My name is Andrea Shea and I’m a registered nurse. I’m the on-site nurse here at Michigan Cerebral Palsy Attorneys. I currently review medical records. When I receive the medical records, it takes me weeks, sometimes months, to go through, review, and look for potential mistakes that may have occurred in the labor and/or delivery period.
As a labor and delivery nurse, I was trained to screen my patients for infection risk, as well as evaluate for any signs or symptoms of a developing infection. Infections in the newborn period are a serious complication. Sepsis is a type of blood infection that can rapidly spread. Early onset sepsis occurs in the first seven days of life. Babies that are at most risk for this type of sepsis are babies that are born prematurely, so before 36 weeks, more specifically before 32 weeks. Babies that are also very low birth weight, so they’re smaller than expected for their age, they’re also at higher risk for this type of sepsis. Other types of infections that are associated with early onset newborn sepsis are infections of the mother’s placenta; another risk factor for early onset sepsis is prolonged rupture of membranes. That’s when a mother’s water breaks prematurely or is ruptured for more than 18 hours. If that occurs, antibiotics should be administered. Otherwise, the baby is at risk for early onset sepsis.
Late onset sepsis, babies that are born prematurely, that are born before 36 weeks, or babies that are very low birth weight also are at high risk for this type of sepsis. If a baby is admitted to NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) and they are on mechanical ventilation for an extended period of time, they’re at high risk for late onset sepsis.
The signs and symptoms of neonatal sepsis, whether it’s early or late onset, or similar, they can also be very nonspecific. Some of those signs and symptoms are: lethargy, so a baby that isn’t really active; poor feeding, a baby who maybe fed well in the first few hours and then doesn’t seem to be latching on to the mom’s breast or sucking on the bottle properly. Other signs of newborn sepsis include: abnormal body temperature, so a baby that can’t maintain their body temperature and their temperature is too low. Also, a baby who has a temperature, so their temperature is too high, that can be a sign of sepsis. Some other things to look for are tremors, a baby who is just kind of shaking. You may notice that it’s a hand or a foot. Also, seizures, so seizures activity, if the baby has eye rolling, lip smacking, if eyelids are twitching, or any of the extremities are twitching, that could be a sign of sepsis. Some other things that can indicate potential sepsis would be abnormal color, so a baby that’s very pale. Maybe the baby was pink and then seems really pale a few hours or days after delivery. If a baby is jaundice, that’s when their skin and the white part of their eyes has a yellow tinge, that can also indicate potential risk for sepsis.
Our team is nationally recognized in the field of birth injury. We only represent families that have been affected by preventable birth or neonatal injury. For a free case review, you can reach one of our attorneys at (888) 592-1857 or please fill out the contact form on this website and one of our attorneys will get back to you.