Asked about 1 year ago - Winnsboro, SCFlag
6months ago my girlfriend went in to her ob appointment to check for dialation, the dr decided to break her undialated cervix, when she gave brith to our daughter we asked around and all the doctors where horrified that he broke her cervix and said he really wasn't supposed to do that. Now we have learned that because he broke her cervix he could have caused her to need a emergency c-section and she may not be able to have kids anymore.
I'm not clear on what you mean by "broke her cervix" or what problems she's having now as a result. Normally in labor, the cervix dilates and effaces (opens and shortens) and then delivery is accomplished vaginally. If that doesn't happen naturally, it can be encouraged with certain drugs, and then if there are other problems with delivery a c-section may be employed. If other doctors are telling you that the OB did something negligent, it probably wouldn't hurt to consult with a lawyer. Depending on where the malpractice occurs, you may have only 1 year or 2 years to file a medical negligence claim, so you need to get this case reviewed by a local medical malpractice lawyer in your state sooner rather than later. It will be necessary for any lawyer to get an obstetricial expert to provide a report detailing the negligence and how the negligence caused damages. If she doesn't have any long-term problems, or if the act wasn't negligence, or if the negligence didn't directly cause damages, then it won't be a case but you need to put it in the hands of a lawyer to find out for sure.
I'm not admitted in SC (only in CA), but can offer the following general observations.
I'm a little unclear as to what you mean by "breaking the cervix", but from what you presented, it sounds like you may want to pursue a medical malpractice case. Like I said, I'm not admitted in SC, but a quick bit of research shows that the South Carolina Supreme Court has set forth the elements of negligence with regard to a medical malpractice personal injury claim that a plaintiff has to prove as follows:
(1) A physician-patient relationship exists.
(2) The generally recognized and accepted practices and procedures that would be followed by average, competent practitioners in the defendants' field of medicine under the same or similar circumstances.
(3) That the defendant departed from the recognized and generally accepted standards.
(4) The defendant’s departure from such generally recognized practices and procedures was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s alleged injuries and damages. [David v. McLeod Regional Medical Center , 367 S.C. 242, 626 S.E.2d 1 (2006).]
Thus, in a malpractice case, you first must establish that the medical professional(s) acted below the standard of care, and that can usually only be established through expert testimony (i.e. in your case, another OB/GYN) willing to say that the treating doctor was negligent by falling below the standard of care. The expert will need to testify that "breaking the cervix" was something that was not within that standard of care. If the current OB/GYN is willing to so testify, you may be able to clear that first hurdle.
The second major issue is that you must establish that the negligence was the cause of harm. In other words, if the current condition is something that she would have had to deal with anyway, or if the condition (the "broken" cervix) is something that could have reasonably expected, the defense will say that the actions of the 1st OB/GYN did nothing to make your girlfriend's condition any worse than what might have been expected as a possible outcome. That is typically where these kinds of cases falter; the plaintiff may be able to show that the professional made a mistake, but cannot overcome the argument that the mistake didn't do any additional harm. (The defense will often argue at trial that a "bad result does not equal bad medicine.")
The third point is the issue of damages. If the negligence caused you to incur additional injuries, and you had to pay for those additional medical services, those would be your "special damages." In this case, if you get over those first two hurdles, you would be entitled to recover for the costs of corrective treatment, if such is available. If the "broken cervix" can lead to higher risks in future pregnancy, there may be recovery for the emotional damage/pain and suffering damages that is associated with that.
The bottom line is that it is virtually impossible in a limited forum like this to say that you do or do not have a malpractice case; that assessment can only be made as a result of a thorough review of the medical records, by a competent med. mal. attorney AND an expert. Thus, I would strongly urge you to seek the advice of a local attorney specializing in malpractice claims to provide you with that more detailed assessment.
Good luck to you!
The bottom line is that the medical records would need to be ordered and sent by a med mal lawyer to a physician expert to ascertain whether there was a breach of the standard of care. Search Avvo's "find a lawyer" for a med mal lawyer in your state. You can expedite the process by getting all the medical records and bills yourself.
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