You've just given birth to a beautiful baby boy. It was stressful.

You needed an emergency cesearean section. The baby was having fetal distress and your obstetrician told you he had to get the baby out immediately.

Of course you said "Yes."

Immediately after birth, your baby is brought to you to hold. You immediately notice that the baby has a long laceration on his face and is bleeding from his face. You're astonished.

You ask "How did this happen?"

The delivery room nurse tells you that the baby's face was accidentally cut as they were trying to get the baby out urgently. She reassures you that the laceration will be fine and the baby will likely not have any scarring.

You are not so sure. You know that anytime someone gets a laceration it will leave a scar.

When the pediatrician comes to talk to you about the baby you ask the same exact question. “How did this injury to his face occur and what does this mean for the long-term?”

The pediatrician again minimizes the injury, even though it's clearly visible on his face. 

He tells you that a baby's skin heals very quickly and will likely not leave any visible scar. Again, you're not so sure.

You want to know whether cutting the baby's face during an emergency C-section is a departure from the baseline standard of care for an obstetrician. Obviously you want a beautiful healthy baby. Your concerned the baby will now be left with a permanent scar because of what might be carelessness when the doctors performed an emergency C-section.

In order to evaluate whether this was a departure from the baseline standard of obstetrical care, we need to look at the reason why you needed an emergency C-section. Then we need to determine whether this type of injury is a known recognized risk that can occur even in the best of medical hands.

To properly determine whether this type of injury represents medical carelessness that was below the standard of care, we are required to have a medical expert review the records and confirm that (1) There was wrongdoing,  (2) That the wrongdoing caused injury and (3) That the injury is significant and/or permanent. Without having a medical expert confirm each of those elements, we are prohibited from bringing a lawsuit in New York for medical malpractice.

Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
2 Comments
Thanks Chuck! I think it's so important to explain this in easy-to-understand terms, and not with any legalese. Gerry Oginski
by Gerry Oginski May 12, 2013 at 07:44 PM
I am awestruck by the simplicity of this message, Gerry!
by Charles A. Pilcher MD FACEP May 12, 2013 at 07:35 PM
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