Posted on 05/25/2021

Can I Sue For an Unnecessary C-Section?

Can I Sue For an Unnecessary C-Section?

Many mothers undergo an unnecessary Cesarean Section when medical professionals misdiagnose or fail to provide all the information ahead of time to expectant parents. A botched or unnecessary C-section can result in devastating injuries to both baby and parent. We’ll look at how you can get the compensation you deserve for damages caused by an unnecessary C-section.

A common medical malpractice area is unnecessary surgery, and unnecessary C-sections are among the most common unnecessary surgeries performed.

C-sections can be a lifesaving procedure in the event of complications during natural childbirth. Abnormal infant positioning, fetal distress, and prolonged labor are all situations that can benefit from C-section intervention. Still, the procedure comes with associated risks and benefits that all parents should consider.

The Risks of Unnecessary C-Sections

Many parents are urged to book elective C-sections as a delivery method over natural childbirth, contributing to the rise in the number of C-sections performed at hospitals around the country.The CDC noted that as of 2019, C-section births accounted for 31% of all births. The World Health Organization released a statement on C-section rates stating that C-section rates above 15% were considered “excessive.” 

Risks to the Mother

Mothers who give birth through C-sections are at an increased risk of injury or death, with risks carrying over post-birth in the form of infection or increased rates of postpartum depression.

This is in addition to a lengthy recovery period compared to natural childbirth, with some parents displaying signs of fatigue more than a year following their surgery. 

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Risks to the Baby

Children who are born through C-sections can show differences compared to vaginal-birth babies. These differences can include:

  • A weakened or depressed immune response system
  • A heightened risk of asthma or allergies
  • Elevated risk of poor body temperature regulation
  • Reduced neurological adaptation
  • Hormone level variances 

When is a C-Section Considered Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical healthcare provider commits an error or wrongdoing or fails to meet the generally accepted standard of care for your particular medical condition through action or inaction. 

While even the best, most attentive healthcare providers can make honest mistakes, medical malpractice happens when procedures are performed incompetently or with negligence. Alternately, medical malpractice can occur if a patient is not informed of risks associated with a suggested medical procedure or treatment.

When an expectant parent requests an elective C-section, the doctor is required to obtain "informed consent" from the patient to proceed. Simply put, informed consent means the doctor must explain all risks associated with the procedure, including any potential short and long-term side effects and complications. The doctor must further evaluate the patient's overall health and wellness and advise whether or not they think the elective procedure is a safe option.

If your doctor recommended a C-section — a birth option that you as the birthing parent did not expressly request — they must demonstrate the need for the procedure and their reasoning as to why this choice is better for you and your child than natural childbirth. 

Failure to disclose all known or potential risks associated with C-section birth means you don't have all the necessary information to give informed consent.

C-Section Malpractice Claim Requirements 

Whether the doctor violated the standard of care and damages as a result of that breach of care are two key determining factors when considering if a patient meets unnecessary C-section malpractice requirements.

Without a tangible loss or financial damages resulting from the actions, the grounds for a claim are missing. 

Because C-sections are more extensive than natural childbirth, they require surgical recovery time and prescription pain management among accommodations, it is uncommon for an unnecessary C-section to occur without tangible loss or incurring financial damages. 

Building a medical malpractice case for unnecessary C-Section

If you or your baby suffered injuries resulting from a doctor's negligence, you might be eligible to build a medical malpractice case against the healthcare professionals, and potentially the hospital, that performed your C-section. 

To build a medical malpractice case for an unnecessary C-section, you must show that: 

  • Your doctor strayed from the expected standard of care you would receive elsewhere in your community 
  • You or your child were injured as a result of your doctor’s care
  • The doctor's action (or inaction) was the direct cause of the injuries or damages incurred

Examples of damages include (but are not limited to):

  • Additional medical expenses associated with additional surgery or extended hospitalization
  • Rehabilitation or therapy for parent or child
  • Loss of income because of extended hospitalization or ongoing difficulties as a result of an unnecessary C-section
  • The additional cost of medical equipment or supplies such as ventilators, wheelchairs, etc.
  • Costs associated with live-in caregivers or additional home support to care for parent or child
  • Pain and suffering
  • Funeral and burial costs

How to Sue for Medical Malpractice

If you have suffered injuries following a C-section, feel your surgery was unnecessary, or believe you were unable to provide informed consent prior to the procedure, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim.

It's important to speak with a medical malpractice attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced, an attorney who can help you understand your legal rights regarding medical malpractice. 

Medical malpractice lawsuits can be lengthy and complex. That's why we are very selective in the cases we take. We genuinely care about our clients and take the time to invest in their well-being and their claim. We work with you to access the expert witnesses that can assist your claim, review medical records, and determine who is at fault for causing damages. Because we represent you on a contingency basis, you don't pay us until you win in court or your case is settled beforehand. Get in touch today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We will go over all the information with you to help you decide what your best course of action should be to get the proper compensation you deserve.

Photo by Jonathan Borba from Pexels