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Failure To Timely And Properly Treat Herpes Simplex Virus

Brain Injury – Lawsuit Against Western Maryland Health System | May 17, 2019 - Circuit Court for Allegheny County, Maryland

On May 17, 2019, WVFO attorneys Mary Koch and Sarah Smith filed a medical malpractice claim on behalf of a minor who suffered a brain injury.

The complaint alleges that on June 19, 2015, the child’s mother presented to the emergency department at WMHS complaining of vaginal discharge and blisters. A culture was taken, and the mother was prescribed acyclovir based on physical exam, and instructed to follow up with her OB/GYN. The nurse midwife examined the mother on June 22, 2015, noting “herpetic vesicle in vagina,” and that current medications included acyclovir 400 mg TID. On June 26, 2015, a herpes simplex culture was provided to the nurse midwife indicating a positive result. Testing in September 2015 revealed that the mother was pregnant. The mother was never prescribed acyclovir during her prenatal period, and her history of HSV was not documented in the prenatal records by any of the providers. The mother presented to labor and delivery on May 11, 2016. The admission report did not reference maternal history of herpes or HSV. The baby was delivered via vaginal delivery. The baby presented to her doctor for her first well child visit on May 16, 2016. On May 26, 2016 the baby returned for a follow-up where the doctor noted blisters and lesions on the baby’s back. The baby was started on acyclovir and blood cultures were taken. On June 9, 2016, the doctor received the herpes cultures which showed viral infection, though the blood culture was negative. The baby was kept on the same dosage of acyclovir. On September 28, 2016, the baby presented to WMHS with a fever of 101.5. The doctor did not note that the baby’s current medications included oral acyclovir, did not note that she had been treated with IV acyclovir and did not note her, or her mother’s, history of HSV. Acetaminophen was administered and the baby was discharged. The mother returned to WMHS on September 30, 2016 where the baby’s fever was recorded as having a peak of 103.9. The nurse practitioner did not note that the baby’s current medications included oral acyclovir, did not note that she had been treated with IV acyclovir and did not note her, or her mother’s, history of HSV. The nurse PR actioner instructed the mother to continue ibuprofen for fever control. On October 2, 2016, head imaging revealed brain damage. The baby was treated for herpes simplex encephalitis and stroke.

The lawsuit alleges the defendants failed to properly record and treat the mother’s and the baby’s history of HSV. The child is developmentally delayed and suffers from serious injuries as a direct and proximate result of the defendants’ negligence. The child suffered permanent neurological injuries and damages and will require significant medical care and treatment for the remainder of her life.

The action is pending in the Circuit Court for Allegheny County, Maryland.

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