Wednesday 21 April 2010

Man died after medics missed disease six times, inquest hears

A young father died in agony on Christmas Day after medics repeatedly mistook a fatal bowel infection for a groin strain, an inquest has heard.

Malcolm Drake, 23, died from Crohn's Disease and spent his final hours unable to move or eat. He had sought help six times in the days before he died, but GPs and two Accident and Emergency doctors had missed his condition. He was even refused an MRI scan three days before he died that would have shown up the condition, the hearing was told...

Mr Drake had first complained of abdominal pain in mid-November before the first of six visits to medics and physiotherapists in the 15 days before he died, during which time his right leg had swollen considerably and he was in such pain he couldn’t eat.

He saw a GP on December 10th, went to A&E on the 13th, another GP on the 17th and finally A&E again on the 22nd. In between, he had two bouts of physiotherapy.

The hearing was told that Dr Richard Aw, a junior doctor who saw him at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire’s Accident and Emergency department on December 22nd, did not refer to his previous recent visits which were on his medical records, nor make a written record of them when Mr Drake explained who he had seen.

Dr Aw had been employed as a GP locum and had only one year’s experience. He diagnosed Mr Drake as suffering from a groin strain “consistent with previous findings” and sent him home with a dose of painkillers. Dr Aw also claimed that despite ambulance staff apparently noting a 'palpable mass' in Mr Drake's right thigh on the way to A&E, he did not find any lump in the leg himself.

It emerged that Dr Aw had advised him against having an MRI. Giving evidence, he admitted that an MRI would have shown up the Crohn’s disease. Simon Fox, representing Miss Lindop and Mr Drake's family, told Dr Aw: "Had Mr Drake had the scan, it would've led to the diagnosis - Mr Drake had it exactly right didn't he?"

Dr Aw replied: "Yes."

The hearing continues.
Source: The Telegraph

Hampshire swine flu girl 'not given Tamiflu'

A teenager who died after contracting swine flu was not given the drug Tamiflu when she was admitted to hospital, an inquest has heard.

Madelynne Butcher, 18, of Southampton, Hampshire, was admitted to Southampton General Hospital on 2 July 2009. But it was 36 hours before tests revealed she had the H1N1 virus and she was given Tamiflu.

Coroner Catherine Mason at Leicester Town Hall recorded a verdict that Miss Butcher died from natural causes...
Source: BBC

Tuesday 20 April 2010

Surgeon cut off testicle 'by mistake' at Bury hospital

A patient lost a testicle during an operation because the surgeon cut it off by mistake, a General Medical Council (GMC) hearing has been told.

Dr Sulieman Al Hourani was only supposed to cut out a cyst, but removed the whole right testicle instead. Dr Al Hourani was a locum surgeon at Fairfield General Hospital in Bury, Greater Manchester, at the time of the surgery in September 2007.

He is accused of misconduct and also of stealing medication. It is alleged the doctor, who is now practising in Jordan and was not present at the hearing, also injected himself with a drug meant for a patient.

Sarah Prichard, counsel for the GMC, said the mistake was made as a nurse helping the surgeon turned her back to get a stitch. When she turned around the testicle had been removed...
Source: BBC

Sunday 18 April 2010

NHS bars woman after she saw private doctor

A WOMAN has been denied an operation on the NHS after paying for a private consultation to deal with her severe back pain.

Jenny Whitehead, a breast cancer survivor, paid £250 for an appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon after being told she would have to wait five months to see him on the NHS. He told her he would add her to his NHS waiting list for surgery.

She was barred from the list, however, and sent back to her GP. She must now find at least £10,000 for private surgery, or wait until the autumn for the NHS operation to remove a cyst on her spine.

“When I paid £250 to see the specialist privately I had no idea I would be sacrificing my right to surgery on the NHS. I feel victimised,” she said.

The case will reopen the debate over NHS policy towards patients who pay for some of their care privately. Following a Sunday Times campaign in 2008, the government ordered the NHS to stop withdrawing care from patients who received additional private treatment or drugs. Cancer sufferers were being barred from further NHS treatment after buying potentially life-saving medicines not offered by the health service.

Whitehead’s case, which has shocked her local Labour MP, reveals that patients who go private in despair at long waiting lists still risk jeopardising their NHS treatment. Department of Health officials admit it remains official policy.

Whitehead, 64, a former museum assistant from Yorkshire who works as a volunteer at a hospice, went to her GP in December for back pain. Because of her breast cancer history, she was immediately offered an MRI scan to check the disease had not returned. It revealed a cyst on her spine, pressing against her sciatic nerve. Her GP referred her to a consultant at Airedale NHS hospital.

She was told the next available NHS appointment was in May, so she accepted the offer of a private slot to see him the following week.

“My husband and I are retired and don’t have a lot of money, but I am in intense pain and couldn’t face the thought of waiting months just for an initial consultation,” she said.

The specialist promised to add her to his NHS waiting list for surgery. After two months, however, hospital managers told her she had been barred from the waiting list because she had seen the surgeon privately. Now her only alternative to paying £10,000 privately is to go back to her GP, seek another referral to the same specialist, this time on the NHS, and face another 18-week wait.

“We will scratch together the money if we absolutely have to, but I feel it’s incredibly unfair,” said Whitehead. “I’ve paid full National Insurance contributions all my working life and feel I should get this operation on the NHS.”

Ann Cryer, who is standing down as Labour MP for Keighley, has written to the hospital urging it to reconsider. She told Whitehead that she had been “badly let down and ill advised”.

Bradford and Airedale NHS trust said it was looking into the case “as a matter of urgency” but added: “Anyone who chooses to pay for a private outpatient consultation cannot receive NHS treatment unless they are then referred on to an NHS pathway by their consultant.”

Source :Times Online

Wednesday 14 April 2010

Girl’s cancer was wind, said doctor

A little girl’s leukaemia was misdiagnosed as trapped wind by a GP at a scandal-hit out-of-hours surgery, it emerged today.

Three-year-old Taylor Codling was taken to the weekend clinic by her father James when she turned yellow and her temperature hit 40ËšC (104ËšF). But after a two-minute check-up the doctor sent them to pick up a bottle of gripe water to ease her condition.

Taylor was no better two days later so she was taken to Ipswich Hospital where doctors diagnosed leukaemia. Mr Codling, from Hasketon, Suffolk, has now threatened to launch legal action against the service.

‘This mistake could have cost her her life,’ said the 32-year-old. ‘There is a big difference between having trapped wind and having leukaemia.’

The misdiagnosis was made by a foreign doctor working for Take Care Now – the same company which employed 67-year-old German locum Daniel Ubani. He accidentally killed 70-year-old patient David Gray, of Cambridgeshire, by giving him a lethal overdose of painkillers.

Last year TCN was stripped of its out-of-hours contract but the decision only came into effect from April 1 – a week after Taylor went to the surgery. Harmoni HS Ltd, which now runs the locum service for Suffolk, said the doctor in question had not worked for them since April 1.
Source: The Metro

Monday 12 April 2010

NHS chiefs' pay rises 'double those of nurses'

Top managers in England's NHS trusts received average pay rises of nearly 7% in 2008-09, compared with less than 3% granted to nurses, a report says.

An Incomes Data Services report into boardroom pay at more than 380 trusts found chief executives earned seven times more than the average nurse. Senior managers in NHS trusts typically earned £147,500, the report said. The NHS Confederation said trusts needed top managers to help them through financial challenges...
Source: BBC

Saturday 10 April 2010

A Special Interview with Dr. Andrew Wakefield

Click post title to follow link to a transcript of a lengthy interview with Dr Andrew Wakefield, who was the one who claimed that letting your children have the MMR jab could cause autism.

Thursday 8 April 2010

'Pinkie' operation death 'could have been prevented'

The death of a man during a routine hospital operation on his little finger could have been avoided, according to an inquiry.

Gordon Ewing, 44, from Cambuslang, died while being treated at the Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow in May 2006. A fatal accident inquiry heard how he swelled up and turned bright red after being given too much oxygen. Sheriff Linda Ruxton said his death could have been prevented if anaesthetists had simply woken him up...
Source: BBC