In response to the news that 80 hospitals across the UK are to pilot screening Group B Streptococcus for new-born babies, Fletchers Solicitor’s, Christian Beadell has welcomed this as a positive step, but warned that diagnosis of the life-threatening bacterial infection can still be missed.
Christian, a Senior Medical Negligence Solicitor has represented many Claimants who have been injured from mismanaged GBS infections and has seen first-hand how damaging this can be to both mother and child.
“GBS infection can be transferred to the baby during birth and may only be recognised once symptoms start to develop.
“Whilst the numbers of babies who contract GBS at birth can be small, the consequences can be extremely serious in a new born with sometimes life changing effects such as pneumonia, meningitis and brain damage.
“The charity Group B Strep Support group has campaigned tirelessly to introduce routine screening in order to pick up GBS at the earliest opportunity and to treat it before it passes to the baby. This new development is welcomed by its Chief Executive Jane Plumb OBE as it will add clarity to the question of whether it is better to routinely test pregnant mothers for GBS infection rather than the current UK approach of only testing high risk patients.
“Whilst there are concerns that routine testing will increase antibiotic use in cases of maternal GBS where the infection may never have transferred to the baby, it is not acceptable to continue to see babies with early onset GBS infection where opportunities to diagnose and treat GBS have been missed. Hopefully, this trial will help to reduce the number of such claims.
“If you are affected by any of the issues raised by this announcement or wish to discuss any concerns in relation to your treatment please contact us.”
About 150,000 pregnant women – one in five – carry group-B streptococcus and it is estimated each year in the UK there are between 400-500 babies born with GBS.