When could an unnecessary C-section be considered malpractice?

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The number of Cesarean (C-section) births continues to rise, despite the opinion of numerous medical professionals that many of them are medically unnecessary. Childbirth, no matter how it occurs, can be potentially dangerous to the mother and baby. However, because a C-section is a surgical procedure, it can have serious and potentially fatal outcomes.
A C-section should never be performed unless it’s medically necessary. Sometimes, this decision is made during the birth process because of unforeseen complications. That’s considered an emergency C-section. 
But what if your doctor convinced you ahead of time that a C-section was necessary when it wasn’t? Is that reason for a malpractice suit? It depends.

What do you need to prove?

To have a valid malpractice claim, the procedure would have had to harm the baby and/or the mother. That harm would be the “damages.” 
The next question is whether the mother (or someone who had the legal authority to act on her behalf) gave informed consent for the procedure. That means not just agreeing to the procedure by signing an “informed consent” form but understanding what it is and what the risks and benefits are. 

What is required for “informed” consent?

For a person to provide informed consent under the law, they must be told:

  • Why the procedure is necessary in their specific case
  • The purpose and nature of the procedure
  • The benefits of the procedure over the alternative(s)
  • The potential risks of the procedure
  • What would happen if they didn’t have the procedure

Showing that you didn’t truly give informed consent because these things were explained to you fully or truthfully can be a tricky matter when your signature is on an informed consent form. However, it can be done.
If you or a loved one suffered harm due to an unnecessary C-section, it’s wise to seek experienced legal guidance. This can help you determine whether you have a viable legal case.