Thursday 30 July 2009

Saturday 25 July 2009

King's College Hospital failing to protect against MRSA

Camberwell's KCH, one of London's biggest hospitals, is found to be in breach of Government regulations protecting against superbugs and is criticised by inspectors from the Care Quality Commission.

ONE of London’s biggest hospitals has been placed under close scrutiny after inspectors discovered soiled mattresses, dirty commodes, mouldy cupboards and other failures to protect against superbugs.

On two surprise visits earlier this year, King's College Hospital in south London was found to be in breach of Government regulations to protect patients, workers and others against deadly infections such as antibiotic-resistant MRSA and Clostridium difficile.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission released a damning report which reveals basic hygiene practices were not being followed. They wrote: “None of the staff interviewed in the four wards inspected had been trained on how to clean and check mattresses or commodes. We found some commodes soiled with body fluids and soiled mattresses. We found other dirty equipment used for patients’ care in storerooms that we were told had been cleaned.”

The report also criticises dusty and cluttered store cupboards, bathrooms with peeling paint, dirty taps, overflows and shower seats, and storage units with mould on the wall. Bed areas that should have been cleaned still had items left by previous patients in lockers and bedside tables.

Derek Butler, chair of campaigning group MRSA Action UK said: “This is dreadful. There is no excuse for hospitals not to be clean. It’s not rocket science. It’s about the simplest things. Mattresses should not be stained at all. This is a breach of the law, and if King's College Hospital consistently breaks the rules then I would like to see the management removed.”

Although it has powers to prosecute or fine the hospital, the CQC has put it under “close scrutiny” and will inspect it regularly.

The 950-bed hospital, which serves 700,000 people in Lambeth and Southwark, broke six measures in new regulations to reduce healthcare-associated infection, which it has had to comply with since 1 April this year.

Great Ormond Street, University College and Chelsea & Westminster hospitals were also inspected with no breaches. Ealing Hospital was in breach of one regulation because of stained mattresses.

King's College Hospital has submitted an action plan to the CQC. Its chief executive, Tim Smart, said: “We support the CQC inspection process, and we are using it as a means of focusing the organisation on delivering ever better quality of care. Our patients deserve the best care in a safe and clean environment, and all our staff are committed to taking hygiene and infection control very seriously.”

In 2006 the trust paid £45,000 to the family of Grace Nwamala Nkemdilim, 31, who died at King's College Hospital after contracting MRSA in 2001. It has recently cut levels of MRSA infections, which remain just above average, and C diff infections, which are below average.
Source: The London Paper

Tuesday 21 July 2009

Please help me mum I dont want to die

Last words of alcoholic, 22, who died after being refused liver transplant

A young alcoholic denied a liver transplant because he was too ill to prove he could stay sober outside hospital had begged his mother to help him live.

Gary Reinbach, 22, was terrified and pleaded with his mother to do something hours before his death. His last words to her were: 'Please help me Mum, I don't want to die.'

Mr Reinbach had the worst case of cirrhosis that doctors had ever seen in a man of his age but they refused to give him a new liver which could have saved his life.

National guidelines dictate that to qualify for a donor organ, a potential recipient must prove he has the determination to stop drinking by remaining abstinent for six months.

Gary Reinback

Binge drinker Gary Reinbach in hospital with his mother Madeline Hanshaw shortly before he died

This is to make sure there are no more cases like that of George Best - the football legend who continued to drink after receiving a donor liver and subsequently died.

Gary's mother Madeline Hanshaw, 44, told how he begged medical staff to give him the vital transplant just the day before he died.

'Gary had done everything he could to convince doctors he deserved one. He had even begged them straight out to give him a second chance to live,' she told the Mirror.
George Best

Death by guidelines. NICE guidelines. How much more heartless and NASTY can you get?

Sunday 19 July 2009

Mental patient deaths due to understaffing, says report

A bleak picture of a mental health service that tolerates bullying and houses children alongside adults in breach of guidelines is revealed in a damning report from a government monitoring body. The Mental Health Act Commission claims many more patient deaths will occur through inadequate staffing and lack of training.

The 248-page study, the last by the commission before it is replaced by the new Care Quality Commission, highlights how patients put on suicide watch are often poorly observed, leading to tragedies half-concealed by "falsification" of nursing records.

"One patient found hanging in 2007 was reported to show signs of rigor mortis (not usually noticeable until around three hours after death)," the commission notes, "despite ... being subject to 15-minute observations."

In one medium secure unit a young man strangled himself with a sheet while supposedly under observation every five minutes. It was a busy ward with 15 others being watched. "To achieve such a workload, the health care assistant would be required to observe each patient in her care on a 25-second rotation throughout her shift: a physical impossibility, especially as patients moved around the unit," the report comments.

"One handover note seen by a commissioner appeared to record the deceased patient as 'settled' on the night after he had died." Twenty of the 54 patients who hanged or strangled themselves on hospital psychiatric wards between 2005 and 2008 had been due to be checked at 15-minute intervals or even more frequently.

On restraint deaths, where restive patients are held face down and inadvertently suffocated, the commission suggests staff have not been instructed in alternative techniques to avoid the well-known risks of over-zealous physical intervention.

"We are not confident that staff ... have sufficient training or support to rule out further tragedies," the document warns. "Three inquest findings from 2008 underline that a lack of training and staff knowledge contributed to the deaths of these patients."

Mixed-sex psychiatric wards are a particular concern, generating a culture "where women are subject to low-level harassment and exposed to men who may take advantage of them". Women patients often report feeling "unsafe and vulnerable". Single sex wards should be considered, the commissioners propose.

Government promises about keeping children out of adult wards have already been broken, the document says. "In the four months between 31 October 2008 and 28 February 2009, we received 80 notifications of the admissions of under-18-year-olds to adult facilities," the report points out. "Four admissions of 15-year-old patients took place in 2009, and thus breached the government commitment to end admissions to adult wards of under-16-year-olds from November 2008. All four cases were female."

Of staffing levels, the study remarks: "we have ... observed in some hospitals levels that we have judged - often with the agreement of staff on the shift concerned - to have been unsafe. We continue to see this in some services."

The report - Coercion and Consent: Monitoring the Mental Health Act 2007-2009 - describes the routine in one East Midlands unit of stripping women patients naked, to ensure they are not concealing any means for inflicting self-harm, as undignified and contrary to codes of practice.

Acute psychiatric wards are singled out for abrasive attention: a year-long consultation with psychiatrists, service users and carers "confirmed our criticisms in stating that many inpatient units are unsafe, overcrowded and uninhabitable".

Baroness Young, chair of the Care Quality Commission, endorsed the commission's critique but said that mental health care was "one of the most difficult areas of care in this country. It's never going to be an easy area."

She called for "proper accredited schemes" to train hospital staff in safe restraint techniques and deplored staff shortages in mental health units that restrict activities for patients. "If they don't have enough stimulus, it's a pretty nihilistic [life]."

Source : The Guardian online.

Saturday 18 July 2009

Baby dies after suspected salt overdose from hospital drip

A baby boy has died from a suspected salt overdose thought to have been caused by an error with a hospital saline drip.

The tiny child, who was born prematurely, fought for his life for three days after being discovered by nurses with soaring sodium levels and severe dehydration. He had been on a saline drip and a coroner will now investigate the possibility he had been receiving an unsuitable dosage...

The boy died on July 7, three days after the problem was discovered by staff at the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham. Nottinghamshire Police said a coroner's investigation would be held and there will be an inquest. Detectives will not carry out any separate inquiries.

Dr Stephen Fowlie, of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "We offer our deepest condolences to the family. We are supporting the family in this difficult time and keeping them fully informed of our investigations into the loss of their baby. We apologise for any shortcomings in our care of their child."

An overdose of salt can lead to hypernatraemia, more commonly known as acute dehydration. Adults can usually react to early symptoms, such as thirst, but infants can slip into a coma before it is detected.
Source: Daily Mail

Friday 17 July 2009

I’m suing NHS for saying I was dying of cancer

THEY told Phil Collins he had cancer and only six months to live. So he quit his job, cashed in his pension and spent £18,000 in what he thought were the last months of his life.

But they were wrong. And now Phil, 61, is suing the NHS after his tumour turned out to be a harmless abscess.

He left work and spent the payout after doctors said he had inoperable gallbladder and liver cancer. After being told he was dying, he also arranged his own funeral, bought his wife Isabel a car and made financial plans for her after his death.

But when he went back to hospital further checks showed that the growth on his liver was in effect harmless. The former lorry driver, from Yetminster, Dorset, said yesterday that the cancer drugs that he was given had ruined his health.

"I was a fit man and I was a keen motorcyclist," he said. "I still had a lot of working life left in me. Now I cannot do anything. I am an absolute wreck. I feel I am just generally shutting down, I am blown up like a balloon, I cannot eat, I cannot keep anything down."

He first went to see doctors at Dorset County Hospital in April 2007 suffering weight loss, anaemia and a loss of appetite. A scan showed an abnormal gallbladder which was diagnosed as advanced cancer. Phil was advised to quit his job and Isabel, 62, also stopped working as a part-time cleaner to care for her ­husband.
Source: Daily Express

Thursday 16 July 2009

Blunder victim wins NHS cash

A DAD-OF-TWO, left facing a lifetime of acute disability by hospital blunders after he broke his back in a road smash, is in line for multi-million-pound compensation following a High Court hearing.

Michael Spence was 24 when he released his seat belt to turn round and retrieve his 18-month-old son's dummy just as his long-term partner, Angela Naveda, slammed into the car in front, the court was told. The ex-carpenter, now 29, of Hamfrith Road, Stratford, was hurled backwards into the windscreen.

His injuries from the April 2005 accident in High Road, Chadwell Heath, have left him partially paralysed from the waste [sic] down and suffering from depression and severe panic attacks.

The High Court case centred on his treatment at King George Hospital in Goodmayes. On Thursday, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust accepted they must pay 80 per cent of his damages, which have yet to be finally assessed. The rest will be paid by Miss Naveda's car insurers. Mr Spence's solicitor, Kevin Grealis, confirmed outside the court that his client could expect £2-3 million, mainly to cover accommodation, lost earnings and the cost of care.
Source: Newham Recorder.

Friday 10 July 2009

Botched op footballer's wife dies in NHS hospital

The wife of former Scotland footballer Colin Hendry has died in hospital after battling a serious infection.

Denise Hendry, 42, who lived in Lytham, Lancashire, developed a meningitis-type infection after an NHS operation to correct botched cosmetic surgery.

She had been seriously ill in Salford Royal Hospital for 11 weeks, and died on Friday surrounded by her family.

Mrs Hendry suffered multiple organ failure after a liposuction procedure at a private hospital in 2002.

Further corrective surgery at the NHS Preston Royal Infirmary was not successful and the family took the decision to seek further treatment in NHS Salford, where she underwent reconstructive surgery on her abdomen.

Wednesday 8 July 2009

10% of NHS patients admitted to hospital “suffer some form of harm”

A committee of MPs has called for urgent action on patient safety in the NHS. The Health Committee said services “are not safe enough yet.” Chairman of the Committee, Kevin Barron MP, said:

"Reviews of patients’ case notes indicates that in the NHS and in other healthcare systems as many as 10% of patients admitted to hospital suffer some form of harm, much of which is avoidable.

Tens of thousands of patients suffer unnecessary harm each year and there is a huge cost to the NHS in consequence.

Judging the overall effectiveness of patient safety policy is made difficult because of the failure by the Department of Health (DH) to collect adequate data."
Failure by the DH? Quelle surprise.

And walking hand in hand with harm in our litigious age is, of course, costly compensation.

The committee said that harmed patients and their families or carers are entitled to receive information, an explanation, an apology and an undertaking that the harm will not be repeated.

“Too often, however, this does not occur.

Harmed patients are currently forced to endure often lengthy and distressing litigation to obtain justice and compensation.

At the same time, NHS organisations are obliged to spend considerable sums on legal costs and are encouraged to be defensive when harm occurs.

Three years ago, Parliament passed the legislation which enabled the DH to introduce an NHS Redress Scheme, which would change this situation, removing the need for litigation in many cases.

However, the DH still has not implemented the Redress Scheme and has no timetable for doing so, which we find appalling.”
One must wonder what the DH have been spending their time and money on which would preclude both reducing errors, and working to cut the £100m per annum spent on lawyers suing the NHS. The incredible amount of advertising in all forms of the media, placed by the DH, might give you a clue.


Tuesday 7 July 2009

Dead or alive? That's the question

Live crash victim pronounced dead

Two ambulance crew members called to a road crash in Norfolk have been disciplined after pronouncing a man dead while he was still breathing.

An ambulance service manager said the crew had covered Artur Palchimowicz, 22, with a tarpaulin.

A policeman lifted it and realised the injured man was still breathing.

Mr Palchimowicz, from Diss, died in hospital after the crash near Norwich in December, the East of England Ambulance Service spokeswoman said.

She said both members of the ambulance crew were suspended and given extra training before returning to work.
Extra training? One would have thought that one of the prime skills every single ambulance crewman/woman should possess is to be able to ascertain if someone is dead or alive ...

... yet two of them couldn't spot the difference in this case.

Source: BBC Norfolk

Monday 6 July 2009

Grandfather left dying in his home as paramedic carried out 16-minute risk assessment outside

A grandfather was left dying in his home while a paramedic waited outside for 16 minutes as he carried out a health and safety assessment.

The family of Roy Adams believe he might have survived if those 'vital minutes' had not been squandered.

The 61-year-old police chauffeur, who suffered a suspected heart attack, did finally receive treatment, but died on the way to hospital after suffering breathing difficulties.

Mr Adams telephoned 999 from his home in Morden, south London, complaining of chest problems.

On the advice of the operator, he left both the communal door to the block of flats and the door to his own apartment on the latch to enable the ambulance crew to get in quickly.

But when the rapid response medic arrived six minutes later he decided against going straight into Mr Adams's home.

It is believed that, because the doors were open, he feared that the flat was being burgled.

Instead the medic carried out an on scene risk assessment and called the police for back up.

After waiting for 16 minutes he went into the property to find Mr Adams - who was alone in the property - dying on the floor unable to breathe.

He was taken to hospital but died before he arrived.

Sprightly pensioner dies in 'zoo' hospital after 'catalogue of blunders by staff'

An active pensioner admitted to hospital for routine treatment for a stomach bug died six weeks later following a series of 'blunders' by overworked staff.

Betty Dunn, 79, was taken to Tameside General Hospital in Ashton-under-Lyme, Greater Manchester, to be rehydrated with saline.

But her horrified family watched helplessly as the widow's condition deteriorated over six weeks before she died after contracting the superbug C-diff.

At one point her relatives, who battled to communicate with staff who apparently didn't speak English, were so concerned for the former Land Girl's welfare they called in police.

Doctors then transferred the great-grandmother to another hospital for 'rehabilitation'.

But when Mrs Dunn was unable to sit up she was sent straight back to Tameside. She died three days later.

Mrs Dunn's family, who call the hospital a 'zoo', compiled a log of her treatment and claim that a catalogue of errors made by staff included:

* Giving her penicillin when she was allergic to the drug
* Mistakenly denying her antibiotics
* Failing to advise relatives to wear protective gloves or aprons to guard against superbugs
* Giving her a designated food substitute three times a day - against the advice of doctors
* Breaking the news of her increasingly grave condition to relatives in a busy corridor in front of other visitors.

Saturday 4 July 2009

Hospital patient so shocked at dirty ward she climbed out of bed to clean it herself

After 12 years cleaning care homes and private houses, Tereza Tosbell has a keen eye for a dirty room.

But the last place she expected to need her skills was in hospital - where she was a patient.

The sick 48-year-old was so disgusted at the conditions after three days on a 'filthy' ward that she grabbed the antibacterial fluid dispenser at the end of her bed and some hand towels from the bathroom.

Patient Tereza Tosbell was so disgusted at the cleanliness at Colchester General Hospital that she got out of bed and cleaned the ward herself

She set about cleaning her four-bed ward, even going down on hands and knees to sanitise the floor as she dragged her drip trolley behind her.

The divorced mother-of-one said during her four-day stay there was just one brief visit from a cleaner who left dusty curtains, dirty bedframes and a messy floor.

'It was shameful to see how sloppy the cleaners were while I was there. I was not prepared to put up with such conditions,' said Miss Tosbell, who was admitted to Colchester General Hospital in Essex with an abscess in her neck.

'I reckon in total I was cleaning for about an hour. I could hardly move my neck because of the abscess behind my left ear and my left hand was bruised from

the cannula but I had to do something.

'The nurses and other staff saw what I was doing but just left me to get on with it.'

She added: 'My 22-year-old son Liam came to see me on the first night and the first thing he said was "Have you seen how filthy the lift is?" before complaining about the room I was in.

'He's a typical university student, so coming from him it must have been bad.'

Friday 3 July 2009

Mr Fawkes problems getting treatment for his ill daughter.

The government says the UK has moved from the ‘containment’ to the ‘treatment’ phase of Swine flu as the number of people catching swine flu continues to rise. The Fawkes family are in London for another fortnight, before we head for France. 4 year-old Miss Fawkes is in day two of displaying possible Swine flu symptoms: high temperatures, tummy ache, headaches and a dry cough.

Last night a worried mother took Miss Fawkes (who had a temperature of 39.1 degrees) to the paediatric A & E unit of a London hospital where she was given a mask and told to go instead to a walk-in unit. The walk-in unit told her there was a four hour wait and that she might as well go home and see her GP. This morning the GP’s receptionist said that they could not have a suspected case of Swine flu in the waiting room and she was to go home.

So in the last 48 hours we have been unable either to get our daughter tested, which is causing anxiety, or obtain a prescription for anti-viral drugs. Bear in mind we have a two year-old daughter as well. We are now trying to get a private prescription…

Patient safety 'still threatened'

Basic changes recommended after a cancer drug slip-up that killed a teenage boy have yet to be implemented, eight years after he died, MPs say.

The House of Commons Health Committee warns targets "too often" come before patient safety and highlights inaction on measures which could save lives. Wayne Jowett died in 2001 after drugs were injected in his spine not a vein. Changes to spinal needles to stop the same mistake happening again were drawn up, but have yet to be introduced.

"It is totally unacceptable that an identified and simple solution to a catastrophic problem should take so long to be put into practical use," the health committee wrote in their 100-page report on patient safety failings. The MPs also suggested that a fear of litigation and a "blame culture" was preventing healthcare workers from being open when mistakes occurred. The committee heard from one mother who said doctors continually changed their story about why her daughter had bled to death on the operating table.

The committee said it was appalled at the failure to introduce the NHS Redress Scheme, designed to encourage openness by removing the threat of lengthy and costly litigation, three years after parliament passed the necessary legislation. As well as the distress it causes to patient and family, medical harm - from errors in medication to patients falling out of beds without bars - may be costing the NHS billions each year, according to estimates collected by the committee. This sum includes millions paid out by the NHS Litigation Authority to settle clinical negligence claims, and potentially similar amounts to reverse the damage caused by medication errors.

But despite the costs, the Health Committee's annual report said there were NHS boards across the country who had simply "never considered patient safety at all"...
Source: BBC

Thursday 2 July 2009

Maggots!! close operating theatres

An infestation of maggots has caused the closure of three operating theatres at Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital, it has emerged.

NHS Grampian said that it was investigating the possible cause of the problem.

The health authority has not yet said how many operations have been affected by the closure.

It is expected that NHS Grampian will release more details about the situation later.

Aberdeen Central Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald said: "Many people will be shocked and disgusted that there is an infestation of maggots."

Wednesday 1 July 2009

Mollie Sugden Dies

From the BBC
Actress Mollie Sugden has died at the age of 86, her agent has said.

She died at the Royal Surrey Hospital after a long illness.

Right theres the third death of a celebrity Farrah, Michael and Mollie