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Mother whose newborn baby was left with ‘avoidable’ brain damage at just three days old said he should not have been discharged from hospital as NHS Trust announces they are reviewing child’s care


A mother whose newborn baby was left with ‘avoidable’ brain damage at just three days old has said he should not have been discharged from hospital.

Rebecca Murcott’s son Albie was discharged from West Suffolk Hospital on Boxing Day last year despite the fact he was grunting, which is a common sign of meningitis in babies.  

Two days later, Ms Murcott, 27 from Cockfield in Suffolk, took Albie to A&E after he was refusing feeding and making ‘retching’ noises. Albie was given antibiotics to fight a chest infection but that evening he started having seizures.  

Tests confirmed he had Group B Strep meningitis, involving the swelling of the brain and spinal cord, and an MRI scan showed he was brain damaged on December 29. 

Ms Murcott said: ‘I feel like we are living in a nightmare. Even though Albie was taken to hospital within 48 hours, it was too late for him to recover.

Rebecca Murcott with her son Albie who was left with 'avoidable' brain damage when he was just three days old.  Now Ms Murcott is calling for widespread screening of Strep B for women giving birth

Rebecca Murcott with her son Albie who was left with ‘avoidable’ brain damage when he was just three days old.  Now Ms Murcott is calling for widespread screening of Strep B for women giving birth

Baby Albie was diagnosed with Group B Strep meningitis and an MRI scan on December 29 showed he had brain damage

Baby Albie was diagnosed with Group B Strep meningitis and an MRI scan on December 29 showed he had brain damage

West Suffolk Hospital (stock image). Albie was discharged from West Suffolk Hospital on Boxing Day last year despite the fact he was grunting, which is a common sign of meningitis

West Suffolk Hospital (stock image). Albie was discharged from West Suffolk Hospital on Boxing Day last year despite the fact he was grunting, which is a common sign of meningitis 

‘He is in hospital and is better than we ever thought he would be, considering we thought he might pass away. He opens his eyes and moves.

‘He may still not make it, and if he does, he will have severe difficulties..’

According to Ms Murcott, Albie’s brain damage, from the meningitis, was ‘avoidable’.

The dental nurse said: ‘In my opinion, Albie should not have been discharged as he did have a grunt, which is one of the symptoms.

‘If antibiotics had been administered, there would have been a much smaller risk of the damage he suffered.’

Routine screening for Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is not currently offered by the NHS but can cause serious illness in people – especially newborns. Now Ms Murcott is calling for widespread screening of Strep B for women giving birth.

The infection is caused by streptococcal bacteria, which is very common in both men and women, and usually harmless.

However, it can lead to life-threatening complications such as sepsis or meningitis like in Albie’s case.

Ms Murcott’s mother,Jeanette, said: ‘We just want so much more awareness as many young mums do not know about Strep B, so more we talk about it, the better.

‘We used to swab for Strep B many years ago, but what we have learned since is that the body can intermittently carry the bacteria.

‘If they swab just before going into labour, antibiotics can be administered during labour – if they had done that, this situation with Albie could have been avoided.’

A spokesperson for the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust say the trust follows national guidance regarding antenatal screening for GBS, based on screening or treating those at high risk.

The trust is also taking part in a trial that aims to identify a successful way of detecting the presence of this bacteria at the time of labour.

Baby Albie. The infection is caused by streptococcal bacteria, which is very common in both men and women, and usually harmless. However, it can lead to life-threatening complications such as sepsis or meningitis like in Albie's case

 Baby Albie. The infection is caused by streptococcal bacteria, which is very common in both men and women, and usually harmless. However, it can lead to life-threatening complications such as sepsis or meningitis like in Albie’s case

Ms Murcott said: 'I feel like we are living in a nightmare. Even though Albie was taken to hospital within 48 hours, it was too late for him to recover

Ms Murcott said: ‘I feel like we are living in a nightmare. Even though Albie was taken to hospital within 48 hours, it was too late for him to recover

Dr Ewen Cameron, chief executive of the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust which runs West Suffolk Hospital, said: ‘We understand this must be a very difficult time for the family of baby Albie and my heart goes out to them.

‘We, as a trust, want to learn from all situations where there are unexpected outcomes in our care.

‘As the family should rightly expect, we are reviewing Albie’s care.

‘It is vital we ensure we fully understand the impacts of the care and service he was provided, and we will work closely with his family throughout this process.’



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