LawTalk Blog

Should my doctor have offered me a caesarean section?

The risks and benefits associated with caesarean births

You will no doubt be familiar with the debate surrounding birth and in particular when a woman should be offered a caesarean section as opposed to persisting with a natural birth.  There are some strong opinions often expressed via the media and are more often than not anti caesarean section.

By and large the medical profession do not advocate for caesarean sections except in emergency situations or where a patient has undergone previous caesarean sections.

In a perfect world, where everything would go to plan, there would be little if any necessity for caesarean sections. However, the birth process for some can be a lengthy and complicated event, during which both the mother and baby’s health can be compromised.

In some circumstances, an earlier elective caesarean section would have prevented a poor outcome for the baby which was born naturally but following a prolonged and difficult labour where the oxygen supply to the baby was compromised.

"Whether a caesarean section should have been offered to a patient depends on the individual circumstances."

Legal cases on behalf of children who have suffered brain damage as a result of being deprived of oxygen during the birthing process are difficult, complex and case-specific. A detailed analysis is required of the medical records including the Cardiotocography (CTG) which is used during pregnancy to monitor both the foetal heart and the contractions of the uterus. It is usually only used in the third trimester. Its purpose is to monitor foetal well-being and allow early detection of foetal distress. Other considerations are the mother’s health during the pregnancy and prior medical health, the antenatal medical care and medical care provided during labour.

Whether a caesarean section should have been offered to a patient depends on the individual circumstances.  It may be that the patient should have been monitored more closely due to high risk factors such as high blood pressure or that the baby was showing signs of foetal distress.

It is necessary to be able to show that the provider of medical care failed to act in a manner that (at the time of the service) was widely accepted in Australia by members of the same profession as competent professional practice and further that this failure, namely the failure to carry out or offer the patient a caesarean section, caused injury to the baby.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the circumstances of the birth of your child (not only related to caesarean section inquiries) we encourage you to seek experienced legal advice as legal cases in this area of practice are extremely complex and are assessed according to the medical practice at the time of the birth.  Advice at an early stage will also ensure timely access to all of the relevant medical records which are crucial.  

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Get in touch with today's blog writer:
Suzanne Pinyon

Partner in Personal Injury  and  Motor Vehicle Accidents  and  Public Liability

Please note, this Blog is posted in Adelaide, South Australia by Andersons Solicitors. It relates to South Australian legislation. Andersons Solicitors is a medium sized law firm servicing metropolitan Adelaide and regional South Australia across all areas of law for individuals and businesses.

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