A mother has revealed how her son suffered brain damage after being infected with bacteria in her birth canal.
Bethany Ford had a normal pregnancy until her waters broke on December 16, 2015.
The now 23-year-old was rushed to Epsom Hospital in Surrey, where doctors took a vaginal rod to test for Group B streptococcus (GBS). The NHS does not routinely perform this test on pregnant women.
By the time the Miss Ford test was positive, her son Grayson Harris had already been delivered.
The newborn was rushed to intensive care when he started to growl. He later developed meningitis, which was caused by picking up GBS in the birth canal.
The NHS says that up to two in five women have the bacteria in their bodies, but it usually causes no problems and is rarely transmitted to their baby.
Grayson's meningitis caused him to suffer brain damage, which led to the now three-year-old who has a global development deficit.
Miss Ford is campaigning for all pregnant women who are tested for GBS so that they can be treated before giving birth.
Bethany Ford & # 39; s son Grayson Harris (recently pictured together) was born with a brain injury in 2015 after being diagnosed with group B streptococcus (GBS) after being delivered. Grayson became infected with GBS in the birth canal, causing meningitis
Grayson was rushed to neonatal intensive care after he was born on December 17 when he started to growl. Only then did his mother's GBS test, performed at the start of her birth, return positively. Grayson is pictured at Epsom Hospital in Surrey
Grayson was born around 10 a.m. on the morning of December 17. By that afternoon he moaned and cried inconsolably.
He was admitted to the special care baby unit at around 6 p.m. where he was diagnosed with meningitis. Only then did his mother's GBS test return positively.
After a two-week stint in the hospital, Grayson was finally released on New Year's Eve.
Less than a month later, Grayson began to show signs of the infection again, including floppiness, irritability, and non-feeding.
& # 39; The first few weeks of Grayson's life were incredibly traumatic and none of the parents should see their child suffer and struggle as he did, & # 39; said Miss Ford.
The newborn was admitted to the Queen Mary & # 39; s Hospital for Children, managed by the same NHS Trust as the Epsom Hospital.
Tests revealed that he had brain damage, which later developed into a global development deficit. This is defined as a child who takes longer than average to reach certain milestones.
The now three-year-old is usually impulsive and goes very quickly from calm to angry.
He also struggles to process things, which has led to self-harm, such as pulling his own hair.
The young person also finds it difficult to communicate and sleeps poorly.
& # 39; The older Grayson gets the more we notice how far behind other children his age is, & # 39; said Miss Ford.
The now three-year-old developed global developmental delay due to his brain injury. This ensures that he acts impulsively and has difficulty communicating. He also finds it difficult to sleep and suffers from mood swings that make him go from calm to angry very quickly
Grayson & # 39; s mother and father Keith Harris (recently pictured with his son) are campaigning for GBS tests performed by the NHS standard on pregnant women so that they can be treated
Miss Ford and her partner, Keith Harris, 32, have instructed medical negligence specialists at Irwin Mitchell to investigate their son's care under Epsom and the NHS Trust of St. Helier University Hospitals.
Richard Kayser, Irwin Mitchell's lawyer for medical negligence, said: & # 39; More than three years after the birth of Grayson, Bethany and Keith remain understandably very concerned about the problems he has encountered so far in his life. & # 39;
With legal work in progress, the couple are calling for the NHS to test all expectant mothers for GBS at 35-to-37 weeks in their pregnancy.
& # 39; A simple test can be performed to emphasize whether an expectant mother is a carrier of the condition & # 39 ;, Kayser said.
& # 39; And her care plan can be adjusted to ensure that intravenous antibiotics are given during delivery to prevent the infection from being transmitted.
& # 39; Every effort must be made to prevent this infection in babies & # 39; s. & # 39;
Ms. Ford added Strep Awareness Month during Group B: "We love Grayson and are determined to make sure he gets the best out of life.
& # 39; However, we also believe that it is vital that steps are taken to ensure that Group B streak tests are performed much earlier than in our case.
& # 39; This awareness month is an important time to talk about this topic and we believe that something needs to change. & # 39;
Epsom and St. Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust has been approached for comment.
Read more information from the charity Groep B Strep Support here.
HOW DOES GROUP B STREPTOCOCCUS AFFECT PREGNANCY?
Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a bacterium found in the vagina and rectum of 20 to 40 percent of women in the UK.
It usually causes no harm, with most women who don't know they have it.
Babies from pregnant women with GBS will be exposed to the bacteria during delivery.
Most babies are unaffected, but there is a small risk that they will get seriously ill or even die.
This is more common if:
- Baby is born before 37 weeks
- Woman had a high temperature during delivery
- Water breaks more than 24 hours before the baby is born
Early-onset GBS starts in the first week after the baby is born, usually within 12 hours.
- Be sloppy and don't respond
- Not good food
- Growling, noisy breathing or moaning
- High or low temperature
- Fast or slow heart and breathing
- Crying inconsolable
- Changes in skin color, including blotchiness
- Low blood pressure and sugar levels
Late-onset GBS takes place a week or more after the baby is born. This is not thought to be related to pregnancy.
Most babies with GBS can be treated and fully restored.
However, some develop life-threatening complications such as blood poisoning, pneumonia and meningitis.
One in 10 babies born with GBS dies. Another one in five is permanently affected, with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, deafness, blindness and serious learning disabilities.
The NHS does not routinely test for GBS in pregnant women.
This is because it is rare for a baby to catch GBS and testing for the infection is inaccurate.
Many affected babies are also born before the time the pregnancy would be screened.
Some women chose to be tested privately. If they are positive, they can receive IV antibiotics during delivery.
Babies are diagnosed with GBS by testing a sample of their blood or fluid around their spinal cord.
If a doctor suspects that a baby has GBS, they are immediately treated with antibiotics.
Breastfeeding is safe even if a woman knows she has GBS.
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