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Support for raising awareness of the most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies and how to increase prevention.
The charity, Group B Strep Support, are supporting international Group B Strep Awareness Month, seeking to raise greater awareness of Group B Strep (GBS) and its potentially devastating effects on babies and their families.
The Clinical Negligence Team, who see the devastating effects of Group B Strep suffered by some of their clients, are holding an office fundraising day in support of this very important campaign.
The charity, Group B Strep Support, detail their 3 main aims as to:
• Offer information and support to families affected by group B Streptococcus;
• Inform health professionals and individuals how most group B Strep infections in newborn babies can be prevented; and
• Generate continued support for research into preventing group B Strep infections in newborn babies.
Their cause is vital as some statistics show that GBS infection kills around 40 babies per year and results in serious disabilities in a further 25 babies. In a recent BBC report in 2013 by Richard Moss the story of William Caisley was told. William’s Mother is a campaigner for a GBS screening programme for pregnant woman after she realised that had her GBS been diagnosed, simple treatment with antibiotics would have prevented her passing the infection onto her son. William now suffers from cerebral palsy and needs a large amount of care and support; his mother told the BBC: “He should be going to college, and having girlfriends, but for the want of a few antibiotics that’ll never happen.”
English MPs have been lobbied to support the need for routine screening in the UK, as there is in other western countries. The BBC reported that Easington MP Grahame Morris tabled a motion seeking a rethink stating: “The evidence suggests it’s on the increase and those countries like the USA, Canada, France, Germany and Spain that have introduced screening on a routine basis have a dramatic reduction in infections in the newborn. I believe in early interventions in life, and this could prevent years of expense and agony with a simple, cheap measure.”
Scottish MPs are also supportive of routine screening. MSP Margaret McDougall has vowed to back a Scottish family also fighting for change after the tragic death of their baby daughter, Lola Young, from GBS infection at just 20 days old. Lola’s mum, Nicole Brown, is devastated that the simple £15 GBS test was not offered to her during her pregnancy. MSP McDougall vowed in May 2013 to put a question to the Scottish parliament on this issue. The baby’s grandmother told the Irvine Times: “The fact is this should never have happened in the first place. Obviously what happened to Lola is the most extreme result of this infection, but I can also cause severe disabilities and brain damage. Something has to be done to make sure no other family suffer what we have.”
The Clinical Negligence Team hope that through the continued work of the Group B Strep Support charity, the campaigning of families and the support of MPs practice for screening of GBS will change. The need for public awareness of the catastrophic effects this infection can bring is huge and social media can really make a difference in bringing this campaign to light.
The late or missed diagnosis of Strep B, and therefore the missed opportunity to treat, may also be as a result of hospital medical negligence and not just a failure to routinely screen mothers in pregnancy. Medical staff need to be alert to the symptoms of infection babies may display after birth so as to intervene with appropriate treatment as soon as possible and prevent serious injury.
It is very much hoped that the Group B Strep awareness month is a great success for all those involved.