Monday 30 August 2010

Superbug hits baby ward at University College Hospital

One of four premature babies infected with a bacteria at a London hospital died from the bug, it has been revealed.

The babies were infected at the University College London Hospital neonatal unit with the so-called "gram-negative" bacteria.
The infection killed one of the babies while two of the others died of other causes. One baby has survived.

The hospital has not said when the baby died, but the bug hit the ward in July. The babies were among 15 at the unit found to be carrying several types of bacteria, of whom 13 had bacteria resistant to treatment. Of those, nine were carrying the bacteria on their skin and four were found to have it in their blood streams...
Source: BBC.

Friday 27 August 2010

"Hospital put plaster cast on child's wrong arm"

Hospital staff at Southampton General have issued an apology after medics plastered the wrong arm of a two-year old. Toddler, Honey Wight, chipped a bone in her left elbow after she jumped off a slide. However, for reasons unknown, medical staff in A and E plastered Honey's right arm.
The youngster's mum, Ms Wight, told the Southern Daily Echo; "I was so angry. I just couldn't believe it." The twenty-nine year old continued; "The nurse was there and it said 'left elbow' but she put it on the right arm. It is just crazy."
Ms Wight, who realised the medical mishap the next day, having put her daughter straight to bed after her eventful time, returned to Southampton hospital the next day where the mistake was rectified.
Dr Michael Marsh, medical director at the hospital, said: "We are deeply sorry to Honey and her family. Incidents like this are extremely rare and we will be carrying out a full investigation into how it happened."
Source: The Metro

Friday 13 August 2010

Doctors missed Francis McConville's broken back

Francis McConville was released after doctors failed to see he had broken his back in three places, his family claim. Francis McConville's shoulder was X-rayed after he had a fit and he was given a sling.
Three broken vertebrae were apparently spotted nearly three weeks later after the 39-year-old of South Ockendon, Essex, had another scan. Basildon Hospital's care was 'horrendous', said mother Frances.
The patient's concerns would be addressed at his next appointment, said the hospital.
Source: The Metro

‘Superdad’ Dave Brown delivers baby after hospital rejects mum in labour

A 'superdad' delivered his baby after his partner was turned away from hospital twice in 24 hours. Dave Brown also gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to his newborn girl after girlfriend Emma Habens had been told she was not about to give birth. Mr Brown, 42, said he followed tips he had seen on television programmes to help deliver Maisie safely.
Miss Habens says hospital staff told her the day before her daughter was born that a birth was not imminent, even though her waters had broken. The 30-year-old went into labour the next morning and returned to the maternity unit. 'They said to me, "Go home, take two paracetemol and have a lie down",' said Miss Habens. 'We went home and, a few hours later, I was lying down when it just happened.'
Mr Brown then called an ambulance and said his adrenalin kicked in when the birth was about to begin. 'I kept telling Emma, "Keep breathing," but I didn't know that's what I was supposed to say – I'd just seen them say it on telly*,' he added, 'When she [Maisie] came out she was blue. I blew into her mouth and she started coughing and screaming.' The ambulance then took the family, of Newbury, Berkshire, to hospital.
'Dave was amazing. He was a superdad,' said Miss Habens.
Sandra Housten, head of midwifery at North Hampshire Hospital in Basingstoke, said: 'Every effort is made to ensure women are assessed and able to spend the early part of labour at home and then deliver safely in hospital. 'But some babies do arrive quickly once labour starts.'
Source: The Metro
* Call me a sentimental old fool, but I find that bit very touching.

Cumbria cancer cases detected by review

Eight women who were given the all-clear for breast cancer are now being treated for the disease after a review of the screening service in Cumbria.

In July, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust announced breast screening was being temporarily halted for a major review to be carried out. It involved 1,600 women who had had further tests following routine mammograms since April 2007.

The trust has apologised for any distress caused. It decided to have the review when data showed that among women who were called for a second screening, cancer was detected in fewer cases than would be expected...
Source: BBC

Thursday 12 August 2010

Damages for boy who lost right eye

The parents of a boy whose right eye had to be surgically removed after a two-month delay in diagnosing his cancer have received a substantial damages settlement.
The undisclosed five-figure sum, which will be put into a trust to meet the future needs of three-year-old Harvey Dellar, was approved by a judge at Birmingham County Court. In a statement issued after the brief hearing, Harvey's mother, Caroline Haywood, said she believed her son may not have lost his eye if he had been diagnosed sooner...

‘It's like they thought, she's got dementia, she's dying, why do we need to do anything?’

Dora Duggan, 81, who was terminally ill and suffering from dementia, was moved from her ward to a room which was full of boxes and was being used for storage at the time.

The hospital also left a bag full of tablets within her grasp, prevented more than two members of her family visiting her bedside at the same time and did not put a wristband on her during her four day stay in hospital.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…the caring profession.
Nottingham University Hospitals Trust has now apologised ‘unreservedly’ for the great-grandmother’s treatment which they admit was ‘not acceptable’.
No s***, Sherlock.
Mrs Young, 46, a civil servant, said: ‘They treated her like an animal and shut her in a room that wasn’t even sterile.

‘I don’t believe they wheeled the bed in along with all her other stuff – there wasn’t room and there were only three nurses on that night.

She was supposed to be on oxygen, so I’ve no idea how they’d have got that in.’

She added: ‘The nurses hadn’t even written on the notes that night that she’d been moved into the cupboard. They added that later on - after I’d made a complaint.’

Thursday 5 August 2010

Millions spent on doctor 'gagging orders' by NHS, investigation finds

A combination of pay-offs and fear is preventing whistleblowers going public with criticisms over care, reports Nigel Morris

Hospital doctors who quit their jobs are being routinely forced to sign "gagging orders" despite legislation designed to protect NHS whistleblowers, it is revealed today.

Millions of pounds of taxpayers' money are being spent on contracts that deter doctors from speaking out about incompetence and mistakes in patient care.

Nearly 90 per cent of severance agreements hammered out between NHS trusts and departing doctors contain confidentiality clauses.

A joint investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Channel 4 News has discovered that at least 170 doctors in England and Wales agreed such a settlement with the trust employing them – backed up by pay-offs totalling more than £3m.

Fifty-five of the 64 contracts supplied by the trusts to the investigation team contained gagging clauses. The agreements have to be approved by the Treasury. The bureau discovered that a further 19 NHS staff who decided to go to employment tribunals after blowing the whistle on hospital standards eventually settled before their allegations were made public.

The widespread use of "gagging orders" against senior NHS staff who could raise patient safety concerns will intensify the doubts over the protection given to whistleblowers.

Campaign groups claim that NHS managers sometimes resort to intimidatory tactics to deter medics from coming forward, while others that break cover can face years of expense and uncertainty before their cases reach court. The result, they say, is that doctors accept the gagging clauses in order to protect their careers and avoid legal wrangling.

Mike Parker, of the Royal College of Surgeons, said: "The trusts find something upon which they can influence this individual and hold them virtually to ransom, and say: 'You speak up and this will happen.' It's effectively a form of bullying, if you like, but we do hear about this sort of thing happening."

Using Freedom of Information (FoI) requests, it emerged that 71 NHS trusts had entered into these agreements with a total of 170 doctors, although the true figure could be higher, as many failed to respond.

Twenty-two of the agreements were signed at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

Forty spent a total of just over £3m on the agreements. However, a further 31 trusts simply refused to disclose the size of the payments. Further FoI requests discovered that another 19 health whistleblowers decided to take their cases to court, but abandoned them after signing so-called compromise agreements with employers.

David Bowles, the former chairman of an NHS Trust, told Channel 4 that he believed their use was "endemic". "You shouldn't be at a position of needing a compromise agreement with a whistleblower. You should never get to that point in the first place. You should have listened to the concerns and you should have managed them in accordance with legislation and indeed the NHS's own published code."

Worries over gagging orders in the NHS were underlined by the recent disclosure that Kim Holt, a paediatrician, repeatedly raised the alarm about children's services at St Ann's Hospital in Haringey, north London, more than year before the death of Baby Peter in 2007. Her employer, Great Ormond Street Hospital, reportedly offered her £120,000 to stay silent but she refused. The hospital denied it was an attempt to gag her.

Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, has acknowledged that a scandal of care at Mid-Staffordshire hospital went undetected because whistleblowers' warnings went unheeded.

Whistleblowers gained full protection from dismissal or victimisation under the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) of 1999, which was supported by unions and all political parties. It covers employees in both the public and private sectors.

It followed a succession of cases where whistleblowers had been ignored, including the problems at Bristol Royal Infirmary, where 29 babies and children died after heart surgery. In opposition, the Conservatives said they would give NHS staff the contractual right to report errors and failings to the health regulator without fear of reprisal.

Shonali Routray, a lawyer at the charity Public Concern at Work, stressed last night that the law protected whistleblowers even if they had signed confidentiality clauses.

But she added: "They have a real fear factor and discourage people from raising concerns. The worry is the person who has signed the agreement feels under pressure, or vulnerable, or do not understand their options."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said last night: "The Health Secretary has made it clear that patient safety should be at the heart of the NHS and that the improvement of whistleblowing policies is a key part of this ... organisations across the NHS will also need to be clear that whistleblowing is not something that should be regarded as letting down your organisation."

Source: The Independant