Caesarean Section procedures can be a life-saving measure for both mother and baby. An emergency or unplanned C-Section is used when the delivery is considerably slowed or stopped, the baby shows signs of distress, or when the baby is not in a position or is too big to be delivered vaginally. In countless instances C-Sections have reduced the risks inherent in childbirth.
However, recently C-Section births have been under scrutiny, perhaps because of the dramatic increase in the number of C-Section procedures currently performed. In1965, C-Section deliveries accounted for under 5 percent of all births. By 2013, that number increased to over 30 percent of all births. The World Health Organization estimates that percentage is double the number of medically necessary Caesarian Sections needed.
It is unclear whether there is any one reason for the increased number of C-Sections. However, because of their increasing use, C-Sections have come under scrutiny lately in various medical studies.
For example, a July study published in The BMJ found that C-Section deliveries were associated with type 1 diabetes, asthma, and chronic obesity in children. However, it is not yet clear that any of these conditions are caused because of C-Section delivery. In fact, in June the Irish Center for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research published a study that refuted the idea that C-Section delivery is a causal factor in autism. Previous research noting that children delivered by C-Section were 20 percent more likely to develop autism had caused some alarm earlier this summer.
While medical opinions remain mixed on some of the long-term consequences of C-Section deliveries, there are risks involved with any surgical procedure. Errors committed by an obstetrician or anesthesiologist during surgery can cause injury to both baby and mother. Blood loss, fetal lacerations, and infection are possibilities. Obstetricians can also make an error by failing to order a C-Section on time, resulting in oxygen deprivation for the baby, which subsequently can damage brain tissue and even lead to cerebral palsy.
Death from childbirth increasing in U.S.
It may seem that birth injuries are unlikely with today’s medical advancements. However, on July 16, The Economist published findings that maternal deaths in childbirth have actually increased in the U.S., the only industrialized country in the world to experience a rise in maternal mortality in the last decade.
While the preexisting health of the mother, including obesity, hypertension, and other conditions can be attributed to an increased mortality rate, the CDC and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist have found many maternal deaths are avoidable. The most common causes of avoidable maternal fatality are obstetric hemorrhage, severe hypertension, and venous thromboembolism. In layman’s terms, these are blood loss, high blood pressure, and blood clots, respectively.
Do you believe you or a loved one experienced medical malpractice during delivery?
Giving birth is an inherently risky activity. While advancements in medicine have made childbirth much safer, there are still risks present in many births. And if medical errors occur, that risk is made all the greater. However, it can be difficult to know when medical malpractice occurs, especially during surgery and childbirth.
If you believe you have experienced medical negligence, contact Cirignani, Heller & Harman, LLP, to discuss your situation and legal options.