Personal Views

Anna: too much, too young

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 12 September 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:756
  1. John Fullbrook, general practitioner
  1. Leamington Spa

    “It's great having you as friends because the chances of us getting ill must be really small.” My good friend was reflecting on a run of illness and injury that we had suffered. It sounded clumsy but was well meant and I hope is true. That was before our daughter, Anna, was born.

    Anna was born on 4 August 1997. There was great relief at first as a raised α fetoprotein and a decision to avoid amniocentesis had been lurking in our minds. “She's fine,” I said. After eight days she started vomiting and feeding with little enthusiasm. Overnight on the ninth day my wife called me downstairs to look at her nappy, stained pink with urine. “Oestrogen withdrawal,” I said. The next nappy change was mine and I watched horrified as she passed frank blood in her urine. Suddenly she was ill; pale, clammy, struggling to breathe.

    We rang the hospital and set off straight away, poking her repeatedly to ensure she was still alive. The faces on the staff were suitably grim as they set about resuscitation. “Septicaemia and disseminated intravascular coagulation,” they said. Two days later …

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