C-sections are considered a safe alternative to having a baby vaginally. But this story out of Boston reminds us that statistically, the risks are much higher.
A patient undergoing a C-section at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center died Friday while undergoing a caesarean section, the first time in ten years at that hospital.
The baby appears to be improving though did initially suffer complications.
The hospital said in a statement, “We immediately launched an internal review and have reported to the Department of Public Health. This is obviously a very sad and distressing event for our staff who have not experienced a loss like this for over 10 years. We continue to extend our deepest sympathy to the family."
There is no name on the woman or details about the complication.
C-section or caesarean section risks are roughly fewer than 1 in 2,500, significantly more than the one in 10,000 risks for vaginal birth.
About 36 women per 100,000 die while undergoing a Caesarean section, or C-section, compared with 9.2 deaths per 100,000 vaginal deliveries, according to a published study in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Meanwhile, the number of C-sections is climbing.
C-sections are generally used to get the baby from the womb when there is a complication during birth such as a breech position, delayed delivery, or a cord wrapped around the baby’s neck.
Risks include infections, hemorrhage, transfusion, injury to other organs, anesthesia complications, psychological complications, and a maternal mortality two to four times greater than that for a vaginal birth.
But increasingly, c-section is used as a way to schedule a birth and avoid much of the pain of delivery. Instead, women replace the delivery pain with pain at the incision site.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one-third of births are now C-sections, up 40 percent from 1996. The rise is driven by women requesting a C-section for their first delivery and doctors insisting on the procedure for subsequent deliveries. 81.5% of all C-section deliveries have a repeat procedure.
More than 520,000 babies are born prematurely in the U.S. each year – that’s one in eight. And a study in the June issue of Clinics of Perinatology, links premature births to C-sections before 40 weeks or full-term.
Prematurity, especially those babies born sooner than 34 weeks, are associated with a wide host of health problems that include delays in development, neurological problems, increased mortality and lower IQs. Preterm birth – delivery before 37 weeks of pregnancy – increases the risk of death in the first month of life.
Dr. Alan Fleischman, medical director and senior vice president of the March of Dimes suspects the “convenience factor, non-medically indicated reasons maybe part of the problem at hand.”
Women requesting C-sections before 39 weeks, not based on medical necessity, need to understand that babies born prematurely are at risk for a broad spectrum of health problems.
Entering a hospital, IB attorney Peter Wetherall reminds consumers to ask about caps on damages.
In Nevada, a government owned facility and are the victim of medical malpractice, your awards are capped at $75,000 per claim. A private hospital will generally have a much higher medical malpractice caps.
In the case of Nevada, where Wetherall practices, at Sunrise or Spring Valley Hospital, your cap under our regular medical malpractice scheme is $350,000 as to pain and suffering damages, and no cap on economic losses (with certain exceptions).
The best predictor of a c-section is maternal height, say researchers reporting in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. #