Birth Injuries: Strangulation by Umbilical Cord

Last updated on: July 2, 2012


Every year, babies are hurt and harmed during their delivery. In fact, sources say that 27 out of every 1,000 births in the United States results in a birth injury. Almost all of these injuries are the delivery nurse or doctor’s fault. One of the most common situations which causes a birth injury occurs when a child is born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his or her neck. Because of this, the newborn can be strangled and choke to death only moments after emerging from the womb. One-third of all babies are born with the cord around their neck, and in almost all cases the baby is fine.

This is because the umbilical cord is covered with a thick protective coating known as Wharton’s Jelly. This prevents the baby from compressing the arteries and vein that run through the cord. In most cases, this will protect the baby from coming to any harm. However, the doctor must slip to cord over the baby’s head if it is wrapped around his or her neck when he or she is delivered. If he fails to do this, then delivering the baby could become a serious problem. Infants who survive strangulation at birth by the umbilical cord often have brain damage growing up because of the first moments that they spent without oxygen.

Sometimes, doctors need to cut the cord before the baby is delivered so that they can remove it from the child’s neck, and other times the baby comes so fast that this isn’t even necessary. If you delivered a child who was harmed because of umbilical cord strangulation, and the doctors or nurses could have prevented the accident through better care, then talk to a personal injury lawyer. You may have a right to seek medical malpractice compensation for your pain and the reduced quality of life of your child.

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