Friday 26 March 2010

NHS payout after mum misdiagnosed

The family of a young mother who died after doctors failed to diagnose her cancer has secured a six-figure pay-out from an NHS body.

Lavinia Bletchly, a 23-year-old mother of two, was sent home from hospital three times before she died of the aggressive cancer.

A High Court judge approved an out-of-court settlement with Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, part of which will compensate her daughters Shaila, nine, and six-year-old Chloe.

Miss Bletchly, of Bridgend, south Wales, died from peritonitis and malignant non-Hodgkin lymphoma. A full-time textile design student at the University of Wales Institute Cardiff, she fell ill in May 2004 a few months after Chloe's birth.

Examinations during the next eight months ruled out gynaecological problems, but she continued to complain of pain in her abdomen and pelvis. In February 2005 an ultrasound revealed a cyst and an exploratory operation found fluid above the liver. Over the next three weeks she was admitted three times to the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.

On one occasion her family said a senior consultant told her it was "all in her head" and that she should make way for urgent cases. In March 2005 a CT scan and further surgery found an extensive malignant tumour had encased her bowel and spread to her stomach. It is understood the family will receive about £350,000.
Source: The Metro

NHS turns injured toddler away due to computer shutdown

Herts and Essex Hospital turned away three-year-old Rafferty Searson because the computer system had been shut down before hospital closing time.

A toddler who was bleeding heavily from a cut to the face was refused treatment by hospital staff – because they had turned their computers off for the day. Three-year-old Rafferty Searson, who was covered in blood from a gash on his cheek, was turned away from the NHS hospital 15 minutes before closing time after a receptionist said he could not be logged on to the computer.

His nanny Kate Moss (?), who took him to Herts and Essex Hospital, said: ‘Two nurses who walked past just looked at me and when I asked for help one said “We have shut down all the systems there is nothing we can do”.’

Rafferty’s 35-year-old mother Hana, from Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, said: ‘It was a case of “Computer says no”. They were covered in blood and Kate was literally holding his face closed.’ Ms Moss drove Rafferty to a hospital 24km (15miles) away, where he received six stitches.

A spokeswoman for East and North Hertfordshire PCT said there was a ‘large number of people’ at the hospital, which only receives out patients and has a small accident and injury unit.
Source: The Metro

Thursday 25 March 2010

NHS managers rise to nearly 45,000

The number of managers in the NHS in England rose by nearly 12% last year, to almost 45,000.

During the same period, the number of qualified nurses increased by less than 2%. The NHS in England now employs just over 1.43 million people - an increase of 4.6% on the previous year. After a period of record growth, the Department of Health plans to make cuts of £4.35bn a year. It added managers were still a fraction of the workforce.

NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson said the NHS had enjoyed record investment over the last decade. But he said the NHS was entering a period of less growth, with the service "focused on improving quality and productivity to release efficiency savings that can be re-invested back into the service".
Source: BBC.

Monday 22 March 2010

Hospital tells parents to drive burns girl 25 miles for treatment

WHEN five-year-old Madison Healy was rushed to hospital with third degree burns her parents expected her to be given urgent treatment.

Instead doctors at University Hospital sent her away naked with just a blanket to protect her from the cold. Her parents were told the youngster needed to see a burns specialist at Birmingham Children’s Hospital 25 miles away – and were told to drive her there themselves.

Bosses at University Hospital say they understand why Maddy’s parents were distressed but insist doctors made sure she was safe and stable before referring her. They say the burns were ‘relatively small’ and did not put Maddy in danger so the guidelines advised she be sent by car rather than ambulance.

But furious mum Alana Regan said: “It was very traumatic – I feared the delay might cause lasting damage.
Source: Coventry Telegraph.

Friday 19 March 2010

Man left infertile after wrong testicle removed

A man was left infertile after surgeons botched an operation on his testicle.

Doctors at the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds were tasked with removing the man's right epididymis - a coiled tube which carries sperm away from the testicles - but they removed the left one instead.

The man, who has not been named, had to undergo a second operation in January last year on his right testicle, which resulted in infertility.

Health bosses declined to comment on whether he has received any compensation.

Nigel Kee, interim chief operating officer at the hospital, said: "The safety of our patients is our number one priority. As such, we take any incidents which compromise safety extremely seriously.

"A thorough investigation into this case was carried out by an independent consultant, who advised us to introduce an additional hospital-wide policy giving clearer instructions on marking and verifying sites prior to surgery.

"We implemented this recommendation immediately.

"We have an overriding duty to protect the confidentiality of our patients. As such, we will not comment in any further detail on this case."

Source: The Independent

Thursday 18 March 2010

Leeds widow sent home from hospital in nightgown

The family of a widow from Leeds is demanding an apology after she was discharged from hospital in the middle of the night wearing just a nightgown.
Elsie Allanson, 74, was admitted to the city's St James' Hospital last month after suffering a suspected stroke. She was sent home in a taxi in freezing weather at 0200 GMT the next day. Her family had not been informed. Her daughter said the hospital should admit its mistake.
The NHS trust said it would be "inappropriate to comment"...
Source: BBC

Saturday 13 March 2010

Hospital failed to spot child had broken both arms

A toddler spent a night in agony after bungling doctors sent him home from hospital without realising he had broken both his wrists.

Three-year-old Regan Mercer was taken to a hospital's accident department by his mother after he hurt his arms falling downstairs at home. Doctors at Mayday Hospital in Croydon X-rayed only one arm, saying they did not like to expose children to too much radiation. Medical staff then put a plaster cast on his right arm and sent him home.

He was in so much pain during the night that his 33-year-old mother, Angela Doherty, took him back the next day when doctors realised their mistake. Hospital chiefs have launched an investigation...
Source: Evening Standard

Thursday 11 March 2010

Disabled woman who asked for help getting 200 yards from car park into hospital told 'dial 999'

Donatella Coppini, 42, suffers from a spinal condition which means she has to use sticks to walk. She was taken to A&E by her partner Nick Ault, 34, suffering from excruciating back pains but when the couple asked hospital staff to help her inside they were told to dial 999. The couple from Shoeburyness in Essex had to wait in the hospital car park until paramedics arrived to help them into Southend Hospital.

Mr Ault, who is his partner's full-time carer, said: "She was in the car and couldn't move. I asked if someone could get help and get her out of the car. They said they would have to call 999 to help them. So I had to dial 999 even though it was just 200 yards from A&E. It blows my mind, it's suppose to be a hospital. If someone fell over outside and cracked their head would they need to call 999? I think it's pathetic and unacceptable."
Source: The Daily Mail

Tuesday 9 March 2010

Newborn baby given overdose of tuberculosis vaccine

The boy, who was born on February 5, was injected with 0.5mg of the BCG vaccine - 10 times the usual 0.05mg dose, lawyers for his family said.

A statement from law firm Irwin Mitchell said the boy is now being treated with help from the poisons agency and an expert in immunology at Sheffield Children's Hospital.

A spokesman for Scunthorpe General Hospital said it had launched a ''full investigation''...
Source: The Telegraph

Patients ‘treated in dirty storerooms'

HOSPITAL patients are being treated in mop cupboards and storerooms, it is revealed today. They are left in dirty conditions with no privacy, says a survey of nurses. Two out of three questioned claimed that patients in their hospitals were moved to "non-clinical" areas because of ward overcrowding.
And eight out of ten feared the growing use of cupboards and similar areas was putting safety at risk, said the Nursing Times poll of more than 900 nurses. It showed that some patients were left for days on trolleys in corridors. Workers claimed people were put in areas with no basic equipment, including oxygen, hand basins and emergency call bells. They were often ignored when drugs and food were being handed out...
A Department of Health spokesman said: "The vast majority of NHS patients experience good quality, safe care. We acknowledge there is more to do and we strive to make services even safer."

Monday 8 March 2010

Many NHS trusts 'give wrong data'

More than half of hospital trusts inspected last year provided the public with incorrect information on their performance and quality of care, it has been claimed.
Documents obtained by the BBC's Panorama programme show that of those hospital trusts inspected in 2008/09, just over 60% had provided inaccurate information to the Government regulator, a spokesman for the programme said.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) uses this information, on criteria such as patient safety, care environment and public health, to give the trusts a rating - which is used by patients as a guide to their local hospital. However, the fact some hospital trusts have been wrongly assessing their own performance casts doubt on the accuracy of some of these ratings, the spokesman said...
Source: Press Association, via Yahoo.

Sunday 7 March 2010

Labour hid ugly truth about NHS

DAMNING reports on the state of the National Health Service, suppressed by the government, reveal how patients’ needs have been neglected.

They diagnose a blind pursuit of political and managerial targets as the root cause of a string of hospital scandals that have cost thousands of lives.

One report, based on the advice of almost 200 top managers and doctors, says hospitals ignored basic hygiene to cram in patients to meet waiting-time targets.

It says “several interviewees” cited the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells [NHS Trust in Kent where 269 deaths during 2005-6 were caused by infection with Clostridium difficile bacteria].

“Managers crowded in patients in order to meet waiting-time targets and, in the process, lost sight of the fundamental hygiene requirements for infection prevention,” the report stated.

There were subsequent failings at health trusts in Basildon in Essex, and Mid Staffordshire. Filthy wards and nurse shortages led to up to 1,200 deaths at Stafford hospital.

Lord Darzi, the former health minister, commissioned the three reports from international consultancies to assess the progress of the NHS as it approached its 60th anniversary in 2008. They have come to light after a freedom of information request.
One must wonder at the pointlessness of a Labour Lord commissioning reports if his own party then contrives to hide unfavourable conclusions.

Source: The Times

NICE says no to bone marrow disease drug

NICE has decided that azacitidine will not be available through the NHS

A drug for treating rare blood cancers will not be made available through the NHS in England and Wales.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has decided not to recommend azacitidine or Vidaza for treating myelodysplastic syndromes because it is too costly.

Cancer charities say they are angered and disappointed by the decision.

Around four in 100,000 people in the UK suffer from MDS - a debilitating bone marrow disease.

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) mean that the bone marrow does not produce enough of one or more types of blood cells.

Most MDS patients have to rely on frequent blood transfusions to manage anaemia and extreme fatigue.

The average survival of patients with MDS is about 20 months. Nearly a third of patients progress to acute myeloid leukaemia.

NICE says that the majority of patients with MDS receive the best care in current clinical practice.

Not a cure

Dr Carole Longson is health technology evaluation centre director at NICE. She said that azacitidine is not a cure for MDS but could potentially prolong the lives of people with these conditions by around nine months longer than standard treatment.

However she stated: "The Appraisal Committee concluded that relative to the benefits, the price the NHS is being asked to pay for azacitidine is still too high for it to be recommended as a cost effective use of NHS resources."

The manufacturer of the drug, Celgene UK, has announced that it plans to appeal NICE's draft guidance ruling.

According to the manufacturer's estimates, azacitidine costs approximately £45,000 per patient.

David Hall is an MDS patient. He is also chairman of the MDS UK Patient Support Group, which is supported by pharmaceutical companies, including Celgene.

He said the decision was a huge blow to MDS patients.

"A total of only 700 patients a year in England and Wales would require treatment with azacitidine so we do not believe that providing this life-extending treatment would make a huge impact on the NHS budget," he said.

Source BBC

Guilty plea after nurse's death at hospital in Swindon

A health trust has pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety regulations after a woman was given an epidural anaesthetic in her arm.

Mayra Cabrera died following her son's birth in 2004 after Bupivacaine was mistakenly connected to her arm at Swindon's Great Western Hospital.

Lyn Hill-Tout, chief executive of Great Western Hospitals NHS, entered a guilty plea before Swindon magistrates.

The case was committed to Swindon Crown Court to be heard at a later date.

The court was told how a nurse at the Great Western Hospital had made a fatal error on 11 May 2004.

Mrs Cabrera who had worked as a theatre nurse at GWH had gone through a relatively straightforward birth but required saline to help bring her blood pressure back up.

But a nurse attached the wrong bag of solution to a drip attached to her right arm.

Within minutes, Mrs Cabrera began to feel unwell - and then started to fit. She died soon after.

Swindon and Marlborough NHS Trust - now the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - had previously admitted liability.

An inquest into the 30-year-old's death in February 2008, ruled Mrs Cabrera was unlawfully killed.

Source BBC

Saturday 6 March 2010

Neglected by 'lazy' nurses, man, 22, dying of thirst rang the police to beg for water

A man of 22 died in agony of dehydration after three days in a leading teaching hospital.
Kane Gorny was so desperate for a drink that he rang police to beg for their help.
They arrived on the ward only to be told by doctors that everything was under control.
The next day his mother Rita Cronin found him delirious and he died within hours.
She said nurses had failed to give him vital drugs which controlled fluid levels in his body. 'He was totally dependent on the nurses to help him and they totally betrayed him.'

Source Daily Mail.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: 'Detectives from the Homicide and Serious Crime Command are investigating the death of Kane Gorny at St George's Hospital after this was referred to us by Westminster Coroner's Court.'
A spokesman for St George's Hospital said: 'We are extremely sorry about the death of Kane Gorny and understand the distress that this has caused to his family.
'A full investigation was carried out and new procedures introduced to ensure that such a case cannot happen in future.

Yeah right as if I believe them?

Wednesday 3 March 2010

Hospital admits plaster error over toddler's broken leg

A toddler with a broken leg was sent home with a plaster on the wrong limb and then hospital staff implied it was his mother's fault for not spotting it.

The error was made when Bella Powell took 21-month-old son Rafe to Torbay Hospital after he fell from his high chair at his Brixham home.

On returning to get the error resolved, Mrs Powell was laughed at by staff and told she should have said something. The hospital has apologised for the mistake and the comments made by staff...
Source: BBC.

Hospital staff under 'pressure' to hit targets

Staff at a Nottingham hospital "bent rules" on recording patient waiting times due to "enormous pressure" to hit targets, a review has found.

Independent auditors were brought in to the Queen's Medical Centre after inaccurate reporting of waiting times over the past four years was uncovered. The hospital has to treat 98% of patients within four hours to meet government targets.

Auditors said patients were not put at risk. The report states: "Some staff described the enormous pressures they felt under to achieve the four-hour A&E target and deliver patient care at the same time."

The review of the department, which is one of the busiest in England, was sparked after a member of the hospital's medical staff noticed by chance that a patient's time in A&E had been inaccurately reported.

The audit found 1,889 records had been wrongly recorded since April 2008...
Source: BBC

Surgeon who removed baby's bladder guilty of misconduct

We'd mentioned this story before, but here's the outcome:
A surgeon who mistakenly removed a baby's bladder instead of a hernia has been found guilty of misconduct by the General Medical Council (GMC)... Pierina Kapur, 43, was supposed to take out a hernial sac but instead removed 90% of her bladder.
It's not clear to me whether the surgeon was actually punished in any way, all it says is "the panel does consider [her] misconduct to be sufficiently serious as to justify a finding of impairment in this case."

Source: BBC