A C-section is a surgical procedure used to deliver a baby through an incision in the mother’s abdomen. Depending on the condition of the mother and baby, a C-section can be planned or an emergency. Unfortunately, some negligent acts, like a delayed C-section, mistakes during the surgery, and poor aftercare, can cause severe complications.
You have a right to compensation for the C-section injuries you and your baby suffered during delivery. However, filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is very complicated. You must gather enough evidence to prove the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries. Additionally, you must provide sufficient evidence to show the damages that resulted from the incident.
Hiring and retaining a skilled personal injury lawyer is critical to battling your C-section injury lawsuit. At the Phoenix Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, we understand the adverse effects of a birth injury on your life and that of your child. We offer top-notch legal guidance and representation to all our clients suing for a C-section injury in Phoenix, AZ.
Understanding C-section Injuries
The cesarean section delivery was devised to save the lives of mothers and babies after complications during vaginal birth. The decision on the appropriate mode of delivery is made based on the condition of the mother and baby.
Common reasons that a doctor can recommend a C-section delivery include:
- Breech birth. A safe vaginal birth occurs when the baby is born head first. Therefore, a cesarean section is a safe option to avoid injuries or infant mortality. For breech births, a C-section is preplanned.
- Fetal distress. If a baby fails to receive enough oxygen during delivery, it could suffer from severe conditions like cerebral palsy. Therefore, if the doctor realizes your baby is not receiving the right amount of oxygen, they could recommend an emergency C-section.
- Multiple births. Carrying multiple babies increases the risk of birth complications. Therefore, a C-section is the safest way to deliver multiples.
- No progress on labor. Labor for vaginal delivery should not exceed twenty hours. Prolonged labor is a common reason for most C-section births.
- Prolapsed umbilical cord. This condition can reduce blood flow to the baby, causing severe complications. If you experience umbilical cord prolapse, doctors recommend a C-section birth.
- Congenital disabilities. A cesarean section can help reduce delivery complications for babies with congenital disabilities like congenital heart disease.
- Previous C-section. Attempting a vaginal delivery after a C-section may be unsafe.
- Chronic medical condition. Vaginal delivery may be a dangerous option for you if you have a chronic medical condition. The doctors could recommend a C-section for mothers with heart disease and gestational diabetes.
- Herpes infection. When a pregnant mother has herpes, doctors may recommend a C-section. This helps to avoid transmission to the baby.
A C-section procedure is aimed at avoiding injuries to the mother or baby during childbirth. However, complications could arise when doctors fail to perform the procedure at the right time and with the necessary precautionary measures.
Causes of C-section Injuries
A medical professional’s decision before, during, and after birth can have permanent physical effects on a mother and baby. The leading causes of C-section injuries are:
Healthcare professionals are trained to detect when an emergency C-section is necessary. If a medical facility is not prepared to perform the procedure or the doctor delays delivering the baby, severe complications could occur. A common complication of a delayed C-section is a lack of oxygen in the baby’s brain. This could result in brain damage or even death.
Additionally, the baby could suffer lacerations and breathing complications. If you or your baby suffers a delayed C-section delivery injury, you can file a malpractice lawsuit against the medical practitioners responsible for the birth. Reasons for a delayed C-section include:
- Lack of enough procedure rooms. This could cause the mother to wait in line until a space becomes available.
- A doctor’s failure to keenly monitor the mother and child for signs of distress
- A delayed decision to perform a C-section after vaginal birth complications
- Attributing birth complications to other factors and putting off the idea of a C-section
Premature delivery is a delivery done before 39 weeks of gestation. When a fetus is not growing as expected, doctors may be worried and decide to deliver it early. Most premature babies often have other complications, like low birth weight and underdeveloped lungs. For this reason, it is riskier to deliver them via cesarean section.
A premature baby is at a high risk of suffering injuries or birth complications when delivered via C-section. If the doctors deliver your premature baby through a C-section and the baby is injured, you can sue the doctor and the medical facility where the incident occurred.
A doctor must perform a safe C-section procedure. This is done by exercising reasonable care to ensure the mother and baby are safe. Unfortunately, some doctors are negligent during these acts, which cause severe injuries and death to the mother and baby. Common errors that could occur in a C-section surgery include:
- Laceration of the bowel and other internal organs. This happens when the doctor makes the wrong incision.
- Lacerations on the child.
- Leaving surgical objects in the mother’s body.
- Improper wound closure.
A C-section is a major surgery involving incisions in different skin layers. Therefore, the correct aftercare practices must be followed to ensure proper and fast healing. Infection at the surgical site is a common complication associated with poor aftercare.
Types of C-section Injuries
Delivering a child through a C-section helps prevent the death of the mother or child. However, the procedure comes with many risks. Whether the doctors delayed the procedure or an error occurred during the surgery, the resulting complications may be devastating for the mother and child.
Injuries to a Mother
Undergoing a cesarean section opens a woman to a wide range of complications, including:
- Anesthesia complications. Since a C-section is major surgery, the doctor will use regional anesthesia to numb the lower part of the body and prevent pain during the procedure. Although anesthesia is generally safe, it can adversely affect some people. Some anesthesia complications include low blood pressure and dizziness.
- Surgical injury. A C-section is a major surgery that involves cutting through the abdomen and uterus of the mother. If the doctor makes the wrong incision, you could suffer a surgical injury to your bladder and intestines. This could cause severe complications and warrant more procedures to correct the damage.
- Infection. Infection of the C-section site is a common complication of this procedure. If the doctor fails to use adequately sterilized tools, you could suffer an infection. Additionally, poor aftercare procedures following the C-section can result in infection.
- Excessive bleeding. When there is a surgical complication during a C-section, a mother could experience excessive bleeding. Loss of blood after childbirth can cause severe complications like kidney failure.
- Risk to future pregnancies. If you suffer a C-section injury, the complication may affect your ability to carry a baby to term.
Injuries to the Baby
When medical practitioners are negligent during a C-section, the result could be detrimental to the child’s wellbeing. C-section injuries in children range from temporary to permanent, depending on the exact cause of the damage.
These injuries include:
- Broken bones. A child could suffer broken bones during a cesarean birth if the doctor is not careful when pulling the child out. Premature babies are often at increased risk of such an injury.
- Brain damage. Brain damage is an injury that occurs when the brain cells are damaged. A child can suffer a permanent brain injury during birth due to physical injury, bacterial infections, or a lack of oxygen in the brain. When the brain damage is mild, a child may be able to recover. However, in severe cases, the damage is lifelong.
- Cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy affects the motor skills of a child. Oxygen deprivation to the child’s brain during birth can affect the brain’s control over the muscles. The condition affects different parts of the body and is incurable. Therefore, if your child has cerebral palsy due to a C-section complication, you may have to deal with the condition for a lifetime.
- Breathing problems. An infant is more likely to develop breathing complications when delivered through a C-section. Low oxygen levels could decrease the infant’s heart rate and blood flow to vital organs like the lungs.
- Fetal lacerations. An infant could suffer cuts and scrapes caused by incorrect incisions and improper use of medical tools.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit After C-section Injuries in Arizona
Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit after a C-section can be complicated. Therefore, you should have expert legal guidance. Your attorney will help you navigate the following steps of a claim:
Investigate your Case
Investigating medical malpractice involves collecting evidence relevant to the claim and obtaining witness testimonies. Standard pieces of evidence you may be able to obtain include:
- Medical records. Most C-section complications are life-threatening. Therefore, you may need additional treatment procedures to treat the condition. Your medical records will detail the seriousness of your injury and the amount required to treat it.
- Expert witness testimony. The expert witnesses could help predict how your financial future will look, given your injury or that of your child.
File Relevant Paperwork
You can resolve a medical malpractice case out of court. However, some defendants are unwilling to compensate you. You can file a civil lawsuit if you do not receive the compensation you deserve through negotiations.
Establishing liability is a critical step in recovering compensation for medical malpractice. After identifying the liable parties in your C-section injury lawsuit, you must establish the liability for each party. In Arizona, liability is based on negligence. Therefore, you must prove these elements of negligence:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care.
- The defendant breached their duty to you.
- The defendant’s breach of duty contributed significantly to your injuries.
- You suffered damages for the injury.
Possible Compensation Benefits
If you are successful in your C-section injury lawsuit, you can recover the following forms of compensation:
Depending on the seriousness of the C-section injury, you may need to undergo other treatment procedures. Coupled with spending time in the hospital, you will have substantial medical bills. The person responsible for your injury will compensate you for your medical expenses.
Loss of Income
After a C-section injury to you or your child, you may have to spend additional time in the hospital for treatment. During this time, you will miss work days and can lose the income you would have received. You can spend weeks or months in the hospital when your injury is serious. You will be compensated if you present relevant evidence of your lost income.
Pain and Suffering
C-section injuries can cause severe pain and suffering for you and your family. Although it cannot be equated to money, you will be compensated for your suffering.
Loss of Independence
You can be compensated for losing your independence in your personal injury lawsuit. Some C-section injuries, like brain damage and cerebral palsy, are permanent. When the conditions are severe, the child may lose their motor skills. This means the child will depend on you for the rest of your life. This could not be easy since you must take time off work to care for the child or hire someone.
Frequently Asked Questions on C-Section Injuries in Arizona
If you or your child has suffered an injury due to negligence in a C-section procedure, you may feel devastated and unsure of the way forward. The following are frequently asked questions about C-section injuries and how to pursue compensation:
Are C-section injuries preventable?
A C-section is a procedure that has been performed for many years. Therefore, with proper training by medical professionals, they should be able to perform the procedure safely. A C-section complication can be avoided if medical facilities are prepared for emergency procedures. Additionally, the doctor and other practitioners should carefully prevent foreseeable errors.
Most C-section injuries result from negligence or a failure to exercise caution. Therefore, you can file a lawsuit against the parties responsible for the damage.
How do I know that I have a C-section injury?
Having a new baby can be stressful. However, if you delivered through a C-section, you should look out for the following symptoms of C-section injuries:
- Persistent fever
- Tenderness and redness on the incision site
- Oozing and foul odor at the incision site
- Abdominal pain
- Excessive bleeding
You should seek immediate medical care if you experience these symptoms after your procedure.
Who is liable for my C-section injuries?
If you suffer a C-section injury, you can be compensated for the damages by filing a personal injury claim. However, an essential aspect of the claim is identifying the liable parties. A person is responsible for your injury if their actions significantly affect it. Finding the liable parties for your damages can be challenging. Therefore, having a competent attorney by your side is important.
You can file a C-section injury lawsuit against the doctor who performed the procedure or practitioners responsible for aftercare procedures. Sometimes, you may have a successful claim against the medical facility where you delivered your child. The basis of such a claim will be that the facility employed and retained unqualified medical practitioners.
Can I file a claim if my C-section was unnecessary?
A C-section is a major surgery with a significant risk of injury for the mother and baby. Unless the procedure is necessary, a pregnant woman should be well informed about the procedure’s risks before opting for this type of delivery. You can file a claim against the doctor if you or your child suffer an injury from an unnecessary C-section.
However, you will only prevail in the claim by proving that the doctor deviated from their standard practice and that their actions resulted in your injury.
Find a Competent Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me
Having a new baby is a joy for many parents. When there are complications with the vaginal birth, doctors can opt for a C-section to ensure a safe delivery for the baby. Another reason why a C-section may be necessary is if the mother has a serious medical condition. Although a C-section may seem like a routine procedure to ensure a successful delivery, it is still a major surgery with potential complications.
A C-section birth increases the risk of maternal morbidity and mortality. It can be emotionally and physically devastating when a C-section results in injury or death. The injuries can cause a lifetime of suffering and financial struggles. Most C-section injuries are the result of negligent acts by medical professionals. Therefore, you are entitled to compensation for your losses.
By filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, you can prove the medical practitioner’s negligent acts and recover for the damages. Damages from a C-section injury lawsuit will be economic and non-economic. If you or your child is a victim of C-section injuries in Phoenix, AZ, you will benefit from the expert legal guidance we offer at the Phoenix Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm. Contact us at 602-641-9589 to discuss the details of your case.