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Short Umbilical Cord Complications

Syracuse Lawyers for Birth Injuries

A baby’s development in utero can be adversely impacted by a healthcare provider’s negligence. A short umbilical cord is associated with an increased chance of complications. Some, such as prolonged labor and placental abruption, can result in serious birth injuries with a long-term impact on your child. Physicians can diagnose a short umbilical cord early during your pregnancy. If your doctor failed to properly treat short umbilical cord complications caused your baby’s injuries, you should discuss your circumstances with the seasoned Syracuse birth injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. Many families are unable to afford the expenses occasioned by serious birth injuries. However, when a healthcare provider causes those injuries through his negligence, it may be appropriate to sue for damages.

Short Umbilical Cord Complications

During pregnancy, the umbilical cord connects a baby to her mother's placenta. The cord includes arteries and a vein that transport nutrients and oxygen to the baby, while carrying away waste to the placenta for removal. Ordinarily, umbilical cords are 55 to 60 cm long. Umbilical cords are deemed short when they measure under 35 cm. The cord typically lengthens as the baby moves around and grows.

A short umbilical cord can cause birth injuries including cerebral palsy, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), paraventricular leukomalacia or developmental delays. The most serious complication is placental abruption, which results in bleeding when a mother's placenta moves away from the uterus. In that situation, if your obstetrician-gynecologist fails to perform an emergency C-section, the baby may suffer from permanent brain damage.

Liability for Birth Injuries

In New York, parents may hold their obstetrician, hospital, nurse or other provider liable for the birth injuries to their child arising out of short umbilical cord complications. You will need to prove that a provider was professionally negligent. In other words, you will need to show the provider's actions or omissions fell below the applicable professional standard of care, and thereby caused your baby's birth injuries. The losses arising out of the birth injuries must be quantifiable.

New York follows the locality rule. This means your lawyer will need to show that the provider’s actions departed from what a reasonably prudent provider in the same specialty and geographic region would have done when faced with similar circumstances. For example, if a reasonably prudent obstetrician gynecologist in Syracuse would have performed a C-section in response to your placental abruption and yours did not, you may be able to establish liability for your child’s brain damage.

Additionally, providers should be aware of risk factors for a short umbilical cord and act accordingly. Risk factors include preeclampsia, first pregnancy, lack of fetal movement, history of smoking or drinking during pregnancy, and low or high amniotic fluid. A sign of a short umbilical cord can include fetal distress. However, diagnosis of short umbilical cord may be made during a routine prenatal ultrasound.


If you can establish liability, you may be able to recover damages for the economic losses you and the baby sustained. This includes medical bills, rehabilitation, therapy, caregiving, and out-of-pocket expenses. Future losses may also be recovered if related to a baby's inability to work due to brain damage. Damages may also include noneconomic losses such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment. The amount of damages will differ based on the particular birth injuries arising out of the short umbilical cord complication. 

Consult a Seasoned Syracuse Attorney

If your baby sustained birth injuries due to short umbilical cord complications, you should talk to our experienced lawyers about whether a medical malpractice lawsuit is viable. We represent babies and their families across upstate New York in Syracuse, Rochester, Watertown, Lowville, Oswego, Auburn, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Ithaca, Lyons, Oneida, Cooperstown, Utica, Elmira, Herkimer, and Binghamton. Complete DeFrancisco & Falgiatano’s online form or call us at 833-200-2000.

Client Reviews
"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
"I highly recommend DeFrancisco & Falgiatano - Charlie represented me for a medical malpractice case. He is the best of the best. He is friendly and I am very happy with the representation he provided." Roger N., Oneida, NY