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A cesarean delivery can result in a long recovery period for a mother, but there are cases in which this procedure may be medically necessary to protect the life of either the mother or the child. C-section rates in New York and throughout the country are significant, higher than the rate deemed to be ideal by the World Health Organization. WHO indicates that the ideal rate for surgical deliveries is between 10 and 15 percent, but a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association suggests that 19 percent is better. The study used information from more than 50 nations and data from numerous C-section births to arrive at this value.

The C-section rate for births in the United States is 33 percent. The country also has a high rate of maternal deaths in comparison to other developed nations. There are differing views related to the numbers, including financial interests with surgical deliveries and the need to minimize potential medical malpractice claims. The average payment for a C-section by a private insurance company is nearly $28,000. In comparison, the average for natural births is approximately $18,000. A higher rate of C-sections can be quite lucrative.

Delivery injuries are another issue facing physicians as a C-section is considered. If there is a level of risk, a physician may minimize the potential for a medical malpractice action by insisting on surgical delivery. In fact, the failure to perform a C-section is central to many of the most common types of malpractice claims involving obstetricians.

While there may be cases in which a birth injury cannot be predicted, a provider is expected to evaluate vital signs and other details to ensure that an appropriate decision about surgical birth can be made. In a case in which warning signs are clear, an obstetrician could face medical malpractice litigation for failing to transition quickly enough to performing a C-section.

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