nine-lives.jpgThe cat has nine lives. Have you ever stopped to wonder how many you have used, how often you have fallen on the right side of the line?

I hadn’t too much until earlier this week. I was telling the tale of being given an infection during a hospital procedure a few years ago. I ignored the signs for a week or so, until I was so ill, inflamed, crying in pain and then admitted to A&E, put on a drip and examined over two days by at least six medics (and all the time, my plaint of “It’s an infection” was discounted). Anyway, my friend who knows about these things (hello, if you’re reading) said it sounded as though any more delay would have led to generalised septicaemia. That’s blood poisoning to you and me. The death rate can be as high as 50 per cent. I chilled.

My own idiocy about not going to the doctor was a factor, born of ignorance of the danger of infection: but not as much a factor as being ignored by the medics once I sought attention. This is the stuff of which tragedies can be made, pointless, senseless and forever regretted.

I will talk in more detail about this at another time, but there is an important campaign afoot to increase pregnant women’s and midwives’ awareness of childbed fever: genital tract sepsis after giving birth. So easily avoidable, but it is lethal if the infection takes hold in the womb after birth – your system fails; you cannot fight it off. So few people know about it because it’s forgotten, assumed to be a C19th illness. But the numbers of deaths are rising. Knowing about it and shouting for medical attention saves lives.

Go to the Jessica’s trust website, read about the campaign and Ben Palmer’s work to make sure that no family is ever put through what his family has experienced. Take his survey and help him build a picture of general awareness levels. Most importantly, remember what you read and share it.