Baby Sustains Cut to Face During Emergency C-Section

Experts say a laceration like this is a rare complication of the surgery

A newborn's hand
Vladimir Nenov / EyeEm

When Reazjhana Williams gave birth to baby Kyanni via emergency Caesarean-section, she felt surprised to see a cut on her daughter’s cheek.

“I tried to be understanding about what happened, but on top of the fact her face got cut and a plastic surgeon had to come do it, there’s just a lot of things I’m not understanding with the C-section,” Reazjhana told Fox 31. “I’ve never heard of anybody having to deal with their baby’s face looking like this after a C-section.”

TODAY reached out to the family and did not receive a response. According to the Fox31 report, when Reazjhana was in labor she said she received “a pill to speed up my labor.” After doctors struggled to detect Kyanni’s vital signs, Reazjhana underwent an emergency C-section.

“They said our baby made a sudden movement they couldn’t hear her heartbeat or find it and they took her into an immediate C-section,” Damarqus, the baby’s father, told Fox 31.

When Kyanni was born, she had a laceration on her face.

“They said her face was close to the placenta wall,” Damarqus said to Fox 31.

A plastic surgeon repaired the cut, but still the family felt unsettled.

“To have your granddaughter born to come out to see the plastic surgeon, to get 13 stitches, is devastating,” Walter Williams, Kyanni’s grandfather, told Fox31. “It’s heartbreaking.”

The Williams have a GoFundMe to raise money for a lawyer. TODAY reached out to Denver Health where the baby was born, but did not receive a response. They provided Fox31 with a statement:

Denver Health has been in touch with the family directly. While this is a known medical complication in emergency C-sections, our focus is always on providing care in the best interest of the mother and child. At Denver Health, the safety and well-being of our patients is our number one priority.

A 2006 paper in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, looking at 37,110 C-section at several hospitals over a year, found that skin lacerations occurred in 0.7% of injuries to babies during C-section deliveries. A 2002 paper in the Journal of Maternal Fetal Neonatal Medicine examining cuts to babies during C-sections at one medical center during a year found a similar rate of lacerations at 0.74%.

“It’s incredibly rare,” Dr. Christine Greves, an OB-GYN in Orlando, Florida, who was not involved in Kyanni's birth, told TODAY. “There is always that risk.”

She said some research indicates that cutting a baby during a C-section might be more likely to occur during emergency C-sections. That could be because doctors are working swiftly to protect both the baby and mom.

“If the heart tones are down … sometimes you have to act very fast in order to make sure the baby either lives or does not have long term repercussions,” Greves said.

What's more, in emergency C-sections the uterus might be thinner, making it easier for the baby to be hurt.

"Sometimes the uterus is paper thin and with the pressure of the blade it can (cut) the baby,” Greves said.

While this sounds scary, even in emergency C-sections the risk of cutting the baby remains low.

“Do not be afraid from this incredibly rare incident. Doctors work very hard at trying to ensure the best outcome from the baby,” Greves said. “Our goal is a healthy mom and a healthy baby.”

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