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Pediatric Infections and Sepsis

Chicago medical malpractice attorney for infections during birth

Effects of Sepsis, Meningitis, and Other Types of Infections - Illinois Birth Injury Lawyer

During pregnancy and birth, children are very vulnerable, and they can be injured in a wide variety of ways. While physical harm is often the most noticeable type of injury, children can also suffer less visible injuries if they contract a viral or bacterial infection.

Common Types of Infections

In some cases, an infection may be contracted during birth because it is present in the delivery room, while in other situations, an infection may be transferred from the mother to the child during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. Some infections that are commonly contracted by infants include:

  • Toxoplasmosis - This parasite is often found in cat feces, and it may be contracted and passed to a child if a mother comes into contact with a cat's litter box. Antibiotics may be administered to the mother during pregnancy to address this infection, but if untreated, it can lead to premature birth, stillbirth, miscarriage, or neurological damage.
  • Group B Streptococcus (GBS) - This bacteria commonly lives in the intestinal tract, and it can be transferred to a child during delivery. An infant who contracts a strep infection may experience brain injuries, pneumonia, hearing loss, or blindness.
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) - This virus is commonly found in young children's saliva or urine, and an expectant mother who has children or who works at a school or daycare may contract it and pass it to her baby. When untreated, CMV can lead to miscarriage, birth defects, anemia, epilepsy, blindness, or hearing loss.
  • Foodborne illnesses - A mother may contract bacteria such as listeria, E. coli, or salmonella by eating food that is undercooked or contaminated. Children who are infected with these illnesses may experience high fevers, difficulty breathing, or pneumonia.
  • Sexually transmitted infections - Viruses such as HIV or herpes simplex virus may be passed from a mother to her child. While these may not always cause immediate injuries, they can affect a child's health and well-being throughout their life.

While some types of infections may directly affect a child, others can affect a mother in a way that causes injury to an infant. These types of infections may include:

  • Chorioamnionitis - This type of infection will affect the uterus and placenta. It can be especially dangerous, because inflammation of the placenta can reduce blood flow and oxygen to the child, which can lead to conditions such as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) or Cerebral Palsy.
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI) - An infection in the bladder, kidneys, or urinary system can lead to a variety of complications, including premature birth, low birth weight, or intrauterine growth restriction.

Sepsis and Meningitis

When a bacterial or viral infection spreads throughout a child's bloodstream, the body releases chemicals to fight the infection, and this can cause inflammation of organs such as the heart, kidneys, or brain. This can be incredibly dangerous, leading to heart failure or respiratory problems. When the brain is affected, inflammation can cause brain damage that may result in conditions such as HIE, neonatal strokecystic encephalomalacia, or Cerebral Palsy.

Infections may also take the form of meningitis, which affects the membranes in the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. The inflammation of these membranes can cause irreversible damage to brain cells or nerves. When a child contracts meningitis, they may experience cognitive impairment, intellectual disabilities, and developmental disorders.

Addressing Birth Injuries From Infections or Sepsis

Infections during pregnancy or birth can be incredibly harmful to a child. Doctors, nurses, and other medical staff should take steps to prevent infections during labor and delivery. If a pregnant mother has been diagnosed with an infection, the proper treatment should be administered to minimize the risk of injury to the baby.

If your child has suffered an injury that was the result of an infection, this can have a serious impact on their long-term health. The costs of treating any conditions resulting from the infection can be high, and you should be sure to understand your options for receiving financial compensation. At the Birth Injury Law Alliance, we provide free consultations and case evaluations, and we are ready to work with you to help you determine your best options for receiving financial help for your child's treatment. To learn more, contact us at 312-945-1300.

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