Group B Streptococcus (GBS)

Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a bacteria commonly found in a woman's vagina or anus.  As many as 40% of women have carry the bug in their intestinal tract.  It is not a sexually transmitted disease.

Generally speaking, GBS is harmless to a woman.  However, when a woman becomes pregnant, an OBGYN must test for GBS because it can be spread from mother to baby during delivery.  According to the CDC, pregnant women should be screened for GBS between the 35th and 37th week of pregnancy.  Testing before or after this window does not provide accurate information about GBS colonization at the time of delivery.  It is obstetrical/gynecological malpractice for an OBGYN to fail to test for GBS, or to test for GBS at the wrong time.

In order to test for GBS, the vagina and rectum are swabbed.  The samples are sent to a laboratory for culturing, which takes 24-48 hours.  If the culture is positive for GBS, most women receive antibiotics to protect a baby from infection as it passes through the birth canal during delivery.  Testing positive for GBS means only that the mother is a carrier.  It does not mean that a baby will be harmed, as only 1 out of every 100-200 babies born to mothers with GBS will be infected.

You may be at high risk for delivering a baby with GBS if you:
  • previously delivered a baby with GBS;
  • had a urinary tract infection during pregnancy;
  • go into labor (with ruptured membranes) before 37 weeks;
  • deliver more than 18 hours after your membranes rupture; and
  • have a fever during labor.
If a doctor fails to test for GBS, or fails to prescribe antibiotics to prevent delivery of a GBS infected baby, the newborn may suffer from pneumonia, sepsis and/or meningitis.  Signs and symptoms of GBS in a newborn include:
  • breathing problems;
  • blood pressure instability;
  • kidney problems; and
  • gastrointestinal problems.
The trial lawyers at Bottar Leone, PLLC, have decades of experience investigating, prosecuting and trying to verdict medical malpractice and birth injury cases.  If you or your baby have been injured due to medical malpractice, you, your child and your family may be entitled to compensation for lifelong health care, medical expenses, special education, medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering. 

To discuss your case or concerns with an experienced Central New York medical malpractice and birth injury attorney, contact us now at (315) 422-3466, (800) 336-LAWS, or by e-mail at info@bottarleone.com.