Girl, Now Five, Requires Full Time Care Following Group B Strep Infection
The mother of a Cheltenham girl left brain damaged is calling for lessons to be learned after a hospital trust admitted a failure in administering antibiotics during labour led to her injury shortly after birth.
Danielle Evans, 32, was 35 weeks pregnant when she was tested and found to be positive for Group B Streptococcus in August 2015.
Around three weeks later, on 12 September, she gave birth to her baby daughter Aurelia at Gloucester Royal Hospital. Antibiotics are normally administered during labour to help protect babies from Group B Strep bacteria, however Danielle wasn’t given any.
Baby girl diagnosed with brain injury following Group B Strep infection
The following day, Aurelia’s condition began deteriorating. On 14 September, she was diagnosed with sepsis and probable meningitis caused by Group B Strep. She was subsequently diagnosed with a brain injury.
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’s transmitted in the birth canal.
Mum asks medical negligence lawyers for help
Following Aurelia’s diagnosis, Danielle instructed medical negligence experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate their care under the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and help Aurelia access the specialist therapies she requires. The Trust subsequently admitted liability in that there had been a “failure to provide antibiotics” to Danielle during labour, and also accepted responsibility for “the entirety of Aurelia’s injury as a consequence of her developing meningitis after her birth.”
The Trust apologised and the parties are working together now to reach a settlement for the family, who are joining their legal team in marking Group B Strep Awareness Month by highlighting the dangers of the condition.
Irwin Mitchell represents hundreds of families affected by issues in maternity care. This includes the Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals scandal where the Ockenden review is investigating more than 1,800 incidents of maternity deaths as well as injuries to babies and mums.
The law firm is campaigning to improve maternity services across the country.
Expert Opinion“The past five years have been incredibly difficult for Danielle as she attempts to come to terms with what happened and what the future holds for Aurelia.
Group B Strep is a serious bacterial infection but with early diagnosis and treatment, devastating injuries to newborn babies can be prevented.
In Danielle’s case, the hospital trust has admitted a failure in her care by not providing her with antibiotics during labour, and while we welcome this admission it’s vital that lessons are now learned to stop others from suffering in the same way Danielle and Aurelia have.
In the meantime, we’ll continue to support them by ensuring they have access to the care and therapies required to move forward with their lives.”
Laura Daly - Partner
Group B Strep: Aurelia's story
Aurelia, now aged five, started school last September. She regularly sees a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist, and has also had input from a specialist feeding team and a private orthotist.
Her moods vary from day to day and she struggles with a disturbed sleeping pattern. She also suffers from bladder and bowel problems.
Aurelia isn’t able to walk and uses a wheelchair, a standing frame and a Tom Cat Trike to get about. Danielle is Aurelia’s full-time carer, and they live together in a rented property which is currently unsuitable for Aurelia’s needs.
Mum raises awareness of Group B Strep
Danielle said: “When I was told that Aurelia had suffered brain damage, I was devastated. I had done everything right during my pregnancy and it wasn’t something that I even gave a second thought to as everything had been fine until then.
“I then found out it could have been prevented if I had been given antibiotics during labour. It made me so angry and upset that had something so simple been carried out, my baby’s life could have been totally different.
“While there is nothing I can do to change what happened, I hope that by sharing my story it will make others aware of how dangerous Group B Strep can be.
“All I want now is for Aurelia to have the same opportunities as other children her age. My main aim at the minute is to get us into a more suitable house where she can have enough space to move around with her equipment more easily.
“As she gets older, I have no doubt we will face other challenges, but my daughter is my number one priority and I’m determined to help her get the best out of life.”