We expect that a doctor in charge of a pregnancy will take every precaution to ensure that a newborn child is protected during delivery. However, some doctors may fail to act in vital moments, like when a newborn is being asphyxiated due to a tangled umbilical cord. When this happens, a negligent doctor should be held accountable for their actions. If your child was the victim of an umbilical cord birth injury, contact an experienced Baltimore umbilical cord birth injury lawyer. At Bennett & Heyman, we are here for families that have been betrayed by a negligent doctor that they trusted. Our firm is here to explain whether you should consider a medical malpractice lawsuit after your child suffers an umbilical cord injury.
How Umbilical Cord Injuries Occur
The umbilical cord provides an infant with essential nutrients and oxygenated blood while they are still in the womb. The umbilical cord is also long enough that it could become entangled around an infant while in the womb or during delivery. As a result, a diligent doctor should be prepared with proper precautions when a child becomes wrapped in their umbilical cord, or they could face a medical malpractice lawsuit.
An entangled umbilical cord is most dangerous when it wraps around the neck of the baby; this is known as a “nuchal cord.” Generally, two types of nuchal cord knots can cause an infant to suffer an injury: Type A nuchal cords and Type B nuchal cords.
Type A nuchal cords happen when the umbilical cord wraps around the baby’s neck at a 360-degree angle. While this type of nuchal cord is dangerous, the knot can be undone when the child moves or during a procedure to try to untangle the knot. However, Type A nuchal cords are true knots that wrap around a child and cannot be untangled.
If a baby enters the birth canal with either type of nuchal cord wrapped around their body, there is a high risk for injury. Specifically, the knot could tighten around the baby’s neck during delivery, and the child could be asphyxiated. If this occurs, the baby could suffer brain damage or a range of other serious injuries.
To learn more about who can be held liable for an umbilical cord injury, continue reading and speak with an experienced Baltimore birth injury attorney.
Who is Liable for an Umbilical Cord Injury in Maryland?
A doctor or other healthcare professional that is responsible for an umbilical cord injury can be subjected to a medical malpractice lawsuit. As a result, you should not hesitate to contact your attorney to learn about your options to pursue compensation for your child’s injuries, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and many other expenses.
If your child suffers an injury due to an umbilical cord complication, multiple parties could be held liable for your child’s injuries.
The most likely party to be liable for your child’s injuries would be the doctor that delivered the child. Doctors are required to provide patients with a certain standard of medical care that is common among their particular field. While this does not mean that a doctor must ensure the patient receives flawless medical care, it does require doctors to exercise caution when treating a patient.
To discover that a baby has become entangled in their umbilical cord, a doctor can order an obstetrical ultrasound to produce images of the baby. If a doctor finds that a nuchal cord could endanger the health of the child, they are required to monitor the child throughout the pregnancy. However, if a doctor fails to discover a nuchal cord or does not monitor a child with a nuchal cord, they could be held liable if it injures the child.
As mentioned, an entangled umbilical cord can be even more harmful once a child enters the birth canal. At this point, a doctor should discuss with a mother whether birth by cesarean section (C-section) would be a safer option for the baby. If a doctor takes no steps to protect the child or performs a failed C-section, they could be held liable for a child’s injuries.
If a hospital employed a doctor, the hospital itself may also be liable for the umbilical cord injury. Through the doctrine of “respondeat superior,” an employer could be held liable for the negligent actions of an employee through vicarious liability. Specifically, an employee must perform a negligent act within the scope of their employment and in furtherance of the goals of their employer. For example, if a doctor does not communicate to a mother that a cesarean section would be a safer option for her child, this failure to communicate could be imputed to the employer.
To avoid vicarious liability, some hospitals may hire some doctors as independent contractors. This would allow the hospital to claim that they only allow the doctor to use their facilities, and they are not responsible for the doctor’s actions.
Our Experienced Maryland Umbilical Cord Injury Attorneys are Ready to Speak with You
If your child suffered a birth injury due to the negligence of a doctor, consult with an experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyer. The legal team at Bennett & Heyman, possess decades of combined legal experience, and we are committed to providing you with the legal representation that you deserve. To schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your claim, contact Bennett & Heyman at (410) 429-7856. You can also contact the firm online.