As a parent, you don’t want to hear that there’s a problem with your soon to be son or daughter. Or that a life-changing complication was discovered in the hours after their birth. An infection during pregnancy can have devastating consequences for you and your child. If untreated, maternal infection can result in a permanent birth injury or even death.
What Are Maternal Infections?
These are illnesses that affect both mother and fetus during pregnancy. While some common maternal infections, (such as flu or a cold) will very little impact on a pregnancy, there are a few that can result in serious health complications.
Below are several serious conditions that can pose a threat to your pregnancy.
The virus created by hepatitis b (HBV) is passed from mother to child during birth and targets the liver. Roughly 90% of infants born with the virus develop serious health issues such as liver failure or cancer. The disease can be prevented with early screening during pregnancy and treated with vaccination after delivery.
This is an infection of the membranes that surround the fetus. This disease is caused by bacteria that travel from the vagina into the uterus during pregnancy. Chorioamnionitis can cause cerebral palsy, meningitis and serious respiratory issues in infants with the disease. Antibiotics administered during pregnancy and conscious steps to reduce the chance of vaginal infection are considered the best treatment options.
Group B Streptococcus
Group B Strep (GBS) is an often-seen bacterial infection found in the rectum, gastrointestinal tract or vagina. It’s often difficult to detect and can be passed onto an infant if not treated during pregnancy. GBS has been known to result in infant death as well as medical complications that include pneumonia and sepsis. This disease is not sexually transmitted and can be found in up to 25% of healthy women. Testing via a simple swab test is thought to be the best method of combatting GBS before it can cause major harm.
Urinary tract infections
UTI, a bacterial inflammation of the urinary tract, are considered common during pregnancy due to natural changes in the body. If left untreated, urinary tract infections can spread to the kidneys and can cause premature labor or an underweight infant. Antibiotics such as penicillin, amoxicillin, and erythromycin are considered safe to take during pregnancy.
This sexually transmitted disease can be passed onto the fetus during gestation or to an infant during delivery. Syphilis carries many serious health risks for a newborn, including stillbirth, deformed teeth, neurological impairment, and vision/hearing damage. The disease is known to lie dormant for years and can resurface even after decades without symptoms. Syphilis can be treated with penicillin if discovered early on.
Maternal Infection Verdicts
New York, 2017: $26 million verdict
A mother of twin girls alleged that a hospital’s negligence caused the death of one child and was the source of the surviving child’s birth injuries. The plaintiff claimed that she developed chorioamnionitis from an untreated cervical infection, which led to her premature labor. While one child died from chorioamnionitis complications, the other child was born deaf with paralyzed vocal cords. The suit alleged that her complaints of cramping and spotting were symptoms of a potential premature labor. She alleged these complaints were ignored by her treating physicians. The defense countered that the patient’s condition at the time of her initial examination did not indicate any infection or premature labor. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff, awarding a $26 million verdict that was later capped under a $1.5 million high-low agreement.
Illinois, 2010: $29.2 million verdict
A first-time mother alleged that her treating doctors failed to diagnose and treat a Group B strep infection. In her lawsuit, she claimed that the defendants’ failure to administer antibiotics after her water had broken caused her child to develop cerebral palsy and quadriplegia. The defense denied any wrongdoing or any deviation from the accepted standard of care. At the conclusion of a bench trial, the plaintiff was awarded $29,159,535 in damages.
Getting a Lawyer
As seen in the verdicts below, you may be entitled to compensation if your child was injured due to an untreated infection. Call Miller & Zois today to speak to our Maryland birth injury medical malpractice attorneys at 800-553-8082 or get an online case evaluation.