The infant mortality rate in the United States has seen a steady and dramatic decline over the past 100 years. One of the most significant contributing factors to this decline has been the refinement of Caesarean delivery procedures, which are now ordered for approximately one in three American mothers. These procedures are safer now, and sometimes necessary. Even so, complications can arise when C-sections are delayed by the medical negligence of OB/GYNs and their teams.
If you or your child suffered serious injuries or health complications because of your physician’s failure to perform a timely Caesarean section, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice case in Illinois. To discuss the details of your case, contact the experienced Chicago medical malpractice attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C. for a free consultation.
What Is a Delayed C-Section?
A Caesarean section, or C-section, is a surgical procedure ordered by OB/GYN doctors under certain labor- and delivery-related circumstances. OB/GYNs typically recommend C-sections when a vaginal birth would have a good chance of injuring the mother, the baby, or both.
Although Caesarean sections are common, they are still a major surgery. It’s important for physicians to carefully evaluate the unique conditions of each pregnancy before deciding that a C-section is the best choice for mother and baby.
Mothers and babies who suffer severe consequences from delayed C-sections may be entitled to financial compensation for their losses through a birth injury lawsuit. These cases may be based upon the negligence of healthcare providers who:
- Are reluctant to perform necessary Caesarean sections
- Fail to initiate Caesarean deliveries in a timely manner
- Otherwise allow unnecessary C-section delays
OB/GYNs and their teams are responsible for closely monitoring pregnant women and their unborn children. They should respond quickly in cases of emergencies. When complications arise and these teams delay Caesarean deliveries for too long, babies and mothers may suffer permanent or even fatal injuries.
Could Your Birth Injury Have Been Prevented with a Timely C-Section?
To avoid guesswork and inconsistency in the medical field, doctors follow conventions known as “indications” to help them determine when certain tests or procedures are necessary. When a procedure is indicated, that means there is a valid reason to perform the procedure in a clinical setting. During labor and delivery, there are several factors that OB/GYNs must consider to determine whether a C-section is the indicated procedure for mother and baby.
If you or your child sustained birth-related injuries, you may have grounds for a delayed C-section medical malpractice claim if:
- Your doctor failed to notice or respond to any signs of fetal distress that should have indicated a Caesarean section was the most appropriate procedure.
- Your doctor did not recognize certain prenatal indicators that a C-section should be planned, some of which may be present during early pregnancy.
- Your doctor carried out an untimely Caesarean delivery, which can lead to unnecessary risks before and during the procedure.
When to Consider Performing an Emergency C-Section
In some cases, C-sections may be planned weeks or even months in advance of a mother’s delivery date. In others, Caesarean deliveries are ordered when emergency situations arise. Doctors typically consider emergency surgical deliveries if any of the following indicators are present:
- The baby is suffering from asphyxia, or oxygen deprivation.
- The mother’s cervix has not dilated as expected.
- The umbilical cord is tangled around or compressing the baby.
- The mother’s blood pressure is higher or lower than average.
- The umbilical cord is prolapsed, emerging from the cervix before the fetus.
- The baby experiences abnormal heart rate or other distress during labor.
- The mother has any health complications that pose a significant risk.
- The placenta becomes detached from the uterine wall before or during labor.
- The baby is too large to be delivered vaginally.
- The baby is positioned sideways or feet-first and cannot be delivered vaginally.
- The baby cannot be delivered vaginally even with forceps or a vacuum device.
- Labor is unnecessarily prolonged during vaginal delivery.
What Are the Risks Associated with Not Performing a Timely C-Section?
When medical professionals are negligent in their duties and Caesarean deliveries are not performed in a timely manner, infants may experience a variety of complications as a result. The risks associated with delayed C-sections include:
- Erb’s palsy, a disorder that causes total or partial paralysis of the arm. This condition is usually associated with shoulder dystocia, which is when a fetus’ shoulder becomes stuck behind a mother’s pubic bone during delivery.
- Klumpke paralysis, an injury similar to Erb’s palsy caused by trauma to the brachial plexus, a nerve bundle that controls the arms and hands.
- Cerebral palsy, a movement disorder caused by brain injuries or abnormal brain development. This may cause limited mobility, uncontrollable movements, or trouble with balance and depth perception.
- Trauma to the baby’s spine, ribcage, or other bone structures.
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, the medical term for brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen. This can result in:
- Future behavioral or emotional challenges
- Possible cognitive or learning disabilities like autism
- Problems with speech, language, vision, or hearing
- Seizures and the possibility of fetal stroke
How Our Chicago Birth Injury Lawyers Can Help
Any medical malpractice case is heartbreaking, but those involving delayed Caesarean sections that lead to birth injuries are especially difficult. Not only are the health of the mother and baby tragically compromised, it’s particularly hard to prove negligence in OB/GYN malpractice cases due to the complexity and high-risk nature of the field. That’s why you need the experienced Chicago birth injury lawyers of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C.
For more than 35 years, our award-winning team has represented thousands of families throughout Chicago and across Illinois. We understand the devastation caused by medical negligence in delayed C-section cases. We have made it our mission to fight for the rights of those whose lives have been forever changed by avoidable birth injuries.
Our law firm has recovered more than $1.5 billion in compensation for our deserving clients. Contact us today to schedule your free, confidential case review and take your first steps toward justice for your family.