Tuesday 29 September 2009

Paramedic's 'rant'' at 'f***ing p***ed' patient

A paramedic unleashed a four-letter tirade at a bus driver who called him out to treat a diabetic patient, a hearing was told.

Jason Sefton acted in a 'deliberate and fully disreputable' manner and accused the sick woman of being drunk, it was alleged. He told the bus driver: 'Look mate, she's pink, coherent and f***ing p***ed,' before adding he was too busy to deal with her. He later lied to his bosses by telling them the woman refused treatment.

She had to be saved by another ambulance crew after the incident in Liverpool in December 2007 and recovered in hospital. One of the medics, Chris Berry, said he challenged Sefton about his actions at the hospital but was subjected to a 'tirade' of swear words.

Sefton, of Liverpool, has resigned, the disciplinary hearing in central London was told.
Source: The Metro

Friday 25 September 2009

NHS hospital equipment 'under-used'

NHS hospitals are not making the most of expensive equipment, according to a new report.

An analysis found that some machines for treating conditions such as cancer are under-utilised. The warning came from the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA), which obtained data from 187 NHS trusts in England under the Freedom of Information Act.

Among other pieces of hospital equipment, researchers from the TPA looked at linear accelerator (Linac), which delivers radiotherapy to people suffering from cancer. Each dose is known as a fraction, with the fractions adding up to a course of treatment. The report found the average usage of each Linac machine in 2008 in the NHS was 7,191 fractions per year. The National Radiotherapy Advisory Group recommends an average of 8,000 fractions per machine per year.

Eleven trusts achieved this level but there was wide variation around the country, with Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust and University College London Hospitals NHS Trust providing fewer than 5,000 fractions per machine, the study said. Researchers calculated that if all trusts falling below the national average got up to the average, an extra 128,758 fractions could be provided, equivalent to 18 more Linac machines.

Katherine Andrew, a research associate at the TPA, said: "These pieces of equipment are not only expensive, they are crucial to the treatment of people who suffer from a wide variety of conditions. It is simply not good enough that so many trusts are failing to make the best use of their resources, and in doing so letting down patients and taxpayers. If those trusts that are lagging behind caught up just with the NHS average, it would make hundreds of thousands of extra treatment and diagnosis procedures available."
Source: The Metro.

Wednesday 23 September 2009

Mother gives birth in hospital car park after passers-by step in to help deliver her baby son

A mother told today of the moment she delivered her son in a hospital car park - with the kind help of strangers.

Alexandra Lakhan, 29, said three bystanders jumped into action to help her give birth in the car park of Newham General Hospital.

When Alexandra arrived at the hospital, she told her husband Rumell that the baby's head had already popped out.

Express delivery: Alexandra Lakhan with husband Rumell, daughter Anoushka and their newborn baby Jeevan, who was born in a hospital car park

He told his wife to wait in the car while he ran to the hospital reception to get some help, but found it was unmanned.

On the way back to see his wife, Rumell bought a ticket for the car, but when he rejoined her, she was already in the final stages of labour.

Rumell, a mortgage adviser, was aided by three bystanders to deliver 6lb 8oz Jeevan after a labour which lasted an hour in the car park.

'He didn't believe me when I said the baby's head was coming out,' said Alexandra, a teacher who has a two-year-old daughter, Anoushka.

'He put me on the floor, took my trousers off and saw the baby's head.'

Although the couple were a few yards from the hospital entrance, there were no medical workers around.

'Deaths rise' with junior doctors

Researchers say they have found a small but statistically significant increase in the number of patients who die each year when junior doctors start work.

An Imperial College team looked at 300,000 emergency patients admitted to English hospitals between 2000 to 2008.

They compared death rates between the first week of August, when new doctors arrive, and the previous week in July.

After adjusting for various factors, they report in PLoS One that the August patients were 6% more likely to die.

Mother of five killed by doctor's drugs blunder

A mother of five died after a consultant mistakenly prescribed a lethal dose of a chemotherapy drug, an inquest heard.

Anna McKenna was given four times the recommended daily amount of Idarubicin to treat her bone marrow cancer.

The overdose destroyed almost all of the 56-year-old's infection-fighting white blood cells, leaving her immune system powerless against disease.

Her kidneys failed and she died three weeks after first taking the drug. Her doctor admitted prescribing 60mg of the drug per day instead of 15mg.

'I am very sorry that a mistake was made,' Dr Jacqueline James, a consultant haematologist at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, told the inquest.

'She was given four times the required dose. I had written out the prescription after a long and emotional meeting with Mrs McKenna and her family and filled it out wrong.' Mrs McKenna, a housewife from Knowle in Bristol, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in March 2006.

The chemotherapy drug was prescribed to prolong her life but she died of renal failure in April 2006.

Dr James' error was not picked up by staff at the hospital's pharmacy. The prescription, which would identify the pharmacist at fault, has gone missing.

The inquest continues at Flax Bourton Coroner's Court.

Tuesday 22 September 2009

One in six NHS patients 'misdiagnosed'

As many as one in six patients treated in NHS hospitals and GPs’ surgeries is being misdiagnosed, experts have warned.

Doctors were making mistakes in up to 15 per cent of cases because they were too quick to judge patients’ symptoms, they said, while others were reluctant to ask more senior colleagues for help.

While in most cases the misdiagnosis did not result in the patient suffering serious harm, a sizeable number of the millions of NHS patients were likely to suffer significant health problems as a result, according to figures. It was said that the number of misdiagnoses was “just the tip of the iceberg”, with many people still reluctant to report mistakes by their doctors.

There was a call for better reporting methods to ensure that each misdiagnosis was recorded and monitored properly.

Prof Graham Neale, of the Imperial Centre for Patient Safety and Service Quality at Imperial College London, who is carrying out research into cases of misdiagnosis in the NHS, said it was a problem that was not being adequately dealt with.

“There is absolutely no doubt that this is being under-reported,” he said. “But more importantly they are not being adequately analysed.

“Trainee doctors are too quick to judgment, that is one of the problems that we face.”

Friday 18 September 2009

Woman bled to death after doctor punctured her jugular

A young woman died in hospital during an operation after doctors punctured her neck while inserting a drip.

Sally Thompson, 20, lost two litres of blood after the neck puncture and had to wait nearly two hours before she could receive a blood transfusion.

The doctor failed to follow NHS guidelines when inserting the drip and punctured her jugular vein.

Doctors at Manchester Royal Infirmary then requested blood from the hospital but none arrived until one hour and 45 minutes later.

Ms Thompson, an administration assistant from Middleton, had a rare blood disorder and went to hospital feeling weak.

Dr Jaydeep Mandel decided to use a central venous catheter to insert drugs but should have used ultra-sound equipment, according to guidelines.

"It beggars belief that the ultrasound equipment was there and could have saved a life but wasn't used. The guidelines were in place to stop something like this happening."
Source: Metro

Thursday 17 September 2009

Cancer cases found after errors

This is the same story as in the previous post, but it mentions eighteen rather than fourteen cases.
Eighteen women have been told they have breast cancer after screening errors by a radiologist in East Lancashire failed to detect the disease.

The women were among hundreds who had mammograms at Accrington Victoria Community Hospital, of which 355 cases were reviewed in an independent study. East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust said it was "not possible" to say if the women's prognosis was affected. The radiologist involved last screened patients in December 2008. The trust said they had not worked since April.

The blunder came to light through internal monitoring in the screening service which sparked an independent investigation. As a result all of the radiologist's breast cancer screenings over the past three years were scrutinised, said the hospital trust. Of these cases 85 women were re-tested and 14 diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and all are receiving treatment.

A further four patients were found to have ductal carcinoma in situ - a non-invasive breast cancer - which had not progressed.
Source: BBC

Hospital missed 14 breast cancer cases

Fourteen women have been told they have breast cancer after a consultant conducted faulty mammograms, hospital bosses said today.

The women were given the devastating news after colleagues of the consultant, a senior radiologist working for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, raised concerns about his work.

In all, 355 mammograms, going back three years, had to be re-checked by an independent review of breast screening assessment clinics carried out by a "quality assurance" team of medics. Eighty-five women had to undergo a second breast examination, and 14 were told they had invasive breast cancer. Another four women were diagnosed with a secondary breast condition, but medics insist their prognosis will not be affected by the wait. All the women are aged over 50.

Hospital chiefs said the prognosis for treating early stage breast cancer is "good" but it was not known whether the delay would harm their chances of recovery.
Source: The Metro

Wednesday 16 September 2009

NHS patient sets up 'Hospital Bingo' to work out what he is being served for lunch each day

He has spent more than 20 weeks in hospital this year - and has become sick of the food on offer.

So sick, in fact, that he's taken to photographing the unappetising dishes and posting the pictures on the internet for his friends to guess what they are.

The unnamed patient, a 47-year-old freelance journalist who is writing a blog under the pseudonym of Traction Man, calls the game Hospital Food Bingo.

Wednesday 9 September 2009

Cancer drug hopes to be dashed.

A drug that significantly extends life expectancy for patients with liver cancer is set to be refused by the government's health watchdog.

Nexavar increases survival rates by 44 per cent and without it, the only option for patients is supportive and palliative care to make their final months less painful.

However, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) is set to refuse to make it available on the NHS.

In the UK, there are approximately 2,800 new diagnoses of primary liver cancer made every year and the disease is responsible for causing around 2,800 deaths annually.

In May this year when NICE published their preliminary findings into the drug, they said that the drug "would not be a cost-effective use of NHS resources".

The cost of Nexavar per month is £2980.47 and the patient access scheme, run by the drug company, is every 4th pack free.

Tuesday 8 September 2009

Baby had 'no right' to live, say NHS doctors

Bereaved mother's campaign against medical guidelines that allow premature babies to die

A mother who watched her premature baby die when doctors refused to help him has condemned medical guidelines which said he should not be saved.

Sarah Capewell gave birth to a baby son when she was 21 weeks and 5 days into her pregnancy. Her pleas to doctors and midwives to admit the newborn to a special care baby unit were rejected.

Staff at James Paget Hospital, in Gorleston, Norfolk, told her that if her son Jayden had been born two days later, at 22 weeks, they would have tried to help him.

Instead, Miss Capewell, who had previously suffered five miscarriages, says she was told the child had "no right" to life, by doctors, who refused to even see the baby, which lived for almost two hours without any support.

Medical guidance for NHS hospitals says the low chance of survival for babies born below 23 weeks means they should not be given interventions which could cause suffering.

Miss Capewell says her increasingly desperate pleas to assist her baby were met with a brusque response from doctors, who said she should consider the labour as a miscarriage, rather than a birth.

When she implored a paediatrician: "You have got to help" he responded: "No we don't".

After asking doctors to consider his human right to life, she claims she was told: "He hasn't got a human right, he is a foetus".
22 weeks good, 2 days less bad.

Source: The Telegraph

Friday 4 September 2009

Fatal or serious NHS medication errors double in two years

At least 100 patients are dying or suffering serious harm each year after healthcare workers give them the wrong medication. The number of alerts relating to errors or “near-misses” in the supply or prescription of medicines has more than doubled in two years, the National Patient Safety Agency said.

More than 86,000 incidents regarding medication were reported in 2007, compared with 64,678 in 2006 and 36,335 in 2005. The figures, for England and Wales, show that in 96 per cent of cases the incidents caused “no or low harm”, but at least 100 were known to have resulted in serious harm or death.

Workload pressures, long hours, fatigue and reduced staff levels have contributed to errors, but the “serious consequences” of failing to administer, prescribe or dispense medicines correctly are still not well recognised in the NHS though they can be fatal, the report said.

The figures — based on voluntary reporting by hospitals, clinics and GPs — are thought to be a vast underestimate of the number of errors. Professor David Cousins, a senior pharmacist at the agency, said it was well known that only about 10 per cent of incidents were reported in most voluntary systems. This suggests that there were as many as 860,000 errors or near-misses involving medicines in 2007.
Source: The Times

Thursday 3 September 2009

Overdose doctor 'regrets error'

A doctor who gave a patient six times* the proper dose of a painkiller has told a General Medical Council panel he "bitterly regrets the error." Dr Michael Stevenson, 57, of Cumbria, said he thought he had given a 59-year-old builder 5mg of diamorphine in 2005, but had actually administered 35mg. The panel heard the man stopped breathing and needed an antidote.

In 2007, the 57-year-old GP admitted manslaughter after accidentally giving a female patient a fatal overdose.
He was given a suspended jail sentence for the mistake which killed Marjorie Wright, of Workington, in January 2005...

"Clearly I bitterly regret the error. I go over it in my mind and try to find an explanation. It has had a big effect on me. I have never ever made an error of that magnitude in my life."
Well, apart from the woman you killed in the same year, of course.

* I make that seven.

Source; BBC

Sentenced to death on the NHS

Patients with terminal illnesses are being made to die prematurely under an NHS scheme to help end their lives, leading doctors have warned.

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, a group of experts who care for the terminally ill claim that some patients are being wrongly judged as close to death.

Under NHS guidance introduced across England to help doctors and medical staff deal with dying patients, they can then have fluid and drugs withdrawn and many are put on continuous sedation until they pass away.

But this approach can also mask the signs that their condition is improving, the experts warn.

As a result the scheme is causing a “national crisis” in patient care, the letter states. It has been signed palliative care experts including Professor Peter Millard, Emeritus Professor of Geriatrics, University of London, Dr Peter Hargreaves, a consultant in Palliative Medicine at St Luke’s cancer centre in Guildford, and four others.

“Forecasting death is an inexact science,”they say. Patients are being diagnosed as being close to death “without regard to the fact that the diagnosis could be wrong.

“As a result a national wave of discontent is building up, as family and friends witness the denial of fluids and food to patients."

The warning comes just a week after a report by the Patients Association estimated that up to one million patients had received poor or cruel care on the NHS.

NHS failings on cannibal detailed

Two reports are to detail NHS failings over the handling of a schizophrenic killer who killed two more people after release from a secure hospital.

Peter Bryan, 39, of east London, killed a friend and ate parts of his brain in 2004 - two years after being released from Rampton, in Nottinghamshire. He then went on to kill a patient after being sent to Broadmoor, in Berkshire.

The reports will look at how the risk he posed was assessed and the levels of security under which he was held.

Bryan was first sent to Rampton secure hospital in 1994 after beating 20-year-old shop assistant Nisha Sheth to death with a hammer in a clothes shop in Chelsea, south-west London. In 2002 he was released after applying to a mental health tribunal and allowed to live as a care in the community out-patient...
Source: BBC

{Scottish}Surgeons leave 300 instruments in the bodies of patients

SURGEONS left behind more than 300 instruments and pieces of equipment in patients' bodies in Scottish hospitals over the past five years.
Since 2004, at least 280 patients had to be re-admitted to hospitals to have "foreign objects" extracted from them, figures released by the Scottish Government have revealed.

While health boards have refused to release details of individual cases, most incidents are understood to have involved small items such as needles and swabs.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde reported the largest number of cases, with 70 patients going back to hospital after objects were left inside them. NHS Lothian reported 28 cases over the same period, followed by Fife (25), Grampian and Ayrshire and Arran (both 21), Lanarkshire (19), Highland (13), and Forth Valley and Tayside (both 12).

The exact spread of the problem is not known because boards with fewer than five cases a year refuse to publish the data, citing patient confidentiality.

Tuesday 1 September 2009

Injured woman lay in road for three hours waiting for ambulance

An injured shopper was left lying in the road for three hours in pouring rain waiting for an ambulance.

The woman, 53, was knocked unconscious after falling out of a taxi and when she came round she complained she could not move her neck.

An ambulance was called at 6pm, but the woman was forced to wait until 9pm for a police officer trained in first aid to arrive, assess her and take her to hospital in a police van.
woman left lying in road waiting for ambulance

The NHS today launched an inquiry into why an ambulance failed to turn up at the incident in the Grangetown area of Cardiff.