Recently in Infection Category

March 25, 2011

New York Group B Strep Infections Go Undiagnosed Despite 3rd Trimester Test

Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a bacteria that can cause life-threatening infections in newborns, as well as disease in a pregnant mother during or after delivery. It affects about 18,000 people every year. "As many as 30% of women carry GBS. It's usually harmless, unless it finds its way to the bloodstream," said Michael A. Bottar, Esq., a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer representing newborns injured by a failure to diagnose group B strep or GBS misdiagnosis.

An OB/GYN should test a pregnant woman for GBS during her third trimester. "That is the standard of care," Bottar added. "If a woman is found to be 'colonized,' then antibiotics should be administered - usually by IV." Antibiotic treatment for GBS is indicated to prevent transmission of the bacteria from mother to baby during childbirth. GBS causes sepsis (in mother and baby) and meningitis in newborns. Both sepsis and meningitis can lead to serious complications, including lifelong disabilities such as speech impairment, blindness and hearing loss.

Certain women are at high risk for delivering a baby with GBS, including those who develop a fever during labor, are colonized late in pregnancy, have a UTI due to GBS, have ruptured membranes more than 18 hours before delivery, and those who go into labor before 37 weeks.

According to a ScienceDaily article titled "Third Trimester Group B Streptococcus Test Doesn't Accurately Predict Presence During Labor," a study recently presented at the annual meeting for the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine has called into question the accuracy of the 3rd trimester GBS test. Apparently, many women who test negative for GBS at 37 weeks test positive at the time of delivery. The study suggests implementation of a rapid GBS test immediately before delivery as a way to avoid a GBS misdiagnosis.

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January 16, 2011

Syracuse New York Birth Injury From Group B Strep Can Be Avoided With Antibiotics

"Bottar Leone, PLLC is presently prosecuting several New York medical malpractice lawsuits concerning the wrongful death of an infant from Group B streptococcus," said Michael A. Bottar, Esq., a Syracuse birth injury lawyer. "Even though GBS is the leading cause of infectious death in infants, it often goes untreated. Many pregnant mothers do not receive Penicillin when they should and the delayed diagnosis of GBS can be deadly.

In an effort to decrease the number of GBS infections, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines in 2002 which required that all women undergo vaginal-rectal screening for GBS colonization between 35 and 37 weeks of gestation. Recently, the CDC released the 2010 Group B strep guidelines which modified the manner in which women presenting in preterm labor are to be treated. Under the 2010 guidelines, doctors are required to obtain a GBS culture when the woman presents to the hospital and start an antibiotic regimen. If the woman progresses into full labor, the antibiotics should continue through delivery. If, after observation, medical staff determine that the woman is not in labor, then the antibiotics should be discontinued. No longer should antibiotics be continued for 48 hours.

An abdominal delivery (i.e., a cesarean section) does not eliminate the risk of GBS transmission. Group B strep can be passed from mother to baby even through intact membranes and in the absence of labor (although the risk is low). This is why antibiotics should be administered at least 4 hours before delivery.

If you were never tested for GBS, or tested positive for GBS but were not treated with antibiotics, and your baby was born with signs and symptoms of early onset GBS (e.g., breathing problems, blood pressure instability, heart rate instability, kidney problems, sepsis, or meningitis), you may benefit from speaking with a New York attorney with a practice limited to medical malpractice and birth injury claims.

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December 17, 2010

Rapid Group B Strep Diagnosis Critical To Preventing Sepsis and Meningitis Following Delivery

Group B strep (GBS) is a bacteria that can be found in a woman's vagina or rectum. It is found in as many as 40% of health women.

"Pregnant women who test positive for GBS are said to be 'colonized,'" said New York birth injury lawyer Michael A. Bottar, Esq. "Colonized mothers can pass GBS to their babies during labor and delivery which can cause meningitis, sepsis or pneumonia in newborns. GBS can also cause maternal infection and death."

Because of the risk of transmission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all pregnant women be tested between the 35th and 37th week of pregnancy. Testing sooner or later is not effective.

A new test gives obstetricians and labor and delivery nurses more rapid results and should decrease the need for doctors to assume that a pregnant mother is colonized an administer antibiotics until they know otherwise. The new test promises results in as few as 4 hours. The old way took 48-72 hours. The failure to timely test for and/or treat GBS is medical malpractice.

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December 11, 2010

Antibiotics One Hour Before Cesarean Section Now Standard Of Care In New York To Prevent Infection

On August 23, 2010, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists announced in Committee Opinion #465 that all pregnant women should receive antibiotics one (1) hour before having a cesarean delivery.

"Certainly, the antibiotics will cut down on the number of post-operative wound infections," said Syracuse birth injury lawyer Michael A. Bottar, Esq., an attorney with Bottar Leone, PLLC, a law firm prosecuting New York obstetrical malpractice lawsuits. "At the same time, we are concerned that unborn babies experiencing fetal distress may suffer a brain injury due to a delayed c-section. Setting aside the risk of infection, if a baby is experiencing oxygen deprivation, known as hypoxia, we would like to see an abdominal or vaginal delivery occur as soon as possible because prolonged hypoxia can cause cerebral palsy and other permanent brain damage."

Infection is a well-documented complication of a cesarean delivery, occurring in 10-40% cases. Historically, antibiotics were administered to women having a c-section, but not until after the baby was born. This was because physicians were concerned about antibiotics passing into baby's bloodstream.

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