Cesarean Sections and Medical Malpractice
Delivering a baby is a highly complex endeavor, one that never becomes much easier, no matter how many times a doctor may perform it over a career. One of the most difficult decisions for any surgeon, regardless of how experienced, can be when to perform a cesarean section (referred to as a c-section) - or if one should be performed at all. However, despite the gravity of the decision, a mother and child do have recourse to bring suit if a surgeon gets it wrong and causes harm.Is Malpractice Just a Mistake?
First and foremost, it is important to remember that not every medical error is grounds for malpractice, especially regarding such a fraught decision as whether or not to perform a cesarean section. To constitute potential malpractice, medical professional’s conduct must have failed to conform to the prevailing standard of care. Not every mistake a doctor makes will reach such a level. For example, it is common that even a successful c-section may cause infection or internal bleeding. This would not be deemed medical error unless it was excessive, as these are both potential complications that are planned for and warned about in advance.
That said, it is possible for a doctor to commit malpractice even when a c-section is planned, though it is more likely to happen when a c-section is an emergency measure. The most common reason that mistakes happen is not taking proper care - being rushed, or negligently failing to follow proper protocol. These are the mistakes that are much more likely to be held as malpractice, as they clearly do not conform to any standard of care.Two Types of C-Section Malpractice
California law recognizes two sub-types of malpractice involving c-sections. The first is the failure to perform a c-section, which is fairly self-explanatory. To prevail in court, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant acted in a way that a doctor of similar age, talent and experience would not have. The second is to negligently perform a c-section, which is similar in terms of what must be proved against the defendant - namely, that they breached their duty of care as a medical professional to provide good care to the patient (as another doctor might have done). Both causes of action require a showing versed in negligence law - in other words, by proving that your doctor caused you harm with their actions and breaching their duty of care.
Be advised that the statute of limitations on beginning a malpractice action in California is strict - an action must be started either within one year of the plaintiff’s discovery of the injury or the date when reasonable diligence would have discovered the injury, or within three years of the injury happening, whichever comes first. Waiting too long can mean you lose all opportunity to hold a doctor accountable for the injuries to you or your baby.Consult a Professional for Advice
If you have been injured by the negligence of a medical professional, you may be able to collect compensation. The dedicated San Jose medical malpractice attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. have years of experience in this field of law, and understand that this can be a frightening and confusing time for you and yours. We are happy to answer any questions we can, and guide you through the process of filing suit if you decide it is necessary. Contact our office today at (408) 289-1417 to schedule an appointment. We serve San Jose, the Bay Area, and the counties of San Benito, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda and Monterey.