Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord). An extremely dangerous infection, meningitis can result in permanent paralysis, blindness, brain injury, coma or even death within a matter of hours. Newborns, whose immune systems have not developed, are particularly susceptible to infection. Pope & Howard, P.C., in Atlanta is extremely experienced at trying birth injury cases due to newborn meningitis.
Symptoms of newborn meningitis are often subtle at first, but quickly become more severe.
Symptoms of newborn meningitis can include:
- Lethargy or loss of appetite
- High fever
- Bulging or pulsing soft spot
- Shivering and difficulty breathing
Newborn meningitis can be caused by either a virus or bacterial infection. Viruses that cause meningitis in newborns include Coxsakie and herpes simplex. Bacterial meningitis, which is more common, can be the result of group B streptococcus, E coli, Listeria or Haemophilus influenza B (HiB). A newborn may contract bacterial meningitis through the placenta before birth or during the passage through the birth canal.
Good prenatal and postnatal care is an essential part of preventing newborn meningitis. Doctors should test for Group B strep in the last weeks of pregnancy. If the bacteria are present in the birth canal, the mother-to-be should be given antibiotics before delivery and to the baby after delivery. Pregnant women with herpes simplex may be put on anti-virals before delivery or may opt for a Caesarian (C-section) to avoid infecting the baby. Viral meningitis can be treated with the anti-viral medication acyclovir.
If the medical staff failed to diagnose and treat meningitis quickly and your child now is suffering from permanent brain damage, you may have a case. The experienced birth injury lawyers at Pope & Howard, P.C., in Atlanta, Georgia, have investigated cases like these for years, and know how to fight for the compensation you and your child deserve.