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An umbilical cord prolapse is rare but can be life threatening for the baby. Quick medical intervention is often essential in securing the optimum outcome. Failure to do so can result in life-long injuries, or even the death of the baby and a prolapsed cord claim may arise as a result.
The umbilical cord acts as the main source of blood supply to the baby during pregnancy. However, in rare instances, once the waters have broken the umbilical cord can come through the open cervix (entrance of the womb), either during labour or immediately after the waters break but before labour has started.
An umbilical cord prolapse is an emergency situation as it can be compressed during a contraction and result in a reduced oxygen supply to the baby. This would require an immediate delivery as a lack of oxygen to the baby can cause long-term harm or even death. Medical professionals therefore need to carefully monitor the mother at the earliest indication of an umbilical cord prolapse so that decisions can be made as to whether to expedite delivery through an emergency caesarean or other methods. A failure to do so can have devastating consequences and may result in an umbilical cord compensation claim.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict those who may suffer from an umbilical cord prolapse as routine ultrasounds and appointments cannot detect it. However, there are a number of factors that increase the chances of a prolapsed cord occurring during labour including:
It is not possible to prevent an umbilical cord prolapse, however, if the above risk factors are present such as the baby being in a transverse or breech position at 37 weeks, then it may be suggested that you are admitted to hospital. This would ensure that you have the correct medical care as soon as you may go into labour.
If a prolapsed umbilical cord is suspected, then medical professionals need to ensure the rapid delivery of the baby. Depending on the severity of the prolapse and the stage of labour in which this occurs you may be required to have an emergency caesarean. This may be completed with a general anaesthetic, meaning you would not be awake during the delivery as this can be the quickest way of delivering your baby.
A vaginal birth may still be possible if your cervix is fully dilated. In order to deliver the baby as quickly as possible, an assisted birth (forceps or ventouse) may be required. It is also likely that additional medical professionals such as a neonatal nurse, will be present during the birth as this ensures that treatment, if any is needed, can be provided as quickly after the birth as possible.
In most instances, with the correct medical treatment, a prolapsed umbilical cord will result in no harm to the baby. However, where the prolapse is not identified in a timely manner, injury can occur and a claim for prolapsed umbilical cord compensation is plausible.
The main concern associated with a prolapsed umbilical cord is the lack of oxygen being provided to the baby. This can result in birth asphyxia and conditions such as cerebral palsy. Unfortunately, a lack of oxygen can also lead to the death of the baby. However, it is important to know that this is rare.
An umbilical cord prolapse can be a terrifying situation for both mother and baby and due to the associated risks, a rapid response from medical professionals is vital. Umbilical cord prolapse negligence can therefore arise from several reasons.
Firstly, a failure to identify a prolapsed umbilical cord when it occurs, particularly in instances where there is a known risk factor such as polyhydramnios or the baby is in a transverse position.
Additionally, if medical professionals fail to escalate the birth of the baby accordingly, for example a failure to refer for an emergency caesarean and where a delay to the delivery was avoidable then an umbilical cord prolapse claim may arise. If a vaginal delivery is pursued and injury occurs due to an assisted delivery such as an excessive force using forceps or ventouse then a claim for birth injury compensation may be sought.
It is, however, also important to note that in some instances, even with the most appropriate medical intervention, a baby may suffer adversely due to the prolapse.
Making a claim for umbilical cord prolapse compensation can be daunting. However, if you or your baby suffered adversely as a result and believe that negligence was a contributing factor, then specialist advice from a birth injury lawyer is necessary.
If a baby has suffered adversely due to negligence, a prolapsed cord compensation can enable you to pay for additional medical expenses that the baby may need, to recoup current and future loss of earnings as well as helping to provide for future medical care or treatment that may be required.
Your claim for compensation can also act as an important step in ensuring other parents and baby’s do not suffer from the same negligent care that you did.
As specialist umbilical cord prolapse compensation lawyers, Blackwater Law understand the importance of your claim. Our medical negligence solicitors have extensive experience in advising clients in relation to a wide ranging of birthing and maternity incidents sustained by mothers and children during pregnancy, or post labour.
Our team is accredited as one of the leading teams of medical negligence lawyers in the South East, by the Legal 500, a ranking of the UK’s top law firms.