When a pregnant woman has an infection, it is paramount that her care providers recognize the symptoms, get an accurate diagnosis, and treat her promptly. In most cases, proper medical attention for an infection will prevent it from causing the fetus any harm during pregnancy or birth. Failure to diagnose or treat a maternal infection, though, can leave the infant at-risk for many complications.
If an obstetrician, doctor, or other healthcare provider failed to diagnose a maternal infection and your child suffered preventable injuries, illness, or disability, you may be able to hold the doctor or hospital liable. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at 1-800-222-9529 to get connected with an attorney in your state.
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Maternal Infections Lawsuits & Injury Cases
If your doctor failed to diagnose, adequately treat, or take proactive steps to protect your newborn from a maternal infection, you may be able to hold them liable by filing a medical malpractice case against them. To prove medical malpractice, you will need to show:
- The doctor or another care provider acted negligently, failing to uphold the standard of care.
- This failure caused your child to suffer birth injuries.
- Your child suffered diagnosed complications and injuries related to a maternal infection.
Proving this type of case typically relies on the help of a medical expert witness, usually another doctor who cares for pregnant women and understands the accepted standard of care in this type of case. Your birth injury attorney can help you identify a medical expert witness for your case.
If you can prove medical malpractice and take legal action before the statute of limitations runs out in your case, you may be eligible to recover damages that include:
- Medical care costs for both mother and baby
- Ongoing or future care costs to address complications from the maternal infection
- Out-of-pocket costs related to your infant’s birth injury
- Pain and suffering damages
- Mental anguish
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Maternal Infections Types
Many maternal infections can cause life-threatening complications for the mother and the baby, put the pregnancy at risk, or cause lifelong complications for the baby. Getting a prompt and accurate diagnosis and the necessary care is paramount to prevent serious injury to the mother or baby.
Some dangerous maternal infections include:
- Group B Streptococcus
- Herpes, hepatitis B, and other sexually transmitted diseases
- HIV and AIDS
- Urinary tract or kidney infections
Maternal Infections Causes
In general, infectious diseases with almost any cause can lead to a maternal infection that could affect the baby. This includes:
Not all illnesses are dangerous, though. Certain infections are known to cause birth defects, endanger the pregnancy, or put the mother’s life in jeopardy. This is also true of some types of infection that are not a significant threat to the mother but could hurt the baby or that are not usually a problem for healthy adults but may put pregnant women at risk.
Maternal Infections Symptoms
The symptoms of a dangerous maternal infection will vary depending on the type of infection. If you experience general feelings of malaise during pregnancy, have a fever, or have other signs of illness, contact your doctor right away.
Once the child is born, the symptoms they exhibit may vary, as well. If you knew about the infection, ensure the baby’s healthcare team knows. This will allow them to watch for specific symptoms or perform the right tests.
Maternal Infections Diagnosis and Treatment
How a maternal infection gets diagnosed and treated depends on the mother’s symptoms. As a part of routine prenatal care, doctors test for some common infections and immunity to others. Pregnant women may need to get vaccines if they lack immunity to some dangerous infections, such as rubella.
If the mother has symptoms, the doctors may perform a culture, blood test, or other tests to confirm a diagnosis and treat the infection.
When a baby is born following a maternal infection, its care providers should run tests or perform exams to rule out complications of that specific infection. Treatment for complications would depend on the specific needs of the newborn.
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Maternal Infections Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I have maternal infections?
If you are a pregnant woman and have any signs of illness, you should reach out to your doctor as soon as possible. If you had an infection while pregnant, your child may exhibit certain symptoms related to the complications possible from that infection.
Can maternal infections be fatal?
If left untreated, some maternal infections can put the baby’s or the mother’s life at risk. This is why it is vital to get a prompt and accurate diagnosis and care for any illness during pregnancy.
Who is liable for maternal infections?
A mother’s prenatal healthcare provider may be liable for birth injuries related to a maternal infection if:
- They fail to recognize a maternal infection
- Misdiagnose the condition
- Fail to treat the illness adequately
- Fail to take precautions to protect the infant from a maternal infection
Depending on the facts of the case, the clinic, hospital, or other parties may be liable, as well. Your attorney can help you identify the liable parties after they review the facts of your case, and work towards a fair settlement recovery in a birth injury claim.
What is the statute of limitations for maternal infections?
If your child suffered birth injuries caused by a maternal infection, the limits on how long you have to file a medical malpractice case depend on the laws in your state. Several laws work together to set this type of deadline. Your attorney will explain your state’s:
- Statute of limitations
- Any tolling for minor victims of malpractice
- Statute of repose
Maternal Infections Glossary Terms
- What is Postpartum Infection? Postpartum infections are infections that develop after the baby’s delivery, often in the uterus.
- What is Listeriosis? Listeriosis is a dangerous maternal infection caused by Listeria monocytogenes. Pregnant women and newborns are at particularly high risk. Most people get listeriosis from eating contaminated foods.
- What is Group B Streptococcus? Group B streptococcus is a common bacterium, but it can pose serious hazards to newborns because it lives in the lower gastrointestinal and genital tracts. Women with group B strep require antibiotics to protect their newborns.
Talk to a Birth Injury Lawyer About Maternal Infection Injuries
If your doctor failed to diagnose a maternal infection and your child suffered complications, you may be eligible to pursue damages for your family. The Birth Injury Lawyers Group is here to help. Call 1-800-222-9529 today to connect with a birth injury attorney in your state.