Mark Roman | February 25, 2023 | Medical Malpractice
Umbilical cord prolapse (UCP) is a rare but serious condition that occurs during childbirth and can lead to serious birth injuries. In most cases, medical professionals could have prevented the injuries associated with umbilical cord prolapse.
The parents of an infant injured by UCP often find themselves in serious need of financial help to cover the costs of their child’s care. When an infant suffers brain damage or other consequences of umbilical cord prolapse, a medical malpractice lawyer can help you submit a birth injury claim to gain compensation.
What Is Umbilical Cord Prolapse?
Umbilical cord prolapse occurs during the labor and delivery process. As the mother’s cervix dilates during labor, there’s a risk of the umbilical cord falling through the opening and into the vagina.
There are three forms of umbilical cord prolapse: overt, occult, and funic. Overt umbilical cord prolapse is the most common type and, therefore, the type on which most UCP birth injury claims focus.
Overt UCP occurs when the umbilical cord falls through the cervix ahead of the infant. This is the most dangerous type of UCP, bringing a high risk of serious injury unless the infant is delivered immediately.
Occult UCP occurs when the umbilical cord moves through the cervix at the same time as the infant. Usually, the cord is next to or on top of the infant’s head, with the head placing pressure on the cord.
Funic UCP is the least common type. Here, the cord can block the infant’s ability to move through the cervix, but the cord itself doesn’t fall through the cervix opening.
Why Is Umbilical Cord Prolapse Dangerous?
An infant receives its oxygen supply through the umbilical cord until delivery is complete. When umbilical cord prolapse occurs, pressure on the cord cuts off the infant’s oxygen supply. Without prompt medical intervention, the infant runs a high risk of developing brain damage.
In the past, umbilical cord prolapses often resulted in infant deaths. Mortality rates have dropped from up to 47% to around 10% due to the increasing availability of c-sections and medical advances in treating oxygen-deprived infants.
For infants who survive this birth complication, the risk of oxygen deprivation leads to a high chance of brain injury, resulting in conditions like:
- Cerebral palsy
- Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
- Developmental delays
Although the infant mortality rate associated with UCP has dropped, death is still a possible outcome, especially if the medical staff doesn’t offer adequate monitoring and a swift response.
Seeking Compensation Through a Birth Injury Claim
Umbilical cord prolapse is a known risk associated with childbirth. A hospital’s labor and delivery team should check for the signs of UCP and immediately intervene when they are present.
Some of the most common signs of UCP include:
- Unusually long or thin umbilical cord
- Infant in a position other than head down
- Premature or low-weight infant
- Abnormalities in infant heart rate
- Medical staff seeing or feeling the umbilical cord during the exam
When medical staff members miss or ignore the common signs of umbilical cord prolapse, the consequences can be disastrous.
The legal term for negligence on the part of medical staff is medical malpractice. Suppose healthcare workers failed to notice or act on umbilical cord prolapse, and the outcome was death or disability. In that case, you can file a UCP birth injury claim to potentially recover compensation.
Medical malpractice claims are complicated, but they can also bring some of the highest compensation due to the lifelong impact of a birth injury.
A Clearwater medical malpractice lawyer can help you seek damages to assist with the lifetime cost of care that accompanies a serious birth injury and compensate you for the emotional toll your family is experiencing.
Contact the Clearwater Medical Malpractice Law Firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today
For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer in Clearwater. We have four convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655