Unnecessary Cesareans on the Rise
According to some, the benefits of a cesarean delivery far outweigh the risks. This is an ongoing debate between healthcare providers in America, but despite sources that attempt to skew the numbers lower, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently reports that about one-third of all child deliveries in America are by c-section. This is considerably higher than most developed western nations, including Canada and Germany. Yet, according to Stat.com, about 14 maternal deaths occur per 10,000 births. This increasing mortality rate is higher than our other western counterparts as well. While many things are tied to the rising number of c-sections being performed, many are unnecessary, and unnecessary surgeries increase the possibility of malpractice.
Nearly 70 percent of obstetricians have been sued at least once. This chilling number illustrates why many may be so keen to cut before allowing a vaginal delivery. However, this also raises questions about the necessity and value of cesarean surgeries. While no doubt some would argue a small percentage of those lawsuits might be based on questionable merits, the fact that so many of them are successful illustrates a high rate of obstetric malpractice in America. So, if doctors are performing c-sections as a form of defensive medicine to reduce lawsuits, as some argue, it seems it is not working.
Complications from cesareans
All childbirth comes with some risk. Vaginal births can be complicated by conditions like gestational diabetes, an excessively large baby, prolapsed cord, shoulder dystocia, and so forth. Therefore, there are legitimate reasons for concerns in these situations. Nevertheless, a skilled physician should be able to reasonably deliver a child despite routine complications.
Financial motivations cannot be overlooked
The cost of healthcare is going up. Everyone knows that. But when it comes to financial incentives, nothing could be more obvious than the cost of a c-section versus a vaginal birth. Kaiser Family Foundation reported that the average private insurance charges for a vaginal delivery in 2007 was about $32,000, yet a c-section would be about $51,000. Under Medicaid, vaginal delivery costs were about $29,000 and c-sections were roughly $50,000. Therefore, in some cases the difference can be double.
Indeed, c-sections are highly profitable. They are fast, require little extended preparation, and reduce the amount of time a mother spends in a delivery room. Yet, the mother will often spend an extra day or so in recovery. As many hospital personnel will explain, recovery is the most expensive hotel you will ever stay in. So, in short, the hospital can bill twice as much for half the time and still bill you $8-10,000 per day to stay in a room with minimal staff needed. This is opposed to 20-40 hours in a delivery room, attended by physicians, nurses and other staff, while awaiting delivery, which can also be a long and challenging process.
Risks of cesarean delivery
While many physicians will tell patients that c-section risks are minimal, there are some very real concerns that should be addressed.
- Respiratory Problems. The baby can develop breathing problems, especially if the c-section is performed too early in the pregnancy.
- Surgical Mistakes. There have been reports of obstetricians accidentally cutting the baby during a c-section. Though rare, given the precision needed to safely extract an unborn child from the womb in this manner, there is always the risk of such an accident.
- Bleeding. This can be especially severe for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This condition causes a woman to develop cysts on the ovaries. Doctors generally use ultrasound guidance technology to ensure no mistakes are made during incisions. However, even with the best technology, mistakes can be made leading to excessive internal bleeding.
If you or someone you love was injured by a negligent cesarean delivery in the Tampa Bay area, do not assume your doctor will tell you everything. Contact the Romero Law Firm for a free case review and consultation.