Monday, 5 October 2009

Underlying health issues

My heart goes out to the parents of the poor 14-year-old girl who died after her cervical cancer jab last week. I can't imagine how awful it must be to face the death of a beloved daughter. My own Child One, on the cusp of 14 now, is such a delight all of a sudden that I can hardly bear to part with her for the obligatory every-other-weekend. The idea of eternity without her gentle smile just makes me cry. Though she still has (deeply) childish moments, I can see the lovely young woman she'll become. And she has a fabulous figure, waist-length blonde hair and endless legs, grrrr.

The whole cervical cancer injection thing is a worry, as Child Two is coming up fast to the jabbing age. The girl who died (I don't want to include her name as, if she were my daughter, I don't think I'd want it bandied about by unknown bloggers) turned out to have 'underlying health problems,' a favourite Government phrase which I find deeply sinister. In her case, it does seem as though the injection had little to do with her tragic death, but of course it's made me question the whole business.

Has the Government really tested this innoculation thoroughly? Is it using a generation of 13 and 14 year old girls as guinea pigs? A lot of girls at Child One's school seemed to suffer side effects. I did put it down, at the time, to girly-girly hysteria, though Child One herself did complain of a sore arm for days. At the time of the second injection, she had a slight temperature and had been staying with Mr X. He urged her to tell the nurse she wasn't well, and the injection was postponed - to my fury at the time, as Mr X had gaily left me with the lovely job of contacting the local NHS Trust, finding the right person, setting up an alternative appointment within the statutory 6 week period and, of course, chauffeuring Child One to and from it. In the end, I managed to wangle an injection at the school with some year 10 girls, who were much less prone to shrieking, and as a result she had no residual soreness after the jab.

While I cursed Mr X roundly at the time for messing things up, I now look back and am hugely relieved that Child One didn't have the injection while she wasn't 100 per cent well. Who's to say that she couldn't have become the first statistic, with a Government spokesperson intoning solemnly that she had 'underlying health issues'?. Will Child Two be having the injection next year? I'm not sure.

12 comments:

Insomniac Mummy said...

That poor family :(.

I think with any vaccination programme there will always be a small number of people who suffer the worst side effects.

The 'underlying heath issues' line just serves to make it all a bit vaguer.

I think if my daughter were at the age for the vaccination then i would find it very hard not to worry given the current hype surrounding the vaccination.

I'm sure you'll do whatever fits best for you and your daughter.

:)

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Yes...it is a bit horrendous all round. It is hard for the family of the girl and it must be hard for you too. Follow your gut instinct - I'm finally learning to follow mine. And yes...they are very precious (children and gut instincts). :)

Hot Cross Mum said...

Interesting post and a truly devastating situation. The health minister in Ireland has not introduced the vaccination programme - which caused an out-cry. I think this latest development will have silenced quite a few critics.

Suburbia said...

I can't imagine loosing a child, especially suddenly like that.

I NEVER believe the government over these sorts of issues. Perhaps I am addicted to conspiracy theories?!

I have sent mine off with a letter in her bag to rescind the permission slip from 2 weeks ago. Her first jab is due later this week. I hope they take notice of the letter and don't go on regardless. TG can't believe her luck, she is scared stiff of needles!

On the other hand, her brother, who has been winding her up about having an injection, has just received an invite for a flu vaccine! Hee hee! He will eat his words!

Chic Mama said...

It is a worry isn't it....it's so hard to know what to do especially when we have a choice.

dulwich divorcee said...

Hi IM, I'm really hoping this will be sorted out by the time Child Two is old enough for her jab - wouldn't know what to do at all if it was tomorrow

dulwich divorcee said...

Hi HT, lovely to see you, must pop over and see how you're doing ...I'm feeling these days I have not enough children and too much gut!

dulwich divorcee said...

HCM, I think you've probably had a lucky escape - it only protects against 70 per cent of strains in any case ...worrying the UK is using different vaccine, which I didn't know before ....

dulwich divorcee said...

Hi Suburbia, that's a nice little irony! Hope they take note of the permission slip - mind you, they may delay things in view of everything. Feel sorry for Sprog though!

dulwich divorcee said...

Yes, Chic M, I agree, choice makes things a lot trickier ....

rosiero said...

Like you, I was somewhat nervous, but in the end decided to risk Kay having the injection (she had it as a 17-year-old earlier this year and the third of the series was only a few weeks ago). As you say, that 14-year-old had underlying problems and, as such, the injection cannot be blamed for it, but it does make you wonder how much these jabs are tested for all eventualities. I suppose you have to weigh up the risk of something going wrong because of the injection with the risk of getting that type of cervical cancer. Fortunately Kay did not have any adverse reactions. Nor did she to MMR and look how many people refused to have that. They are now caught up in a measles epidemic instead. It is a worry as a parent to make the right decision. You just can't win whatever you decide.

Folly said...

There's an interesting book called 'What your doctor won't tell you about childhood vaccinations' by an American doctor called Stephanie Cave - it's the only literature I've every found on the subject other than Sunday Times articles which is not written by crackpots and which gives a very interesting perspective on vaccinations, from a health professional's perspective, and suggests we're right to be sceptical. It's easy to swallow everything the health profession tells you, but to me that's pretty gullible.