Couple Say Their Story Highlights Importance Of Testing Mums Earlier In Pregnancy
With Group B Strep being the most common cause of infection in newborns in Britain, Grayson Harris’ family believe their story highlights the benefits that can be achieved with testing mothers earlier in pregnancy.
Grayson’s mother was tested for GBS in labour but by the time her positive results came back, Grayson had already been admitted to the special care baby unit for treatment. Despite this treatment, Grayson was readmitted into hospital a few weeks later with GBS meningitis and was diagnosed with a brain injury.
Expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are investigating the care Grayson received and understand how earlier testing in many Group B Strep cases can prevent unnecessary injuries.
What is Group B Strep?
Group B Strep is the most common cause of infection in newborns in Britain. Harmless to the estimated one in four women who carry the bacterium, it can be fatal for babies if it is transmitted in the birth canal.
Group B Strep - our client's story
Bethany Ford, 25, has experienced a routine pregnancy up until her waters broke on 16 December, 2015. On being admitted to hospital, she was tested for Group B Strep. However, by the time the results came back, her son Grayson Harris had already been born and admitted to the special care baby unit with signs of an infection.
Born at around 10am, Grayson started grunting and yelping that afternoon and by around 6pm that day, he had been admitted into the special care baby unit.
Grayson was tested and found to have a Group B Strep infection. Grayson was discharged from hospital two weeks after his birth in December 2015, following antibiotic treatment.
However, the family were devastated when he was readmitted to hospital in late January 2016, as a result of Group B Strep. Following further tests, Grayson was diagnosed as having suffered a brain injury and now has global developmental delay as a result of the infection.
Parents ask lawyers for help after son diagnosed with brain injury
Bethany and her partner, Keith Harris, 32, of Mitcham, instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate their son’s care.
Bethany said: "The older Grayson gets the more we are noticing just how far behind other children his age he is. We love Grayson so much and are determined to ensure that he gets the best from life. However, we think it is also vital that steps are taken to ensure that Group B Strep testing is undertaken a lot earlier than it was."
Understanding the importance of early testing, Bethany and Keith are supporting calls for all women to be tested on the NHS for Group B Strep between 35-37 weeks pregnant so appropriate care plans can be put in place to either stop the bacteria being transmitted from mums to their babies or immediately treat the new-born baby with antibiotics after they are born; thus preventing the infection from developing.
Family fundraise for Group B Strep Support
Lockdown has been an incredibly tough time for everyone, in particular those who are caring for someone else with complex needs, such as Grayson.
However, Bethany and Grayson have used their time during the pandemic to raise awareness and funds for the charity Group B Strep Support. They walked/ran 45 km in July 2020. This was an incredible challenge for Grayson, who lacks spatial awareness and falls over a lot, meaning that he is often left with bruises and cuts from his walks.
Richard Kayser, is a partner and specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, who represents Grayson and other families whose child have suffered brain injury from Group B Strep.
Expert Opinion"It is incredible to see Grayson as a clear example of why disability should not stop anyone from achieving something they want.
"A simple test can be conducted to understand whether a mother is a Group B Strep carrier and adjustments to her care plan in labour or early diagnosis and treatment to a new-born can prevent devastating injuries." Richard Kayser - Partner
Group B Strep - What is being done?
In April 2020, a clinical trial was launched to improve prevention of Group B Strep infection in newborn babies. The results of which will be used to inform future pregnancy care in the UK and could help to prevent babies’ from losing their lives unnecessarily.
Find out more about our expertise in supporting families affected by the condition at our dedicated Group B Strep section.