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Physicians May Be Responsible For Birth Injuries Related To Umbilical Cord Strangulation

What should have been one of the happiest moments of their life turned tragic for a UK couple this last April. Their son Ollie was born with his umbilical cord wrapped around this throat and had been deprived of oxygen. Although little Ollie was resuscitated, due to the damage to his brain, doctors do not expect him to live more than a few months. There is an inquiry to determine what happened and why, but that is of little comfort to Ollie and his parents.

Umbilical cord complications and birth injuries

There are a variety of complications that can come from abnormal cords during pregnancy and delivery. Some can be detected by ultrasounds during pregnancy, allowing doctors to intervene and in many cases prevent any damage to the fetus. Some of the abnormalities that can happen are:

  • Single Umbilical Artery. This only occurs in about 1% of singletons and 5% of multiple births. Instead of having three arteries in the cord, these only have two. It can lead to an increased risk for birth defects.
  • Cord prolapse. This happens when, after the water breaks, the cord slips into the vagina before the child. This can result in the child being stillborn and usually requires cesarean delivery.
  • Nuchal cord. This is when the cord wraps around the babies neck. This actually happens in about 25% of births and generally does not cause the baby harm. Occasionally a cesarean will need to be performed.

There are several other forms of complications that can arise with the umbilical cord as well. The biggest risk with any of these abnormalities is the risk to the baby’s health due to lack of oxygen that can lead to many health issues, including brain or nervous system damage, heart damage and other ailments.

Preventing umbilical cord complications

Prevention of umbilical cord abnormalities is not generally an option, as they occur naturally. What prevention can be done is within the confines of detecting the issue and using the best methods to protect the child from injury or death. Testing and ultrasounds should be done regularly throughout the pregnancy to watch for abnormalities. Also, monitoring baby movement by the mother and alerting their doctor immediately if the movements slow or stop, can help in detecting issues in time.

In the case of the UK couple and their son Ollie, we can only wait to hear the results of the inquest and hope it was not something that could have been prevented. It is a tragedy that no parent should have to endure.

Birth Injury Attorney For Families Coping With A Loss

If your child suffered an injury at birth due to an incident where an umbilical cord wrapped around your child’s neck at birth, we would honor the opportunity to speak with you.  As lawyers who work on birth injury cases, we understand both the devastation associated with these cases as well as the anticipated defenses offered by the defendant hospital or physician.

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