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Attorneys for Newborns Injured By a Delayed C-Section Procedure

c-section delay lawyersInjuries from a delayed c-section are one of the most avoidable birth injuries. All it would have taken is for the doctor to accurately and promptly realize any risks to the infant and perform the necessary surgery. However, for various reasons, some doctors do not make the right decision and push off the surgical procedure.

As a result, the infant suffers catastrophic injuries that may require a lifetime of care. When this happens, you should retain a delayed c-section birth injury attorney to sue for the financial compensation that you deserve and need to care for your child.

Roughly one in every three U.S. births happen through a c-section. Some of these procedures are planned. However, many women plan to deliver their baby naturally. In some cases, as the pregnancy progresses, the doctor realizes that there are some dangers to the health of the mother or baby and realizes that natural childbirth would be a danger. In other cases, the doctor only realizes after labor has started that a cesarean section is necessary.

In any event, timing is of the essence, and doctors should ordinarily err on the side of caution in deciding on a c-section procedure. The risks to the baby are too great to do anything else.

When There Is a Delayed C-Section & Your Child Is Injured, You Have a Birth Injury Case

We can state at the outset in very clear terms. When your doctor has failed to perform a prompt c-section surgery and your baby suffers a birth injury, the doctor can be found to have committed medical negligence as they have not lived up to the standard of care.

You should hire a personal injury lawyer to file a medical malpractice case against the doctor who delayed the medical procedure and the hospital where the malpractice occurred. Since your infant has suffered serious injuries, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation.

Emergency c-sections are necessary in some labor and delivery scenarios. In most cases, labor progresses smoothly. However, 8% of women end up in prolonged labor. The longer that labor endures for, the more of a chance that the mother will need to have a c-section. At some point in labor, the membranes in the amniotic sac will rupture. At that point,

In 2019, 31.7% of births in the United States were through a cesarean section. Doctors will perform a c-section to preserve the health of the mother or when there is a risk to the child, and vaginal birth is impracticable or too dangerous. C-sections can either be planned or emergency.

There are some circumstances in which a doctor must decide quickly that a c-section is necessary. If a doctor waits too long for the surgery, the baby can suffer severe and lifelong birth injuries that can keep the infant from living a normal life.

Birth Injury Lawsuits When Doctors Miss the Warning Signs

The most important thing to know about a c-section is that time is of the essence. Doctors should not delay in making a decision to perform the surgery, nor should they take too much time to prepare the mother for surgery.

Here are some reasons why a doctor would need to perform a c-section:
  • The baby is in the wrong position for delivery.
  • The baby otherwise has trouble progressing through the birth canal, and vaginal delivery is too dangerous.
  • The mother is not in the right physical condition to deliver the baby.
  • The baby’s heart rate is dropping or unstable.
  • The umbilical cord is prolapsed
  • There is placental abruption or placenta previa
  • Labor is not progressing as it should.
  • The baby’s head is too large to fit through the pelvis.
Many times, the doctor must make a judgement call whether a c-section is necessary. If the doctor is wrong, it could have grave consequences for both the mother and child.  The doctor should be monitoring the condition of the child during the labor. In fact, the heart monitor is often the first sign that something may be wrong with the baby.

Reasons Why Physicians May Delay a C-Section Procedure

At the first sign of fetal distress, the doctor would need to make a quick decision to save the baby from harm. However, not every doctor makes the right decision in the necessary timeframe. Here are some reasons why doctors might not perform a timely c-section:
  • The hospital can be too crowded, not allowing the doctor to properly take the time to care for the mother. The problem may be as simply as there is no delivery room. At the same time, the surgeon may have trouble timely assembling the surgical team.
  • Obstetricians can simply misjudge the situation and exercise poor medical judgement when missing the warning signs.
  • The physician may not realize the dangers that the infant is in because they are not adequately monitoring the infant’s condition.
  • The hospital and the relevant medical professionals do not think that the health insurance will fully cover the procedure
When oxygen deprivation is an issue, time is even more limited. Some studies have shown that, when there are serious complications, doctors have even less time to deliver the baby. The timeframe for delivery can be as short as ten minutes to avoid serious injury.

Birth Injuries from a C-Section Delay

The birth injuries that a baby may suffer from a delayed c-section can require intensive long-term care. In many cases, the child will never live a normal life as they have suffered serious physical and cognitive injuries. This is usually the case when any person suffers from a lack of oxygen for a prolonged period. The medical term for it is hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. In this case, the baby may even need 24-hour care for their entire life as they lack the ability to care for themselves.

Here are some possible birth injuries that a baby can suffer due to a delayed c-section:
Many of these result from the fact that the baby was deprived of oxygen for an extended period of time. Moreover, the infant may have suffered physical injuries from the prolonged labor that could have been avoided had the doctor made a prompt decision for a c-section

Damages in a Birth Injury Case

When your baby has been seriously injured, the amount of damages in your case can be high. Here is some of what you can recover in a delayed-section civil action:
  • Pain and suffering for both the mother and the infant child (this includes lifelong pain and suffering when the infant suffered permanent injuries that will affect him or her for a lifetime)
  • Emotional distress
  • The cost of lifelong medical care that the child will require because of severe injuries
  • Earnings that the parent will lose since they will need to miss work often over the years to care for their child and take them to medical appointments
  • Punitive damages against the doctor and the hospital if the mistake was bad enough.

Settlements and Jury Verdicts in C-Section Delay Cases

Settlement for $1.95 million in California (1995) - A newborn child suffered microcephaly and spastic quadriplegia as a result of a childbirth injury. The plaintiff claimed that the physician’s failure to perform a time c-section surgery was the cause of the injury. The lawsuit alleged that the hospital and the doctor were negligent, and that the hospital failed to provide proper training to the physician, which caused the injuries. The settlement went into a fund for the benefit of the minor child, who suffered severe lifelong injuries.

Settlement for $1.1 million in Michigan (2011) - The child suffered birth asphyxia, cerebral palsy and a number of other neurological and cognitive defects. The lawsuit alleged that prenatal scans showed a number of possible complications that could arise during delivery, including a shortened cervix. However, the plaintiff alleged that the physician waited until the mother was at 41 weeks of pregnancy to induce labor prior to 39 weeks and did not perform a timely cesarean section surgery that could have prevented these injuries. The settlement proceeds were both to pay for the child’s care and to purchase an annuity for the child.

Jury Verdict for $6.734 million in New Jersey (2007) - The child suffered encephalopathy and hypoxia, which resulted in brain damage and the inability to swallow, walk, talk, or perform normal bodily functions. Although many of the grounds in the lawsuit involved how the physician induced labor and eventually performed the surgery, one of the complaints was that the doctor failed to recognize the signs of fetal distress and induce labor in time to prevent these injuries. The plaintiffs alleged that the doctor lacked the necessary skill and knowledge to successfully perform the delivery. Most of the jury verdict for the pain and suffering that the infant child did and will suffer in the future.

Settlement for $4.5 million in New York (2007) - The child suffered severe mental deficiency, total blindness, total hearing loss, spastic quadriparesis, cerebral palsy, and the inability to speak when doctors failed to timely deliver the child. The mother had gone to the hospital in the 30th week of her pregnancy with prematurely ruptured membranes. Doctors performed a c-section at that time, but the lawsuit contended that the c-section was delayed because doctors should have treated her, diagnosed her condition and performed the surgery earlier.

Plaintiff Verdict for $21,573,993.10 in Pennsylvania (2011) - A mother who was pregnant with twins had an ultrasound that showed that one of the baby’s was in breach. Even though the mother had gone to the hospital with dizziness and high blood pressure, the doctor waited 12 days to try to induce labor. Even still, the doctor attempted a natural delivery. After the first child was born, the doctor tried for 20 minutes to get the second twin into a head down position. When that failed, the doctor performed a cesarean section surgery. By that time, the child had suffered serious injuries, including a severe anoxic brain injury. The lawsuit contended that the doctor should have recognized fetal distress and performed a c-section more promptly. If so, the child would not have been injured.

Jury Verdict for $11.1 million in Pennsylvania (2002) - The plaintiff reported a sharp change and pain during her labor and informed the physician. When she felt tearing inside her, she specifically requested a c-section surgery, but the doctor refused. After several hours of continued labor, the baby’s heart rate began to drop on the monitor, and the doctor then performed a cesarean section. By that time, the baby had suffered oxygen deprivation which resulted in significant brain damage. It was later learned that the tearing that the woman felt was a torn uterus. Doctors had also failed to test the woman for gestational diabetes, which resulted in an abnormally large baby. The doctor’s medical care should have resulted in prenatal testing and a c-section when the woman requested it.

Frequently Asked Questions About Delayed C-Section Lawsuits

Can You Sue for a Delayed C-Section?

The short answer is yes. The doctor must provide their patients with reasonable care. If they fail to make care decisions that a reasonable doctor would, they may have committed negligence. If that is the case, you and your minor child may be entitled to financial compensation to pay for both injuries to the mother and to the child.

How Quickly Can an Emergency C-Section Be Performed?

Part of the reason why doctors must make a prompt decision to perform a cesarean section is that it takes time to prepare the woman for surgery. Conceivably, the woman can be ready for surgery in 30 minutes after the decision is made. Sometimes, this is not enough to protect the health of the baby, who should have been delivered earlier in an emergency surgery.

How Dangerous Is an Emergency C-Section?

While there are definitely risks from any emergency procedure, a c-section is largely safe if the doctor performs the surgery correctly. The bigger risk is if the doctor delays the decision to opt for the surgery. In that case, the life of both the woman and her child can be in danger, and the child can suffer severe lifelong injuries.

Can a Delayed C-Section Cause Cerebral Palsy?

When an infant is in fetal distress, they may take in less oxygen. This can cause brain damage and injuries such as cerebral palsy. Doctors need to monitor oxygen levels to keep the infant safe. If they cannot ensure that the unborn child is getting enough oxygen during labor, they must perform an emergency c-section.

Do You Need a Lawyer for a Delayed C-Section Case?

When you are bringing any medical malpractice case or birth injury claim, you will need to show exactly how the doctor acted unreasonably. This requires a birth injury lawyer who is able to work with the relevant medical and scientific experts to show that the doctor did not uphold their duty of care. Someone will need to recreate what happened in the delivery or operating room for the jury. If the doctor or hospital wants to settle the case, you will need someone to negotiate a settlement.

How Long Will My Delayed C-Section Case Take?


It all depends on the court's schedule and whether the defendant is willing to settle the case. Medical malpractice cases take time because you will need to have detailed discovery and your trial may take some time as it involves scientific evidence. This is only after you get a court date in your case. It is not uncommon for these cases to take years to move through the legal system.

After you or your child has been injured by the doctor’s poor decision to delay or not perform a c-section, you should immediately seek legal help and schedule a free consultation with a delayed c-section lawyer. You will want to contact the law firm as soon as possible to get the process started for you and your family to receive financial compensation.

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