Mum unaware her epilepsy drugs could harm her twins

An Auckland mother is calling for greater awareness about the links between some epilepsy drugs and birth defects.

Denise Astill says she was unaware her medication could harm her twins.

Denise Astill says she was unaware her medication could harm her twins. Source: 1 NEWS

And her call for better communication between doctors and patients has won some high level support.

Jazmyn and Natasha hang out like typical teens, but birth defects have impaired their development.

"I worry about so much for them," mum Denise told ONE News.

"The thing I worry about most is their independence and their safety."

The twins have ACC cover for life for foetal valproate syndrome - FVS - linked to the anti-epilepsy drug 'Epilim' which their mother took during pregnancy.

Uncontrolled epilepsy is more dangerous to you and your baby than a pregnancy taking valproate. - Medsafe Group manager Stewart Jessamine

Ms Astill says she wasn't told of the risks and she is calling for better dialogue between doctors and epilepsy sufferers considering parenthood.

Health professionals also want doctors and patients to be in sync from the beginning, saying the combination of epilepsy and pregnancy is complex and often difficult to manage.

"Uncontrolled epilepsy is more dangerous to you and your baby than a pregnancy taking valproate. So there's always going to be an informed discussion that needs to take takes place between you and your doctor," Medsafe Group manager Stewart Jessamine said.

"It's about changing that relationship...it becomes a true partnership rather than doctor always knows best," Dr Jessamine said.

But Ms Astill says it's a wider issue as anti-seizure drugs are sometimes prescribed for people who might have a mental health condition, nerve condition or migraines.

"The thing is they might not even know they're on an anti-epileptic drug."

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Judith Collins ‘deeply disappointed’ in Jami-Lee Ross as National prepares for caucus showdown - ‘I’m absolutely supporting the leader’

National's Judith Collins says leader Simon Bridges has her full support as he deals with the fallout of his claims renegade MP Jami-Lee Ross was behind the leak of his travel expenses.

A dramatic day yesterday saw Mr Ross take to Twitter, making a series of explosive allegations, before Mr Bridges went public with his belief, based on an investigation, that the Botany MP was behind the leak.

READ MORE: 'Impossible' for Jami-Lee Ross to stay in National Party after expenses leak saga, says 1 NEWS political editor

Mr Ross' future with the party could be decided today as the party meets in Wellington, with Mr Bridges saying yesterday suspension was an option.

READ MORE: John Armstrong's opinion: Simon Bridges would've been castigated as incompetent if he didn't expose Jami-Lee Ross as leaker

Jessica Mutch McKay says Simon Bridges faces a "long, drawn out and embarrassing process to try and get rid of him". Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Collins spoke with 1 NEWS at Auckland Airport today, as she prepared to fly to Wellington, and said she was disappointed with Mr Ross' behaviour.

"I'm absolutely supporting the leader," she said.

"I'm deeply disappointed and sad that Jami-Lee Ross behaved like that.

"Absolutely backing the leader."

At Wellington Airport, Michael Woodhouse also gave his backing to Mr Bridges, 

Mr Seymour says everyone makes mistakes, and now it’s time to move on from the leaking scandal. Source: Breakfast

Background 

Mr Bridges said the report pointed to Mr Ross as sending an anonymous text that blew the lid on Mr Bridges' travel expenses, days before they were to be made public anyway.

The PWC report said it had not identified the leaker with certainty, however, "the evidence we have points to Mr Ross".

As the National Party leader was about to make the announcement yesterday, Mr Ross posted a number of tweets in which he said he had fallen out with Mr Bridges some months ago.

Mr Ross said in his tweets that he had become "expendable" and that Mr Bridges was about to "pin his leak inquiry on me".

"He can not find who the actual leak is," Mr Ross wrote.

The Opposition leader launched an inquiry into the leak of his expenses earlier this year. Source: 1 NEWS

He claimed Mr Bridges was attempting to use contact with Mr Ross' local police area commander and a journalist he is friends with as evidence that he is "somehow involved".

"I have said they are unrelated - he does not wish to believe that. Some months ago I fell out with Simon. I have internally been questioning leadership decisions he was making, and his personal poll ratings which show he is becoming more and more unlikable in the public’s eyes."

Mr Ross then claimed he had recorded the National Party leader "discussing with me unlawful activity that he was involved in".

In his tweets Mr Ross added: "Working on his instruction, he asked me to do things with election donations that broke the law".

Mr Bridges denied all of Mr Ross' accusations and called Mr Ross' tweets "false comments".

"He would say those things, given the situation… I've released the report… and it speaks for itself."

Other National MPs have hit out at Mr Ross, meaning he is unlikely to find much support for his position.  

Judith Collins says National Party leader Simon Bridges has her support at this morning’s caucus meeting. Source: 1 NEWS

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Fate of National party's expenses leaker Jami-Lee Ross to be decided today at caucus showdown

The fate of accused National party leaker Jami-Lee Ross will be decided by his caucus colleagues today.

That's after yesterday's explosive revelations from National leader Simon Bridges, identifying the Botany MP as the leaker of a report about his travel expenses.

READ MORE: 'Impossible' for Jami-Lee Ross to stay in National Party after expenses leak saga, says 1 NEWS political editor

Mr Bridges said the report pointed to Mr Ross as sending an anonymous text. 

The PWC report said it had not identified the leaker with certainty, however, "the evidence we have points to Mr Ross". 

READ MORE: John Armstrong's opinion: Simon Bridges would've been castigated as incompetent if he didn't expose Jami-Lee Ross as leaker

Jessica Mutch McKay says Simon Bridges faces a "long, drawn out and embarrassing process to try and get rid of him". Source: 1 NEWS

As the National Party leader was about to make the announcement yesterday, Mr Ross posted a number of tweets in which he said he had fallen out with Mr Bridges some months ago.

The Opposition leader launched an inquiry into the leak of his expenses earlier this year. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Ross said in his tweets that he had become "expendable" and that Mr Bridges was about to "pin his leak inquiry on me".

"He can not find who the actual leak is," Mr Ross wrote.

He claimed Mr Bridges was attempting to use contact with Mr Ross' local police area commander and a journalist he is friends with as evidence that he is "somehow involved".

"I have said they are unrelated - he does not wish to believe that. Some months ago I fell out with Simon. I have internally been questioning leadership decisions he was making, and his personal poll ratings which show he is becoming more and more unlikable in the public’s eyes."

It comes after the National expenses leak report pointed the finger at MP Jami-Lee Ross. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Ross then claimed he had recorded the National Party leader "discussing with me unlawful activity that he was involved in".

In his tweets Mr Ross added: "Working on his instruction, he asked me to do things with election donations that broke the law".

Mr Bridges denied all of Mr Ross' accusations and called Mr Ross' tweets "false comments".

"He would say those things, given the situation… I've released the report… and it speaks for itself."

Other National MP's have hit out at Mr Ross, meaning he is unlikely to find much support for his position. 

Mr Ross’ fate appears sealed after a day of explosive revelations over the leaking of Simon Bridges’ travel expenses. Source: Breakfast

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Make sure you stay ahead of the latest news, both nationwide and internationally, from the 1 NEWS team. Source: Breakfast

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Person missing after Christchurch home destroyed by fire

A house has been completely burnt to the ground in Christchurch this morning, with person missing. 

The fire service was called to the scene on Coates Road, Birdlings Flat, at around 4am.

A fire spokesperson told 1 NEWS the house was burning strongly upon arrival at the scene.

One person is still unaccounted for.

Two fire trucks and two tankers remain at the scene while they work on fully extinguishing the blaze.


Fire generic
File picture. Source: 1 NEWS