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County's Downton Abbey baby heartache
WOMEN who have lost babies to the condition eclampsia inundated a Worcestershire charity with calls and messages following the latest episode of Downton Abbey.
On Sunday viewers of the popular costume drama were left shocked by the death of Lady Sybil Crawley.
Now Ann Marie Barnard, chief executive officer of Action on Pre-eclampsia, based in Evesham’s High Street, has written to ITV and Carnival Productions, which makes the hit show asking them to include the charity’s helpline number following the forthcoming episode. Many viewers were in tears as Lady Sybil died of eclampsia soon after giving birth to a healthy baby girl leaving her husband Tom Branson and family devastated.
While some were shedding tears at the shock death of a popular character, Mrs Barnard said for others the drama unfolding on screen brought up heartbreaking memories of their own loss.
Mrs Barnard said: “The first thing we knew about the storyline was a message on our Facebook wall then we got a call from a very distressed lady who had lost a child to the condition. Since then we have had a spike in the number of calls, e-mails and messages on Facebook and spent most of Monday dealing with them.”
In 2000, Coronation Street scriptwriters contacted APEC, Bliss and Sands when it featured a similar storyline.
However, Mrs Barnard thought the production crew had not been in touch in a bid to keep the shocking storyline under wraps.
Pre-eclampsia affects pregnant women from about 20 weeks to several days after birth and causes a number of symptomless disturbances including raised blood pressure and protein in urine.
Mrs Barnard said while some were distressed by the programme other people had been in touch to say they were glad it had been featured on such a popular show.
“What is very interesting is that Lady Sybil died in part due to substandard care by an older doctor and the latest enquiry showed that of the 22 women who died from pre-eclampsia between 2006 and 2008, 91 per cent were because of substandard care.”
People looking for more information on the condition should log on to apec.org.uk or call the helpline on 0208 4274217.
- Pre-eclampsia is an illness which only arises in pregnancy.
- It can affect the mother, her unborn child, or, most commonly, both.
- It can occur at any time from about 20 weeks to as late as several days after delivery.
- In the mother, the condition causes a number of symptomless disturbances, including raised blood pressure (hypertension) and leakage of protein in the urine.