Mother, 23, calls for NHS to test ALL pregnant women for common bug

Bethany Ford, 23, of Mitcham in south west London, passed group B streptococcus to her three-year-old son Grayson during birth

Bethany Ford, 23, of Mitcham in south west London, passed group B streptococcus to her three-year-old son Grayson during birth

A mother is calling for all pregnant women to be tested for a common bug that has left her baby with brain damage.

Bethany Ford, 23, of Mitcham in south west London, passed group B streptococcus to her three-year-old son Grayson during birth.

The common infection, carried by one in four women, wasn't spotted until she went into labour, meaning it was too late for her to get antibiotics. 

Grayson was immediately whisked to a special care baby unit with meningitis, which was later found to have been caused by GBS.

He has now been left with a brain injury that has caused global development delay - which causes children to take longer to learn how to walk and talk. 

Grayson also tends to be impulsive and can go from calm to angry very quickly, his mother added.

And he has difficulty processing things, which has led him at times self-harming by  pulling his own hair. He also struggles sleeping and to communicate.

Ms Ford said: 'The older Grayson gets the more we are noticing just how far behind other children his age he is.

She and her partner are calling for all women to be tested on the NHS for group B strep between 35 and 37 weeks into their pregnancy.

One in every 2,000 babies is diagnosed with the infection, according to figures from the NHS. It can kill, and does so in around 10 per cent of cases.

Pregnant women are routinely screened for the bacteria in the US, Canada, France and Slovenia - but health chiefs in the UK claim the tests are not effective. 

Grayson was immediately whisked to a special care baby unit with meningitis, which was later found to have been caused by GBS

Grayson was immediately whisked to a special care baby unit with meningitis, which was later found to have been caused by GBS

Grayson was discharged from hospital two weeks after his birth in December 2015 -but was then readmitted several weeks later.

Following further tests, Ms Ford and her partner Keith Harris were told Grayson had a brain injury and now has global development delay. 

Ms Ford said: 'The first few weeks of Grayson's life were incredibly traumatic and no parent should have to see their child suffer and struggle in the way he did.

'It is also difficult to take that following his birth it seemed like the doctors did not initially think there was any cause for concern.'

Ms Ford, who said she experienced a routine pregnancy, added: 'We love Grayson so much and are determined to ensure that he gets the best from life.

'However, we think it is also vital steps are taken to ensure that group B strep testing is undertaken a lot earlier than it was in our case.

'It's important to talk about this issue and we believe something needs to change.' 

Ms Ford and her 32-year-old partner have since asked specialist medical negligence lawyers to investigate their son's care.

Richard Kayser, of legal firm Irwin Mitchell

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