Dear NHS, please wake up

Sun 16th Sep 2007 by Ben Palmer.

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Aarrggh. I could scream.

I heard a story at lunch today that made my skin crawl. A mother (a friend of a friend and I don't know her, so I won't use specifics) was unwell a couple of days after delivering a baby in a London hospital. Told that she had tendonitis in her foot, she was sent home.

Progressively worse, she took herself to A&E and demanded to be taken seriously as she couldn't possibly be feeling that ill just because of a foot complaint.

When humoured by the staff and given proper attention, she was then told that if she was any more unwell she would have been dead. She was treated in Intensive Care for two and a half weeks and told that it might be up to a year before she was back to full health.

What (as if you need to ask) was wrong? She was suffering from Puerperal Sepsis. Childbed Fever. The hospital were amazed - they 'didn't think it still happened'.

When will somebody, anybody, wake up and listen? Mothers' health should not be ignored like this. Mothers do still get Childbed Fever, and yes, some of them do die. Those that don't seem to live by the skin of their teeth. I have almost lost count of the number of stories that I have heard in the last few years and although most (but not all) of these stories have happy endings, nobody, let alone a mother after childbirth, should be getting so ill in the 21st century.

If I've heard of all these stories, why hasn't the NHS, and why are they not getting the picture. How many more Jessica's have to die before they will?



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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.
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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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Can I help? »

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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This website contains general information about childbed fever. The information is not complete or comprehensive. You should not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about childbed fever (or any other medical condition) you should consult your doctor or other healthcare provider; and if you think you may be suffering from childbed fever (or any other medical condition) you should seek immediately medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.
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