Showing posts tagged with: 'book'


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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So says the nurse

Mon 23rd Jun 2008 by Ben Palmer.

She mentioned Friday's Child last week, in comparison to a historical novel about childbed fever, and this morning I find that dovegreyreader has written about it more fully in her post, Friday's Child by Ben Palmer. I won't comment - it speaks for itself.

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In the grip

Tue 17th Jun 2008 by Ben Palmer.

I was sent an early copy of a new book, Touching Distance, last week. I was gripped by it from start to finish and it consumed most of my weekend.

I have also been alerted to a post by dovegreyreader who has also spotted the link between Touching Distance and Friday's Child.

Touching Distance is set in 1790, in the middle of an epidemic of childbed fever in Aberdeen. A young doctor, Alexander Gordon, discovers - and sacrifices his career and his marriage to publish the fact - that it is he, his peers and midwives who are spreading the disease.

To continue the brief history lesson, Oliver Wendell-Holmes published the same information in 1843. He too was ridiculed by his peers. A few years later, and Ignaz Semmelweis, drew the same conclusion, markedly reducing maternal death by using a chlorinated lime solution for hand washing. He too was ridiculed.

Medicine has moved on: in the West, hygiene practice means that childbed fever does not reach epidemic rates of occurrence - it is not being spread by doctors or midwives. What has not changed is that streptococcus, the cause that Gordon et al couldn't have known of, is still with us. It may wax and wane in prevalence, but it is in us, on us and with us at all times. It is still causing deaths from childbed fever.

We cannot assume that hand washing makes our mothers safe. We can't vaccinate and we can't wash it out of the world, but we can spot the symptoms of its infection while there is still time to treat a mother before she requires long term hospitalisation, a hysterectomy or she dies.

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Double dose

Sat 7th Jun 2008 by Ben Palmer.

Yesterday's extract of Friday's Child in the Daily Mail caused a huge response, which still stuns me this morning.

To everyone who has contacted me: Thank you. I am replying as fast as I can!

The extract was from my book Friday's Child which is the story of what happened back then. Today the Guardian has printed an interview, After Jessica, that is as much about now and what my hopes are.

I'm flattered that the article has been put on the front of the Family supplement.

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Extracted

Fri 6th Jun 2008 by Ben Palmer.

This morning I read the extract of Friday's Child, in the Daily Mail. It's strange, reading my words in such a condensed form. They are my words, and it is my story, but only such a small part of it.

It is humbling to read the comments people have left under the story, and so many. Really humbling.

The trouble with it being so shortened is that, inevitably, there wasn't room for many details, so it saddens me to be criticised, even ever so slightly, for not doing something that in fact we did.

We, Jessica and I, believed that she was being properly looked after and that we were doing everything right. We trusted the system to look after her, and when we were given reassurance, we took it and carried on. How I wish we hadn't.

That's all in the past, though. What matters is that it doesn't happen again.

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Hot off the press

Thu 5th Jun 2008 by Ben Palmer.

Publication day is here. This time a year ago I was discussing what would make a suitable title for my book with my agent, prior to submitting a 30,000 word proposal to a handful of publishing editors.

Twelve months and 60,000 words later, it is in stock, on the shelves and on sale. Tomorrow there's a 3,000 word extract in a national newspaper and on Saturday another is printing an interview I did with them a couple of weeks ago. I can barely believe it's true.

Last night I went out for an extremely nice dinner with friends, stopping at their house for glass of champagne.

'Look children, it's Ben's book,' Sally said.
'Wow. You're famous,' was her son's response, before climbing over the fence to play in the neighbour's garden.

It'd be easy to enjoy the 'fame' but that's not why I wrote Friday's Child.

I emailed some friends earlier, to remind them that they could buy a copy if they felt inclined, and got a response back from someone I met directly because of Jessica's death.

His email read, 'Would you believe this morning I have been out for our first scan at 12 weeks – thanks so much for raising awareness of childbed fever on behalf of this prospective Dad!'

The book is dedicated to Harry and Emily, but it is on the shelves and in the press for all prospective Mums and Dads. That's why I did it and I hope it saves lives.

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Count down

Sun 1st Jun 2008 by Ben Palmer.

The coming week is going to be a very busy one. I've got a pile of work on my desks - both at home and in the office in which I have a corner that I call my own.

It's also book launch week, and there's a bit of press coverage lined up too.

Obviously I won't be sad if Friday's Child sells a few copies or more, but the real happiness that I yearn for will come through the people who read of Jessica's plight and are moved enough to spread her story.

If every reader tells their colleagues, family and friends, then it will be a lot of people who know about the continuing danger of childbed fever and infection in otherwise healthy new mothers.

I really want it to be the start of the end of this cruel and un-prejudiced killer. Please, help me to make Jessica's untimely and unnecessary death one that counts.

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Fresh inspiration

Sun 6th Apr 2008 by Ben Palmer.

Quilted Calico 2Nearly six years ago, Jessica and I bought our first house. It was a big project, and we knew it would be a long term one. We did a lot of refurbishment and decorating together for a couple of years, but it all came to a halt in 2004.

Since then I have done very little myself, rarely finding the time or the inspiration, but two weeks ago I decided to sort out the mess that was my study/home office. I could never find paper work that I needed, and could barely get in past the jumble of our lives.

The project snowballed: I needed better storage for my bills, receipts, solicitor letters and school reports, so I went to IKEA. It was better, but it still looked wrong: new furniture against bare floor boards, ripped embossed wall paper and dirty, chipped paintwork. It was obvious why I rarely worked in there, I even wrote my book at the kitchen table. The room needed a real face lift, so out came the new filing cabinets and drawers again, the desk and everything else too.

Wall paper stripped, walls filled and sanded, floor covered in limed oak strip boards, walls and ceiling lined and painted in two coats of 'Quilted Calico 2', light bulbs replaced, it's now a much brighter and cleaner room to be in. It's a room I'll be happy to sit in when looking for blogin'spiration or working on the Jessica's trust campaign, which has been rather neglected while I've been brush in hand.

There's still so much to do.

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Friday's Child is nearly ready

Wed 23rd Jan 2008 by Ben Palmer.

Thanks to Virgin Books and my hard-working editor, Friday's Child is almost finished. It'll be ready to print in a few weeks, in time for the June launch. It's got an updated cover as well, and for the first time I've seen the full book jacket - now I can imagine it on the bookshelves. I hope the reviewers are kind, though - it's my life, my inner thoughts and feelings. I also hope that it changes people's understanding of this cruel, painful killer.

From the jacket:

fridays_child_final_cover.jpg'In the summer of 2004, Ben Palmer was overjoyed when his wife Jessica gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Emily was their first daughter and a little sister for their three-year-old son Harry. They had everything they had ever wanted.

Six days later, Jessica died of childbed fever, an archaic illness that causes blood poisoning, a condition that can be easily detected and prevented.

This is Ben’s raw, moving account of dealing with his grief while raising two small children as a single parent, and of how he successfully sued the NHS for negligence. As he struggles to comprehend his loss and to care for their two young children, he is overwhelmed by shock, anger, despair and guilt, before finally finding hope in the future, thanks to the love and support of his friends and family.

A story of living with a cruel and needless loss, this is also a story of two people who loved each other for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; till death tragically parted them.'

Friday's Child is now available to order from Amazon

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No news would have been good news

Sun 6th Jan 2008 by Ben Palmer.

There's been a fair bit of news recently (see here and here) about two poor mothers who gave birth on the same day, in the same hospital, and who both died within three days, just before Christmas. The coverage has focused on the fact that they both had a Group A Strep infection, and there has been much talk about infections (hospital and community acquired) and superbugs.

Luckily, it was acknowledged that GAS is not a superbug and that it is treatable. Unfortunately there was no mention of the fact that these two women died of Childbed/Puerperal Fever, and that it is a well documented and once much feared condition that should not be killing any more.

My heart goes out to these women and their families - how well Harry, Emily and I know their pain and confusion.

I have failed in my New Year's resolution to give up smoking (sorry, Harry) but am so far succeeding in my second - to tidy, sort and organise the house better. I also have a third: to step up the campaign to raise awareness of childbed fever. 2008 was always going to be a big year with the launch of my book, Friday's Child, in June but I want to make more noise and more of a difference than just that.

Thanks to a very kind person who has offered her professional help at no charge, I just may be able to. Many others have also offered to help, and I'm sure I'll be in touch.

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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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