Showing posts tagged with: 'press'


Mrs Brown gives away a free plug

Fri 10th Apr 2009 by Ben Palmer.

sarahbrowntwitterpageI've been away from here for a little bit too long, with school holidays, work etc. I've also been concentrating on micro-blogging.

Just the other day I discovered that Sarah Brown had joined Twitter. As well as being Mrs G. Brown, she is a strong advocate of women's health in the developing world. Knowing this, I 'followed' her (on Twitter this is a very non-stalking thing to do) and sent her a link to this website. She thanked me back, and I thought nothing of it until today.

I have just been sent a link to a story in the Technology pages of the Telegraph: Prime Minister’s wife joins Twitter which says it all. What great publicity for Jessica's Trust!

Sarah Brown does great work for www.whiteribbonalliance.org, www.millionmums.org and www.mothersdayeveryday.org. I hope she realises that too many mothers die in this country as well, but she hasn't yet signed my petition to her husband, although you can.

Thank you to @StudyingOnline and @marketingwizdom for drawing it to my attention.

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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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Stretching Midwives

Wed 9th Jan 2008 by Ben Palmer.

The Daily Telegraph has a story today, Midwives struggle in labour ward crisis. The Evening Standard has also run it, Shocking figures show mothers and babies are at risk due to chronic shortage of midwives.

This isn't a new story, but the figures go on and on showing the crisis that maternity services are sliding into.

I'm just glad it keeps popping up in the news. If there's enough pressure on the government and their promises, they might one day be fulfilled.

I believe that one answer to Childbed Fever (amongst other issues) is to have midwives with enough knowledge, experience and time to be able to spot the symptoms before they can become life threatening. If there aren't enough midwives, that certainly isn't going to happen.

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Masses of bodies

Tue 4th Dec 2007 by Ben Palmer.

I feel full of despair. Although I haven't seen a full copy of the Saving Mothers' Lives report, I have had sections of it read to me, and other parts have been reproduced in various news articles today - most probably from a heavily edited press release.

All of the talk is of obesity and migrant mothers. This is a distortion of what I know to be true. When the report says that deaths due to substandard care have not risen, are we supposed to applaud the NHS?

Jessica died because of substandard care, from a disease that has been known about for hundreds of years, and is easily treated.

The number of deaths from genital tract sepsis (ie childbed fever, pueperal fever) has gone up by 38%. Is it just me that thinks this is a scandal, and totally unacceptable?

The sense that I am getting is that the NHS and the government are not bothered by the increasing death rate, are not bothered about a properly funded and properly run maternity service because the statistics meet some unknown target. Instead they are blaming us for their failure to be aware, to treat and to run a modern health service.

There is a twist though. Jessica was a petite, middle class, 34 year old woman. Her post mortem report, however, gives her height as 1.61m and her post delivery weight as 82kg. The NHS Direct website has just told me that this means that her Body Mass Index would be 31.6, which is classed as obese.

This is utterly ridiculous - she was anything but overweight, as anybody who knew her would testify to, and the clothes she wore pre pregnancy were size 8-10. I couldn't really believe that she would be classed as obese, so I referred to her medical notes:

In August 2002, when not pregnant, her GP recorded a height of 1.64m and a weight of 55kg. This gives a BMI of 20.45 which is an "ideal weight".

In April 2004, when seven months pregnant, she was 61.9kg (and presumably still the same height) which gives a BMI of 23.01 which is still an ideal weight even for someone who isn't pregnant.

Somewhere between April and June she apparently lost 3cm in height and gained 20kg, even after Emily was delivered, making her an obese statistic. How many other anomalies are there in "Saving Mothers' Lives" that enable them to blame mothers for their own maternal death, I wonder?

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Floods

Mon 3rd Dec 2007 by Ben Palmer.

What a whirlwind. After yesterday's Independent article, and with the impending release of 'Saving Mothers' Lives', I have been flooded with requests for television interviews on morning TV and news programmes.

Part of me wants to do them, even though I can't do them all.

The increase of sepsis, both in numbers and as a percentage of all maternal deaths tells me I need to be campaigning as hard as I can, but its stirred up a lot of feelings. Jessica is one of the statistics that the report covers, and it has all come flooding back to me - the pain, the fear and the total bewilderment after her death.

I'm just not up to it at the moment, and it sounds like the news coverage is going to be good anyway, with or without me, but I'll bounce back to fight another day.

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NHS maternity care 'is in crisis' - Telegraph

Sat 4th Aug 2007 by Ben Palmer.

NHS maternity care 'is in crisis' - Telegraph
Fears over the standard of NHS services for expectant mothers were heightened last night after it emerged that the number of maternity beds has fallen by up to 40 per cent in some regions.

Need I comment?

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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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