Dog walking

Thu 31st May 2007 by Ben Palmer.

Dog WalkingTuesday was an unexpected day. Being stuck at Jessica's father, Tim and stepmother, Marian's house with no car, I was going to look for a hire car to get us home and fill a temporary transportation problem, but a message left on my home answering service which was texted through to my mobile while we were all on a walk along the Thames near Marlow changed my plans.

It was from a Sky News reporter who wanted to 'flag something up with me'. There's only one reason that the press have ever wanted to talk to me, so I had a vague idea, but wasn't sure exactly what it was. I found a small pocket of mobile reception and called her back.

"Oh, thanks for returning my call, I'm not even sure if you're the right Ben Palmer so I do apologise... were you married to Jessica Palmer?"

With identity established she went on to tell me that a report was out which highlighted the fact that Midwifery Support Workers are being used to work in place of fully qualified midwives - breaking a promise made by Patricia Hewitt, and that she was aware from the news coverage of the Inquest into Jessica's death that a midwife had been lacking in her level of care.

I expanded on the facts she knew, and she asked whether Sky could come and film an interview for the five o'clock news. Always keen to champion mothers and highlight the appalling care that they receive I told her where to come to.

Within an hour, reporter and cameraman had arrived and were introducing themselves. We did an interview in the light rain and shot some 'background' pieces on the village green with Tim's dog, who was totally bemused and wanted to go for his normal walk in the other direction.

Sure enough, come five o'clock, Chuckie and I were on the first domestic story in the programme. I know that the piece was watched in Portugal and Fuerte Ventura as well as here, and I just hope that it helps highlight the danger that mothers giving birth are falling deeper and deeper into with each broken promise and penny scrimped.

tags: valley

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What is childbed fever?

Childbed fever is an infection of the womb in new mothers which can lead to septicaemia. If left untreated infection will cause organ failure and death - even in young, fit mothers.
What are the symptoms? »
Childbed fever: the facts »

What's the aim?

We would like every parent and every midwife and doctor to know that childbed fever is still a very real threat to a mother's life.
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Who is Jessica?

Jessica Palmer was a Mum. She died in June 2004, at 34 years old, of childbed fever caused by Group A streptococcus.
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