Friday, February 20, 2015


My son is fascinated by whales and other sea creatures, and so my eye was caught by the title of Jacqueline Wilson's book "The Longest Whale Song".  I had a look at it, and then my attention was caught by the subject matter.

Warning - spoiler alert!   If you are reading the book at the moment, you might not want to read the bit below!

Ella's mum is pregnant at the start of the book.   A few pages in, she goes into labour and into hospital.  Her stepdad is very slow to let Ella know about the new baby, and this is because there have been complications, and Ella's mum has gone into a coma.  This is because of eclampsia.  Ella visits every day, and talks to her mum.  Ella discovers whales and draws them, writes about them, and makes her own book (my son would like to meet her!).   She is captivated by whales' songs, and is given a CD by a friend's mum, which she then plays to her mum in hospital.   What happens?  Read the book to find out! 

That is enough material for a story, but there is more.  We see how Ella's relationship with her stepdad changes, and with her friends.  We see people's reactions to what has happened, including of course Ella's and her stepdad's.  

We see how the nurses and doctors interact with Ella's mum, and with Ella.   Some of them are good at it, others definitely not, and there is much material that could be used with healthcare students!


Eclampsia is what can develop if pre-eclampsia is not addressed (although it does not develop in all cases). Eclampsia involves high blood pressure, seizures, and I think (some sources below mention it, though not all), can involve coma.

Here is some information:

NHS Choices about pre-eclampsia - there is a bit about eclampsia under "Complications".

MedlinePlus about eclampsia about both

Action on Pre-Eclampsia is a UK charity and has leaflets about eclampsia and pre-eclampsia.

GAIN, the Guidelines and Audit Information Network in Northern Ireland, have a guideline on Management of severe pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, published in 2012.

Clinical Knowledge Summaries on Hypertension in pregnancy

Genetics Home Reference about pre-eclampsia, but mentioning eclampsia.

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