Chorioamnionitis is an infection of the amniotic fluid and placenta. A complication that affects as much as two percent of births, according to Cleveland Clinic, chorioamnionitis can cause preterm birth, sepsis, brain injury, and lung disease in the developing baby.
Infant Chorioamnionitis Lawsuits & Injury Cases
If you had chorioamnionitis during your pregnancy, and your newborn baby suffered an injury or health condition as a result, your physician and/or the health care professionals handling your delivery may be liable for medical malpractice.
Lawyers must prove the following to hold the at-fault party liable for your baby’s injuries:
- The medical provider was required to uphold the standard of care: The level of skill and care that a healthcare provider with similar training would have demonstrated in a similar situation.
- Breach: How the medical provider failed to measure up to the medical standard of care.
- Causation and Injury: The medical professional’s breach of duty caused measurable injury to the baby.
Your lawyer can also provide expert testimony from medical witnesses who share the same profession, specialty, and experience as the defendant.
An infant chorioamnionitis lawyer will review the medical records and prognosis for the infant and pair it with expert opinions from economists, vocational therapists, and life-care planning professionals to calculate the full range of damages that you have assumed and will continue to endure.
The types and amounts of damages an attorney will seek on your behalf depend upon the nature and severity of injuries your baby suffers as a result of the chorioamnionitis. Examples of the types of damages you might receive include:
- Past, present, future and ongoing medical care
- Physical therapy
- Assistive devices, such as wheelchairs and other specialized equipment
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Income lost as a result of parents having to care for a disabled infant and child
- Special education costs
- Loss of consortium
Infant Chorioamnionitis Types
Four categories of chorioamnionitis exist:
- Histologic chorioamnionitis – Fetal membranes show inflammatory cells
- Clinical chorioamnionitis – Mother has a fever over 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and two or more clinical signs, such as uterine tenderness and foul-smelling amniotic fluid
- Maternal inflammatory response – Mother displays inflammation in subchorion, chorion, or amnion
- Fetal inflammatory response – Fetus shows inflammatory changes in the umbilical cord
Infant Chorioamnionitis Causes
If a bacterial infection enters the uterus, chorioamnionitis can result. Once inside the uterus, the infection affects the placental tissues and amniotic fluid. Group B Streptococcus can cause chorioamnionitis, but usually, the organisms that generate the infection are those that typically exist in the vagina.
If the amniotic sac is broken for a lengthy period, these organisms travel upward from the vagina into the uterus, and this is where chorioamnionitis develops.
Maternal risk factors for chorioamnionitis include:
- Ruptured fetal membranes, in which the water has broken for an extended period of time.
- Premature labor, which is preterm labor that starts at least three weeks before the mother’s due date.
- Long labor
- Previous chorioamnionitis
- Epidural anesthesia being used during labor
- Frequent vaginal examinations
- Infections in the genital tract, including Group B streptococcus and sexually transmitted infections
- Internal fetal monitoring
- Use of tobacco or alcohol
Infant Chorioamnionitis Symptoms
Because the symptoms of chorioamnionitis symptoms may easily be confused with other medical conditions, it is crucial to obtain a diagnosis from a physician. Furthermore, the symptoms can manifest differently from one woman to the next.
Common symptoms include:
- Foul-smelling amniotic fluid
- Fetus and mother experience increased heart rate
- Uterus is painful or tender
Infant Chorioamnionitis Diagnosis and Treatment
A doctor can identify chorioamnionitis before delivery, during delivery, and for a period up to 24 hours after delivery. The physician will evaluate symptoms and conduct laboratory tests to check for the infection (including blood tests, amniocentesis, and ultrasounds), on top of performing a comprehensive review of the mother’s medical history and a physical examination.
If the doctor confirms chorioamnionitis, they will treat the infection using antibiotics, which they may continue to administer after delivery. The diagnosis may result in the delivery of the baby if the fetus is in danger or to prevent further complications in the mother.
Infant Chorioamnionitis Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my baby has Infant Chorioamnionitis?
Chorioamnionitis can manifest in a variety of ways in babies after delivery. The first warning sign could be a preterm birth. Other indicators of infection include pneumonia, meningitis, sepsis, and deafness. If a newborn baby presents these signs and symptoms, the doctor should test the baby for chorioamnionitis.
Can Infant Chorioamnionitis be fatal?
Yes, chorioamnionitis can be fatal. Although rare, complications from the infection can prove fatal to the infant. Early diagnosis and treatment are the best tools to fight such complications.
Who is liable for Infant Chorioamnionitis?
Ideally, your chorioamnionitis would have been diagnosed and treated before labor and delivery. The delivery team should have been monitoring for any signs of the infection, testing for chorioamnionitis if signs present themselves, and treating the infection early to lower the infant’s risk of infection and decrease the likelihood of potential complications.
When chorioamnionitis is not detected, diagnosed, and/or treated before delivery, it falls upon the delivery team to identify and diagnose. In these cases, the medical team lacks time to perform the proper diagnostic procedures via lab tests and typically make a determination of infection based on observation of clinical symptoms.
If any of the health care providers along the chain of pregnancy, labor, and delivery fail to take the proper steps to identify, diagnose, treat, and respond to chorioamnionitis, and the infant suffers physically as a result, any or all of the involved parties may be liable for medical malpractice.
What is the statute of limitations for Infant Chorioamnionitis?
How long you have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit varies depending on the state where your child was born. Each state has its own laws that apply in these cases, including a statute of limitations, a statute of repose, and the possibility of tolling for minors. Your attorney can help you understand the deadlines that apply in your case.
Infant Chorioamnionitis Glossary Terms
- Amniocentesis – A medical procedure whereby the doctor removes amniotic fluid from the uterus for testing
- Diaphoresis – Unexplained, excessive sweating
- Fetal Tachycardia – Abnormal increase in the fetal heart rate
Get Help With an Infant Chorioamnionitis Birth Injury Claim
An attorney can review your medical case, free of charge, and inform you of your legal options for holding health care professionals liable for your infant’s chorioamnionitis. Your lawyer can help you file your birth injury claim and will work to see that you receive compensation for your economic and emotional losses. Call today at 1-800-222-9529.