• Overview of Baby Meningitis
  • February 18, 2011
  • Law Firm: The Becker Law Firm - Cleveland Office
  • Baby meningitis, which can be acquired if the mother has Group B streptococcus, can be life-threatening for your newborn. As a result, pregnant women routinely undergo testing for Group B strep. When a mother tests positive, the baby is administered antibiotics shortly after birth and will typically spend the first few days of their life in the hospital.

    If you were not tested for Group B strep and your newborn has been diagnosed with baby meningitis in Ohio, you should consult with a Cleveland birth injury lawyer. With the help of a Cleveland birth injury lawyer, you might be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim.

    Symptoms of Baby Meningitis

    Baby meningitis, also called neonatal meningitis, causes swelling of the membranes around your child’s brain and spinal cord. This serious condition can be viral or bacterial, and if treatment is delayed, your baby could face severe consequences.

    The symptoms of baby meningitis are not always the same in each child and they appear in no particular order. Symptoms of baby meningitis include: 

    • fever;
    • headache;
    • stiff neck;
    • sensitivity to light;
    • breathing difficulties;
    • bulging soft spot;
    • diarrhea;
    • irritability;
    • jaundice;
    • lethargy;
    • loss of appetite;
    • rash; and
    • vomiting.

    It’s critical that your child receives emergency treatment to avoid complications of baby meningitis, which include: chronic insomnia, deafness, depression, epilepsy, memory problems, mental retardation, vision problems and death.

    Treatment for Baby Meningitis

    Exams used to help confirm a diagnosis of baby meningitis include a DNA-based test that assesses for risk factors, as well as spinal tap, throat culture and imaging tests such as CT scans.

    Treatment is tailored to whether the condition is bacterial or viral as well as the severity of the condition. If the baby meningitis is viral, your child’s immune system may be able to fight it off. However, your child might need to be hospitalized a few days.

    When baby meningitis is bacterial, your baby may have to spend up to several weeks in the hospital. Treatment may include antibiotics, IV therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, drainage of fluid from the sinuses, and/or surgical removal of damaged membranes.

    Once your infant’s health is stable you should meet with an experienced birth injury lawyer. If it can be determined that your baby’s condition was misdiagnosed or that preventive measures against baby meningitis were not taken, you may be eligible to file for compensation through a birth injury claim.