We often hear of cases where a baby is born with the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck, or of emergency deliveries conducted due to the umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck, or in some unfortunate cases, babies getting strangulated during the birthing process due to the umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck. Any umbilical cord complications that arise during pregnancy or labor, which if left undetected, or not monitored can cause distress to the baby as well as the mother, and cause birth injuries and even death. Chicago birth injury lawyer discusses the issue in detail.
Umbilical cord strangulation
The function of the umbilical cord – that connects the developing embryo to the placenta – is to provide the fetus with nutrient-rich blood. Due to the movement of the baby in the womb, the umbilical cord can get wrapped around the neck of the baby, a condition that is known as ‘nuchal cord’.
According to statistics, about six babies in every thousand babies born suffer birth injuries. Out of these, about 25% are born with umbilical cords wrapped around their necks. Nuchal cord condition is often seen in natural births. If it is not detected and treated in time, it could lead to brain damage, organ failure or even death.
During child birth, the doctor may be able to unwind the cord from the neck of the baby, however, nuchal cord conditions often require an emergency c-section, if the doctor is unable to do untangle the umbilical cord manually and if the condition poses a threat to the baby.
Nuchal cord conditions can be detected through ultrasound and doctors can use preventive measures to reduce complications during delivery and prevent injuries.
Liability in nuchal cord birth injuries
Considering the fact that nuchal cord conditions are preventable with timely and proper monitoring of the baby during pregnancy and delivery, inability to detect nuchal cord condition can amount to negligence on part of the doctors and medical practitioners.
Breach of Standard of Care during Pregnancy
All practicing obstetricians are trained to monitor and treat nuchal cord conditions and apply preventive methods, keeping in mind the associated risks. These are standards of care that all obstetricians are expected to meet. If nuchal cord strangulation occurs due to the doctor’s failure to monitor the fetal growth, movement, and conduct other check-ups, it can amount to medical malpractice and can be termed as breach of standard of care.
Breach of Standard of Care of Obstetrician during labor and delivery
It is also the responsibility of the obstetrician to keep a vigilant eye on the progress of the labor and delivery process. The doctor may need to intervene in the birthing process by either performing an emergency C-section, or by taking the decision to manually untangle the cord. Failure to make a proper and timely decision can lead to birth injuries or death of the infant, and can amount to breach of standard of care on part of the obstetrician.
In such cases, victims should contact a Chicago birth injury lawyer to understand the legalities surrounding filing a suit against the obstetrician, other medical staff and even the hospital if required for negligence.