Mother Files NY Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Over Forced C-Section
A recently-filed NY medical malpractice lawsuit has brought to the surface some lingering arguments about a woman’s right to choose her method of delivery. A Brooklyn woman is suing the Staten Island hospital where she delivered her third child, claiming that the hospital forced her to have an unwanted c-section. The woman insisted that she wanted to give birth naturally, but the hospital, knowing it was against her will, performed a c-section.
The director of maternal and fetal medicine made a handwritten note that said, “I have decided to override her refusal to have a c-section” and indicated that the woman’s own doctor and the hospital’s lawyer agreed.
The mother of three had already had two prior c-sections and wanted to deliver her third child vaginally. After laboring for several hours, the doctor on duty called for a cesarean delivery. The woman argued that she did not consent and begged for more time, another hour or two, to attempt a natural delivery. But the doctor told her, “I’m not bargaining here.”
Mother alleges medical malpractice in lawsuit
The complaint that the 35-year-old woman filed in a New York court accuses the hospital of malpractice in “improperly substituting their judgment for that of the mother.” She claims that the labor and delivery doctor attempted to coerce her by telling her that if she underwent a vaginal delivery, her uterus would rupture. He told her that taking such a risk would be tantamount to child abuse and that her son would then be taken away from her. She was also physically injured in the unwanted surgery – her bladder was cut during the procedure.
Dr. Howard Minkoff, an authority on patient autonomy, is the chairman of obstetrics at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn. He has said that he believes a woman’s right to refuse medical treatment is absolute, even if it means the death of the child.
While specifying that he was not commenting on the New York malpractice case, he stated, “I don’t have a right to put a knife in your belly ever.”
Medical malpractice lawsuit brings modern c-section rates under scrutiny
The NY medical malpractice lawsuit hits on a hot button issue – how readily hospitals will perform cesarean births. According to the CDC, cesarean delivery is a major abdominal surgery, carrying higher risk of complications for the mother and increased incidence of neonatal intensive care unit stays for baby. While in some cases the benefits of a c-section far outweigh the risks, there are enough serious dangers that every hospital should avoid unnecessary c-sections.
The rate of cesarean deliveries has been on the rise in the past decade, increasing roughly 50% from 1996 to 2007. C-sections currently make up about one third of all deliveries; the World Health Organization recommends that the c-section rate should be between 5-10%, and no more than 10-15%.
Hospital malpractice lawyers at The Sanders Firm are ready to help
If you have been injured by an unnecessary or unwanted c-section, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the New York hospital malpractice lawyers at The Sanders Firm for a free consultation. Our attorneys have unparalleled experience in NY medical malpractice lawsuits and can help you determine what rights you have. Resources
- New York Post, New York Hospital Malpractice Lawyers, NY Medical Malpractice Lawsuit, https://nypost.com/2014/05/17/women-sues-hospital-for-forced-c-section-delivery/
- New York Times, Mother Accuses Doctors of Forcing a C-Section and Files Suit, https://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/17/nyregion/mother-accuses-doctors-of-forcing-a-c-section-and-files-suit.html?_r=0
- Centers for Disease Control, Recent Trends in Cesarean Delivery in the United States, www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db35.pdf