Umbilical Cord Cutting

  1. Tried to help dad cut cord during delivery while my preceptor was out of the room for something quick. Was still on orientation. It was cut below clamp and can’t recall if I told him to cut there specifically or not. Minimal bleeding, reclamped and labs not even ordered by MD and infant followed healthy newborn course until d/c. I was told not to worry about it, no harm no foul, but there was question if dad had it on video. Manager asked if I told dad to do it wrong and I said I couldn’t remember and that if they want to know about video to ask because I wasn’t looking for his phone during this. I think that’s the part that stresses me out the most. This happened a few months ago. Worried for the responses but I’ve been up all night panicked, it’s haunting me. Please help. Sincerely ready-to-quit RN.
    Last edit by Nursenotslave on Nov 19
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   adventure_rn
    Like you said, no harm no foul. All nurses make mistakes (especially when you're new); the lucky ones make mistakes which don't result in harm to the patient. This experience has made you a better nurse, since you'll never make that mistake again.

    I can understand why the hospital would want to document if there's a video record, in case an issue were to ever arise. If it makes you feel any better: by definition, medical liability, negligence, and malpractice all require patient harm to have occurred. From what you've explained, there wasn't any significant lasting patient harm as a result.

    Also, if it makes you feel any better: I've seen huge term kids in the NICU get umbi lines and bleed pretty copiously from their umbis (we remove the cord clamp and use a cotton thread to literally tie a knot around the umbi, which occasionally isn't quite strong enough to prevent some significant bleeding). I've literally had kids spurting tiny spouts of arterial blood from their stumps; not ideal, but they turned out ok (no need for transufsion, didn't exsanguinate).

    I know that making a mistake in nursing is a terrible feeling (regardless of whether you have three months of experience or 30 years). It sucks, but you'll get through this. Take care!!
    Last edit by adventure_rn on Nov 19
  4. by   Nursenotslave
    Thank you. That honestly makes me feel so much better. Like I said, I still to this day don't know if there's a video and it worries me because I could have potentially told Dad to cut in wrong spot and if that's on video that's what stresses me out. As far as I know there was no harm done. No labs were even drawn to check H&H and I saw them days later unclamp a dried up cord. Would there be any long term effects from this little blood loss? And would having that on video come back to bite me even if there was no harm done? Thanks again
  5. by   Nursenotslave
    I meant to ask in my last comment if there could be any damaging effects of the blood loss/my stupid mistake in general? And if there is video of me giving wrong directions on cutting cord, could that come back to hurt me at any point? Sorry just super anxious about this, it's eating me alive, and not sure where else to turn. Thank you
  6. by   rnkaytee
    I can understand why you'd be stressed out but it doesn't sound like there were any ill effects, even if there was some small blood loss (I'm assuming you grabbed the stump quickly?). In memory of Tom Petty I'll quote you one of my favorite songs "Crawling Back To You" - my favorite line is "Most things I worry about never happen anyway." Try not to borrow worry until you need to!
  7. by   ElvishDNP
    Of all the things in the world you have to worry about, I would put something bad happening to this kid at the very bottom of the list. Like other posters, I understand your concern about there being video evidence of anything, but some harm would have had to come to the baby for there to be any negative consequence to you.

    Cords avulse more often than people realise. Not every day, of course, but it happens. The last avulsion I saw - well, most avulsions I see, really - is due to residents yanking too hard on the placenta and baby is still attached (we delay clamping on everyone unless baby needs resus). You did the appropriate things to correct the action and baby was fine afterward.

    Chalk it up to a lesson learned the hard way, and now you know you will always double check to make sure SO cuts between the clamps!
  8. by   Nursenotslave
    Thanks everyone for your responses. It's still giving me anxiety and keeps playing over and over in my head and it was such a stupid mistake that I can barely remember how it happened, if I was just looking at the cord backwards and didn't think before I gave directions or whatnot, but I am trying to work through it and your responses have helped a lot. This happened months ago but still bothers me because I never got confirmation of whether or not Dad has video of it, or if anything happened to the baby after discharge. :/
  9. by   ruby_jane
    You are going to need to let this go. We cannot give medical advice here but if you're not able to let it go (especially after the good counsel from posters above) then perhaps you need to see someone (counselor, faith leader, good buddy) about this.

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