Friday, October 12, 2007

Jessica's Trust

Today my eldest told me that he'd worked out who created our beautiful world.

When pressed, he gave the answer...
"Father Christmas of course" "

How did you work that one out?" I asked.

"Because he can do magic of course." he replied rather confidently....

...and that's how my lovely day started, with me feeling lucky, very lucky indeed.

I am lucky to have a wonderful healthy family with a husband who loves me, in a beautiful town where I am surrounded by some great friends. I am lucky that my husband is successful in the career that he has chosen, that my children are doing well in school and nursery and that I have a fabulous lifestyle with which I cannot find any complaint. I also feel lucky that I am generally blessed with a positive disposition and find great reward in helping others. It's stuff like that which helps my world go around.

This is not a boast...neither is it an attempt to "rub it in". Goodness knows, I have experienced what it's like to be in less fortunate circumstances when my life hasn't always been as rosy...

Most importantly, I am completely aware of how fortunes can change without notice...which is the real purpose of this post...because...

...this evening I came across a tragic situation, having read the story on Ingenious Rose's blog about the fight of one man, Ben Palmer, whose life was turned on its head in June 2004 when his wife Jessica died, only 6 days after giving birth to their second child Emily. She left behind a new baby daughter and her toddler Harry.

Ben has set up a website called Jessica's Trust that details how, following an uncomplicated delivery, Jessica Palmer died tragically of Childbed Fever, (also called Puerperal Fever or Puerperal Sepsis). A once-forgotten illness, Childbed Fever has increased in incidence since 1984.
It is a very serious form of septicaemia which, if left untreated, will inevitably lead to toxic shock syndrome, multi-organ failure and death in otherwise healthy new mothers.

Today, Ben Palmer is fighting to ensure that every mother, midwife and doctor knows that Puerperal Fever is still a very real threat to a mother's life, in the same way that we are all aware of the danger of Meningitis.

The purpose of his website is to ensure that parents are informed about sepsis and childbed fever in antenatal classes and at the point of discharge from hospital and midwifery care.

He wants to make sure that if a mother complains of feeling unwell or shows a temperature (in particular over 38 C) she should be assumed to have contracted childbed fever until it can be proved otherwise.

There has already been much coverage in the traditional press about this including the following articles as well as coverage on the BBC's Action Network:

For the love of Jessica: the widower robbed of his wife by NHS blunders

'I remember following the ambulance, saying to the tail lights: Don't leave me, Jessica. Don't you leave me' (Daily Telegraph)

Be rest assured that in promoting Ben Palmer's cause, I am not jumping on any bandwagon. You only have to visit the Jessica's Trust site to illustrate the point and this is something that I strongly encourage you to do. If you read this tonight you will be in time to sign Ben's petition to the Prime Minister, urging that the government acknowledges the real threat of the disease.

It is often when you read about other people's experiences, do you realise how lucky you really are.

Personally, I feel very lucky that my six year old is able to inform his old mum that Father Christmas made the world.

Other children and families are unable to experience such fortune.

Hopefully, following Ben Palmer's resilient campaign, he will be able to help eradicate one avoidable cause that can bring better fortunes to others.

Surely that's not magic, but a case of a wider understanding in antenatal and postnatal health-care.


baba said...

I listened to you on the phone earlier and I just read your blog - you're so right 21st Century Mummy! It often takes these tragic stories (which surround us often without us even knowing) to prompt reflection on our own pleasures and luxuries, particularly involving family and friends. Life's not fair for too many good people.......

IngeniousRose said...

21st Century Mummy, I've delighted you have picked up on this story. It's good to see another blogger promoting the campaign. I hope another blogger does the same. It's such a worthwhile cause.

21st Century Mummy said...

Hi Baba - thanks for the response. Fingers crossed, with increased awareness some peoples' lives will take a positive turn of fate. Please do what you can to highlight the site in your own circles. :-) xxx

21st Century Mummy said...

Hi Ingenious - I am just glad that I popped over to your site this afternoon. I know about 5 people who are pregnant at the moment. I admire Ben's abilities to raise awareness. I hope this helps his campaign.

Ben Palmer said...

I am overwhelmed by your post - it is beautiful.

The petition may close in a short while, but my resolve will not. The hard work starts here, so any help that anyone can give in raising awareness of this unnecessary killer will make a difference to someone, maybe someone you know. Thank you so much for your support. Ben

21st Century Mummy said...

Hi Ben - thank you for popping by. Words cannot express sufficiently how much I admire your resolve.

I lost a parent just before I was 5, when my dad died in a motorcycle accident. I was old enough to remember him, my younger sister wasn't. I am now 39 and even though I don't cling to the past I still miss him, even now. I miss the opportunities, but I won't dwell on the matter now as this is not about me.

Except, to say that I really know what it's like to experience the loss of a parent and like Jessica's death, my father's own passing was also avoidable. If only the lorry driver had been taking more care at the time, my dad would probably be alive today.

The government still continues to promote road awareness and motobike dangers. I just hope that they take your campaign as seriously.

Even if only one child's mother can be saved thanks to your efforts, surely that is worth the investment. However, we all know that even more families can be saved from such terrible circumstances.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Wow. Fab post 21st CM.
And so sorry that you lost your dad that way.
It must have been so hard.