Knowing your newborn child was hurt or worse because of an issue with their umbilical cord is a horrifying scenario. This scenario is even more stressful when you know the injury could have been avoided. If your baby has suffered an injury due to medical malpractice or negligence, you should speak with an experienced Baltimore malpractice lawyer immediately.
The Baltimore umbilical cord injury lawyers at Bennett & Heyman, PA are here for you and your family in your time of need. Our attorneys possess over 70 years of experience in medical malpractice cases and will work tirelessly to fight for justice for your family. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (410) 429-7856 or contact us online.
Umbilical Cord Neck Injuries and Doctor Mistakes
An umbilical cord is responsible for providing an unborn child with nutrients and oxygen-rich blood in the mother’s womb. When an umbilical cord is entangled and wraps around a baby’s neck, the loop is known as a “nuchal cord.” Nuchal refers to the posterior of the neck. Nuchal cords are classified into two categories:
- Type A Nuchal Cord – Wraps around a baby’s neck in 360 degrees and can be undone with movement.
- Type B Nuchal Cord – The umbilical cord ties into a true knot and cannot be undone with movement.
A nuchal cord can be discovered by performing an obstetrical ultrasound to produce pictures of the baby within a pregnant woman. Prior to the delivery of the baby, there is little a medical team can do to address problems with a nuchal cord. However, medical professionals can monitor the fetus over the course of the pregnancy to ensure the fetus is not in distress.
During delivery is when medical professionals can use tactics to prevent injury to the baby. The heart rate of the baby may be monitored to avoid asphyxiation. If a baby is suffering from asphyxiation, a medical team must deliver the baby immediately to avoid brain damage to the child. A cesarean section (“C-section”) may even be recommended if the situation becomes an emergency.
A physician may also attempt techniques to untangle the umbilical cord from a baby’s neck. If a medical team fails to diagnose a nuchal cord during pregnancy or labor, they may be guilty of medical malpractice.
Common Umbilical Cord Problems
There are various umbilical cord abnormalities which may also lead to injury to an unborn baby’s neck or other areas, such as the following:
- If an umbilical cord does not have enough amniotic fluid in the gestational sac, the cord may become compressed between the fetus and the wall of the uterus.
- If there is an excessive amount of amniotic fluid in the gestational sac, the umbilical cord can rush out before the baby when the water bursts and becomes prolapsed (meaning the cord slips down).
- Excessively long umbilical cords can become knotted multiple times
- If a woman is pregnant with twins or triplets, the decreased space in the uterus increases the risk of compression.
- An unborn child set to exit the womb in a foot-first position may twist the umbilical cord in an unnatural position.
- Blood vessels in the placenta or the umbilical cord may become trapped between the fetus and the opening of the birth canal. This may cause hemorrhaging if a blood vessel ruptures during labor or delivery. This condition is referred to as “vasa previa.”
These conditions can cause several different injuries to an unborn child, including:
- Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)/Birth Asphyxia – HIE, also referred to as birth asphyxia, is a neonatal brain injury caused by lack of oxygen and diminished blood flow to a baby’s brain at or near the time of birth. HIE can be responsible for many disabilities like cerebral palsy, seizures, and developmental and learning disabilities.
- Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) – IUGR is a disorder where abnormal intrauterine growth results in a smaller than normal fetus. IUGR is associated with abnormally long umbilical cords.
- Meconium aspiration syndrome – This condition occurs around the time of delivery when a fetus breathes a combination of their own stool and amniotic fluid into their lungs.
- Decreased heart rate or death of the fetus.
Proving Medical Malpractice Caused a Birth Injury
In a medical malpractice case, the injured party must show:
- The healthcare provider owed a duty to the plaintiff (injured party).
- The healthcare provider breached that duty.
- The breach caused the plaintiff harm.
- The plaintiff suffered harm as a result and is entitled to damages.
For an injured party to recover compensation, each of these elements must be proven. However, this is not a comprehensive guide concerning umbilical cord injuries or deaths. If your child has suffered a neck injury or birth asphyxia due to an umbilical cord complication, and you believe a doctor’s errors or medical mistakes were the cause, you should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Baltimore, MD Umbilical Cord Injury Attorneys are Ready to Fight for Your Family
If your child has suffered or passed away due to an umbilical cord complication, you should consult a Baltimore injury attorney today. The Maryland medical malpractice attorneys of Bennett & Heyman, PA understand the stress of a delivery gone wrong and are here for you. The lawyers at our firm have decades of experience in medical malpractice and will fight hard to hold negligent healthcare providers accountable for their actions. To schedule your free consultation, call us at (410) 429-7856.