform a C-Section. Either way, the baby’s health may be at risk.

The risks to the baby associated with not performing a timely C-Section include:

All families wish for a safe and uneventful labor and delivery. However, certain events may require intervention by the medical staff. Doctors and nurses need to recognize warning signs that put the baby and the mother at risk and be ready to perform a C-Section if it is warranted. The use of fetal heart rate monitors offers doctors and medical professionals tremendous information on the well-being of the baby during labor and delivery. It is critical that this information be observed and shared among the medical care givers and then acted upon in a timely manner to prevent birth injuries or even death.

If you or your baby suffered health complications as the result of a failure to perform a C-Section or a delay in performing a C-Section, you can contact an attorney to explore your options and possibly investigate a medical malpractice claim.

Contact Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC if you have questions. Brett is a Kentucky medical malpractice attorney located in Louisville, and he will consult with you and discuss your legal options so that you can make an informed decision about the course of action you need to take.