Is Downton Abbey proof of the merits of eclampsia storylines in popular culture?
Over two years after the episodes aired, the eclampsia storyline on Downton Abbey is still raising awareness as fans take to Twitter and YouTube to discuss Sybil Branson’s tragic death.
The hugely successful show starring Hugh Bonneville and Laura Carmichael, brought attention to the deadly condition back in 2015 while highlighting the medical advancements that have taken place since the early 20th Century.
The plotline powerfully yet sensitively deals with the devastating loss caused by eclampsia by focussing on the unpredictability of the condition and how quickly the symptoms can escalate with fatal consequences.
Moving clips of Sybil’s labour have been viewed over 100,000 times on YouTube, proving how effective it can be for relatively unknown conditions to be portrayed in popular culture.
Despite affecting 5% of pregnancies, pre-eclampsia is still a relatively unknown condition with little new research into preventative measures and greatly benefits from exposure in the media.
Pre-eclampsia has been featured in several other popular shows including EastEnders, Call the Midwife and Grey’s Anatomy but is still not part of mainstream consciousness, resulting in a lack of understanding of the serious consequences of ignoring tell-tale symptoms.
It is our heartfelt wish at The Star Foundation that storylines like this will continue to raise awareness, educate the public and work towards preventing more tragic cases. Although this case is of a home birth back in 1912-1926, women are still dying of this condition to this day like the devastating loss we suffered that inspired us to create our foundation in memory of our beloved Estelle.