When a Doctor’s Mistake leads to Mother to Child HIV Transmission
An Overview of HIV
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a condition in which the immune system is attacked, allowing the potential for life-threatening illnesses, cancer and ultimately AIDS. A compromised immune system can make it difficult for an individual to fight off typical bacteria and viruses that healthy people can combat.
Symptoms of HIV don’t always show up immediately. In fact, it can take up to 10 years before they manifest. During this time the immune system continues to weaken, increasing the risk of developing AIDS. Those with HIV can transmit the disease to others.
Pregnant mothers with HIV can pass it onto their children. If doctors are aware that the mother has the condition, they will need to take precautionary steps to protect the fetus. A failure to do so could result in deadly consequences.
Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission
Mothers can pass HIV onto their children while still in the womb or during delivery. This is known as perinatal transmission. However, they also can transmit it through breast milk.
While some children will not acquire HIV despite the mother being infected, the risk is significant enough that doctors must take measures to reduce the chance of transmission.
The most important step is to recognize that the mother has HIV. A failure to detect symptoms could be a case of medical negligence.
Some of the symptoms that may indicate a mother has HIV include:
- ulcers over a patch of skin;
- non-Hodgkins lymphoma; and
- ulcers in the mouth or genital area.
Mothers who have HIV need to be properly treated so that it is not transmitted to their children. Not only should breastfeeding be discouraged, but also medication administered during the late stages of pregnancy and delivery can reduce the risk of transmission.
HIV can affect not only a child’s quality of life, but also the duration of it. While some can live with HIV until an old age, others will develop AIDS and other serious complications, leading to premature death.
If your baby contracted HIV due to a doctor’s preventable mistake, then it could lead to the filing of a medical malpractice claim. To understand your rights and the legal options you have available, it would be in your best interest to consult with a Lorain County birth injury lawyer.
Lawyers can help you assemble the evidence that will help build a solid case. They can also call on medical experts to provide testimony that demonstrates a doctor’s negligence was the cause of your child’s injuries.