Before illustrating how it may be possible to claim compensation for umbilical cord strangulation at birth, we should point out that there is a misconception about umbilical cord injuries at birth when the umbilical cord is wrapped around a baby´s neck.

When a baby is born, until the umbilical cord is cut, the baby is receiving all its nutrients and oxygenated blood through the cord. If the cord becomes wrapped around the baby´s neck, the baby is not going to suffer an injury due to being unable to breath.

Only a significant and long-lasting compression of the umbilical cord will result in the baby suffering any form of brain damage due to a lack of oxygen; but, due to one-in-three babies being born with the umbilical cord wrapped around their necks, the term “umbilical cord strangulation” has developed.

The True Causes of Umbilical Cord Injuries at Birth

There are three main reasons why a baby suffers umbilical cord injuries at birth – the cord has become twisted, knotted or prolapsed. These scenarios present little risk of injury while the baby is in the womb. This is because the twists and knots are generally loose and the cord itself is cushioned by a protective matrix known as “Wharton´s Jelly”.

The risk of injury occurs when the baby is being delivered and the twists and knots in the umbilical cord tighten, and the flow of oxygenated blood is obstructed. A similar scenario occurs when a prolapsed umbilical cord drops through the open cervix and becomes trapped against the baby´s body during his or her delivery.

The likelihood of these scenarios occurring can be forecast prior to a mother going in labour with regular foetal monitoring. Monitoring should continue during the delivery process and, once the risk of injury has been identified, a competent medical professional should be able to take steps to ensure the flow of oxygenated blood is unobstructed until the baby is born.

Establishing Negligence in Claims for Umbilical Cord Injuries

When there is a failure to conduct a risk assessment, a failure to monitor your child in the womb, or a failure to act when a risk of injury is identified – and your child suffers an injury as a result – it may be possible to claim compensation for umbilical cord strangulation at birth.

In order to successfully claim for umbilical cord injuries at birth, it has to be shown that your child´s injury was avoidable “at the time and in the circumstances” and attributable to “an act or omission by a medical professional that deviates from the accepted standard of care in the healthcare community”.

In respect of claiming compensation for umbilical cord strangulation at birth, “at the time” could refer to any time during your pregnancy when the risk of an injury due to a twisted, knotted or prolapsed umbilical cord could have been identified. There is no defence against “in the circumstances” unless the delivery of your child was an emergency due to a separate risk of injury.

Further Advice about Compensation for Umbilical Cord Strangulation at Birth

If you believe that your child has suffered umbilical cord injuries at birth due to the negligence of a medical professional, you should speak with a solicitor at the first practical opportunity. If negligence has occurred prior to or during the birth of your child, the sooner you speak with a solicitor the easier it will be to prove.

In order to help you speak with a solicitor and get professional legal guidance about claiming injury compensation for umbilical cord strangulation at birth, we have established a free service that you are invited to call. Our solicitor will offer advice about the options that are available to you, without you being under any obligation to proceed with a claim for umbilical cord injuries at birth.

You are invited to call us at any time to discuss the circumstance of your child´s injury and have your legal questions answered. What happens next is your decision. We are happy to commence investigations on your behalf, so that you will be in an informed position to decide whether you have a claim for compensation for umbilical cord strangulation at birth that may be worth your while to pursue.