About Fetal Sepsis Birth Injury
Fetal sepsis (also called neonatal sepsis) is a preventable blood infection. It occurs when bacteria or viruses enter the baby’s blood stream. A baby’s developing immune system is often powerless to fight the sepsis—this problem is exacerbated when the baby is premature. Without treatment, these infections can directly penetrate the brain, or it can cause major organ damage to kidneys and lungs. When untreated, the mortality rate is about 50%.
Risk Factors for Fetal Sepsis
- Maternal Group B streptococcus infection
- Infection (like chorioamnionitis)
- Unavoidable preterm delivery
- Rupture of membranes more than 24 hours earlier
Preventing and Treating Fetal Sepsis
Fetal sepsis can be prevented by treating a mother who has Group B streptococcus with antibiotics. Other infections should be managed, and the baby should typically be delivered shortly after rupture of membranes.
When prevention efforts are inadequate, the baby may have symptoms including respiratory problems, temperature fluctuations, diarrhea, seizures, sucking problems, vomiting, jaundice and bradycardia (low heart rate). Careful doctors will perform diagnostic tests, including blood tests, to verify sepsis. If the baby is quickly treated with antibiotics, he will have a better chance of avoiding serious injury. Intravenous fluids and ventilators are often helpful. With inadequate treatment, however, the baby is at risk of cerebral palsy, developmental delays, and other injuries.
If your baby was injured during labor and delivery or soon after birth, contact our birth injury lawyers at (855) 712-7818 or online. We have practiced in many states across the United States, and we can help you to find answers to your questions.
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