It was dreadfully sad to hear of the death of young mother Casey Nathan this week in Hamilton. Ms Nathan died after giving birth to a son, Kymani. And sadly, baby Kymani has since passed away, in a double tragedy for Casey's partner and whanau.
Yesterday's Herald carried a story on this case. But moreover, it also told the story of one woman's determination to actually do something; as a direct result of her own experience; check this out:
Action to Improve Maternity founder Jenn Hooper said she hoped the deaths would highlight the need to overhaul of the country's maternity system.She has been campaigning for change since her own daughter Charley was left with severe cerebral palsy after a troubled birth in Morrinsville in 2005.Mrs Hooper also almost died after haemorrhaging.She wants an independent review of the midwifery system under which midwives, rather than GP obstetricians, are lead maternity carers for most mothers-to-be, and an independent body to handle complaints against midwives.She also wants an independent perinatal database to record every birth - not just those in hospitals - and how mother and baby fared.This was the only way to get vital information needed to improve the maternity sector, she said.Mrs Hooper presented a petition to Parliament's health select committee two weeks ago, in which she asked why similar recommendations by the committee in 2009 have not been actioned.In July last year it was revealed in the perinatal and maternal mortality review committee that 98 newborn babies who died in 2009 could possibly have been saved.Mrs Hooper was also concerned with Ministry of Health maternity transfer guidelines for lead maternity carers which did not consider problems including a baby having difficulty breathing or not breathing, or a mother who had lost 500ml of blood and was continuing to lose blood, as emergency situations during childbirth."Each one of those situations has killed people in the past and they can very quickly become life-threatening, each and every time."AIM also wanted graduate midwives to spend up to two years in internships at tertiary or base hospitals instead of being able to go straight into the community.
We're friends with Jenn on Facebook, where we've chatted to her a few times. She is absolutely committed to getting better outcomes for mothers and babies, and we have little doubt that she is turning into a formidable adversary for those who make decisions in maternity care.
Jenn founded Action to Improve Maternity (AIM) to try and ensure that the birth trauma that left Charley with severe cerebral palsy is not repeated, and she has become a voice for other parents who have seen the miracle of birth and new life turn into a nightmare.
We won't even try to explain the practical steps, the advocacy and the support that AIM is providing. Go to their website and check it out for yourself; but we defy you not to be touched by the stories told there.