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Philadelphia Med Mal & Birth Injury Lawyer / Blog / Birth Injury / Fetal Laceration Birth Injuries & Malpractice

Fetal Laceration Birth Injuries & Malpractice


Fetal Lacerations During C-Section

Whether planned, unexpected, or emergent, a C-Section (cesarean birth) is major surgery. While you are undoubtedly thrilled at the arrival of your newborn, you may be shocked when you discover fetal lacerations on your baby. While they should heal, some may be of such a severe nature that injurious harm or disfigurement results.

What a Fetal Laceration Is

A fetal laceration is a birth injury caused by cutting a newborn. Most commonly suffered during a c-section, injuries may be mild to severe and are most commonly seen on the head, face, and ears. In a study reported by the NIH, approximately 3.12% of newborns suffered some form of fetal laceration during a c-section. Fetal accidental lacerations were higher in newborns delivered in an emergency cesarean birth and lower for unscheduled and scheduled cesarean births.

Causes of Fetal Lacerations

Fetal lacerations are most commonly caused by medical instruments used in the delivery process. For example, the use of a scalpel during a c-section to remove the newborn from its mother’s uterus. When cutting into the uterus, especially in an emergent situation, a doctor may make the cut too deeply, harming the newborn.

Types of Fetal Lacerations

Fetal Lacerations can be mild, moderate, or severe.

  • Mild – slight abrasions to the skin usually requiring minimal treatment to heal.
  • Moderate – deeper cuts into the skin as well as the muscle; these may require immediate treatment such as medical adhesives, sutures, and antibiotics
  • Severe – deep intrusions into the muscle, nerves, bones, or blood vessels. These injuries may require extensive suturing and significant medical intervention such as emergency and plastic surgeries to repair the damage.

A study in 2009 reported in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (AJOG) suggests that 70% of the lacerations affect the head, face, or ears, while 20% occur below the waist on the buttocks, legs, or ankles, and 10% occur on the back.

Fetal Lacerations & Medical Malpractice

Determining medical malpractice for fetal lacerations is specific to each case.

The first step is to meet with an experienced medical malpractice attorney and explain the facts of your case. In determining whether medical malpractice exists in your case, the following will be analyzed:

  • Was there a failure to adhere to the standard of care?

Specific standards of care must be met by medical professionals when delivering and treating a baby. If a healthcare provider or facility fails to meet the applicable standard of care, you might have a medical malpractice claim.

  • Was the harm caused by the failure to adhere to the standard of care?

Fetal lacerations must be caused by the failure to adhere to the standard of care. Evidence must include the degree of the fetal lacerations and harm suffered due to the failure to meet the standard of care.

  • Certificate of Merit

In Pennsylvania, a certificate of merit must be attained before a medical malpractice lawsuit can be pursued. The team at the Villari Firm works with experts in the state of Pennsylvania to obtain a signed certification from an expert of the same specialty to support the validity of your claim so that your lawsuit can get filed.

Frequently Asked Questions About Fetal Lacerations

Can Fetal Lacerations Become Fatal?

Although thankfully rare, should infection set in, go untreated, or failure to respond to treatment, the results can be tragic. Lacerations deep enough to cause extreme blood loss could lead to loss of life.

How Do I Find Out Who Is Liable for a Fetal Laceration?

Determining who is liable for fetal lacerations can be a complicated undertaking. Requesting complete copies of your hospital records, including doctor’s notes, nurses’ notes, and any other relevant medical professional’s notes is where the analysis begins. Any video/recording that was taken may also be helpful.

What is the Statute of Limitations on Fetal Lacerations?

In Pennsylvania, the standard statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit is two years from when the injury occurred. There can be exceptions to the general rule, and your experienced medical malpractice attorney can guide you through this complicated area.

Contact the Birth Injury Lawyer at The Villari Firm About Your Fetal Laceration

At the Villari Firm, we offer a free, no-obligation consultation to review your case. An experienced birth injury attorney will carefully listen as you explain the events that you have experienced, analyze the facts of your case, consult with respected experts, and work directly with you to develop the best possible strategy for the case.

To speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney about your newborn’s fetal lacerations case, call the Villari Firm at 267-388-9429 or online by clicking here.

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