A 19-year-old woman from São Paulo, Brazil previously diagnosed with toxoplasmosis in the fifth month of her pregnancy, lost her unborn child to infection from cat's feces.
Heavily pregnant Milena Gloria Cardoso lost her child on the ninth month of her pregnancy due to an infection caused by parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which is usually found in contaminated cat feces, water or undercooked meat.
While Toxoplasmosis does not commonly cause overt symptoms, as per Milena's experience, it can easily impact weakened or pregnant women, especially when caught early on in pregnancy. The disease had been first caught on Milena's fifth month of pregnancy, according to a media report.
Symptoms of toxoplasmosis includes flu-like symptoms, such as high temperatures, aching muscles, tiredness, feeling sick, a sore throat and swollen glands for about six weeks. However, Milena had initially been asymptomatic and was only diagnosed with the infection subsequent to a routine blood tests. She then felt 'extremely swollen and in great pain' just days before her child died on her womb.
"She spent the entire night bleeding," said Milena's cousin, Sabrina Segecs.
Investigation goes after family requested a post-mortem
"They warned her that her pregnancy was at risk, but they didn't retake the exam when she was six months [pregnant]," Milena's cousin said. "Since then, we've been in this rush of going to and from the hospital. They said she had to wait for a normal birth, even though she was in a lot of pain."
The family claims that Melina was sent home the day before the tragedy, and when she got back the next day on Sept. 19, doctors discovered her baby had a weak heartbeat. She had to wait for a normal delivery as per the medical staff instead of performing a cesarean section. The baby died a few hours later.
Milena was hospitalized the next day to undergo a cesarean to remove the deceased baby.
The family filed a police report in Sao Vicente and requested necropsy at the Legal Medical Institute for the real cause of death. They accused local health officials of negligence on monitoring the development of the disease when the diagnosis has since been done in earlier month.
Department of Health insists that all care protocols were followed
According to the statement of Department of Health in Sao Vicente, Milena had already contracted toxoplasmosis even before the pregnancy. She was then referred for high-risk prenatal screening, and that protocol from the Ministry of Health had been followed.
Unfortunately, there was no indication for treatment as the infection was acquired before pregnancy, and after repeated tests, the toxoplasmosis result remains.
The department clarified that all care protocols for this particular case were followed and respected throughout the prenatal period.
They had sent condolences to the family. "The City Hall sympathizes with the family's pain and has already made itself available for further clarification," the note said.
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