Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Use of c-sections unrelated to medical malpractice claims

The number of Caesarean sections performed in Pennsylvania and across the United States is extremely high as compared to the rest of the world. And though the World Health Organization has suggested that the rate of such c-sections should not go above 15 percent of births, in the United States the rate is now above 30 percent.

Yet whether the number of c-sections performed actually leads to more birth injuries is a matter of debate. Though induction of labor has likely led to more c-sections being performed in the United States than in other areas of the world, countries with low c-section rates are usually undeveloped and likely have higher mortality rates for children born.

Lawyers are of course being blamed for the number of c-sections performed. The theory goes that doctors will perform a c-section if there is belief that the doctor may be otherwise sued. But since so many lawsuits already involve childbirth issues, few doctors would choose to be obstetricians if they truly feared medical malpractice claims.

Medical science is becoming increasingly complex and there's a great danger in oversimplifying statistics that are randomly tossed out to make a point. Higher rates of c-sections performed do not mean that doctors are taking shortcuts when it comes to pregnancy related issues to avoid litigation. If that is how they actually do practice medicine than they should not be licensed doctors.

Every case of medical negligence is unique and has little to do with what kind of treatment is being provided. When an infant is injured in childbirth either by c-section or by the type of anesthesia administered, there is a chance that medical negligence has taken place and must be investigated. Injuries during childbirth can lead to lifelong suffering or even death.

Source: Scientific American, "Cesarean Sections in the U.S.: The Trouble with Assembling Evidence from Data," by Kirstin Hendrickson, March 28, 2012

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