Neonatal Meningitis

Neonatal Meningitis

Head Injury UK Specialist Solicitor Jenny Shone, comments on some of the issues around neo-natal meningitis. Meningitis in a new-born baby (neo-natal meningitis) is absolutely devastating for parents.  In about 10% of cases this condition is fatal and in a large number of cases the infant will be left with disability in some cases serious disability.

So how is this condition caused?  The cause is bacteria and this consistently over the past two decades has been Group B streptococcus (GBS) followed by Escherichia Coli (E Coli), Listeria monocytogenes and streptococcus pneumonia.

These can be transmitted in different ways.  GBS is usually transferred to the baby from the mother’s genital or gastrointestinal tract at the time of delivery whereas listeria can be transferred to the baby through the placenta whilst the baby is still in utero.

Tragically, it is difficult to prevent this infection occurring although work is being done to try and develop a vaccine which would prevent CBS, which is the most common cause.

So at the moment medics need to be alert to the possibility of infection and this requires close monitoring of both mother and baby and early intervention to try and reduce the impact.

Signs of infection in the mother might require that the baby be delivered quickly to minimise the period of exposure and to ensure early antibiotic treatment to address the infection. The baby is likely to be unwell on delivery and require emergency treatment.  The infection itself might lead to premature birth, again with the baby presenting unwell on delivery and requiring emergency treatment.

Both of these scenarios will be extremely distressing to the family who are anxious to see that all is being done initially to save the infant and then to minimise the long term impact of the infection. All energies will be directed towards the immediate concerns for the baby’s medical care and it is only at a later stage that they may start to reflect whether all was done that could be done to optimise the outcome for the baby.

We have considerable experience in cases of this kind and have access to medical experts experienced in reviewing the management of care and who can advise whether there were any shortcomings which might have impacted on the baby’s recovery.

If you have been faced with this awful situation and are wanting questions answered about the care provided please contact us for advice on how these concerns can be addressed on 0345 111 5050.

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