Are Elective C-section Birth Rates Too High?

Are Elective C-Section Birth Rates Too High?

Preventable birth injuries are some of the most damaging forms of New York medical malpractice because of the lifelong consequences for the children hurt.

Like all cases involving medical errors, proving a birth injury in a civil suit requires showing that a doctor breached his or her duty of care to the patient.

Sorting through all of the issues to determine if a medical professional did or did not act in accord with the reasonable standards of the profession is often a complex process.

In all cases, however, the basic question is whether the doctor made a reasonable medical choice for the specific patient involved.

Every individual case is different.

For example, when it comes to childbirth, C-sections are often necessary to ensure that a child is born healthy.

Failure to perform a timely C-section can be a form of medical malpractice that results in serious birth injuries.

However, that does not mean that C-sections should always be performed.

In fact, some medical experts have questioned whether there is an over-reliance on this procedure which may expose mothers and babies to unnecessary risks.

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Cesarean Section Birth Rates

A recent article discussed the surprisingly high rate of births by C-section birth in New York and throughout the country.

For example, in New York, the rate for surgical birth, rather than a traditional vaginal birth, is higher than average.

In the United States, C-sections accounted for 32.9% of births in 2009, the most recent year for which data is available.

In the state of New York, it was 34.8%.

The rate was even higher in some individual locations, particularly the Lower Hudson Valley.

In Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam, the C-section rate is 37.7%.

Legislative Intervention

New York lawmakers are getting alarmed about these numbers, because C-sections cost significantly more than traditional vaginal births.

In the Lower Hudson Valley, the procedure costs $9000 versus a traditional delivery which costs $6000.

Not only that, but it should not be forgotten that C-sections are serious abdominal surgeries.

They come were various risks that should be avoided if possible.

The state legislature is debating a bill that would prohibit Medicaid from paying for elective C-sections for women in the 39th week of pregnancy unless there is a medical emergency.

It was asserted that getting the cesarean section delivery rate down to 15% of births would save New York $31.5 million annually.

Those pushing the bill in Albany also noted that there is evidence that a traditional delivery is safer and healthier for both mother and baby in certain circumstances.

Case-By-Case Decisions

As a New York birth injury attorney, I appreciate that a case-by-case approach should be taken when dealing with each pregnancy.

Each mother’s individual health and risk factors must be closely understood and considered.

Cesarean sections have been life-saving for women and their babies in many circumstances.

It is one of the miracles of modern medicine that there are so many options at a doctor’s disposal to ensure that mother and child are healthy.

This is something that could not be taken for granted throughout most of human history.

But it is also true that C-section births are surgical procedures that, all things being equal, come with risks of infections and complications of their own.

At the end of the day, reasonable care demands that doctors determine within the best of his or her ability the best solution for the patient.

It is inappropriate for a culture to develop in medical communities where factors outside of the best interest of the patient—such as doctor convenience—influence the medical decision.

The bottom line is whether the delivery is vaginal or cesarean and regardless of whether this proposed law affecting Medicaid passes, every effort should be made to make sure the choice of delivery method is the best one for each particular mother and child.

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About Anthony T. DiPietro

Founder Anthony T. DiPietro, Esq. is a compassionate and skilled trial attorney who has completely dedicated the past 23 years of his career to litigating medical malpractice and sexual abuse cases against major corporate institutions including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and other wrongdoers.

Mr. DiPietro has also obtained some of New York State’s highest verdicts and settlements, and has been selected to New York State Super Lawyers® each year, for the past 10 years in a row.

In 2022, Mr. DiPietro was selected as one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators for the landmark cases he’s won on behalf of survivors of sexual exploitation and abuse.

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