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C-Section Mistakes

Medical malpractice lawyers Maine has relied on for over 35 years to investigate c-section mistakes and prove liability for birth injuries. We serve Portland, Auburn, Lewiston, and Bangor.

doctors performing c-sectionIn the state of Maine, we are seeing more women come forward wondering if their child’s birth injury was truly an accident or if it was a case of medical malpractice. Birth injury attorneys from Hardy, Wolf & Downing specialize in establishing causality by uncovering the facts behind a questionable cesarean delivery and piecing together the necessary evidence to win the case.

The number of Maine women ages 35 to 39 giving birth for the first time increased by 35.3 percent from 2000 to 2012. Nine of every 1,000 births are by women in that age bracket, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The benefit of having children later in life is greater stability – emotionally and financially, experts say. However, the risks also increase, with higher incidences of genetic disorders, miscarriages, gestational diabetes, and births via cesarean section.

Common C-section birth injuries

One study of 37,110 births found the incidence of C-section fetal injury to be 1.1 percent.

C-section birth injuries included:

  • Skin lacerations (272)
  • Cephalohematoma (88)
  • Clavicular fracture (11)
  • Facial nerve palsy (11)
  • Brachial plexus injury (9)
  • Skull fracture (6)

Researchers found that the type of incision made a significant difference in terms of birth injury incidence – with “T” or “J” incisions being much more dangerous to the fetus than vertical or low transverse incisions. Other risk factors included the use of forceps or vacuums and incision-to-delivery times exceeding three minutes.

C-section risks to mothers

Furthermore, C-section mistakes can be made that put the mother at risk of injury as well.

“When compared with vaginal birth, cesarean delivery increases low-risk women’s chances of certain rare but potentially life-threatening problems, such as hemorrhage, blood clots, and bowel obstruction,” according to Harvard Magazine.

Other C-section risks for mothers include:

  • Bladder damage
  • Infection
  • Persistent pain
  • Depression and post-traumatic stress
  • Complications with future pregnancies, such as uterine rupture and placenta previa

Failure to perform a timely C-section is one of the most common labor mistakes

In some cases, the failure to order a timely cesarean section in cases of maternal or fetal distress causes preventable injuries. The legal climate reinforces this dynamic. “No one gets sued for doing a C-section,” Jeffrey Ecker MD, a high-risk obstetrician at Massachusetts General Hospital, told Harvard Magazine. “They do get sued for not intervening,” he added.

For instance, a plaintiff from Cumberland County received a verdict of more than $8 million when her baby was born with Cerebral Palsy and brain damage following a difficult labor. She had previously given birth to twins via cesarean section and was one week past due when she was given Pitocin to speed up labor. The plaintiff reportedly requested a C-section, but the doctor urged her to “stay the course” for a vaginal delivery, which resulted in the baby’s decelerated heart rate and intense pain for the mother.

A cesarean section was ultimately performed, but it was too late. The doctor’s negligence led to a birth injury. The mother’s only recourse was to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. A Maine jury returned a $7,485,000 verdict for the birth injury, plus $1,500,000 for emotional distress.

Who is liable for your child’s injuries?

You were probably told by hospital staff that “there are no guarantees” and that “accidents happen.” While this may be true, it doesn’t mean you have to accept what’s happened at face value and suffer the expense and heartache of extra medical care following a difficult labor.

One UK mother whose son suffered a long laceration from the forehead to the scalp recalls: “At the time, I’d had such a difficult labor, that we were just relieved to have a healthy baby… so it was never discussed further.”

You can always contact a birth injury attorney at Hardy, Wolf & Downing to determine fault and see if your case has legs to stand on.

Questions we examine in birth injury cases include:

  • Was your baby pulled too hard during delivery?
  • Were tools improperly used during delivery?
  • Did your doctor fail to warn you of C-section risks?
  • Did a nurse ignore signs of fetal distress?
  • Did your doctor react inadequately to a birth infection?

Medical malpractice attorneys must demonstrate how your medical provider caused the birth injury and how his or her actions fell below a reasonable “standard of care.” At Hardy, Wolf & Downing, we have access to a team of reputable medical professionals who can testify on your behalf. In most medical malpractice lawsuits, an obstetrician with the same education, experience and background as your OBGYN must deliver testimony as to what a reasonable standard of care would have been, given your situation.

We can collect medical records, pharmaceutical orders, and state hospital care standards that can also help establish liability.

Compensation for C-section mistakes

Women who have endured particularly difficult labors that included serious C-section errors may be entitled to compensation to cover:

  • Past, present and future medical bills
  • Lost income and loss of future earning capacity
  • Prescription medication reimbursement
  • Home nurse and home maintenance expenses
  • Loss of consortium
  • Wrongful death
  • Emotional pain and suffering

It is not unusual for our birth injury attorneys to see settlements and jury verdicts reaching the tens of thousands or even multi-million-dollar amounts. The amount you receive depends upon the tangible expenses you can prove, as well as the evidence indicating that the negligence of the medical staff overseeing your labor caused undue pain and suffering.

How Maine medical malpractice lawyers at Hardy, Wolf & Downing can help

Birth injury cases can be complex, particularly those involving c-section mistakes. Ideally, you’ll be able to secure maximum compensation through an out-of-court settlement. Birth injury attorneys from Hardy, Wolf & Downing will not accept less than what you are legally entitled to, by law. If necessary, we have the grit and experience to take your case all the way to court – and win.

Our legal counsel and representation is free unless we win your case. Call 1-800-INJURED to speak with one of our Lewiston, Bangor, or Portland, Maine birth injury experts.

  1. Portland Press-Herald – More US Women Waiting To Have Children http://www.pressherald.com/2014/05/11/more_us_women_waiting_to_have_children_/
  2. U.J. Willard Marriott Library - Fetal Injury Associated With Cesarean Birth http://content.lib.utah.edu/utils/getfile/collection/uspace/id/395/filename/3560.pdf
  3. Harvard Magazine – Labor, Interrupted http://harvardmagazine.com/2012/11/labor-interrupted
  4. UK Daily Mail – Babies Scarred As They’re Born http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1201049/With-thousands-infants-injured-year-Caesarean-births-mothers-warned-risks.html