Though most significant injuries during the labor and delivery process tend to happen to the child, there are some injuries which affect the mother. In particular, lacerations, whether planned (the cuts to accomplish the cesarean section) or unplanned (accidental cuts) can cause significant problems, even death. Complications are becoming more and more common, particularly when the rate of cesarean sections is over 30%.
In order to perform a cesarean section, the doctor must make several precise cuts from the skin down to the uterus. Any wrong cut can cause uncontrolled bleeding, infection, and may require a hysterectomy or repair to other organs. One of the most common accidental cuts is to the bladder.
Bleeding/Hemorrhage: some level of bleeding is typical for even a vaginal birth, but a routine cesarean section causes two times as much bleeding. Excessive and dangerous bleeding can occur because the incisions may not be large enough for the baby to fit through, resulting in tears as the baby is delivered. If the doctor notices the tear, it can often be repaired. However, these tears and lacerations can also extend into veins and arteries, which can cause catastrophic blood loss.
Infection: infection is relatively common, particularly in the uterus. They are more common when a long period of labor has occurred, followed by an unplanned cesarean section. These types of infection are routinely treated with antibiotics, but if the infection cannot be controlled, the result may be hysterectomy (removal of the uterus). This obviously prevents the mother from having other children. Infection can also occur in any of the other layers that were cut, which may cause abscesses. Those abscesses may need to be drained and cleaned, which can require reopening the closed cesarean section incision. Warning signs for infection and sepsis include fever and urinary tract infections.
Organ Damage: the uterus is located near several other organs, including the bladder and bowel. The prognosis and treatment will often depend on whether the mistaken injury is immediately noticed and repaired, or whether it is the laceration is not identified until some period after the surgery.
If you had an infection or unnecessary cuts during a cesarean section procedure, you may be entitled to payment for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. For an evaluation about your potential medical malpractice case, contact our attorneys at (440) 252-4399 or online for a free consultation.