During pregnancy, STDs pose risks for both the mother and baby. For this reason doctors will test women for STDs and HIV during pregnancy. While testing for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis is normal procedure, testing for herpes is less common.
Recently, an Oregon doctor found herself involved in a lawsuit over a case in which a pregnant woman spread herpes to her child during childbirth. Details of the case showed that 25 year old Angela Musa had arrived at the emergency room in her third trimester because she’d been bleeding. Dr. Carrie Miles noted, “spots that were oozing slightly on the walls of her vagina.” Miles then ordered testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea, but not for herpes.
Later, Mula would give birth to a son. Her son would end up contracting herpes during childbirth. The virus caused him to develop severe brain damage.
Attorneys for the family had sought $46.5 million in a civil suit after the birth. They claimed that Dr. Miles should have recognized the infection and ordered a herpes test. Records indicate that the test is billed for $120 at Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center in Northwest Portland, where the incident took place.
Testimony revealed that about ten days after giving birth, the child was seen by a different pediatrician for sores and blisters on his head. That doctor did not test for herpes either. Now, the child, who is 4 years old, suffers from seizures regularly and is visually impaired. He also has herpes outbreaks throughout his body at least once a month.
A jury unanimously found in favour of Dr. Miles in the suit this past week.The case brings to light some very important concerns for pregnant women and the medical community. There are dangers with newborns and herpes infections. Since doctors do not always test for herpes, all women who find themselves pregnant should discuss herpes testing with their doctor.
If you are concerned that you may be pregnant or may have been exposed to herpes, you should speak to a doctor right away. Herpes testing can help you determine if you have been infected. Since symptoms do not always appear, testing can be the only way to detect the virus.