Birth Injuries from Failure to Order a C-Section

 Posted on October 16, 2023 in Medical Malpractice

An estimated 1,174,000 Cesarean deliveries or C-sections take place yearly in the United States. Although a common procedure, it is the responsibility of the lead physician and medical team to decide if and at what point a C-section is medically necessary.

If a physician fails to perform a C-section or is delayed in ordering the procedure, the consequences are often devastating. If your child has suffered injuries or died due to a physician’s negligence, a Chicago birth injury attorney can help you secure the compensation that you deserve.

What is a C-Section, and Why is it Performed?

A Cesarean delivery, more commonly referred to as a C-section, is a surgical procedure that allows a baby to be delivered by cutting incisions into the abdomen and uterus. A C-section is usually performed when delivering vaginally is not a safe option.

A medical professional might recommend a C-section if the following occurs:

  • Labor is not progressing normally 
  • The baby is in distress
  • You are carrying multiples (twins, triplets, or more)
  • There is a prolapsed umbilical cord
  • The mother has an underlying health issue
  • There is a rupture of the uterine or placental membranes

Common Birth Injuries Caused by Failing to Perform a C-Section

If a doctor fails to monitor either the mom or the baby’s condition, the physician may fail to order a C-section in a timely manner.

Some common birth injuries that may result from a failure to order a C-section include:

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to an infant’s brain during pregnancy, before, or during delivery. Damage to different parts of the brain will impact various aspects of a child’s motor coordination. 

If a surgeon fails to perform a C-section, cerebral palsy may develop if a child’s brain is deprived of oxygen (hypoxia). If the hypoxia goes unnoticed, this could be due to a doctor’s failure to monitor the baby’s vital signs and heartbeat. 

Symptoms of cerebral palsy can range from shaking hands, weak arms or legs, and jerky movements to delays in reaching developmental milestones.

Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s palsy is caused by damage to the brachial plexus nerves during childbirth. The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that send signals from the spine to the shoulders, arms, and hands.

Damage to the brachial plexus is often caused by stretching or pulling on these nerves. While the risk of Erb’s palsy is dramatically reduced during a cesarean section, a baby can develop Erb’s palsy from the way they are lying in the uterus during labor. Prolonged labor (second stage) can significantly increase the chance of Erb’s palsy. 

Symptoms of Erb’s palsy include the inability to use an arm, shoulder, or hand (numbness or paralysis), loss of feeling in one arm, and reduced gripping ability.

Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)

HIE is brain damage that occurs when a baby does not receive enough oxygen or blood flow. Babies who were delivered via an emergency C-section are at a higher risk of HIE. 

A baby who has HIE may experience trouble breathing, trouble eating, trouble hearing, being overly alert, or exhibiting very low energy.

If your child has experienced any of these birth injuries or another type of birth injury, you need the assistance of a Chicago birth injury attorney

A Chicago, IL, Birth Injury Attorney Seeking Justice

Medical negligence costs lives. For infants that do survive a birth injury, the cost of medical bills and home modifications that will be needed can cause a family trauma, both emotionally and financially. If your child suffered a birth injury, contact a Chicago, IL, birth injury lawyer from Winters Salzetta O'Brien & Richardson, LLC today to schedule your free consultation. 

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