Denver Maternal Infection Attorneys
A mother’s natural immune system is weakened during pregnancy. Mothers may do everything possible to stay healthy, yet still contract an infection while pregnant. When this happens, medical professionals must diagnose and treat the infections to ensure that neither mom nor baby is put in danger.
When healthcare providers fail to provide proper treatment, and a mother or child is harmed through a maternal infection, the healthcare providers should be held responsible. To speak to a top birth injury lawyer at Leventhal & Puga, P.C., about your potential case, please call (303) 759-9945. If there was negligence involved in your child’s injury, we will find it.
A maternal infection is an infection acquired by a mother, who can then transmit the infection to her fetus. Transmission of the infection can happen during pregnancy or during delivery when the baby is exposed to the mother’s blood.
There are a number of infections known to be particularly harmful to both mother and baby. These include:
- Chorioamnionitis – Also called amnionitis, this infection of the fluid and membranes surrounding the baby is caused by bacteria (like E.coli and Group B streptococcus) that travel from the vagina to the uterus, which can happen during prolonged labor, when doctors perform multiple vaginal examinations, or due to prematurely ruptured membranes. It is a medical emergency and can lead to bacterial infection in the bloodstream, blood clots, heightened risk of infection to the mother after birth, and pneumonia or meningitis in the baby, especially a premature baby. The earlier chorioamnionitis is diagnosed, the fewer complications should arise.
- Group B streptococcus (GBS) – Doctors should test every woman at the end of pregnancy for GBS, because about one in four women carries the infection. If transmitted to the baby during delivery, GBS can cause newborns to develop serious infections such as sepsis, pneumonia, and meningitis.
- Syphilis – Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease. If the infection is diagnosed promptly, antibiotics are effective for both mother and baby.
- Listeriosis – Listeriosis is often caused by eating food contaminated with the Listeria bacteria. If the infection is diagnosed promptly, antibiotics are effective for both mother and baby.
- Hepatitis – Hepatitis is a viral infection that affects the liver. Antibiotics cannot treat hepatitis, but antiviral medication can help, and vaccines are available to prevent hepatitis A and B infections. Babies infected with hepatitis can develop chronic liver disease (Healthline).
- HIV – HIV is a life-threatening sexually transmitted disease. Drug therapy can significantly prolong lifespan, and drugs combined with cesarean delivery before the onset of labor are remarkably effective in reducing the rate of transmission of HIV from pregnant women to their babies.
Most infections are treatable if diagnosed quickly and correctly. Mothers and babies both suffer when they don’t begin treatment early enough.
Patients must prove three basic elements to have a viable medical malpractice claim for misdiagnosis or failure to treat:
- The doctor-patient relationship existed at the time of the error in diagnosis.
- The doctor’s error qualifies as negligence; that is, it is a mistake that another competent doctor would not have made under the same conditions.
- The patient suffered harm as a direct result of the doctor’s negligence.
Doctors may fail to diagnose a maternal infection because they did not include the infection on the initial differential diagnosis list, they improperly interpreted test results, or they did not recognize the urgency of the symptoms. None are acceptable excuses.
Pregnant mothers trust their health and the health of their child to the medical experts. Your physicians should take any sign of infection seriously, and if they fail to diagnosis a serious infection, they should be held responsible.
If negligence caused your baby’s injury, our knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyers will fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. To speak to an experienced birth injury attorney, give our Denver office of Leventhal & Puga, P.C., call at (303) 759-9945. We will review your medical records and provide a no-cost evaluation of your case. If we believe you have a strong claim for compensation, we will represent you at no upfront cost, only taking a fee if we succeed in getting you a fair settlement or jury verdict.