Group B Streptococcus (also known as GBS or “B Strep”) is a type of bacteria that can be passed from mother to baby during delivery and if not detected and treated early enough can lead to an infection that causes a brain injury. The brain injury can lead to a host of medical issues, including cerebral palsy, spastic quadriplegia, seizure disorders, an inability to swallow, communications deficits, incontinence and permanent pain. Other complications of Group B Strep (“Baby Strep”) infections are sepsis, pneumonia, meningitis, and death (Group B Strep is the most common cause of sepsis and meningitis in the United States during a newborn’s first week of life).
Group B Strep can easily be prevented. It is customary for doctors to run a battery of diagnostic tests prior to delivery, including a test for Group B Strep. If the bacteria is detected neonatal antibiotics can be prescribed to eliminate it. The cost of the testing is minimal.
If the diagnostic test is not ordered (more common with premature births – this test is typically undergone in last month prior to delivery), there are well settled protocols for observing the infant after delivery to detect Group B Strep infection. The doctors and nurses taking care of your baby are responsible to follow these protocols so they can detect the infection and administer antibiotics immediately. Delay in starting antibiotics can result in catastrophic injuries to a newborn, including severe and permanent brain injuries.
If you feel that the doctors involved with the delivery and post-delivery care of your child negligently failed to recognize and act upon risk factors and signs indicating Group B Strep infection and caused your baby injuries by failing to administer antibiotics – please call me.
The life time costs of caring for a child with a brain injury is daunting. In one recent case the family of a brain injured child was awarded over $29 million in damages for past and future losses and expenses.
Here is one mom’s story of how doctors failed to order the proper diagnostic tests prior to delivery and her baby contracted Group B Strep (GBS) –
And here is a nicely done video that covers the basics of Group B Strep detection and prevention –