Women who have previously given birth via a cesarean section, also known as a C-section, might hope to experience a vaginal birth with their next child. This experience is known in the medical community as a vaginal birth after cesarean delivery, or a VBAC.
Uterine scars from a previous cesarean delivery can heighten the risk of a rupture during subsequent vaginal births. When not adequately dealt with or unnoticed by a physician, a uterine rupture could result in catastrophic consequences.
If you or your child suffered injuries due to a uterine rupture during childbirth, and you suspect a doctor’s negligence is to blame, contact a Florida vaginal birth after cesarean section (VBAC) lawyer to investigate your potential case. A compassionate birth injury attorney at Domnick Cunningham & Yaffa can help you determine liability, and if you have a case, they can fight diligently to recover the maximum financial award possible.
Injuries that Could Result from a Careless VBAC Procedure
Performing a VBAC demands close attention and constant fetal monitoring by physicians, nurses, laboratories, and other medical staff. With the potential of a uterine rupture or hypoxic injury due to insufficient oxygen reaching the brain, any medical misdiagnosis or negligence on the part of a healthcare provider could have permanent, devastating effects.
An improperly handled VBAC, whether a medical professional’s failure to monitor mother and infant vitals or identify signs of severe distress, could lead to cerebral palsy, brain injury, excessive bleeding, a ruptured uterus, a hysterectomy, and even wrongful death.
Signs Indicating a Uterine Rupture
A uterine rupture is sometimes preceded by the partial separation of the patient’s uterine scar. This partial separation during labor could cause serious abdominal pain in between contractions, sharp pain at the previous C-section site, and vaginal bleeding. When a mother experiences any of these warning signs during a VBAC, they may indicate an impending uterine rupture.
Potential Risk Factors for a Uterine Rupture
The decision regarding whether to pursue a VBAC or not should be made with careful consideration. However, VBAC is typically not advised for women who have one or more of the following risk factors:
- Multiple pregnancies (i.e., twins or triplets)
- Baby is in a breech position
- Fetal macrosomia, or a baby who is larger than average
- Maternal health conditions such as genital herpes or diabetes
- Maternal blood clotting disorders
- Complications with the placenta, uterus, or umbilical cord
- History of complicated pregnancy, labor, or delivery, or fetal distress
- History of unsuccessful vaginal deliveries
Medical Misdiagnosis and Negligence in VBAC Cases
Errors in medical judgment by healthcare providers could arise before or during a VBAC, which might lead to serious and even irreversible injuries to the mother and child. A qualified Florida VBAC attorney can help the injured party pursue a lawsuit for damages in instances of negligence such as:
- Performing a VBAC on a patient who is not a proper candidate for the procedure
- Failure to inform a patient of the benefits and risks associated with a VBAC
- Attempting to perform a VBAC in a medical center unequipped to handle obstetric emergencies or with under-trained staff
- Failure to swiftly abandon a VBAC to perform a C-section when necessary
- Lack of institutional policies in place to respond effectively to a VBAC-related obstetric emergency
- Inadequately monitoring a fetus during a VBAC or failing to respond to signs of fetal distress
Recovering VBAC Injury Damages
Patients injured during a VBAC may be entitled to economic and non-economic damages, as well as punitive damages. Economic damages are designed to compensate an injured individual for costs like medical expenses and wages missed from time off work.
Non-economic damages compensate for personal losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish. In cases of especially egregious misconduct or negligence on the part of a healthcare provider, the court may also award punitive damages to punish those responsible for their wrongdoing.
Deadline to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Florida
All states set limits on how long an injured patient can wait to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Under Florida Statutes §95-11, victims must file suit within two years of the date they learned or should have learned that the injury occurred and was likely caused by malpractice.
As per Florida’s statute of repose, unless there are extenuating circumstances, a healthcare provider may not be sued for malpractice more than four years after the alleged incident occurred. However, there are exceptions to the statute of repose, such as in cases where concealment or fraud was perpetrated on behalf of the healthcare provider.
Furthermore, the law states that, in misdiagnosis cases involving minor children, this four-year period may not bar an action on behalf of a minor if it is brought either on or before the minor’s eighth birthday. Still, it is critical to contact a Florida vaginal birth after cesarean section attorney as soon as possible after the incident occurs because they can help a claimant adhere to the necessary deadlines.
Schedule A Case Evaluation with a Florida Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Section (VBAC) Attorney
If you or your child have suffered birth injuries in Florida as a result of negligence caused by a VBAC or a failed VBAC attempt, a skilled attorney can assist you. A vaginal birth after cesarean section (VBAC) lawyer can help determine if a healthcare provider is liable for your injuries, explain your legal rights, and explore your options to pursue compensation.
Speak to a member of our team today.