6 Birth Injuries to Baby That Can Happen Due to Delayed C-Section
Healthcare professionals are trained to detect when an emergency C-section is needed. Still, if a doctor delays action to deliver a baby or the health system is not prepared to act quickly, severe consequences to both baby and mom can lead to a myriad of injuries related to lack of oxygen and organ failure, infant brain damage, and developmental disabilities. In the most severe cases, infant or maternal death may occur due to medical errors and negligence. Unfortunately, physicians can fail to schedule a C-section or delay intervening even though the warning signs related to fetal or maternal distress were present.
- Fetal Lacerations
Fetal lacerations such as cuts and scrapes caused by medical devices like scalpels and forceps can more easily occur in a delayed, rushed, or emergency C-section procedure. In most cases, lacerations will need to be treated to prevent infection and could require stitches or reconstructive surgery.
- Brachial Plexus Injuries
The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves located in an infant’s body’s upper shoulder and neck area. The nerves can be damaged when the area is pulled or pinched by a rushing doctor attempting to deliver a baby in a delayed C-section scenario. Damage to the child’s shoulders, arms, and hands may be permanent and nerve injuries can affect facial muscles and impact their speech.
- Hypoxic-ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) and Cerebral Palsy
A lack of oxygen to the brain causes hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and brain swelling, which cuts off the blood supply. As the body tries to protect the brain, other organs such as the kidneys and liver can be damaged. It is essential to quickly cool the body to prevent damage because the brain’s swelling occurs over several hours before the damage becomes permanent. Maternal health, labor and delivery complications, preventable infections, and failure to perform a timely cesarean section can trigger HIE and lead to cerebral palsy.
- Fetal Stroke
Disrupted blood flow to the brain can be the cause of prenatal stroke or in utero stroke. Some fetal strokes can be caused by the improper use of delivery tools such as forceps or vacuum extractors or a delayed C-section. A mother who has not been diagnosed or treated for preeclampsia, cardiac disorders, autoimmune disorders, or gestational diabetes may be carrying an infant at risk of fetal stroke.
- Infant Breathing Problems
Infants are much more likely to experience breathing problems if delivered by C-section. Inadequate oxygen levels can decrease a newborn’s blood pressure, heart rate, and limiting the blood flow to vital organs and tissue. When this happens, irreversible neurological or cellular damage can occur and lead to permanent deficits and disabilities such as epilepsy, vision, and hearing loss. It’s also just as crucial that babies are monitored and treated after birth, as breathing problems may lead to respiratory distress syndrome and long-term health problems.
- Prolapsed Umbilical Cord
When too much pressure is placed on the umbilical cord, and a physician fails to act to relieve the stress through C-section, the cord can become compressed and block nutrients and oxygen from reaching the baby. A prolapsed umbilical cord can lower an infant’s blood pressure and heart rate, and the resulting loss of oxygen to the brain can quickly lead to brain damage.
Suppose your doctor negligently failed to perform a Caesarean despite the warning signs or failed to do something as simple as secure an operation room in time to perform the surgery. In that case, your doctor and health system may be liable for medical malpractice. Mother and baby are entitled to compensation for any damages incurred, including medical costs, ongoing treatment, rehabilitation, and care.
Chicago, Illinois Birth Injury Law Firm
When a medical professional is responsible for a delayed C-section mistake, and a birth injury occurs, the physician should be held accountable. Likewise, maternal injuries from a rushed or delayed C-section are rare, but life-threatening health issues may follow if they occur. Parents can request a free consultation with a member of the experienced birth injury legal team at Levin & Perconti to discuss their legal options. Call us in Chicago at 312-332-2872 or toll-free at 877-374-1417.