Articles Posted in Umbilical Cord Compression

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Law.com recently reported on a $10.2 million verdict that was awarded to a Florida couple whose son passed away after suffering brain damage during his birth. During delivery, the medical staff failed to notice that the baby had an umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. Consequently, the baby boy was deprived of oxygen and suffered permanent brain damage.

An U.S. District Judge had originally awarded the couple $60.5 million in 2005 after they filed a medical malpractice lawsuit. That verdict would have been used to provide medical care for the child during his lifetime. Following his birth injury, baby Kevin was unable to speak, sit, or eat. He required constant, around the clock attention. His saliva had to be constantly sucked out of his mouth to prevent him from choking. The boy also required a special feeding tube in order to eat and survive.

Kevin passed away at the age of three following a brain seizure. After their son’ death, the couple filed a new, wrongful death lawsuit. The judge awarded the couple $5 million each as well as medical and funeral expenses.

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PR Web recently reported on a new birth injury case that has been filed against two medical facilities for negligence that led to serious injuries for a newborn child.

The case involves the birth of the first child for Tina and Jie Wang in March of this year. Tina was cared for by a certified midwife-nurse employed by a local medical association. The delivery was a prolonged process. In the last few hours of the birth, indicators on the fetal monitor made apparent than an obstetrician should have been notified, however that contact did not happen in a timely manner.

Specifically, the monitor indicated that the child had a rapid heart rate with decelerations that ebbed and flowed. Common practice was such that the midwife should have contacted a OB/GYN doctor at that time for assistance. In that way, a C-section birth could have been performed at least a half hour earlier, if not more.

The delay ultimately had serious effects on the infant child. The breathing problems at birth caused the baby, Tiger, to lack oxygen for more than 15 minutes. On top of that the clinicians who helped Tina during the childbirth failed to incubate the young baby in a timely fashion or suction quickly enough, leading to the oxygen problems. As a result of all of this, Tiger suffered from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.
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The umbilical cord delivers oxygen-rich blood to the fetus. During labor, the cord can become stretched or compressed, interrupting this vital flow. Umbilical cord compression is a relatively common condition, occurring about once every ten deliveries, and often transpires when the cord becomes caught between the baby’s head and the mother’s pelvic bone or when it becomes wrapped around the baby’s neck. Once this happens, the blood flow is interrupted and the level of oxygen that the baby receives begins to decrease. If the baby is deprived of oxygen for a significant amount of time, a condition called hypoxia, it can develop severe injuries including brain damage, cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness, or developmental delays. Fortunately, this deprivation is detectable. The diminished blood flow can cause short and sudden decreases in the baby’s heart rate, which become visible on a fetal heart rate monitor. Often times, when this is detected, simply administered oxygen to the woman to increase the amount available to the baby is sufficient. In some cases, however, if the baby’s oxygen level is extremely low or if it begins showing other signs of distress, it is necessary to deliver the baby as soon as possible and the doctor may have to perform an emergency c-section. Under these circumstances, time is essential. Mistakes and carelessness by doctors and nurses that delay the operation amount to medical malpractice and can cause permanent brain damage to the baby.