Cesarean sections, commonly known as C-sections, often serve as a life-saving procedure during childbirth. Doctors choose this type of delivery when complications arise such as when natural vaginal birth becomes risky for the mother or baby. However, if medical professionals delay this procedure, it can lead to severe consequences. Often, it can result in serious birth injuries.
Why mothers might require a C-section
Nearly one-third of babies in the U.S. are born through C-section. In these operations, determining the need for a C-section is a decision that doctors must assess based on the well-being of the mother and the baby. There are various reasons why doctors might opt to perform a C-section, including:
- Maternal health problems or infections
- Baby’s size or incorrect position
- Multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.)
- Placental issues (blocking cervix or separation from uterus)
- Complications during labor (labor not progressing, signs of baby’s distress)
Under these conditions, doctors must perform a C-section immediately. Even a slight delay in this decision, though it might seem minor, can bring lifelong risks to the child.
Consequences caused by a delayed C-section
The consequences of a delayed cesarean section can be severe. For example, a Philadelphia hospital received a lawsuit for failing to perform a timely C-section, despite the mother showing signs of needing one. As a result, the baby was born with cerebral palsy, other neurological injuries and neurodevelopmental delays. This means the child will require special care throughout their life.
The court found the hospital at fault and ordered them to pay $183 million, which includes:
- $10 million for the pain and suffering already experienced
- $70 million for future pain and suffering
- $1.7 million for the money the child won’t be able to earn because of their condition
On top of this, the hospital must pay an extra $101 million for the child’s future medical care costs. This case emphasizes the critical importance of timely decision-making in medical procedures, particularly C-sections, and the severe consequences that can result from delays.
Doctors must make quick decisions for a C-section to prevent severe, lifelong complications for the child. If they fail to do so, parents should seek the assistance of a medical malpractice attorney, as they may need to explore legal avenues to address the potential harm done to their child.