Surgical or anesthesia errors during a C-section can cause permanent damage to both a mother and her baby. A medical malpractice lawsuit can provide the funds needed for the best possible recovery for mother and child.
C-Section Surgical Errors
A Cesarean section or C-section is the delivery of a baby through a surgical incision in the mother’s belly and uterus. There are many instances, particularly in high-risk pregnancies, when a C-section is scheduled in advance. In other cases, the surgery becomes necessary due to an unanticipated complication.
If the mother or baby is in danger during difficult labor and delivery, an emergency C-section may become necessary.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 32 percent of women in the United States who gave birth in 2015 had a Cesarean delivery.
How is a C-Section Performed?
A local anesthetic is administered to the mother after which time her belly will be swabbed with an antiseptic. The surgeon will then make a small, horizontal cut in the skin above the pubic bone. The surgeon will cut through the underlying tissue and separate the muscles of the abdomen exposing the uterus underneath. The doctor will make another horizontal incision in the uterus. Organ puncture to nearby organs is possible.
The surgeon will then reach into the uterus and pull out the infant. Once the cord is cut, the newborn will be examined and the doctor will deliver the placenta and begin the process of stitching up. The stitches used to close the incision will dissolve after a short period of time. The final layer may be closed with stitches or staples, which are usually removed up to a week later. Moms who undergo a C-section can expect to stay in the hospital for about three days.
Common Surgical Errors During a C-Section
There are a number of injuries that may occur during a C-section. Here are a few examples:
Laceration of bowels: The uterus is close to major organs including the bowels. If the surgeon is not careful, he or she may cause bowel lacerations. If the problem is not remedied right away, the mom’s recovery might be much slower, and more complications may arise including infections. Bowel lacerations during a C-section have resulted in women needing additional surgeries.
Bone fractures:C-sections are performed quickly. Doctors use deliberate, but forceful moves to remove the baby quickly so the mother is not on anesthesia for too long. Sometimes, this may result in broken bones. While vaginal deliveries can pose injury risks to the infant, there are times when doctors may lean on the mom’s upper body to move the baby down and out of the uterus. If they use too much pressure, the mother’s bones may potentially break. The mother may not even realize that she has suffered an injury since she will be numb for a while after the surgery is done.
Injuries to the child:A C-section involves the use of sharp instruments to cut into the uterus and remove the baby. In the process, it is possible for the child to be injured. Children may be nicked by the scalpel when the surgeon attempts to make an incision. Some of these injuries may lead to scars and/or result in infections. Some lacerations may be so deep that they may leave a permanent scar. Studies show that up to 6 percent of babies experience such injuries each year. And as C-section rates continue to increase, this number is only expected to go up.
Bladder injuries:Just like the bowels, the bladder is also at risk for injury during a C-section. If the cut is caught before the mother is closed up, the obstetrician may be able to repair the cut with the help of a urologist. However, if the problem is not fixed, complications such as urinary tract infections and chronic pain may occur. The mother may also experience urine leakage if the damage is not fixed.
Excessive bleeding and blood clots:Women who deliver vaginally lose about two cups of blood. However, women who have C-sections lose twice that much, which is a significant loss of blood during surgery. However, if the doctor makes a mistake, the mother may lose even more blood resulting in a potentially life-threatening situation. Postpartum bleeding may occur for many reasons ranging from blood vessels that were punctured to incisions that were made inappropriately.
In addition to the bleeding, blood clots are a common risk after a C-section. They can be prevented if the mother is closely observed and instructed to walk within 24 hours after the surgery. If blood clots break up and travel to the heart or lungs, it may become lethal for the mother.
Infection: Almost any type of surgical error during a C-section can expose the mother to the risk of serious infections. A lacerated bowel or bladder or items mistakenly left inside the patient may result in an infection. Generally, infection risks are higher after a C-section. When a doctor makes a surgical error, those risks multiply. Most of the infections take place at the site where the surgeon makes the incisions. Some of the infection symptoms women should watch out for after a C-section include fever, pain, and swelling. Contact your doctor right away if you suspect an infection.
Anesthesia errors:It is important to make sure that the mother’s body is not affected by an excess dose of anesthesia. But, it is also crucial to make sure she gets enough anesthetic so she is numbed at the time of the surgery. The pain of a C-section surgery is very real and women have reported passing out from the agony of pain when the anesthesia was not enough.
Leaving Surgical Instruments in the Body: Thousands of these incidents occur every year where surgical instruments and accessories are left in patients’ bodies each year. When this occurs, patients face a heightened risk of suffering serious complications that could even lead to death.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits After a C-Section
Mothers who are injured during a C-section surgery may face a number of complications that require additional surgery, long recovery times, and increased physical pain and emotional suffering. Injured victims of C-section surgical errors may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income due to workdays lost, cost of hospitalization, expenses relating to additional surgeries, permanent injuries, disfigurement, pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
Whether the C-section surgical error or wrong diagnosis has resulted in injuries to you or your baby, our West Virginia medical malpractice attorneys can help you receive the compensation you need and rightfully deserve.
A number of negligent parties such as the surgeon, the hospital, the medical staff, etc. can be held accountable here for the injuries and damages caused.
Please contact us today for a free, comprehensive, and confidential consultation. See our client reviews here. Call (304) 594-1800 Today.
Robinette Legal Group, PLLC
211 Everhart Dr., Ste. 200
Morgantown, WV 26508