Two years ago today Sarah Doolin and Craig Pollard suffered every parent's worst nightmare.

Their newborn son Ezrah died in their arms, at just 19 days old, from an infection – Group Strep B – that had never even been mentioned to them as a risk.

Just 48 hours earlier, when they had taken Ezrah to the hospital to be checked over, they had been concerned they were being over-cautious new parents.

In fact they were being anything but, with that 40-minute trip from Newtown-in-St Martin to Truro the start of a journey no parent wants to make.

Now Sarah has re-lived the two days that changed their lives forever, in the hope of preventing similar deaths.

Falmouth Packet: Sarah Doolin and Craig Pollard with baby Ezrah, who died after a Strep B infectionSarah Doolin and Craig Pollard with baby Ezrah, who died after a Strep B infection

She said: “Two years ago, a normal day in a newborn bubble turned into a living nightmare.

“Ezrah woke and had his usual morning feed. Later that morning, he seemed a little fussy and I put it down to tiredness. I remember feeling a sense of achievement when he went down for a nap in his crib and I managed to get some washing on the line.

“By the early evening, Ezrah was showing signs that were more worrying. He was whimpering and wouldn’t feed. He began to make a noise that sounded like a cough. I later learnt that this is known as a ‘grunt’ and it’s a sign of serious infection.

“On arrival to ED I was concerned that I was overreacting but the nurse that checked Ezrah immediately called for support and we were moved to resus.

“I was on my own at the time, Covid meant only one parent could enter ED. I didn’t know what to write in my text to Craig.

Falmouth Packet: Baby Ezrah before he became illBaby Ezrah before he became ill

“Over 15 medical professionals were clearly trying to save Ezrah’s life, surrounding his tiny body, and I had no idea why.

“I had no idea because infection in babies had never been mentioned to me. Sepsis, Group B Strep and Meningitis had never been mentioned to me.

“We took Ezrah into hospital that evening thinking he would be coming home. Two years ago, I had no idea we would be saying our final goodbyes to our newborn son in two days’ time.”

Sarah said she chose to share her story, because “knowledge is power” – and that had she known more at the time, she would have been quicker in taking action.

Falmouth Packet: Ezrah contracted an infection in the days before his deathEzrah contracted an infection in the days before his death (Image: Family picture)

“I am sick of hearing ‘you know your baby best’ and ‘trust your instinct’. A first time mum to a newborn baby deserves basic knowledge on what a poorly baby looks and sounds like.

“I strive to raise the standard of information given to expectant parents. You hopefully won’t ever need to act on this information; if you do, it is lifesaving.

“If not treated early, infection becomes life-threatening. One of the toughest parts of our grief is wondering how different things may have been if Ezrah had received treatment sooner.

“If I can help even one family avoid this pain, then I will have felt sharing these painful details to be worth it. I am willing to be vulnerable in the hope that our reality changes others’ futures,” she added.

Falmouth Packet: Sarah with little EzrahSarah with little Ezrah

Since Ezrah’s death, the couple, together with their family and friends, have been fundraising to create a legacy in his name.

Incredibly, on the second anniversary of that fateful hospital trip, the fundraising reached the £60,000 milestone.

Donations remain ongoing at, raising money for three charities very close to their hearts: The Grand Appeal, which funds Bristol Children’s Hospital – including the Watch ambulance service that transferred Ezrah to the hospital from Treliske after he became very poorly – together with Group B Strep Support, a charity working to eradicate the infection in babies, and Luna’s Fund, which provides bereavement support to parents who have lost a baby, either due to a still birth or neonatally.

Since Ezrah’s death, Sarah has been working with the maternity team at the Royal Cornwall Hospital and changes have been introduced, which mean that at the 36-week antenatal appointment expectant parents should be spoken through red flag symptoms of infections and when to call 111 or 999.

After the birth, parents should now also be given a thorough discharge, which includes being talked through a variety of safety topics – such as safe sleeping and travelling – with one of the big focuses being sepsis symptoms, and what would be considered an emergency.

Symptoms of Group B Strep*

Sarah is now keen to share the warning signs of Strep B with others. 

Early-onset GBS infection usually presents as sepsis with pneumonia. Typical signs to look out for include:

  • Grunting, noisy breathing, moaning, seems to be working hard to breathe when you look at the chest or tummy, or not breathing at all.
  • Being very sleepy and/or unresponsive.
  • Inconsolable crying.
  • Being unusually floppy.
  • Not feeding well or not keeping milk down
  • Having a high or low temperature (if parents have a thermometer), and/or being hot or cold to the touch.
  • Having changes in their skin colour (including blotchy skin).
  • Having an abnormally fast or slow heart rate or breathing rate.
  • Having low blood pressure (identified by tests done in hospital).
  • Having low blood sugar (identified by tests done in hospital).

*Source: Group B Strep Support/