Transmission of Herpes to a Baby Due to Medical Malpractice in Oregon

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Ask our Portland Birth Injury Lawyers How to Help After Transmission of Herpes to a Baby due to Medical Malpractice Occurs in Oregon

Although an often taboo topic, STDs in this country are a real, prevalent, and potentially, legal, problem. The World Health Organization, just this past May, titled one of their articles: “Massive proportion of world’s population are living with herpes infection.” If a pregnant mother has any STDs, like herpes, she must be carefully monitored. Herpes can tend to have dire consequences if the mother has contracted them. Complications during the pregnancy and delivery can occur if herpes are an issue, and it is of the utmost importance that the mother’s doctor and medical staff ensure transmission to the baby does not happen. Our Oregon Lawyers can assist you in determining if your doctor and medical staff were negligent in managing your herpes during your pregnancy and delivery.  This is because the transmission of herpes to a baby due to medical malpractice in Oregon.

The primary reason why the transmission of herpes to a baby due to medical malpractice is dangerous and even deadly is because it could result in herpes encephalitis.  This is an emergency medical condition that can cause permanent brain damage to a baby.  This condition is a swelling of brain tissue and has a very high mortality rate.  If the baby does survive the infection, it can result in significant brain damage and injuries to a baby that could result in conditions such as cerebral palsy, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), and other dangerous conditions to the rapidly-developing brain.

What is Herpes?

Herpes is a virus that can appear on various parts of the body, including the mouth and genitals. There are two types of herpes: HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is oral herpes, which impacts the mouth and surrounding skin, and appears as cold sores. HSV-1 is transmitted through sharing utensils, kissing, and any other mouth-to-mouth contact. HSV-2 is genital herpes, which is typically transmitted sexually, and appears as lesions. Both forms of herpes are viruses that a person has for life, even if dormant. However, even if dormant, both types of herpes can be transmitted. The first outbreak a person has is called primary herpes and episodes thereafter are called recurrent herpes.

How Newborns Contract Herpes

For women who desire to have children, there are many risks to assess if they have herpes. For a woman with herpes, there is risk of transmitting that on to their newborn. The Boston Children’s Hospital states that around 30 out of 100,000 births result in the transmission of herpes to the baby. 

The transmission is almost always through the birth canal. When a woman is in the third trimester and has herpes, the risk of transmission is the highest. If the herpes was contracted during the pregnancy, even if inactive at that time, risk of transmission is very high. If there are lesions currently on the birthing canal, the risk of transmission is also high. This is why C-sections are frequently performed–to avoid the baby passing through the vaginal canal during vaginal delivery. This is why the transmission of herpes to a baby due to medical malpractice in Oregon.

Signs a Newborn Has Contracted Herpes

If the herpes are transmitted, most herpes symptoms will show within the baby’s first week, with more severe symptoms in the second week.

If a newborn has herpes, they are likely to get an infection following the initial symptoms. Why this is so problematic is because, since a baby is not fully developed, their immune systems react more severely to the infection. Consequently, the infection can travel to the brain or through spinal fluid. Other symptoms of herpes contraction for babies includes:

  • Fever, even low-grade
  • Feeding problems
  • Skin blisters, even small
  • Seizures
  • Lethargy—floppiness
  • Eye inflammation
  • Blindness
  • Respiratory problems
  • Impact to vital organs
  • Jaundice 
  • Hypothermia
  • Encephalitis—brain inflammation/damage

What Can Be Done

As discussed earlier, herpes, either HSV-1, or HSV-2, is a forever virus. For babies, it can only be managed and contained—it cannot be cured. For babies infected with HSV-2, urgent medical care is required. The baby needs to be hospitalized for approximately 21 days, and be given fluids and medication. Even with this treatment, brain damage or death can occur.

If you have informed your OB-GYN that you have herpes, it is required that they care for you in a particular way. Many times, C-sections are performed, so as to not expose the baby to lesions through vaginal delivery. Other precautions need to be taken to prevent the transmission of herpes to a baby due to medical malpractice in Oregon.

Portland Birth Injury Lawyers Explain the Transmission fo Herpes to a Baby Due to Medical Malpractice in Oregon

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form.  We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.

Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton,  Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles,  St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.

We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.

For a free case evaluation


(541) 385-1999 in Bend, Oregon
(503) 479-3646 in Portland, Oregon
(612) 444-3374 in Minnesota

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