According to researchers at the Mayo Clinic, there are certain types of maternal infections that can occur during pregnancy that can increase the risk of brain damage to the baby, which could potentially lead to cerebral palsy (CP). If your doctor fails to detect and treat maternal infection appropriately and it causes an injury to your child, that could be considered medical negligence.
Types of Maternal Infection
Many maternal infections are conditions with few or no signs or symptoms. If it is not detected during a routine screening and treated promptly, the effect on the infant can be catastrophic. It can be deadly or cause permanent injuries if passed to an infant during pregnancy or delivery. Here are some common maternal infections that you can be screened for:
- Group B strep (GBS) – A form of bacteria found normally in the gastrointestinal tract, vagina, and rectal region in 15 – 45 percent of women. The majority of women with a Group B strep maternal infection or GBS have no signs or symptoms. GBS infection can be detected by a simple prenatal test at your physician's office. The treatment is a course of antibiotic therapy. If untreated and the infant contracts the infection, it could cause pneumonia, sepsis, brain injuries or even death.
- Rubella (German measles) – Rubella, also called German measles or three-day measles, is a contagious viral infection best known by its distinctive red rash. The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, usually given to children in the United States twice before they reach school age, is highly effective in preventing rubella. The mother can be tested to be certain she is immune to rubella. This is a simple blood test performed at the beginning of the pregnancy. If she is not immune, she cannot receive the vaccine while pregnant. If not immune, the mother should avoid anyone with the virus. If she contracts rubella while pregnant, it could be devastating for the baby, causing miscarriage, multiple birth defects or other developmental problems.
- Syphilis – Syphilis is a bacterial infection usually spread by sexual contact. The disease starts as a painless sore and can lie dormant in the body for decades before becoming active again. Early syphilis can be cured, sometimes with a single injection of penicillin. Syphilis can be transmitted to your baby through the placenta or by contact with a sore during delivery. The mother should be tested for Syphilis at her first prenatal appointment. If the test is positive, she will be treated with Penicillin. Syphilis can be devastating for a pregnancy, causing miscarriage or stillbirth. Untreated Syphilis can also increase the risk of pre-term labor. If the baby is born with Syphilis, he or she may develop bone and teeth deformities, loss of vision or hearing, or other serious neurological problems.
- Varicella (chickenpox) – Chickenpox (varicella) was once common in children before routine chickenpox vaccinations. When chickenpox does occur, it's highly contagious among people who aren't immune. Most people think of chickenpox as a mild disease — and, for most, it is. Unfortunately, it's very dangerous as a maternal infection.
Maternal Infection and Medical Negligence
If your doctor failed to detect a maternal infection and your baby was injured as a result, call Sokolove Law today. Medical negligence happens. It’s important to hold responsible parties accountable. Caring for a child with cerebral palsy or another brain injury can be expensive. Taking legal action could lead to a monetary settlement that will help lessen the financial burden on your family. Also, taking action might help prevent the same kind of medical negligence from happening to another person. Call us today for a free consultation with a nurse case manager.