Showing posts tagged with: 'comment'


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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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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An Inspector Calls

Thu 28th Feb 2008 by Ben Palmer.

poster_thumbnail.pngI had a visit from the VAT Inspector this morning. I got a bit behind with my VAT Returns and they wanted to make sure I wasn't up to no good.

Business has been slow to non existant for the past few years, so it didn't take long and we soon started to talk about what I was doing now. I showed her the first proof of Friday's Child, explained Jessica's trust and gave her a card.

"Oh, I heard about childbed fever on Woman's Hour," she told me, both shocked to hear that Jessica was a victim, fully understanding about my change of direction, and also impressed by my home printed business card.

"Can I have another card, to give to my friend? And do you have a poster? I could ask in the office if I can put one up on the notice board."

I don't have a current poster, the only one I've ever designed was promoting the now closed petition to the Prime Minister, so I've spent the rest of the day designing a new one.

I think it's clear what the message is, I hope it's suitably targetted at Mums, but before I press print, I'd love to know what you think of it. Please leave your thoughts, good or not-so-good, and suggestions in the comments below.

If you have somewhere that you can pin one up I'd love to hear from you as well. When it's fully refined I can make a hi res download available. If anyone knows a friendly (read 'low cost') printer as well, I might get some properly done.

Download the new poster [Link removed  7/3/08 pending redesign]
Update 30/05/08: The new poster and leaflet are now on-line

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Power to you, Mums

Tue 19th Feb 2008 by Ben Palmer.

Never under estimate the power of the Internet, or of mums.

My sister in law very kindly posted a request for help with our awareness survey on a very busy Mums website earlier this afternoon.

The response has been absolutely fantastic: in seven hours well over 100 people have filled in the survey form and the website has been busier than in ages.

The information so far is:

a) extremely useful
b) very interesting
c) anonymous (so please add your honest response as well)

What really touch me are the comments added on the response forms. They're under wraps, but let me just say that I feel encouraged, supported and useful.

There's no official end to the survey as yet, but at some point I will be showing the overall results to some big decision makers, to illustrate the need for a change of attitude, so please, add your voice and help us make changes - we don't want any more unnecessary tragedies.

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Experimental forum

Tue 22nd Jan 2008 by Ben Palmer.

Some of the pages are getting quite long in the comments, so I've added a forum to the site as an experiment. If successful, I am planning to migrate the comments from fixed pages on the site. Comments on individual blog posts will stay.

I'd also like to encourage question asking and discussion.

Please add any forum ideas to the Requests & Ideas forum.

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The petition's response

Wed 14th Nov 2007 by Ben Palmer.

At long last the Government has posted its response to the petition I started seven months ago.

I never expected there to be any sort of substance to it, but even so it is still alarmingly arrogant:

"Maternal deaths in the UK are extremely rare. Each is a tragedy, which is why the Government takes any maternal deaths seriously and funds the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths (CEMD). Each avoidable maternal death is one too many."

Funding the CEMD is not actually taking action. The CEMD only produces a report of recommendations. With regard to sepsis, it has been making the same recommendations in report after report, to little or no effect. The incidence of sepsis/childbed fever/puerperal fever/whatever you care to call it has been rising since 1984, and a worrying number of healthcare professionals are ignorant of its cause, symptoms and devastating outcome.

"In the last published report of the CEMD for 2000-02, only five of the 13 women who died from infection, out of more than the 2million who delivered safely, died from what is known as puerperal fever (sometimes also known as child bed fever) after a normal delivery."

The other eight women died of the same disease, with the same symptoms, their deaths are just labelled differently because they had a caesarian. Their lives are just as important, which is why I prefer to include them and talk about 13 deaths (which accounts for 12% of all deaths that were a direct result of pregnancy/delivery during 2000-2002.)

These deaths are avoidable, so saying that it is a small proportion of the safe deliveries is arrogant, insulting and misleading. None of those women should be dead. It is not an acceptable percentage of risk. When talking about a life, one is too many. This point was made in the first paragraph of the response, but obviously not meant as it was countered by this statistic. It sounds pretty much like Ivan Lewis' response to a parliamentary question my MP tabled.

"The CEMD's next report, Saving Mothers' Lives, due to be published on December 4, will update healthcare professionals on clinical guidelines for the management of serious illnesses affecting pregnant or recently delivered mothers. The recommendations of the report are circulated to all maternity professionals and, in future, their implementation will be audited by the Healthcare Commission. Since the last report was published, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has also published clinical guidelines for both birth and post-natal care."

The CEMD's next report will again report on the mothers whose lives were not saved, including Jessica. The title of the report is again misleading and insulting spin. I have written about it before, here. The bottom line though, is that it will be another report full of statistics that won't actually address the issue or achieve anything. See above for comment on the perpetual lack of attention to these reports.

All I wanted was the Government's recognition of the unnecessary waste of life and a positive determination to drag us out of the dark ages and protect our mothers. Tonight I feel stupid for even bothering to hope for that. Tomorrow I'll do something myself.

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Karate slice

Mon 24th Sep 2007 by Ben Palmer.

gi.jpg
While the pizza was in the oven tonight I ironed Harry's Karate Gi for tomorrow. That's not remarkable (or at least it shouldn't be) but what I was thinking while I steamed is.

I write, periodically, about some of the most intimate moments of my life, of Jessica's life and death. I'm used to that and it's a conscious decision, with a clear aim of trying to prevent it happening again to some other woman and her heart broken family.

What I never expected was to be inundated with emails and comments on this blog from other women who are prepared to share their equally intimate, graphic and heart rending stories of near disaster, pain and mistreatment.

I'm so grateful for all of this honesty and I hope that these stories as well as Jessica's will help to change things for the next mother, maybe for you.

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Open comments

Sun 29th Jul 2007 by Ben Palmer.

blog_keys.jpgAlthough creating the original version of this website was easy - I thought up the idea and designed it in my head during a 75 minute car journey to stay with my parents for the Easter weekend, and had the first draft created by Easter Sunday - the idea of a blog was harder.

I wanted to enable people reading the website to have a say in it, but shyed away from enabling comments in any form for ages. It wasn't until a night with a curry and bottle of wine with an old friend from school days that I decided: "Yes, a blog." To not untick the 'allow all comments' box wasn't that hard - it's a natural progression, after all what's a blog without comments?

What's the purpose of this blog? Well, there were many. It's a way, for me, of keeping focused on the website and campaign, it gives visitors to the site a small view into what drives me, and it helps me get a load off my chest (though I'm still saving most of that for later).

I hope some of it is interesting, I hope that there is something to learn from it, I know some of it has brought a tear to an eye more than once; Jessica's friends in particular have told me so.

However, back to the comments: I feared them initially, it would have been easier not to allow their addition, and I could have pretended that no one was reading me, but you are and the comments that are being left now drive me on - you only have to read them to see that.

I've received even more that have come by email, and sometimes I stumble across a mother/baby/pregnancy forum from my website logs, and the posts and follow-up comments there are heart-rending, beautiful, supportive and full of horror (although probably not meant directly for my eyes, so I keep quiet.)

Universally, there are stories of pain and heartache, of illness, of anger and most touchingly, of very sincere thanks.

Thank you.

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Have your say

Sat 12th May 2007 by Ben Palmer.

I sometimes feel, when I'm a web reader rather than a writer, that web sites and the people behind them can be a bit intimidating, so I observe but don't get involved.

I imagine that Jessica's trust may be the same. I write, I craft and I create a petition, but short of the petition signers, I only get a little feedback. I'd love to have more, but the stories, comments and observations that I do hear are so powerful that I wonder if I could take in any more. Do try me though, it makes it all worthwhile.

For this reason I set up the Your Say page. It isn't about me or Jessica any more, it's about the future mother and her family, so they deserve to be heard as well. Maybe commenting on a blog will be more approachable. I hope so, so go on: have your say!

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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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