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Seattle Maternal Infection Lawyers

Maternal Infections Leading to Brain Damage

Physicians have a duty to carefully monitor and promptly treat health conditions in pregnant women, including infections. Certain types of maternal infections can lead to infant brain damage, if left untreated. If your baby suffered brain damage caused by maternal infection, it is in your child's best interests to speak with a birth injury lawyer as soon as possible. You may have a medical malpractice claim for compensation against the health care provider.

Our Seattle birth injury attorneys at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. understand the importance of protecting the rights of your family and securing your baby's future. We have the resources, skills, and experience to help you pursue the compensation your child and your family will need in the years ahead.

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Infections in the Mother that Can Lead to Infant Brain Damage

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), infection is one of the main causes of newborn death worldwide. When left untreated, certain types of infections can cause infant brain damage, including:

  • Herpes
  • Rubella
  • Syphilis
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Group B Strep
  • Chorioamnionitis (intra-amnionic infection or IAI)

With proper medical care, infant brain damage from maternal infection can be prevented. For example, a woman must be tested early in pregnancy to ensure she has been vaccinated and developed immunity to Rubella. If not, she should be vaccinated without delay to help protect the child. Vaccination administered early in the pregnancy provides a high level of protection against the disease. The later in the pregnancy the vaccination is given, the less protection is provided for the unborn child.

The treating physician has a duty to closely observe the mother to rule out, or treat any serious health problems over the term of the pregnancy. If the doctor failed to adequately monitor the mother for infections known to cause serious harm to a fetus during pregnancy, or failed to diagnose and effectively treat an infection soon enough to protect the baby, it may be a case of medical negligence.

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Symptoms of Infant Brain Damage

Brain damage in a newborn child can cause developmental delays and disabilities, and a host of cognitive, perceptual, and physical symptoms. Common physical symptoms of brain damage shortly after birth include:

  • Abnormally large forehead
  • Very small head (as compared to other infants) (microcephaly)
  • Abnormally shaped spine
  • Neck stiffness
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Incessant crying
  • Need for "cold capping"
  • Neonatal Intensive Care
  • Seizures
  • Trouble sleeping while lying flat
  • Extreme fussiness for no apparent reason

Other common symptoms include:

  • Light sensitivity
  • Lethargy or extreme tiredness
  • Severe sleeping difficulties
  • Tremors
  • Paralysis

As the child grows older, missing developmental milestones may indicate brain damage. Developmental issues include delays in learning to crawl, sit up, pull up, grasp objects, walk, run, navigate stairs, or difficulties in feeding, and dressing. In some cases, brain damage sustained during pregnancy or at birth does not become evident until the child enters school, and encounters learning disabilities.

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Get Assistance from Our Maternal Infection Lawyers in Seattle

At Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., our Seattle practice is dedicated to representing people who have been injured by the negligence or wrongdoing of others. Contact us at (888) 228-3860 for a free consultation with no obligation if you believe your child suffered brain damage due to medical negligence in preventing, diagnosing, or treating maternal infection.

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