There is no more natural occurrence than childbirth. For thousands of years, the process took place without medical intervention of any kind. In many parts of the world, it still does. According to the World Health Organization, more than 20 percent of global births are unattended by medical professionals. Though many infants and mothers are saved by medical attendance during the birthing process, some aspects of routine procedures performed in hospitals are controversial. Many people question, for example, the need for relatively routine anesthesia, Cesarean sections, and episiotomies. Episiotomies were routinely performed by obstetricians for more than a century, but are now, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists only occur during about 20 percent of births. Nonetheless, some are still performed unnecessarily, causing pain and sometimes long-term complications.
If you have suffered a serious episiotomy injury or complication, and perhaps also believe that the procedure was unnecessary to begin with, it is important that you seek legal, as well as medical, assistance. Nagel Rice LLP, an esteemed medical malpractice firm with offices in Manhattan and Roseland, has a well-earned reputation for skillful negotiation and aggressive litigation. We also have an outstanding history of success. Our practice has won $1 million dollars for a client who suffered severe injury after an episiotomy in which both the physician and hospital were held liable for medical malpractice.
What exactly is an episiotomy?
An episiotomy is a surgical incision in the perineum (the area between the vaginal opening and the anus) that is performed to enlarge the vaginal opening through which the infant will emerge. Since a woman’s body is, in the vast majority of cases, built to stretch to accommodate the birth of a child, episiotomies are not usually necessary. Although it is true that some women experience small tears when the infant’s head emerges, such injuries generally heal more quickly than the surgical incision of the obstetrician. Not only are a great many episiotomies unnecessary, but some are also harmful, resulting in serious, even dire, long-term consequences.
If your doctor has been negligent during the birth, failing to exercise the appropriate standard of care, both he/she and the hospital can be sued for medical malpractice. Once you come to Nagel Rice for a free initial consultation, we will examine all of the medical data and determine if you have a winnable case for episiotomy injury. If so, we will file a lawsuit against the doctor and the hospital, create a workable strategy, and consult with medical experts who will be able to bolster your case in the courtroom.
When are episiotomies necessary?
There are some situations in which episiotomies are essential, for example during:
- Complicated birth — e.g. breech birth or trapped shoulders (dystocia)
- Fetal distress
- Extended labor at the pushing stage
- Forceps or vacuum delivery
- Unusually large baby of mother with unusually small pelvis
Even so, if your doctor has not exercised proper care in the incision, the closure, or checking later for signs of infection, she/he may be held accountable for negligence if you are harmed.
Types of Episiotomy Injuries
Unnecessary or negligently performed episiotomies can cause:
- Longer recovery time
- Ongoing pain
- Excessive bleeding or formation of scar tissue
- Long-term or life-threatening infection
- Sexual dysfunction (e.g. pain during intercourse)
- Swelling or collection of blood in peritoneal tissue
- Sphincter damage affecting bowel activity
Calamities like these can occur because the obstetrician made a straight, rather than small diagonal cut (known as a mediolateral episiotomy) or because the doctor was inattentive, forgetful, or impaired. They can also be the result of conditions that were not sterile or the fact that the episiotomy wasn’t properly repaired.
Contact Our New Jersey Episiotomy Malpractice Attorney
If you have had the misfortune to suffer an episiotomy injury due to negligence on the part of your doctor and/or your hospital, we will work hard to obtain substantial compensation for you and your family. We should be able to win:
- Economic damages for medical costs, nursing care, house cleaning and childcare during your incapacity, lost income (now and in the future) and any other expenditures related to your episiotomy injury.
- Non-economic damages for physical pain, mental anguish, loss of consortium, permanent discomfort and/or disability.
At Nagel Rice, we know you have been through a terrible ordeal that has interfered with what should be an exciting and joyful period of your life. Call us or contact us through our website.
You will find us kind and supportive, but don’t be fooled — we are aggressive birth injury attorneys when it comes to getting you the settlement you deserve.