Failure to Diagnose Maternal Infections

August 28, 2017 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Failure to Diagnose Maternal Infections

Clearwater Birth Injury Lawyers Helping People Injured by Medical Malpractice

If you believe that you had an undiagnosed maternal infection that resulted in injury to yourself or your child, you should speak to an attorney as soon as you can. In many cases, the fact that an infection went undiagnosed during pregnancy is a result of medical malpractice, meaning that victims are often entitled to financial compensation for their losses.

When pregnant women see a physician for prenatal care, they rightfully expect that the care they receive will avoid preventable complications and make them aware of any risk or issues that may arise. Unfortunately, every year, physicians fail to diagnose serious maternal infections that can cause significant complications for mother and child alike.

Medical Malpractice and the Standard of Care

Medical malpractice is a type of professional negligence that occurs when a physician or other medical professional provides treatment that fails to meet the standard of care. In Florida, this standard is “that level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers.”

Not every case where a physician failed to diagnose a maternal infection will necessarily rise to the level of medical malpractice. The main issue is whether a reasonable physician could have also missed the diagnosis. If for example, a doctor failed to perform a routine blood panel that is part of standard prenatal care that would have uncovered the infection, it is highly likely that the failure to diagnose would constitute medical malpractice. On the other hand, if a pregnant woman had an uncommon, asymptomatic infection that routine testing would not have revealed, it would likely not result in an actionable claim.

Many Maternal Infections Have the Potential to Cause Serious Birth Defects and other Issues

Not every infection that a woman develops while pregnant is a cause for concern. For example, if you catch a cold or develop a sinus infection while pregnant, there is generally no reason to worry, and your course of treatment will be the same as it would be if you were not pregnant. There are some infections, however, that, if left untreated, can result in serious health issues for you and your baby. Some of the most common are detailed below.

Chicken Pox – While most of us think of chicken pox as a childhood rite of passage that typically resolves on its own, it can cause serious complications when you are pregnant, including maternal pneumonia. In addition, your baby could develop congenital varicella syndrome, which can result in skin scarring, underdeveloped arms and legs, ocular inflammation, and other serious issues. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you are thinking about getting pregnant and have not had chicken pox or received the chicken pox vaccine, you should talk to your physician about getting vaccinated. In addition, you should wait at least three months after your 2nd dose of the vaccine before trying to get pregnant.

Rubella – Commonly referred to as “German Measles,” in the past, Rubella was a common childhood infection that typically involved a telltale rash. When a Rubella vaccine became available during the 1960s, the chances of developing the infection decreased significantly. While the disease is relatively uncommon today, the fact that it can cause extremely serious issues for unborn babies means that women should always be tested for Rubella when they first learn that they are pregnant. If an infant does get rubella from his or her mother, it can result in hearing and vision problems, congenital heart disease, miscarriage, and even still birth.

Toxoplasmosis – Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection that can be caused by contact with cat feces, soil, and undercooked meat. If toxoplasmosis is transferred to an unborn baby, it can result in problems with hearing, vision, and even blindness. Importantly, people who have toxoplasmosis may not exhibit any symptoms of infection, so it is critical for pregnant women to get tested as early as they can in their pregnancy.

Hepatitis B According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, approximately 90 percent of women with an acute hepatitis B infection will pass it along to her child, and between 10 and 20 percent with a chronic hepatitis B infection will do the same. When a pregnant woman passes hepatitis B onto her child, it can result in serious, lifelong complications, so it is imperative for pregnant women to get tested as soon as they can.

What a Birth Injury Lawyer in Clearwater Can Do for You

Anyone who believes that their child has sustained a birth injury because of an undiagnosed maternal infection should speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. Some of the specific ways that a lawyer can help birth injury victims and their families include the following:

  • Determine whether you have an actionable claim
  • Represent you in communications with the insurance company handling your claim
  • Negotiate a settlement that compensates you and your child for all of your losses, including speculative future losses
  • File a lawsuit on your behalf
  • Represent you in court

Remember, insurance companies that represent doctors and hospitals are professionals when it comes to limiting their liability for medical errors. As a result, it is critical that birth injury victims retain the representation of an experienced attorney.

Call the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA Today to Speak with a Clearwater Birth Injury Attorney

If you or your child have been injured because a physician failed to diagnose an infection while you were pregnant, you should speak to a Clearwater birth injury lawyer as soon as you can. At the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we are committed to helping the victims of birth injuries recover for their losses and work hard to ensure that each client we represent obtains the full and fair value of her claim. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call our office today at 727-451-6900. If you would prefer to send us an email, please fill out and submit our online contact form available here.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 727-451-6900


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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