Umbilical Cord Problems and Birth Injury
Childbirth is commonplace, with nearly four million American women giving birth each year. But just because childbirth happens regularly, that doesn’t mean it is without its risks. If complications arise during labor, a birth injury can occur, which may leave the baby and their family dealing with serious and long-term consequences.
Umbilical cord problems are one potential cause of birth injuries. If medical professionals fail to detect and respond to umbilical cord problems, and a birth injury occurs, they can be held liable for resulting damages. The birth injury lawyers at Burke Argos are happy to help those in Irvine, CA and surrounding areas explore their legal options after suffering losses from a birth injury.
Types of Umbilical Cord Complications
An umbilical cord is a lifeline that connects a baby to its mother. The umbilical cord delivers oxygen and nutrients to an unborn baby, while aiding in the removal of fetal waste products. If an umbilical cord fails to perform these functions, a baby can be at serious risk for birth injuries.
There are various complications that can hinder the functions of the umbilical cord. Some of the most common types of umbilical cord problems include:
- Compression: Umbilical cord compression describes pressure that prevents the umbilical cord from delivering oxygenated blood.
- Nuchal cord: A nuchal cord is one that becomes wrapped around a baby’s neck. Nuchal cords are not uncommon, and do not always result in injury, but some can prevent the delivery of blood and nutrients to the baby.
- Umbilical cord prolapse: An umbilical cord prolapse can occur when the cord enters the birth canal before the baby or alongside the baby. A prolapse can create compression, which disrupts blood flow.
- Short umbilical cord: A short umbilical cord can pull at the placenta and may even cause it to tear away from the uterus wall. Additionally, the cord itself may stretch or become torn.
- Vasa previa: When vasa previa is present, blood vessels extend out of the umbilical cord and into the amniotic sac membrane. The blood vessels will block the birth canal, which puts them at risk of being ruptured during birth, resulting in fetal blood loss and birth injuries.
Birth Injuries Linked to Umbilical Cord Problems
As the only source of oxygen and nutrients for an unborn baby, the umbilical cord is vital to fetal health. When umbilical cord complications develop, the risk of birth injury increases significantly. Without prompt medical care and appropriate treatment, an unborn child may suffer from birth asphyxia, or oxygen deprivation to the brain.
Oxygen deprivation puts a child at risk for birth injuries that can cause lifelong damage. The birth injuries that most commonly stem from umbilical cord problems are hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and cerebral palsy. Both are brain injuries that can cause lifelong symptoms for our Irvine clients, which may include:
- Learning disabilities
- Speech problems
- Vision and hearing impairments
- Motor control issues
- Developmental delays
- Involuntary movements or spasms
Birth Injuries and Medical Malpractice
Umbilical cord problems are not unusual, and they do not have to result in birth injuries. Unfortunately, if medical professionals do not properly monitor an unborn baby, they can miss signs of fetal distress that indicate complications. If a medical professional neglects to diagnose and treat an umbilical cord problem, and a birth injury occurs, there is likely a case for medical malpractice.
Our Irvine attorneys can gather the evidence necessary to demonstrate that a medical professional failed to provide the accepted standard of care. From there, we will fight to get our clients maximum compensation for the full extent of injury damages, including past and future medical expenses and pain and suffering.
If your child was injured during birth, you may have a claim for medical malpractice. To discuss your case with the birth injury lawyers at Burke Argos, call (949) 438-4416 and schedule a legal consultation at your earliest convenience.