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What Types of Maternal Infections Can Lead to Infant Injury or Death?

Posted on in Birth Injury

Chicago birth injury lawyerAnticipating the birth of a new child is often one of the most exciting times in a mother’s life. Unfortunately, many mothers have seen their joy turn to fear after experiencing an unexpected complication during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. One complication that can be especially dangerous to the health of the baby and the mother is a maternal infection. If a pregnant woman develops an infection and it is not treated properly, the pathogens may be passed on to the developing baby. Newborns can also develop an infection from bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens that are present in the hospital delivery room.

Some Maternal Infections Can Cause Life-Threatening Injuries

Although minor maternal infections, such as a common cold, may not pose a major risk to the baby, other infections can be life-threatening. Infections that can be especially dangerous to an infant include:

  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTI): Most people experience a urinary tract infection at least once in their life. Typically, these infections are easily treated with antibiotics and do not cause any long-term damage. However, if a pregnant mother develops a UTI and it is not treated properly, the infection can cause premature birth, sepsis, preeclampsia, and low birth weight.

  • Toxoplasmosis: You may love your pet cat like a family member and be unaware of the potential danger your feline friend can pose to your unborn child. A parasite called Toxoplasma gondii that is found in cat feces can put your baby’s life in danger. Toxoplasmosis can cause birth defects, miscarriage, and stillbirth.

  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV): Pregnant mothers who spend a lot of time around young children are especially at risk of contracting CMV. The virus can cause anemia, blindness, epilepsy, hearing loss, and even miscarriage. An undiagnosed or improperly treated cytomegalovirus infection can also result in your baby developing hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and cerebral palsy.

  • Group B Streptococcus (GBS): Bacteria in the mother’s intestines can sometimes be transferred to the baby during birth. GBS can cause the baby to develop pneumonia, brain injuries, hearing loss, or blindness.

Liability for Maternal Infections

Doctors should be aware of the risks of infection during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. A doctor may be liable for harm caused by a maternal infection if he or she fails to order the appropriate blood tests or otherwise fails to diagnose and properly treat a maternal infection. In some cases, the hospital may be liable if a laboratory or administrative mistake results in inaccurate test results or if inadequate hospital sanitation is the cause of the infection. When an infant or his or her mother is injured due to instances of medical negligence such as these, the mother may be entitled to compensation.

Contact a Cook County Birth Injury Lawyer

At Birth Injury Law Alliance LLC, we help parents determine whether or not their child’s injury or death was a result of medical negligence. Depending on the circumstances, the parents may have a valid medical malpractice claim. To learn more, call us today at 312-945-1300 to schedule a free consultation with a skilled Chicago medical negligence attorney.

 

Sources:

https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/urinary-tract-infections-during-pregnancy/

https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/pregnancy/what-are-the-risks-of-toxoplasmosis-during-pregnancy/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022347620303498

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