Articles Posted in C-Section Delay

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of women dying because of pregnancy and childbirth is going up. More than 25 years ago (1987), there were 7.2 deaths of mothers per 100,000 live births; in 2011, that number more than doubled to 17.8 deaths per 100,000 births.

According to experts reporting on this subject, there is not any one factor to explain the increase, but a number of issues, including obesity related complications, record-keeping changes, age and delayed childbearing, health disparities, and an increase in the number of cesarean section births. One of the causes not mentioned, however, is medical malpractice.

Recently, a family of a 32-year-old woman who died from complications during pregnancy while being treated at the Cooley Dickinson Hospital, filed a lawsuit against the hospital for negligence. According to the complaint, the hospital staff missed signs of pre-eclampsia – a potentially fatal complication of pregnancy – and then failed to timely treat it. The complaint further alleges that after the woman was unresponsive for over 10 hours and had given birth by cesarean section, staff realized she had suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage and would not recover.

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According to a recent lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Tennessee, defendant health care providers failed to properly handle the delivery of the minor plaintiff, resulting in extended fetal oxygen deprivation and brain injury at birth. Specifically, the complaint alleges that during the mother’s labor and delivery, medical personnel failed recognize and respond to clear signs of declining fetal response, indicating the need for an emergency C-section.

The mother plaintiff gave birth to her first child via Cesarean section, and shortly thereafter she became pregnant again. According to the lawsuit, despite her risk factors, including short stature; previously unsuccessful attempt at vaginal birth; and a brief time between the two pregnancies; the mother plaintiff was advised that she was a good candidate for a vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC).

The mother plaintiff went into labor early, and within the first half hour the EFM strip indicated minimal variability and loss of accelerations (two signs of fetal compromise). According to the lawsuit, rather than being admitted to the Labor & Delivery ward, the fetal monitoring was stopped and the mother plaintiff was advised to walk around the hospital for an hour or so. About two hours later, she was admitted whereupon labor progression was slow and the fetal monitoring continued to show repetitive late decelerations. After several hours, a C-section delivery was ordered.

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“Recent reports suggest that cesarean section rates are on the rise because women are asking for surgery, as opposed to delivering vaginally. This appears incorrect,” said Syracuse birth injury lawyer Anthony S. Bottar, of Bottar Leone, PLLC, a law firm with decades of experience handling birth injury lawsuits throughout he state of New York, including those concerning fetal brain damage due to a delayed c-section.

According to Reuters Health, a recent study of nearly 20,000 women around the world revealed that c-section rates are rising even though women are not asking for abdominal deliveries. Only sixteen percent (16%) of the women in the study indicated that they would prefer a cesarean section to vaginal delivery. This means than roughly 84% of pregnant mothers prefer vaginal delivery. Among women who had a c-section previously, approximately twenty-nine percent (29%) said that they would like their next delivery to be by cesarean section. Seventy-one percent (71%) said that they wanted a vaginal birth after cesarean section (VBAC).

According to a study discussed in our blog post titled “Study Will Make Central New York VBACs More Available Despite Risk of Uterine Rupture and Baby Brain Damage,” a vaginal birth after cesarean section may not be as dangerous as doctor’s once believed. “We disagree,, especially if labor is augmented” Syracuse VBAC lawyer Michael A. Bottar said. “We have clients who experienced uterine rupture during a trial of labor encouraged by an obstetrician or midwife. VBAC is not right for everyone.”
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On August 23, 2010, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists announced in Committee Opinion #465 that all pregnant women should receive antibiotics one (1) hour before having a cesarean delivery.

“Certainly, the antibiotics will cut down on the number of post-operative wound infections,” said Syracuse birth injury lawyer Michael A. Bottar, Esq., an attorney with Bottar Leone, PLLC, a law firm prosecuting New York obstetrical malpractice lawsuits. “At the same time, we are concerned that unborn babies experiencing fetal distress may suffer a brain injury due to a delayed c-section. Setting aside the risk of infection, if a baby is experiencing oxygen deprivation, known as hypoxia, we would like to see an abdominal or vaginal delivery occur as soon as possible because prolonged hypoxia can cause cerebral palsy and other permanent brain damage.”

Infection is a well-documented complication of a cesarean delivery, occurring in 10-40% cases. Historically, antibiotics were administered to women having a c-section, but not until after the baby was born. This was because physicians were concerned about antibiotics passing into baby’s bloodstream.
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