Group B Strep Case Study - A Story of Missed Opportunities

After having her baby born prematurely and having missed developmental milestones, an investigation revealed that medical professionals had failed to recognise that a group b strep infection had been present.

13 July 2023

Case Background

Christina’s* pregnancy seemed to have gone without issue, with no concerns raised, although her daughter baby Jasmine was born slightly prematurely. Jasmine was also jaundiced, and was kept in hospital for two days following birth for monitoring and treatment before being sent home.

About a week after Jasmine was born, a midwife came to visit mum and baby at home. Jasmine was already suffering from difficulty feeding, fever, lethargy, fast breathing and vomiting – all signs of a Group B strep infection. Unfortunately, the midwife raised no particular concerns and did not recommend any medical investigations.

A few days later, Jasmine’s symptoms had worsened: her body became very hot and floppy, she was drifting in and out of consciousness and she was uninterested in feeding. Christina therefore took Jasmine to A&E, where tests were carried out. Although the problem – Strep B – was now clear, no antibiotics were given to Jasmine for several further hours and key ‘Sepsis 6’ procedures were not followed.

Following this period of illness, Jasmine went on to miss her developmental milestones, and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. She has severe visual impairment, has problems with mobility on all limbs, and has suffered brain damage with associated learning difficulties.

An internal investigation was carried out, which discovered that Christina’s amniotic fluid contained Strep B. It was also noted that Jasmine’s symptoms had demonstrated clear signs of the condition. The investigation concluded that that if these signs had been recognised earlier, and treatment with antibiotics given, the brain damage suffered by Jasmine would have been avoided.

Jasmine was Christina’s first child, and she was only eighteen years old herself and still in college at the time. She now has to deal with all the difficulties of raising a severely disabled child.

Legal Claim

Slater and Gordon are currently acting for Jasmine, with her mother serving as litigation friend. We have obtained all medical records, along with the formal investigation report. We have also obtained preliminary advice from our in-house specialist midwife and an obstetrics/gynaecology expert, which indicate breaches of duty and a strong case in relation to the causation of Jasmine’s injuries.

We have applied for Legal Aid funding to help bring the case and will obtain reports from an independent expert midwife and obstetrician to begin our liability investigations. We also plan to send a formal Letter of Notification to the prospective Defendants outlining the missed opportunities in Jasmine’s care. .

Raising Awareness

This case highlights the vital nature of the work that Group B Strep Support are doing to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of Group B strep; the need for more widespread screening; and the warning signs that medical staff should consider if there is a history of Group B strep. This is vital to ensuring the safety of newborn babies and will hopefully prevent future cases like Jasmine’s from occurring. Group B Strep Support have produced excellent information leaflets for clinicians and patients that are used at several NHS Trusts and their campaigning has ensured that the latest Core Competency Framework for all NHS maternity healthcare professionals specifically includes training on Group B Strep prevention and treatment.

If you or your baby has been affected by GBS infection and you believe that the care/treatment that you received from your medical professionals may have been substandard, please contact Laura Preston at Laura is a medical negligence expert with a special interest in GBS cases and sits on the GBSS legal expert panel.

*Names have been altered to protect anonymity

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