Should The Doctor Ever Perform An Episiotomy?
An episiotomy is an incision that a doctor makes into a woman’s perineum – the area between the buttocks and vagina – to widen the cervix during delivery. Doctors once made such incisions almost as a matter of routine. Researchers once believed that an episiotomy prevented vaginal tearing and kept the mother’s internal organs in place. The body of evidence now strongly indicates otherwise.
A doctor may perform an episiotomy in some limited circumstances. If it appears that a vaginal tear is likely to occur due to the baby’s position, and the baby needs to be delivered quickly, an episiotomy may be an alternative to a C-section.
When an episiotomy is dangerous
Much more often than not, an episiotomy not only does no good but also harms the patient. In fact, an episiotomy can be responsible for causing several serious injuries
- Infection: Any wound is vulnerable to infection; a wound in the perineum is especially vulnerable to infection.
- Bleeding: If the episiotomy tears, which is likely, the mother can bleed almost uncontrollably.
- Scarring: These scars can be painful and require an extended period of abstinence.
- Incontinence: The internal damage can spread to a woman’s urinary tract and cause permanent disabling injuries.
Failure to perform an episiotomy can be negligent
Under some circumstances, an episiotomy is required by standard care. All the facts of the delivery must be evaluated by expert obstetricians to make these determinations.
Contact an experienced District of Columbia attorney
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