Cesarean sections are a prevalent form of birth in the U.S. According to the CDC, 32% of all births in 2017 were C-sections. Texas alone had a rate of 35%, coming in at number eight in the nation. While C-sections can be necessary and life-saving in certain situations, they can be more harmful than helpful when there is no true medical need for the procedure. These preventable C-sections are called "unnecesareans."
Even those that are essential still come with the risk of injury and complications, just like with any other surgery.
Errors and injuries
Some risk is unavoidable, but other times, mistakes occur due to negligence. These are just some of the problems that can happen from medical malpractice during a C-section:
- Anesthesia injury: Before beginning the surgery, the mother will receive anesthesia. Incorrect placement of the needle can damage nerves. The dosage must also be correct, as well as ensuring that the mother is not allergic to the drug before administering it.
- Organ damage: C-sections require making an incision in the mother's skin, abdominal wall and uterus. If surgeons are not careful, they may cut organs they are not supposed to, causing internal damage.
- Lacerations to the baby: Improperly performing the procedure can also harm the baby due to lacerations that can lead to a host of medical problems.
- Oxygen deprivation: If delays cause the C-section to occur too late, the baby may suffer from oxygen deprivation, which can result in brain damage.
- Blood clots and hemorrhaging: While clots and bleeding are a normal risk for surgery, careful monitoring can prevent these issues and address them quickly if they arise. For example, allowing mothers to walk within 24 hours post-surgery can reduce their chances of developing large blood clots.
- Infection: It is imperative that the surgical site goes through proper cleaning before and after the C-section, or infections can develop and spread.
If the mother or baby experiences any harm due to a botched C-section, legal action may be available to hold the surgeon responsible.