On October 12, 2000 a beautiful baby boy was born was born to Jeff and Jolynn D. He was named Jeffrey, after his father. On November 21, 2000, this beautiful baby boy died. He died as a result of GBS - Group B Strep infection which in a matter of hours had blossomed into full-blown bacterial spinal meningitis.
Within minutes of being brought into the emergency room, little Jeffrey was tested, injected and hooked up to numerous monitors. His lifeless body was placed in a baby incubator to keep his body heat stable. The attached monitors kept track of his breathing, heart rate, oxygen level and blood pressure. Every time the doctors had administered drugs to fight Jeffrey's infection, the drugs created more problems. His body started shutting down. Tests were run to assess the extent of the damage to Jeffrey's tiny body. By day two he was paralyzed from the neck down. Early on day three, a CT Scan showed evidence of cracks in his skull caused by the massive swelling of his brain. Jeffrey died 5:17PM of day three in the arms of his grieving mother and father. They were surrounded by anguished grandparents, relatives and close friends.
Jeffrey's story is heart-wrenching. His illness and death were devastating to his family and all those who love them. They will always miss and ache for Jeffrey. And even more shattering, had the doctors been on top of the situation - it could have been prevented!
Group B Strep
One third of all pregnant women are carriers of Group B Strep [streptococcus bacterium]. The bacteria can easily be transmitted to their babies during the birthing process. Group B Strep can be tested in late pregnancy. Jolynn was tested only a few days before she gave birth to Jeffrey. Because Jolynn had gone into labor three weeks early, the test results had not been returned. She was not given the antibiotic that can be administered even during the birthing process that would have prevented her son from being infected with GBS. GBS is not dangerous to the mother but may be fatal to the infant. It may also lie dormant for up to 3 months in a newborn's system before incubating.
GBS is becoming more prevalent and a few states are now requiring mandatory testing for pregnant women. If you know of any expectant mothers, please make sure they ask [no, demand] that their doctor conduct the test. It is a matter of life and death.
While it is true that some infants have survived GBS and spinal meningitis, the prognosis is often a lifetime of disabilities and suffering. Why take the risk?
For more information on GBS, try the following websites:
Medicinenet.com ~ Doctor's knowledge for you
American Academy of Family Physicians
Dr. Greene ~ Pregnancy & Group B
CDC - Center for Disease Control
Group B Strep Association
Group B Strep Support
ComPortOne Health Home Page
ComPortOne Home Page