When Hospitals Do Harm
Rushed birth, doctor negligence, and dangerous drugs are the birth injury risks facing every laboring mother in American hospitals. When doctors do not dedicate the time to a proper birth, injuries occur.
Many American birth practices offer both medical doctor and mother the option of a quicker and/or less painful birth. Unfortunately, there are tradeoffs for every procedure and mothers are not always made aware of the dangers they face.
Epidurals, Cesarean Sections, and a Mother’s Safety
Epidural anesthesia, strong painkillers injected into the tissue surrounding the spinal cord, significantly (and often immediately) reduces the birth pain but increases the length of labor. Epidurals run the risk of dangerous infection (sepsis), choking (asphyxiation), and permanent nerve damages if the anesthesiologist is not sufficiently careful. Evidence also exists that epidurals increase the likelihood of cesarean sections.
Cesarean section births (c-sections) are delivered by cutting into the uterus to remove the child. While c-sections are necessary in cases of breech (feet-first) births, CPD (a mother’s pelvis too small for vaginal birth), and genital herpes in the mother, c-sections are frequently offered when these conditions are not present (called “elective cesarean section”) or are performed too late, causing birth injuries such as cerebral palsy. Additionally, c-sections can cause uterine ruptures and other birth injuries if a mother decides on a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).
Unfortunately, with these powerful tools at doctors’ disposal in the delivery room, a mother’s safety sometimes comes last.
Preventable Birth Injuries and a Mother’s Rights
Tragically, many traumatic birth injuries are avoidable. Labor is a long process, and medical institutions more concerned with their overhead than mother and infant health do not always provide the care needed during labor. Staff shortages and doctors wanting to get a birth over with contribute to rushed births and the risk of birth injuries associated with this haste.
Consent Given During Labor
Birth plans, documents listing a mother’s wishes for her child’s birth, frequently carry little weight with doctors, especially negligent doctors. A mother in the pains of birth or highly medicated from an epidural often does not have the additional energy necessary for making her demands known. Further, she might not know exactly what is occurring around her because of her condition or because it is being kept secret from her.
Before any hospital procedure (like a c-section), a doctor must obtain informed consent. This means discussing the risks and benefits of the procedure. Often, during labor doctors hurry a mother to give her consent. Giving consent does not mean giving away a right to compensation for a birth injury.
Lawyers for Change.
If doctor negligence has led to a birth injury in you or you child, contact the Consumer Justice Group. Our attorneys are experienced in making medical institutions pay for the pain and damage they cause. We make sure that our clients receive the monetary awards that will help them regain control over their lives and see them through their days. Consultation is always free.
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Contact us if birth trauma or doctor malpractice has led to injury or birth defect.