Failure to Discover a Prolapsed Umbilical Cord
Doctors are responsible for following standard medical practices to handle a prolapsed umbilical cord. The sooner a pregnant mother receives the proper treatment, the less the baby is at risk for harm. Unfortunately, accurate diagnosis and timely treatment does not always occur. At Rich & Rich, P.C., our New York City attorneys can help you or your loved one recover compensation when medical malpractice causes birth injury.
What is umbilical cord prolapse?
Prolapse means to slip or fall down out of place, and in the case of a prolapsed umbilical cord, it refers to a cord that slips out of position and precedes the baby. It usually occurs during labor, but can also occur during a pregnancy. Umbilical cord prolapse is rare, but most frequently occurs when membranes containing the amniotic fluid in the uterus break ― often referred to as the mother's water breaking. These membranes can break prior to or during labor. Mothers should not walk after their water breaks because walking increases the possibility of umbilical cord prolapse. Other causes include a premature birth, multiple births, excessive amounts of amniotic fluid, breech delivery or an unusually long umbilical cord.
Signs that doctors should observe
It is possible for the umbilical cord to be present in the vagina or actually protrude through the vagina between the mother's legs. A doctor should discover the prolapse this during a pelvic examination. Also, heart rate monitoring of the mother and baby can indicate a prolapsed umbilical cord.
Dangers for the baby
The umbilical cord provides nutrients and oxygen to the baby. The danger of having the baby press against the cord is that it cuts off the baby’s blood supply and oxygen, which can cause brain damage. A doctor following acceptable medical standards first would try having the mother shift the position in which she is lying to see if it takes pressure off of the umbilical cord. Obstetricians attach a device onto the baby to monitor fetal heart rate and when it drops below a certain range, it is an indication of umbilical cord prolapse. The doctor must be ready to perform a C-section immediately when fetal distress continues.
Adverse effects of a failure to handle umbilical cord prolapse
Failure to perform a timely C-section can result in a baby born with cerebral palsy, a still birth or other brain damage that causes delays in child development. When departures from standard practices are underlying reasons for the failure, it may indicate medical malpractice.
If your baby suffers birth injury or fetal wrongful death occurs because of medical negligence, arrange a free consultation with one of our New York lawyers at Rich & Rich, P.C.