The birth of a baby is supposed to be a happy event and one that comes without complications. That was not the case for hundreds of newborns in a San Francisco hospital. In a recent announcement, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center has stated that babies and mothers in their “Mother & Infant Care Center” may have been exposed to tuberculosis. A hospital employee working in that unit was diagnosed with tuberculosis, a serious contagious disease. The hospital is providing antibiotic treatment to everyone who was potentially exposed during the time of mid-August through mid-November of this year.
Tuberculosis, called TB, is a highly infectious disease that can impact the lungs and other organs of the body. There are two types of tuberculosis including latent and active. Those who have latent TB do not show any symptoms and therefore cannot spread the disease. Active TB is infectious and can be spread to others. Symptoms of TB can begin slowly and progress over time. Some common symptoms are a cough, fever, chills, fatigue and weakness, loss of appetite, and shortness of breath. Those who have only one or two mild symptoms may not know that they have TB.
It is important to realize that the infant immune system is not fully developed, leaving them more vulnerable to infectious diseases than others. In this case, the newborns could be seriously harmed by TB, which could travel throughout the body in the bloodstream. Newborn babies cannot be tested for the infection like adults can, so they must be treated with antibiotics as a precautionary measure. The hospital stated that they feel the risk to infants in this case is minimal because the infected employee did not exhibit symptoms.
Concerns Over Infant Safety
Hospitals are considered to be safe environments. Care should be taken to ensure that a sterile environment is provided to patients, visitors, and employees. This is especially true of areas where newborn babies are being cared for. Babies are susceptible to many different illnesses and diseases if they are exposed to germs when they are young. In this instance, parents of babies born during the potentially infectious time period were notified and their babies will be inoculated. Hopefully, no babies or others contracted TB as a result of the incident. When a hospital or medical professional is negligent in its actions, the result is medical malpractice.
Medical Malpractice and Infant Injuries
Birth injuries and other injuries to newborns can often be avoided. In this instance, the infected nurse should have been more aware of her symptoms. This caused a very serious and frightening situation. When medical professionals are feeling ill they should not report to work, particularly when they are caring for infants. Better procedures must be put into place to ensure hospital safety. If your child was harmed during or after birth due to a medical mistake or negligence, you may be entitled to collect money for your damages. Contact the experienced birth injury attorneys at Levin & Perconti for a consultation.
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