Mother's Day Every Day

Fri 27th Feb 2009 by Ben Palmer.

On a random web search just now, I came across this post.

The White Ribbon Alliance is an international coalition bound together by a common goal: to ensure that pregnancy and childbirth are safe for all women and newborns in every country around the world.

Let's face it, our problems pale into insignificance when compared to the developing world, and while I believe that 'Charity begins at home' also means trying to fix the problems at home, other nations really need our help.

Let's not forget their mothers either. The Mother's Day Every Day campaign is a brilliant idea.

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Rising GAS

Tue 24th Feb 2009 by Ben Palmer.

Group A Streptococcal infections are on the increase, according the the Health Protection Agency. The concern so far has been largely in cases of Scarlet Fever, which last December reached a 10 year high, the HPA reported.

The news is that there is now an enhanced surveillance protocol of severe group A streptococcal disease. Not quite the study of cases of childbed fever including those that do not result in death that I'd like to see (and is, I know, in planning) but a welcome step in the right direction.

If group A strep infection is more prevalent in the community at the moment, then there will be more cases of childbed fever as well, one could assume. Let the doctors and midwives be aware and be alert, lest it result in more death.

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NHS Trust apology: maternal deaths

Fri 13th Feb 2009 by Ben Palmer.

From the Nursing Times today:

In the Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust, 'earlier identification of deterioration, or better advance preparation to manage identified risk, may have averted the deaths'.

Link to article: NHS trust apologises over 'exceptionally high' maternal deaths

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Don't miss the bear

Wed 11th Feb 2009 by Ben Palmer.

When I spoke in Basingstoke, at the SE Regional conference a little while ago, one of the highlights was this video, shown by one of the other speakers.

Concentrate hard and follow the instructions.

When we watched it there was a big cheer as everyone got the correct answer, and then a gasp!

I had a letter today, from CEMACH, with some of the comments made by the (mainly midwife) delegates at the South East Regional CEMACH conference in Basingstoke Jan 2009, in their evaluation forms. To underline the purpose of Jessica's Trust, the campaign and our petition, I thought I'd share a few:

  • Jessica's story highlighted the need for MEOWS on the postnatal wards
  • Jessica's story of tragedy shows the importance of how not to miss the bear moon-walking amidst the data.
  • High quality communication, referral & follow ups is vital to good provision of care - information should be provided to all women in a way that they can understand it + make choices about their care. - I will always remember Jessica's story.
  • Importance of observation! To re-emphasis use of MEOWS.
  • Higher awareness in units regarding newly introduced MEOWS.
  • Considering how to take forward Ben's message in practice.
  • Copy of MEOWS chart of postnatal women's observations to community midwives.
  • Jessica's story increasingly moving.
  • The presentation from Ben was extremely poignant and completely sums up the purpose of CEMACH - Very powerful and real life experience should be portrayed to many more maternity staff - it keeps the reality in the midst of statistics and risk.
  • There is a need for an early warning system to be implemented in trusts. We need to ensure that women are aware of risks & that there are guidelines for e.g. sepsis in pregnancy.

Thank you to CEMACH for inviting me to speak, and for permission to use these comments.

[It has to be said, it's more of a surprise if the video isn't titled before you watch it!]

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Maternity units 'shut to mothers'

Sun 8th Feb 2009 by Ben Palmer.

What a sorry state that we are being let down even before we are born. We have excellent midwives in this country, but give them a chance - there simply aren't enough.

BBC: Maternity units 'shut to mothers'

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Twittering by Gently

Sun 8th Feb 2009 by Ben Palmer.

At first I started, through curiousity, on a high protein diet of @stephenfry, but then I was reading an interview with a man who started a charity in memory of his wife. He'd been recommended Twitter(.com) as a good means of raising awareness, so I thought...

Anyway, if you tweet, follow @jessicastrust, and please feel free to spread the word or retweet.

I'm really really pleased with the signing rate on the petition, please keep it up and don't forget to spread the word, by tweet or by mouth!

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Help us by signing our petition

Tue 3rd Feb 2009 by Ben Palmer.

Jessica's Trust needs your help

Please sign our petition

We have started a new petition on the Downing Street website, asking the Prime Minister to...

"...ensure that every new mother has regular observations recorded on a Modified Early Obstetric Warning System (MEOWS) chart in hospital and in the community and is given clear information and advice on the recognition of childbed fever (also known as puerperal fever and genital tract sepsis) and that doctors and midwives are given clear sepsis guidelines."

More information

This petition will remain open for 9 months.

However, please sign our petition now, with one name per line - signing as 'Mr & Mrs Smith' will only count as one signature! Every British citizen or resident can sign if they have a unique email address.

When you have signed please remember to click the link in the confirmation email you will receive, then please  share the link to this page with anybody who you think might like to sign it as well.

For more information about the petition, childbed fever, MEOWS and Jessica's Trust please read our website.

Online donations and fundraising

Since becoming a registered charity, we have partnered with Justgiving.com to allow us to receive online donations.

All money donated or raised through sponsorship will enable us to continue raising awareness of childbed fever through printing and distributing leaflets and posters, running our website and striving to achieve our aims.

Keep up to date with our work

Bookmark our website or join our update list to keep abreast of what we're doing.

Thank you

Thank you for your help. Together we can make a difference.

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Basingstoke

Fri 30th Jan 2009 by Ben Palmer.

I was very glad to attend the South East Regional CEMACH conference in Basingstoke today. I was asked  to speak a few months ago, and as anyone who knows me will testify, I hate public speaking. As a result I blanked it until the last minute and just revised my last speech at the eleventh hour.

As yesterday approached, CEMACH offered me a corner of their table for my leaflets and books, then a table of my own. By the entrance/exit.

I was made to feel so special I forgot to be nervous this morning, especially as the chair of the conference handed me some Bachs Rescue Remedy. By the time my slot arrived I was feeling comfortable in the lecture theatre, knew what I had to say and launched in.

I knew to expect the rustle of tissues, but I was overwhelmed by the support shown afterwards, and the number of requests for a repeat performance in other parts of the country, and the speed at which copies of Friday's Child flew off the table later.

As promised to a number of delegates, here is the link to the text of my speech in Birmingham last year - largely unchanged today. And yes, I will consider recording it and putting it on YouTube. The more (student) midwives that hear it the better.

Things will change, thanks to Jessica.

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She doesn’t know her mother is dead

Sun 14th Dec 2008 by Ben Palmer.

Just reading the Sunday's, I came across a heart rending story about Karmeh, who still doesn't know her mother died of post-partum sepsis.

Developing world childbirth is far, far more dangerous than it is, for example, in this country, but I believe that charity begins at home and that means fixing the problems at home as well. The work that so many organisations - such as the White Ribbon Alliance - does is vital, but there is so far to go in ensuring the safety of our own mothers.

Back to Karmeh for second, and I question the wisdom of not telling her that her mother is dead. Waiting until she understands the concept of guilt may be too late to tell her the truth. My own children, Harry and Emily, know the truth, but Emily doesn't understand guilt so hasn't (quite rightly) felt it. She may do at some point in the future, but at least she won't have the truth to contend with at the same time.

For the moment, Jessica's Trust is committed to raising awareness of and preventing childbed fever deaths in this country, but one day (and I'm already having discussions to this end) I'd like to say, 'Job done. Now, what can Jessica do to help in the third world.'

All of our resources are limited, but please: do help where you can.

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Full steam ahead

Thu 25th Sep 2008 by Ben Palmer.

I'm Form Rep in Emily's class, so I get to organise the coffee mornings, evenings out with nice food and wine, cajole people into helping run stalls at the Christmas fair/sports day and goodness knows what else. I'm sure I'll find out.

Anyway, I was just chatting to two new Mum's - new as in new to the school - at our first coffee morning of the term about being the only dad around the table and about what the Jessica's Trust banner in my email signature is all about.

Obviously they'd followed the link and read some of the pages, but wanted to know what it was really like, what does it involve and a whole host of questions that a lot of people don't ask, but I like to answer.

I told them, adding that I was hoping to hear from the Charity Commission shortly about whether the application had been successful.

Back at my desk I opened the latest email that had arrived - from the Charity Commission:

Dear Sir or Madam

I am pleased to inform you that the above has now been registered under registration number 1126062 .  Written confirmation follows by first class post.

Please note that the information may take a few days to appear on our website.

etc etc

In the first moments of surprise and delight, suddenly tinged with the reality I thought, 'what do I do now, getting registered is all I've thought about for ages.'

There's so much to do and so many doors to open, but the first jobs are to update the web site, change the letterhead and open a bank account.

I must remember to organise a class night out for the Dads to come along to as well.

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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.
more »
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.
more »

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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