Infection in Newborns (Sepsis, Meningitis, Encephalitis, and Pneumonia)
The immune systems of newborns are not as developed as those of adults, which means that babies are a lot more susceptible to diseases and infections than we are. Even simple infections can be life-threatening for a newborn. As such, we need to take extra precautions not to expose babies to pathogens.
There are some unavoidable cases, however, that lead to newborns at risk for infections. These include childbirth, hospital exposure, and many other environmental factors. When these cases happen, then the newborn must be monitored by a healthcare professional closely for infections. The appropriate responses must also be done. Failure to do so may have serious consequences. If you believe that the response of a healthcare professional was inadequate, you may file for malpractice.
Types of Infections in Newborns
There are many types of infections in newborns. These infections are usually classified based on where they infect or the type of infecting pathogen. Some notable infections include the following:
The body responds to infections by releasing different chemicals into the bloodstream. When sepsis occurs, the body’s response to an infection goes out of balance. This leads to an inflammation in different parts of the body and organ failure. Sepsis is life-threating in adults, but even more so in infants.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the layers surrounding the brain due to a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection. Newborn babies can acquire these pathogens during childbirth.
Encephalitis is another potentially life-threatening condition, characterized by an inflammation of the brain. A common cause of encephalitis in newborns is a viral infection.
Pneumonia refers to an infection of the lungs caused by either bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Pneumonia can lead to difficulty breathing, which is especially dangerous for newborns.
Mild cases are not too harmful if addressed immediately and properly. However, all of these infections can potentially be fatal. This is especially if the proper care in not administered in a timely manner. If you believe that your healthcare professional’s methods were inadequate, consider seeing a lawyer.
Where Do These Infections Come From?
Even a small number of bacteria or pathogens can lead to the occurrence of infections in babies. As such, parents and healthcare professionals must be extra careful regarding possible pathogen sources.
Among the most common sources of infections for babies include the following:
- Pregnancy and childbirth: Expecting mothers that suffer from bacterial, viral, or fungal infections can pass the pathogen to the baby. This can also happen during childbirth. If the pathogens are found in the reproductive tract, these can be transmitted to the infant being born.
- Nosocomial infections: Hospitals can potentially be a brewing ground for different diseases. In some cases, the infections can be caused by pathogens in hospitals. This should not be a problem, however, if the hospital staff observes proper protocols.
- Improper hygiene: Improper hygiene at home, especially with the newborn’s feeding items, can cause pathogens to grow. This can be prevented through proper cleaning.
Aside from those mentioned above, some environmental factors can also affect the chances of infections. For example, warm and damp environments can lead to the growth of bacteria and fungi. It pays to always be aware of these things to keep the newborn safe.
What to Watch Out For
There are many different types of infections that can affect babies, as was mentioned earlier. As a result, there are also many different signs to watch out for. Among the most common ones to look out for are the following:
- Difficulty in feeding or loss of appetite
- Difficulty in breathing or labored breaths
- Abnormally high or abnormally low body temperature
- Discoloration of the skin
- Changes in urination or defecation
- Weakness and low energy
- Problems with the heart or blood
If you spot these signs in your baby, make sure that you contact a healthcare professional. Adequate response is important to reduce the risks.
Did Your Newborn Suffer from an Infection? Contact The Clark Law Office May Be Able to Help You.
Many infections are not life-threatening as long as the adequate response is done. However, if the healthcare professional makes poor choices, then the baby is put at risk. Do you believe that more could have been done for your baby? If so, then consider filing a malpractice case. The Clark Law Office is the most experienced in Okemos, Michigan in dealing with birth injury cases. If you need legal assistance, we can help. You may call us at +1 (517) 347-6900.