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C-Section and medico-legal claims in India

In India, from general gynaecologists to hospital doctors and nurses in maternity units, medical practitioners are experts in dealing with pregnancy-related complications. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the standard of care is high, and delivery is normal with a positive outcome for mother and infant.

The final stages of pregnancy require careful management. In particular, a new mother’s first labour could be tiring and longer than average. Monitoring is essential, therefore, especially when the doctors decide to intervene and induce the childbirth. Staff must remain watchful and ready to recognise any abnormalities in the mother’s labour; should emergency surgical intervention in the form of a Caesarean

section (C-section) becomes inevitable.

The circumstances that require a C-section are pelvic disproportion, poor orientation of the baby in the uterus, prolapsed umbilical cord, abruption of the placenta, distress to the foetus, or uterine rupture.

The good news is that the procedures are highly sophisticated that usually deliver healthy babies with minimal risk to the mothers.

How is it decided? Earlier, the medical choices were binary or too simplistic - either elective or emergency. But now the continuous monitoring enables a considered view based on real-time data and prevents any compromise of the viability of the foetus or health of the newly born baby.

As in any major surgical procedure, C-section childbirth is not without risk to the mother or baby. Post-operative issues arise in a few unfortunate circumstances. In particular, blood clots, wound infections or problems with stitches around the abdominal incision. Fortunately, such instances are relatively few, but if managed negligently, the consequences and prognosis can be problematic.

In a small number of negligently performed C-sections, the unborn baby might suffer oxygen starvation or hypoxia. In severe occurrences, the results could be chronic or even fatal. Such a serious lack of care or medical negligence may come about if surgeons carry out the procedure inadequately or incorrectly.

Some of the known problems are failure to recognise that a C-Section is necessary, injuries caused during operation, deprivation of oxygen to the child during labour, or simply a botched surgery, which means inadequate technique or errors while performing a C-section. Perhaps lacerating internal organs or closing wounds improperly, with an increased probability of follow-on infections.

A delay in performing C-section is an equally severe concern as it may cause cerebral palsy to the newly born child. The number of such occurrences in India is 3/1000 births.

If one faces problems after C-section surgery or likes to know available remedies in law, one should reach out to the experts.


Sunil Kumar Kalra

901 4357 509

Whatsapp +7 916 227 5503

Mr. Sunil Kumar Kalra, BA, LLB (Delhi University) is a practicing Advocate in the

Supreme Court of India, New Delhi

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