Yes. If your infant’s fetal laceration was caused by your doctor’s inexperience or negligence, you have the right to sue your doctor for causing fetal lacerations in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The inexperience of a surgeon is actually one of the top risk factors for fetal lacerations. If they have not had enough experience performing cesarean section deliveries, they may fail to take the necessary precautions to mitigate the risk of an injury to the child. For example, a fetal laceration is less likely to occur if the surgeon makes a transverse or vertical incision, as opposed to a “J” or inverted “T” incision.
Surgeons can also mitigate the risk of a fetal laceration by making sure the site of the uterine incision is suctioned thoroughly and that the surgical instruments that hold the incision apart are removed prior to delivery. The surgeon can also sweep their finger through the uterine incision with every pass of the scalpel to minimize the likelihood of a deep laceration.
These are just a few of the possible steps that an experienced surgeon can take to reduce the likelihood of a fetal laceration. However, if the surgeon fails to take these preventative measures or forgets because of simple inexperience and your infant suffers a fetal laceration as a result, you have the right to hold them responsible for your child’s injuries and any future financial losses as a result of the fetal laceration in a lawsuit.
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How Fetal Lacerations Are Classified
According to the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (AJOG), fetal lacerations occur in an estimated 0.7% to 1.9% of deliveries. Of these cases, the majority of the injuries are mild or minor.
Fetal lacerations are classified into three categories:
- Mild: a superficial wound that affects only the skin and heals itself
- Moderate: a deeper wound that involves both the skin and underlying muscle
- Severe: a deep cut that involves muscle, bone, and possibly even the nerves
In cases where the infant suffers a minor fetal laceration, the injury can be easily treated with topical tissue adhesives or adhesive plaster. However, when the wound involves the muscles or cuts through the nerves, the damage is more severe and long-lasting. Immediate surgical treatment is necessary to repair the deep structures. Unfortunately, there may be long-lasting repercussions, depending on the location of the injury.
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Possible Complications After a Fetal Laceration
There are numerous possible complications from a moderate to severe fetal laceration. Some of them include:
- Brachial plexus injuries: the brachial plexus is the group of nerves near the neck that controls the movement of the shoulder, arm, hand, and fingers. If the surgeon cuts the brachial plexus, it will require surgery to repair the injury. A surgeon may be able to restore function by splicing a donor nerve graft from one of your child’s other nerves. However, it can take months to years for mobility to be restored, and even then, it may never be fully restored.
- Hearing and vision loss: the AJOG reports that 70% of fetal lacerations occur to the head, face, and ear. If the laceration is moderate to severe and occurs around the eye or ear, it could cause a partial or complete loss of vision or hearing for your baby.
- Facial nerve palsy: If the surgeon cuts through a nerve in your child’s face, it could make it impossible for the nerve to send signals to different parts of the face, essentially paralyzing the muscles. Surgical treatment is essential to restore function, although there is no guarantee that it will be successful.
These are just a few of the possible physical complications your child could suffer as a result of a fetal laceration. It is also important to consider the psychological impact it will have on their future. Even if the injury is superficial, the scar will grow as your child grows, potentially creating a visible, large, and irregular scar that can affect their psychological well-being.
If your child is suffering from a serious fetal laceration that you believe was caused by the negligence of your surgeon, you have the right to hold them responsible for your child’s suffering, as well as the future medical bills you likely will be facing to help them recover from their birth injury. You may be looking at years of physical therapy, surgeries, and appointments with specialists. If the injuries were avoidable, you have the right to hold the surgeon liable for those future costs through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
To find out if you can sue your doctor for causing fetal lacerations, call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529.