The birth of a child is the happiest moment in most parents’ lives. Unfortunately, if your baby is born with an injury or infection, you may go from elated to anxious and afraid within weeks, days, or even hours.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Group B streptococcus (strep) is the leading cause of infection in newborns. It is highly preventable with appropriate medical intervention. Unfortunately, not all medical professionals uphold the expected standard of care. If your family has suffered because of a Group B strep misdiagnosis, a Los Angeles Group B strep infection misdiagnosis lawyer may be able to help you bring those responsible to justice. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at 800-794-0444 for a free, no-obligation case review.
What Is Group B Strep?
Group B strep is a bacterial infection found in a person’s digestive tract, urinary tract, or genital area. In healthy people, the immune system can usually combat the infection without the need for medical intervention. However, certain groups—including pregnant women, babies, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems—are at high risk of severe and potentially life-threatening complications.
Conditions Associated with Group B Strep
According to Cedars-Sinai, Group B strep can have potentially dangerous short-term and long-term implications for both mother and baby.
Common complications that babies can suffer due to Group B strep include:
- Sepsis (blood poisoning)
- Pneumonia (respiratory infection)
- Meningitis (infection of the brain lining)
These complications can be deadly or result in long-term disabilities such as:
- Cerebral palsy
- Brain injury
- Serious learning difficulties
Mothers can also be affected, not only emotionally but physically as well. Women who give birth with untreated Group B strep have a higher risk of endometritis due to an infection called chorioamnionitis. There is also a higher risk of urinary tract infections, which can lead to preterm labor and birth, and women with Group B strep are more likely to need a c-section for delivery.
Risk Factors for Group B Strep
ACOG states that most newborns who are infected by Group B strep receive the bacteria from their mother during labor or after the membranes rupture. Approximately half of women who have Group B strep will transmit the bacteria to their babies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if intrapartum antibiotics are used, there is a one in 4,000 chance the baby will develop the disease. However, without intrapartum antibiotics, there is a one in 200 chance the baby will develop the disease.
Other risk factors include:
- Very low birth weight
- Premature birth (less than 37 weeks)
- Prolonged rupture of membranes
- Intraamniotic infection
- A young mother
Testing & Prevention for Group B Strep
The CDC states that antibiotics are a safe and highly effective means of preventing a baby’s development of Group B strep. However, these antibiotics must be given during labor. Beta-lactams, a type of antibiotic that includes penicillin and ampicillin, are the most common prescription. However, mothers who are severely allergic to penicillin or similar drugs may receive another type of antibiotic.
Because Group B strep bacteria naturally occur and pass through the body, ACOG recommends that doctors screen women late in their pregnancy at 36 or 37 weeks. The test involves a painless swab of the vaginal-rectal region. If the woman is positive, the doctor should administer an antibiotic. The only exception is if a C-section is planned prior to labor and membranes are intact to shield the baby from vaginal-rectal fluids and the bacteria within. Ideally, ACOG states that women should be given four hours of antibiotic treatment—but two hours of exposure can also greatly reduce the risk of transmission.
Legal Options for Birth Injuries
While financial awards cannot heal your child’s injuries, they can equip your family with the resources you need to cope, heal, and move forward. A Los Angeles Group B strep infection misdiagnosis lawyer with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you determine what damages to pursue.
These may include:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses
- Costs of long-term treatment, including physical therapy and in-home care
- Emotional pain and anguish
- Funeral and burial expenses if your child died from their injuries
Statute of Limitations
You have limited time to pursue justice against the healthcare provider you believe is responsible for your Group B strep misdiagnosis. A Los Angeles Group B strep infection misdiagnosis lawyer can help ensure that you abide by the statute of limitations.
Per California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) § 340.5, parents have eight years to bring a suit for a birth injury. This is much longer than the standard one-year limit for most medical malpractice cases and allows parents to determine the extent of the damages more accurately. For instance, some birth injuries require multiple operations and long-term treatment. Others cause permanent disability that can affect both the child and their family significantly.
If your medical provider was part of a public entity rather than a private medical group, the statute of limitations—and the process of filing a suit—is significantly different. If your child was born and injured in a public hospital or other facility, you only have six months in California to pursue justice.
For a free legal consultation with a Group B Strep Infection Misdiagnosis Lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (800) 794-0444
Let a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Fight for You
Patients put their trust in medical providers, expecting to receive competent and compassionate care. For pregnant women, this expectation to receive a reasonable level of care is especially crucial—the lives of two people are hanging in the balance.
If your doctor failed to diagnose or address a Group B strep infection, resulting in injuries to you or your child, a Los Angeles Group B strep infection misdiagnosis lawyer may be able to help. Our team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can support you by investigating and gathering evidence, establishing a breach of duty of care, and seeking financial awards on your behalf. They can also represent you in negotiations or a court of law.
We work on a contingency basis, which means there are no upfront or out-of-pocket costs. We will only collect a fee if we win your case. To learn more, call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at 800-794-0444.