Showing posts tagged with: 'media'


Maternity resources

Wed 30th Jan 2008 by Ben Palmer.

BBC NEWS | Health | 'No plans' for migrant birth rate

The government should have done more to help the NHS cope with the increase in foreign-born mothers using maternity services, the Conservatives say.

How can the government keep saying that they are working towards having a named midwife for every mother, when the number of midwives is so low? 36 midwives per 1,000 births are required, yet the average is only 31 and it is as low as 26 per 1,000 in some NHS Trusts.

If the birthrate continues to rise (whether caused by immigration or not) then maternity services are going to be even more stretched unless this vital area of care is properly resourced. There is no way that any midwife can provide the recommended level of care if she is spread amongst too many mothers. That is the case in hospital and within the community.

CEMACH recommends* that 'routine observations of pulse, BP, temperature, respiratory rate, and lochia should be made in all recently delivered women for several days postpartum' and yet most women are turfed out of hospital within a few hours, and often receive only one or two visits from a midwife in the community. How is anyone going to spot the signs of serious illness?

* Saving Mothers' Lives 2003-2005, p102

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Woman's Hour - Childbed Fever

Wed 23rd Jan 2008 by Ben Palmer.

I've just been alerted to a Woman's Hour discussion on childbed fever this morning. I listened to a recording of it on the BBC website.

The author of a new book, The Bone Garden discusses childbed fever with the presenter and a professor, but in the context of the past. They highlight the pain and agony of dying from this terrible disease, and how doctors used to be the cause of epidemics - by spreading it - but unfortunately there was no mention of the underlying natural causes - so often Group A streptococcus, a community bacterium.

Towards the end there is recognition of the fact that 16 women died of it in the mid 1990s, and that one woman (Jessica, I wondered) died of it in 2004. Why not go further and quote the more up to date statistics of 1997-99, 2000-02 and 2003-05 or mention the two more recent cases of childbed fever in Winchester last December as well?

I hope that when Friday's Child is published I may get the opportunity to bring the story up to date and highlight its continuance.

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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.

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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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