A cesarean delivery, also known as a C-section, is an operation in which a baby is delivered by surgically opening the mother’s abdomen and uterus as an alternative to vaginal delivery. Doctors deliver almost one of every three babies in the United States using this operation. Although they are often performed to prevent birth injuries, this surgical procedure does carry some risks of its own, especially if it is an emergency C-section. In this blog, we will cover types of C-section-related birth injuries to both mother and baby, as well as four causes of these injuries.
Types of C-Section-Related Birth Injuries
Many reasons cause a woman to need a C-section, including obstruction of the birth canal and birthing twins or triplets, and they often prevent loss of life that could occur during vaginal birth. However, complications and mistakes during the surgery can have devastating effects on both the mother and the baby.
Injuries to the Mother
Undergoing a C-section opens women up to many potential complications.
Injuries to the mother may include:
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Blood clots
- Infected uterine lining (endometritis)
- Surgical-site infection
- Postpartum hemorrhage
Injuries to the Baby
This procedure also poses a risk to the baby. Consequences range from temporary, easily-treated injuries to lifelong conditions.
Injuries to the baby may include:
- Brain damage
- Breathing complications
- Broken bones
- Skin lacerations
- Cerebral, Erb’s, or Klumpke’s palsy
Causes of C-Section Birth Injuries
A medical professional’s decisions before, during, and after labor can have permanent physical consequences for the mother and child. The leading causes of injury during C-section deliveries are delayed decision to perform, premature delivery, medical mistakes, and poor after-birth care.
1. Delayed C-Section
The most common injuries associated with a Cesarean section delivery occur because of a delayed decision to perform the procedure. Failure to detect fetal distress, negligent monitoring during labor, and not securing an operating room in time to start the surgery can delay a C-section. Delayed surgery can lead to brain damage to the fetus due to oxygen deprivation and increase the risk of ruptured membranes in the mother.
2. Premature Delivery by C-Section
Premature deliveries, or those performed before 39 weeks, may also increase the risk of birth injuries. Pre-term babies are smaller and more likely to sustain bruises and fractures during delivery. They are also more likely to develop abnormally fast breathing during the days following birth, known as tachypnea.
3. Mistakes During Surgery
Both mother and child are at risk of medical errors during a C-section surgery. Lacerations and perforations caused by physicians performing the procedure to organs like the bladder and bowel can occur and warrant further surgeries in the mother. In addition, fetal injuries include collarbone or skull fractures, facial nerve palsy, and brachial plexus injuries.
4. Poor Aftercare
Poor aftercare can lead to injury as well, causing infections at the surgical site and in the uterine lining.
Birth Injury Attorneys in Tucson
If you or your child sustained injuries during a C-section birth due to the medical negligence of a healthcare provider, your first step is to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. At Grabb & Durando, we understand the devastating physical, emotional, and financial consequences this event has for you and your family. Our attorneys will help ease some of the burdens by building a case and fighting to get you the compensation you deserve.