In December 2014, Hayley Keane’s son, Simon passed away just three days after birth because he contracted Group B Streptococcus (GBS). The bacteria was passed to him from Hayley during pregnancy and caused him to develop meningitis. Although GBS is incredibly rare, women that do carry the bacteria can unknowingly pass it to their children and they can develop life-threatening conditions like sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis.
Hayley shared more about losing her son with the Daily Mail. She said, “My first cuddle was my last cuddle with him. They took him away from me as soon as he was born. I didn’t see him for six hours. I never saw his eyes open, never heard him cry. I was robbed of his cry, his voice and his first step.”
She added, “At three days old they took him off life support and I held him for the first time. I held him so tight – the rush of love set my heart on fire. But he was limp – he was dying. He had multiple organ failure, the damage was already done. But my body was yearning to nurture him. I could only watch him fall apart. He was limp. He took his last breath on my chest. It was soft, like a whimper. He passed away in my arms.”
Hayley also explained that her son was very much wanted and that she did everything she could to ensure that he would be healthy. She ate organically and treated her body properly. She said, “It went wrong because of a bacteria, something in this day and age you don’t believe will happen because of the medicine and equipment they’ve got.”
Now Hayley is calling for routine testing of the bacteria to be performed in the United Kingdom. She said, “I want his life to make a difference. He died so I want his life to have served a purpose, to help other mothers. I knew, from having fertility treatment, that I was a carrier of Group B Streptococcus. But when I got pregnant they didn’t test for it. It would have been a simple test, and a simple treatment of antibiotics. But they didn’t test for it. In America it is mandatory, whereas in the UK it’s not, but it kills 70 babies a year and unfortunately mine was one of them.”
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Currently, 1 in every 2,000 babies are affected by Group B Streptococcus in the United States, which is why physicians include testing for the bacteria in prenatal care. However, in the United Kingdom the bacterium infects more than 700 newborns and some die.
Hayley concluded, “How can you put a price on a baby’s life? The NHS will fund unnecessary boob jobs but this is something that can save a life. If I had been tested I believe my baby would still be here. They have actually got the power to prevent this, that’s the most agonizing part. What’s £30 odd for the sake of having a baby in your arms?”