Facial Laceration During C-Section Spurs Illinois Lawsuit

Perry Larkin | February 20th, 2013

infantFacial lacerations are birth injuries that can occur during Cesarean sections if the medical staff overseeing the birth doesn’t adhere to proper standards of care. They can happen when the C-section is performed in an emergency by inexperienced surgeons or residents. These lacerations can also result from a ruptured membrane prior to the operation being performed. Hospitals have safety protocols meant to prevent such instances from occurring. These include moving the uterine wall away from the fetus before performing the incision; using blunt instrumentation; and, prior to delivery, removing the abdominal wall retractors.

C-section kits can provide blunt instrumentation and the hospital can have a standardized checklist to ensure doctors take all necessary cautions.

Illinois infant allegedly cut during C-section

A recent case filed in Illinois, however, did not have the above measures in place and the infant received a 1.5 cm facial laceration to the left side of his temple and needed stitches to close the cut.

The lawsuit alleging medical malpractice was filed on December 20, 2012, in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. The mother plaintiff claims that the medical staff at the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) were negligent in the care of her and her infant son. Also named in the case are two individual doctors.

The attorney who filed the case asserts that the doctors performing the C-section had a duty not to needlessly put their patients in danger. They are accused of being careless and causing permanent and severe injury to the baby.

C-section lacerations can cause long-term problems

In 2004, it was stated by the Patient Safety Authority in Harrisburg, PA, that they received a number of reports of C-section mistakes resulting in fetal lacerations during deliveries. These were reported in at least 20 medical facilities and did not discriminate between small community hospitals and larger university medical centers.

Around 20 percent of the lacerations were made to the baby’s head, face, and ear. 10 percent were to the baby’s back. Another 20 percent were made below the waist to the infant’s legs, buttocks, and ankles.

Scientific research has shown that injuries that happen when C-sections are being performed can be severe and long-lasting. The American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology reported on a case of a newborn who was cut with a scalpel. The cut, at the time, was 2 cm long. It had migrated and increased to 10 cm twelve years later.

A study conducted in 2006 looked at 37,110 C-sections and reported that 1.1 percent (418) had an identified fetal injury. The most frequent of these was a laceration to the skin—this was reported in 0.7% of the case (272). Other injuries reported were facial nerve palsy and bone fractures.

A birth injury attorney can help you

Birth injuries to an infant can be serious and have long-term side effects. Some medical mistakes result in such conditions as Erb’s Palsy and cerebral palsy, leading to families choosing to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit. Lawsuits are also filed because of lacerations that occur during C-sections.

If you or a loved one have suffered from a birth injury due to a medical mistake such as laceration during C-section, you may be entitled to compensation. Patients have the right to expect that the medical professionals are qualified and perform their assigned tasks diligently and with safety in mind. If they fail in that standard, they need to be held accountable.

The attorneys at The Sanders Firm and caring, knowledgeable and experienced in all forms of birth injury law. Contact us to discuss your case. There is no charge for a consultation and you pay no money unless you win. Call The Sanders Firm for a free case evaluation today.

  1. webmd.com C-section. http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/cesarean-section-topic-overview

  2. Potentially Avoidable Injuries to Mothers and Newborns During Childbirth, 2006. http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb74.jsp