From the moment you first suspect that you might be pregnant until the moment you are holding your baby in your arms, it is supposed to be the happiest time in your life. However, currently, maternal mortality and disability in babies during labor are unacceptably high. Contact our personal injury lawyer today.
Here are some examples of practices that have been associated with increased risks for mothers and babies:
Failure to Perform a Cesarean Section on Time
While many babies are born vaginally every day, there are times when this is not the safest way to deliver the baby. One of the most common major surgeries performed in the U.S. is to deliver babies by cesarean section, or C-section. Roughly one out of three babies born in this country are delivered this way. A c-section is a surgical procedure that is performed to deliver a baby. Incisions are made in the abdomen and uterus to deliver the baby. Cesarean sections are fairly quick procedures, usually lasting 10 minutes to remove the baby followed by another half hour of surgical closure once the baby is removed. When complications are detected during birth, it is critical that medical practitioners take quick action to perform c-sections in a timely manner. Failure to do so may result in a serious birth injury to the child, including brain damage and cerebral palsy due to oxygen deprivation.
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Failure to Properly Assess the Size of the Fetus and Risk of Shoulder Dystocia
Shoulder dystocia is a condition that occurs when one or both of your baby’s shoulders get stuck during vaginal delivery. Causes may include having a large baby, having a small pelvis, or being in the wrong position. Severe complications can occur, including nerve injuries to your baby. The following are examples of malpractice claims resulting from shoulder dystocia:
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Failure to Anticipate Shoulder Dystocia
While shoulder dystocia is a rare condition, doctors are still expected to be able to anticipate the condition and take immediate steps to treat it. Women who have a history of the following issues may be at a higher risk for shoulder dystocia:
•Diabetes or gestational diabetes
•Baby has a higher-than-average birth weight
•History of shoulder dystocia is a previous pregnancy
•Pregnant with multiple babies
•Delivered past the due date
•Forceps or a vacuum was used to deliver the baby
Excessive force: This is often the result of a lack of experience. Birth injuries caused by excessive force are generally caused by the improper use of forceps, vacuum extractors, or the physician’s hands.
Overuse of interventions. Some hospitals have a high rate of inducing (and over-inducing) labor or performing cesarean section without medical necessity. These interventions can increase the risk of complications, such as infection, bleeding, and injury to the mother and baby;
Inadequate monitoring. In some cases, hospitals may not provide adequate monitoring of the baby during labor and delivery (such as fetal heart tracing), which can lead to missed signs and delay in necessary interventions.
Lack of access to emergency services. Some hospitals may not have adequate resources or trained staff to handle obstetric emergencies, such as fetal distress or postpartum hemorrhage. An estimated 3% of women need a blood transfusion after giving birth. If such transfusion is not done or not done timely, a woman may die of blood loss.
Lack of patient-centered care. Hospitals that do not prioritize patient-centered care may fail to adequately communicate with patients, and involve them in decision-making, leading to misunderstandings and potentially harmful outcomes.
Not all hospitals or practices engage in these behaviors, and many healthcare providers work diligently to provide safe and effective care to mothers and babies. If you are concerned about the care you or a loved one has received it is important to speak with a qualified medical malpractice attorney that can advocate for your needs.