Infections at Birth
Infections in newborns can be very dangerous, and in some cases, even fatal. If left undiagnosed and untreated, a newborn’s infection can adversely affect the baby’s growth and neurological, cardiac, respiratory and sensory development.
One type of infection that can be very harmful to newborns is bacterial meningitis. This type of meningitis is caused by group B streptococcus bacteria. Many women are carriers of group B streptococcus bacteria and, during delivery, the bacteria can infect the baby and spread to the baby’s brain and spinal cord fluid. The infection can cause brain damage or death if diagnosis or treatment is delayed.
Between weeks 35 and 37 of pregnancy, a woman’s doctor should perform a group B streptococcus test. If group B streptococcus bacteria is detected in an expectant mother, the woman may be treated with antibiotics to reduce the chance of infecting the baby at delivery. Signs that a newborn may be suffering from bacterial meningitis include fever or drop in temperature, breathing difficulty, unusual irritability, change in skin color, seizures and sleepiness.
Infection by group B streptococcus bacteria can also result in pneumonia or sepsis. Sepsis involves the spread of germs throughout the body and can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. The symptoms of sepsis are similar to those of meningitis.
Listeriosis is another type of bacterial infection that can cause pneumonia, sepsis or meningitis in a newborn. Listeriosis typically enters an expectant mother’s system through contaminated food. E. coli infections can also be passed from a mother to a baby during delivery, or through contact with the bacteria in the hospital.
If your newborn suffered from an infection, an experienced medical malpractice attorney at The McClelland Law Group can help get you compensation for your injuries.