The process of giving birth to a healthy child does not begin with the day that a child is born. Instead, extensive pre-natal healthcare and routine checkups are key to ensuring the health of both an unborn baby and his or her mother. Although most of the procedures that make up this care are routine, they can be critically important. When seemingly minor steps are missed, or test readings are misinterpreted, serious injuries and/or death can result.
For example, as part of their pre-natal care, woman are subjected to testing for Group B Strep infection, which is a bacteria that can be found in a woman’s vagina or rectum. Even amongst those who are healthy, this bacteria is found in 25 percent of women. This testing is important because the bacteria, when present, can be passed to a newborn baby, putting him or her at risk of heart instability, breathing difficulty, sepsis, pneumonia, kidney damage and meningitis.
Although only one out of every 200 babies born to mothers carrying the bacteria will become infected, the effects of this disease are too great to bear the risk. For this reason, medical professionals should ensure that pregnant women are tested for the bacteria between 35 and 37 weeks of pregnancy. When the bacteria is detected, pregnant women should be given antibiotics, perhaps even during birth, to protect the child.
As simple as giving this test may sound, far too many doctors and nurses are overworked, fatigued or simply inattentive, causing them to make errors in administering and interpreting the test. When this happens and a mother and/or her child suffer harm as a result, a medical malpractice claim may be justified. If successful on one of these birth injury claims, a victim may be able to recover compensation for damages suffered, which may include pain and suffering, medical expenses and even lost wages, if applicable.