NEW HAMPSHIRE NEWBORN INFECTIONS ATTORNEYS
The birth of a child should be the first of many more happy memories for a family. While most newborns in the New Hampshire area are delivered safely by experienced doctors and other attending medical professionals, the negligence of any medical professional during this crucial time could have profound consequences for your child. Among the most dangerous birth injuries your newborn may suffer include a number of highly preventable infections they may develop as a result of negligence.
If your newborn suffered an infection as a result of medical negligence on behalf of a New Hampshire area medical professional, you may seek financial restitution to addresses any resulting pain and suffering. Our New Hampshire newborn infection lawyers understand just how devastating these infections can be and we will do everything we can to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
COMMON NEWBORN INFECTIONS
As a result of a number of missteps made by a doctor or other medical professional, a newborn infant may contract a serious infection, such as one or more of the following:
- Group B Streptococcus
- Herpes Simplex
- Viral Respiratory Infections
- Bacterial Infections
Any of these infections may have a lasting effect upon a child; any medical professional responsible for your newborn’s infection may be held financially liable for any pain and suffering.
During the neonatal period (defined as the first 28 days of life), babies may be particularly vulnerable to the risk of contracting an infection because their immune systems haven’t been exposed to various bacteria, viruses or other pathogens.
The two most serious infections that can be contracted at birth are sepsis and meningitis. In some cases, infants can develop both. Around one-third of infants who develop sepsis also develop meningitis. What causes these infections can be attributed to a number of different bacteria, the most common of which include, Group B Streptococcus, E. Coli, and Listeria.
It is possible for a newborn to contract an infection while in utero, during the process of delivery, or after birth.
Before birth, there is a possibility of the baby contracting an infection from the mother. Infections contracted during pregnancy may lead to premature rupture of the uterine membrane, which can lead to premature labor and preterm delivery. This may lead to issues such as growth restriction, congenital malformation, spontaneous abortion, or other problems. Common in utero infections can include hepatitis, syphilis, and rubella.
More commonly, though, infants may contract an infection during delivery. If the baby passes through an infected birth canal, they are at risk of contracting infections such as the herpes simplex virus (HSV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or cytomegalovirus (CMV).
Another way that an infant can contract an infection is through contact with an infected mother or health provider. One example of this is HIV, which can be transmitted through the mother’s breast milk to her baby. Hospital-acquired infections are most commonly due to exposure to Candida albicans (yeast present in gut flora that can live outside the body) or Candida parapsilosis (a fungal yeast linked to the development of sepsis) that hospital staff transmit to the baby.
Symptoms of Newborn Infections
The symptoms of different infections are generally very similar. Some symptoms that many of these infections share include breathing problems, changes in body temperature or heart rate, sleepiness, and decreases in movement and activity.
Management of Newborn Infections
After symptoms of infection are detected in a newborn, the first course of action should be for a doctor to order diagnostic tests to identify whether an infection has occurred and, if so, what type of infection the baby has.
There are many different types of diagnostic tests that can be used to help determine a newborn’s condition and/or diagnose an infection. Physicians can order blood tests, blood cultures, and tests designed to identify viral DNA. Some other tests that may be used include urine tests such as a urine culture, or electrolytes tests. One thing that may be helpful is getting ear, nose and throat swabs to assist in the diagnosis.
When a baby is showing signs of respiratory distress, a physician can order a chest x-ray or arterial blood gases testing. An additional test that may be helpful is a polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which is a DNA sequence analysis that can rapidly detect viral and bacterial infections (just a few hours rather the days that are often required for the results of bacterial, fungal, and viral cultures).
Treatment of Newborn Infections
In most cases, newborn infections are treated with antimicrobial therapy. With bacterial infections, similar drugs to those used for treating the same conditions in adults are used in the treatment of infants. The frequency of administration and the dose of the drug are adjusted depending on the age and weight of the baby, and it is typically administered to the baby through an IV.
For bacterial skin infections, an antibacterial skin cream may be used, while viral infections are usually treating with an antiviral medication, known as acyclovir, that is administered through an IV.
Immediate treatment of the infection is important because infections can be very harmful, if not fatal, to newborns. However, if newborn infections are treated quickly, many newborns recover normally with no additional problems.
As research has advanced into the causes of newborn infections, there have been new guidelines implemented for infection assessment and treatment of pregnant mothers in the past two decades.
This has brought hopeful results. During the last twenty years, the incidence of newborn infections has dramatically decreased in the general population of the United States. However, certain populations within America still experience newborn infection rates that are much higher than average. These are most likely linked to economic status and standard of care issues.
CONTACT A NEW HAMPSHIRE NEWBORN INFECTION ATTORNEY
At Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, our New Hampshire newborn infection attorneys understand how troubling doctor or medical professional negligence can be, especially during the delivery of your child. We will aggressively pursue financial restitution from any negligent New Hampshire area medical professional who causes your newborn to develop an infection. To discuss the details of your case with one of our New Hampshire newborn infection attorneys today, please call us at (617) 426-4488.