Burgeoning Obesity Rates Among Expectant Mothers Have Resulted in More C-Sections and an Increase in Birth Injuries
Recently reported statistics from a California study show that many mothers are receiving unnecessary cesarean sections when giving birth, and the data suggest that both infants and mothers are put at an increased risk of injury as a result. According to a public radio report discussing the study, the rate of cesarean births has increased by nearly 50% since the year 2000. Although the rate has started to fall in the most recent years, the author cautions that it remains higher than it needs to be, and it signals a culture in many hospitals and medical communities that encourages cesarean births that are not medically necessary, often putting both mothers and their babies at risk.
Medically Necessary C-Sections Have Become More Common in Recent Years
According to the author of the report, an increase in obesity rates among Americans in the last two decades has resulted in more births that legitimately require a cesarean section. This is a result of the heightened risk of delivery complications to obese mothers and their babies, who are generally larger than normal.
The use of a cesarean section when medically necessary is not a problem to the author of the report, although the increase in unneeded cesarean births that has accompanied the increase in necessary ones is a cause for concern. A cesarean section is a major surgery that carries with it significant risks, including excessive bleeding, hemorrhage, infection, blood clots, and injury to other organs. Cesarean births also carry a heightened risk that a baby will be delivered too soon or suffer other serious injuries that could result in a disabled child, or worse.
Expectant Mothers Must Give Informed Consent for a Cesarean Birth
Women and their families will often be faced with the difficult decision of whether to have a natural birth or to undergo a cesarean section. In many pregnancies, there will be risks for either course of action, and the best decision may not be obvious. With the help of their doctor, individual patients should be able to make an informed decision about whether or not to have a cesarean section, a decision that considers the circumstances of the patient’s pregnancy as well as her tolerance for various risks.
Doctors are legally required to gain informed consent from a patient before performing a surgery such as a cesarean section. For a patient to give informed consent, they must be made aware of all of the relevant facts, including the risks and complications that accompany a cesarean section, as well as alternatives to the procedure. If a patient does not give informed consent, and they (or an infant) is injured by an unnecessary cesarean section, the doctor may be held responsible for the damages related to the procedure through a medical malpractice action.
Should You Contact an Attorney?
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a birth injury, negligent medical treatment may be the cause. Doctors and other hospital staff are required to provide care that meets a professional standard, and when patients are injured as a result of an unnecessary procedure or another course of treatment for which they did not give informed consent, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be appropriate. The skilled medical malpractice and birth injury attorneys at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt can help you seek the compensation you deserve. We focus our practice on birth injuries and have successfully tried birth injury cases nationwide. Contact the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt today. Call us at (410) 567-0800 or contact us through our website to schedule a risk-free consultation.