Group B strep or GBS is a bacterial infection that can affect a baby before and during childbirth.
When doctors and other medical professionals miss the signs that a baby is suffering from a GBS infection, the results can be life-threatening.
That is one reason why group B strep malpractice is a common type of lawsuit in New Mexico. Medical providers could’ve prevented or treated GBS in many cases, reducing or eliminating the risk of a severe infection or death.
If your child sustained a GBS infection, you could have the right to bring a medical malpractice claim.
To learn more about how a New Mexico birth injury attorney can assist you, contact Poulos & Coates today to schedule a consultation.
How Does a Baby Contract Group B Strep?
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, group B strep is the leading cause of infection in newborns. Group B strep can be found in your digestive tract, genital area, or urinary tract. Many people’s immune systems can fight off GBS without any medical treatment.
However, some people are considered high risk and could develop life-threatening consequences. High-risk groups include elderly patients, those with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, and newborns.
Many women who test positive for GBS are unaware they even have it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around one in four women carries GBS bacteria in their bodies.
When doctors fail to administer the test, there is a greater risk of the mother passing it to her baby. CDC statistics show that women who test positive for group B strep and get on antibiotics have a one in 4,000 chance of passing GBS to their baby.
Failure to treat GBS means the chances increase to one in 200.
The test for GBS is simple and should be routine with every medical provider. It’s a quick and painless swab of the vaginal and rectal areas. Failure to complete this test could open the door for a New Mexico group B strep malpractice case.
Symptoms and Risk Factors for Group B Strep
Newborns are at a higher risk of developing group B strep if:
- The baby is premature, which means born earlier than 37 weeks;
- The mother carries group B strep in her body;
- The mother previously gave birth to a child with group B;
- The mother’s water breaks 18 hours or more prior to delivery;
- The mother develops a fever of at least 38 C or 100.4 F during labor;
- The mother has a urinary tract infection during the pregnancy; or
- The mother has chorioamnionitis, which is an infection of the placental tissue and amniotic fluid.
Most babies are delivered without any complications, but infants who develop Group B strep are at risk of becoming critically ill. Some potential symptoms include:
- Low body temperature or fever,
- Weak or limp muscle tone,
- Difficulty feeding or breathing,
- Rash or jaundice,
- Seizures, and
- Irritability or jittery.
Group B Strep can be either early-onset, which is within six hours of delivery, or late-onset, which is weeks or even months after giving birth. If you suspect your baby has group B strep, it’s imperative you seek medical assistance right away.
Contact a New Mexico Birth Injury Lawyer
If your baby has been diagnosed with GBS, you need an experienced New Mexico birth injury lawyer who can assist you. At Poulos & Coates, we focus on medical malpractice cases. We even have a medical doctor and nurse on staff who will assist in evaluating your case.
We understand what a traumatic and terrifying time this is for your family. Let us put our expertise to work for you. Our top priority is to protect your family’s rights and ensure the defendants are held accountable in your New Mexico Group B strep malpractice case.
Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation to learn more about how we can assist you.