Zika Virus Outbreak Shines Light on Infections, Birth Injuries

The news has shone new light on a dangerous virus known as Zika in recent weeks. Transmitted by mosquitoes in the Western Hemisphere, the Zika virus can lead to symptoms including fever, vomiting, fatigue, headache, chills, rash, loss of appetite, red eyes and joint pain. However, the danger this virus poses is significant for pregnant women and the potential birth injuries an infection can cause.

The Zika virus has been tied to the development of microcephaly in newborn infants when the mother is infected during pregnancy. Microcephaly, as many parents of children with Cerebral Palsy know, is a condition marked by a significantly small head and unique brain damage that pose challenges down the road. The capacity of the Zika virus to cause a birth injury makes this condition extremely important, but will hopefully also shine a light on the role infections can have on a fetus.

Infections are one of many different causes of birth injuries that can lead to a wide assortment of challenges for the child affected. Possible infections resulting in a birth injury tied to Cerebral Palsy and other conditions include sepsis, encephalitis, meningitis, congenital problems, complications from premature rupture of membranes, neonatal hypoglycemia and more. Ranging from the common flu all the way to viruses like West Nile and Zika, infections impacting the mother can significantly impact the health of the child growing within her and require serious medical attention.

A doctor’s due diligence and proper medical support requires them to be proactive in limiting the effects a mother’s infection has on the unborn child. Through a wide assortment of treatment, including medication, hospitalization, therapy, bed-rest, diet, etc., a doctor’s job is to ensure that the health of mother and child are maintained. The failure to take an infection concern seriously is not only troubling, but worthy of legal attention.

Our hope is that the amount of attention being paid to the Zika virus casts light on the profound role infections can have on the health of a child, both in pregnancy and for years to come. The New York Times’ piece on the role of viruses like Zika in the birth defects of children highlights the sort of widening approach that will hopefully continue as this challenge is faced. When the population better understands the significance of infections in their child’s health, birth injuries like Cerebral Palsy may decrease. In short, awareness of the wide range of causes of conditions like CP can not only help in prevention, but also assist in pursuing options should a birth injury occur.

If your pregnancy was marred by an infection, it is important that you request a Medical Legal Review to examine the medical care provided and if your child’s Cerebral Palsy was preventable. In the event the medical care you received is deemed to have been inadequate or divergent from standards of care, your child can be eligible for Lifetime Benefits that help with costs associated with helping him or her reach their full potential through a special needs trust. Call us at (800) 462-5772 or fill out our online form for more information on how we can help you and your child.

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