Feb 02

“But doctor, why our relatives who had just given birth in Kluang were never tested for Streptococcus B?” I asked.

“Well…” doctor answered. “I think I’m the only one who do this test in Malaysia. Actually this test is not included in our standard test procedure. Before this, I followed the same procedure used by other maternity doctor in our country. We only do selective testing. That means we only perform this test if the pregnant woman has symptoms related to this infection.”

“In medical field, we regard this test as not cost effective. The chances of baby getting Streptococcus B infection from mother is very low. So we don’t do this test on all mother.”

“However with medical advancement, USA and Australia started to do this test as their standard procedure. Not many doctor do this test in Europe. And in Singapore, I think only half doctors do this test.”

“Since we have the solution to this infection, why not test for it? Even the chances are low, getting this infection may bring fatality to baby.”

Changing test procedure

“Before this,” Dr Lim explained. “In case of any baby complication, I often blame the mother for not bringing their newborn earlier to me for inspection.  Some mother brought their baby to me after 3 days of fever. Some brought to me after 3 days of gasping or coughing. If they could bring in their baby earlier, our treatment may give better result.”

“But in year 2000, I had this case right in my maternity center. And that was the first time I saw it in my 30 years of experience. A mother smoothly gave birth to her baby. Everything was alright. Baby was healthy. So the next day, they prepared to bring their baby home.”

“At around 11am the next day, my nurse saw her baby’s face was slightly red. A temperature reading for the baby showed 38°C. So I told the mother that her baby’s temperature is slightly higher. Maybe it is caused by wrapping the cloth too tight around the baby since they are going home soon. I said we will monitor her baby’s condition.”

“About an hour later, baby started to gasp for breath. Her baby’s condition was not good. So we sent her to children specialist. An X-ray on baby’s chest confirmed a lung infection. So they continued with antibiotic treatments for the baby.”

“This dragged for nine days when the baby passed away. And this started right from my clinic. All standard tests showed the baby was alright. And complication started on the second day when they were about to go back. I couldn’t blame the mother for not bringing her baby to me earlier. The baby was in my place when the problem started.”

“Well, the baby’s parent couldn’t sue me because I have followed all the standard procedures. It wasn’t the negligence on my part. However, I don’t feel good about this. I thought it was not enough for a private maternity hospital to have this kind of result”

“So I decided to change my test procedure. Now, I’ll test all pregnant woman for the infection.”

So this is Streptococcus B

So this is Streptococcus B

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