There are various injuries and illnesses that can mar the joys of childbirth. One such illness is neonatal herpes encephalitis or neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). HSV is a serious infection that can cause serious long-term damage to the baby’s health, and if left untreated, it can even cause death. This infection can be transmitted to the baby during delivery through an infected genital tract of the mother or can be transmitted from one newborn to another by the hospital staff. HSV can be classified into three forms:
- Skin, eyes and mouth simplex (SEM)
- Central Nervous System herpes (CNS)
- Disseminated Herpes (DIS)
In some cases, the infant may have all three forms of HSV. In this post, Chicago birth injury lawyer will discuss this condition is greater detail.
Common symptoms of neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)
Neonatal HSV can present a wide variety of symptoms that include, but are not limited to:
- Body stiffness
- Blisters on the surface of the skin
- Respiratory distress
- Rapid onset of fever or temperature instability fever
The symptoms displayed by the baby are indicative of the form of the HSV that he/she has. In most cases, the symptoms of HSV present themselves between the first and third week of life, but in some cases, they may not be noticeable until four weeks of life.
If you think that your newborn has some kind of an infection, you should immediately take the child to the doctor for complete examination. In case HSV is suspected, the doctor may perform a microscopy of the skin lesions or an HSV culture.
Can neonatal HSV be treated?
It is extremely important that neonatal HSV is treated promptly. The doctors must treat this infection with an acyclovir IV for two to three weeks. The dosage would depend on various factors including the form of infection that the baby has. Support therapy such as respiratory support and additional fluids may also be required. Constant monitoring is also required to ensure that the infant is stable.
Can medical negligence cause neonatal HSV?
There are some ways in which medical negligence can cause the baby to contract HSV. In most cases, negligence on the part of medical provider will hold them responsible for any long term damage sustained from HSV. Some ways in which the doctor can act negligently include:
- Failure to diagnose or treat Herpes Simplex Virus in a pregnant woman in a timely manner
- Failure to inform a pregnant woman on potential risks of delivery methods
- Failure to diagnose or treat Herpes Simplex Virus in the baby in a timely manner
- Failure to deliver the baby by cesarean section to avoid risks for infection
If your baby has suffered long term damage as a result of doctor’s failure to diagnose and treat HSV in a timely manner, you should in touch with a competent and experienced Chicago birth injury lawyer to understand your legal rights.