Thursday 30 June 2011

Those Selfless, Caring NHS Staff....

An elderly hospital patient suffered severe brain damage and died after staff turned down the volume on an alarm system monitoring his heart.
Ahhh, those caring NHS staff…
An investigation found the volume of the heart-monitor alarm had been turned down to 40 per cent of its maximum on November 21, 2008.

The speakers had also been turned the wrong way and covered in paperwork.
An accident? Carelessness?

An inquest sitting with a jury at Hanley Town Hall yesterday heard the volume could not have been reduced accidentally as someone has to change the settings on a computer system.
Under questioning, the staff adopt the sort of attitude you’d expect from state-run healthcare ‘professionals’:

Margaret Archer, a sister at the hospital at the time of the incident, said she had not heard the crisis alarm sound when Mr Bough’s condition worsened.

North Staffordshire coroner Ian Smith asked her: ‘Is this a case where someone on your shift has just turned the volume down, or has it been like this for some considerable time?’

She replied: ‘I don’t know. I wouldn’t have allowed anyone to do it.’
Are you sure?

Because clearly you didn’t notice the speakers or the paperwork, so we can only conclude you were quite happy to allow that
After restarting Mr Bough’s heart, Dr Satchi checked the telemetry system that monitors the heart rates of up to ten patients on the ward.

‘I checked the monitor, which appeared to still be flashing red, but there was no audible alarm,’ he said.

‘I checked the screen to see if it had detected an abnormal heart rhythm and it had done so for between 15 and 17 minutes.’

Mr Smith told Dr Satchi: ‘Had he been treated promptly, the likelihood is you would have got his heart back earlier and he wouldn’t have suffered the significant brain damage he did.’

Dr Satchi replied: ‘Yes.’
And the verdict?
As Mr Bough’s relatives sobbed in the gallery, the coroner ruled that he died of natural causes ‘exacerbated by an act of omission causing alerts from the heart monitoring to not be seen or heard’
Why not call it what it was – criminal negligence?

Friday 24 June 2011

Hospital pillows riddled with infection

Hospital patients are at risk of catching infections such as MRSA and C. difficile from "biohazard" pillows which are ridden with 30 different bugs, according to a new study.

Nurses are required to regularly wash their hands and disinfect bed frames and mattresses, but underestimate the risk of infection from dirty pillows, a report said.

But dead skin, dandruff, dirty air and contaminated fluids found on pillows in hospital wards expose patients to the risk of diseases ranging from seasonal flu to chickenpox, hepatitis and even leprosy, it was claimed.

The study by The Barts and The London NHS Trust found 30 different types of infection in a sample of pillows taken from hospital wards, posing a significant risk of infection.

While used linen and bedding is changed and laundered between patients and is routinely cleaned, the study found a "very high and unacceptable percentage" of damaged pillows on three test wards.

Tears to the lining or stitching of pillows mean they cannot be effectively cleaned and patients could be exposed to infection through the mouth, nose, eyes and ears, the report said.

Germs are released through tears and the stitching of standard NHS pillows when pressure is applied – for example when a patient lays their head down, it added.

Source: Telegraph

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Elderly told: Bang tambourine to call for nurses' help

HOSPITAL chiefs have apologised after giving elderly patients a TAMBOURINE to call for nurses in an emergency.

The musical instrument was left in a day room after older patients feared they were too far away for nurses to hear any cries for help.

A pair of maracas were also handed out as a back-up — in case the tambourine failed.

But an NHS watchdog complained and bosses are now providing a hand bell - and making sure patients are accompanied.

Cardiff Royal Infirmary is well known for its long corridors and has been used to film episodes of TV's Dr Who.

Staff put the tambourine in the West Wing day room following complaints from frail patients that they struggled to get the attention of staff.

Source: The Sun

Thursday 16 June 2011

Accountability? What Accountability..?

A GP who sent a four-year-old girl home with a fatal pneumonia infection can continue practicing medicine after a hearing found he had “learned his lesson”.
Oh, really?
Dr Shoab Ibrahim failed to listen to the concerns of the girl’s parents and did not carry out “simple but important” tests that would have shown she was seriously ill.
Yes, clearly a very easy mistake to make for someone whose job consists mostly of listening to patients and then ordering tests….

Ibrahim, who practices at the Robert Frew Medical Centre, in Silva Island Way, Wickford, was told by the General Medical Council he was guilty of misconduct in his treatment of the girl, but that his failings were “highly unlikely to be repeated”.

Panel chairman Sheleen McCormack told him: “You have shown insight into your misconduct and you have remedied the deficiencies in this case.

“The panel does not consider your fitness to practice is impaired.”
That doesn’t seem to jibe with this part of the summing up, though:
Ms McCormack said the girl’s parents had been “clear, consistent and reliable” in their evidence, whereas the doctor was “inconsistent in several material respects”.
That sounds very, very close to ‘We caught you out in a lie several times’. Doesn’t it?
Ibrahim, who qualified in Pakistan in 1988, can now continue practicing without restrictions as a result of the decision.
Great. Glad he isn’t my GP.

Saturday 11 June 2011

Bullied by the NHS, cancer patient who complained about his treatment online

A cancer patient who wrote an online diary highlighting failings in his hospital care has been threatened with legal action by a ‘bullying’ NHS trust.

Retired publican Daniel Sencier, 59, was so worried about delays and damaging administrative problems at his local hospital that he arranged to have surgery for his prostate cancer in another part of the country.

Following his successful operation Mr Sencier campaigned for improvements at Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle because he wanted to help other patients. He lodged a formal complaint and an internal inquiry resulted in an eight-point ‘action plan’ to improve procedures.

But instead of apologising to Mr Sencier, NHS bosses have hired lawyers with orders to clamp down on his blog.

A letter sent by solicitors Ward Hadaway, acting for North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, warned him: ‘The Trust will monitor the content of your blog and if it contains information that is not factually correct or which contains unsubstantiated criticism of the care you received at the Trust, the Trust will have no hesitation in considering taking legal action against you.’

Mr Sencier and his supporters were planning a demonstration outside the hospital, but legal action has been threatened over that too.

The father of five said he was appalled that health service managers would rather spend ‘thousands of pounds’ to pursue him than put into effect the low-cost measures to improve patient-doctor communication he has called for.

Source: Daily Mail

Thursday 9 June 2011

Ice, Ice Baby...

Debra Sanderson said her son was told by doctors at Royal Blackburn Hospital his leg needed to be packed with ice to reduce heavy swelling so he could undergo an operation.

But when she asked nurses for ice, Mrs Sanderson said she was told they had run out.
Run out of ice? Isn’t it just frozen water?

Can’t they make some, or has the NHS lost the recipe?
She said she was forced to visit a supermarket twice a day to buy ice cubes herself for her son, who spent 10 days in hospital after injuring his ankle while playing football.
I’d be damned if I’d do that!

Especially as it turned out there was no need – there was ice available, it was just that the useless, lazy, incompetent staff couldn’t be bothered to go get some, recommended by the doctor or not:

Hospital bosses said ice had been available elsewhere in the hospital, but the trust admitted this had not been made clear to the family.
Well, no. I bet it wasn’t:

Mrs Sanderson, 45, of Sutton Avenue, Burnley, said her son was taken to Blackburn by ambulance and was visited by a consultant the following day.

She said she was told her son’s leg would need to be kept elevated and packed with ice.

“When we went in to see him on the Sunday he was in some discomfort,” she said.

“I asked the nurses if he could have his ice replaced because it had begun to melt.

“When we went back that evening it still hadn’t been done.

“I asked a nurse again because nearly five hours had elapsed. She said ‘unfortunately we’ve no ice’.

“I said, ‘I’m sure in a hospital this size there is somewhere you can get some ice’, and she said ‘we can’t, the machines are all broken’.

Translation: ‘The ones nearest our station are broken and we can’t be arsed to put our copies of ‘Heat’ and ‘Hello!’ down for the five minutes it’d take to go get it.’
Mrs Sanderson said: “It’s not so much the money, because the ice cost about £3 a day.

"It’s that I don’t want it to happen to anybody else.

“We’ve had an email saying it was a lack of communication, but it wasn’t a lack of communication in my opinion, it was neglect.”
Yes. Yes, it was…

Lynn Wissett, deputy chief executive of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said it had contacted the family within four hours of receiving Mr Birtwistle’s email and met with them the next day.

She said: “The patient’s leg needed a very large amount of ice to reduce the swelling, meaning ice flowing through the ward’s machine was not quite enough.

“There are a number of machines across the hospital and the trust has always had enough ice to meet the needs of patients.

“Unfortunately, the availability of ice elsewhere in the hospital had not been made clear to the patient and his family.

“At our meeting, we explained that enough ice was always available to meet all of our patients’ needs, and further explained this patient’s treatment plan.

“We are, as with any patient, happy to meet with this patient and his family again.”
I’m not generally in favour of the compensation culture, but in this case, maybe if it came directly out of the lackadaisical staff’s wage packet, it’d actually make a difference?

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Third World Healthcare...

41-year-old Mr Thompson had taken a cocktail of drink and drugs but instead of taking him to accident and emergency, staff at the Edale House unit at the Manchester Royal Infirmary left him sprawled on the floor, where he eventually died.
And before they discovered that he was dead….
CCTV captured staff pulling the lifeless body of Peter Thompson along the floor like they were 'dragging the body of a dead animal'.
The family are appalled at the CCTV footage. And at the attitude of the staff.
Senior nurse Helen De Lacy-Leacey said she alerted night staff that the patient was outside the doors of the ward and asked them to: 'keep an eye on him and make sure he is okay'.
And did they?

… night manager Steve Soobhug said leaving him to sleep outside was 'the appropriate method of handling the situation at the time'.
If he’d just been drunk rather than dying (in some Third World-standard hospital), you might - might - have had a point. But he wasn’t.
Fellow senior staff nurse Miss Dini Oyebadejo said she checked on the patient several more times overnight but discovered him 'stiff' at 6.15am and raised the alarm.
Eh? Rigor mortis had set in? So all those ‘checks’ you claimed to have done failed to pick up the absence of life?

No wonder the coroner’s asking questions…

Tuesday 7 June 2011

I Think I Preferred You When You Were Denying People Cancer Drugs, Frankly…

Fast-food chains could be told to cut the size of portions of chips, the chairman of the NHS watchdog says.
Shouldn’t the NHS watchdog have far more important things to concern itself with, given the poor performance of so many of its hospitals?
Sir Michael Rawlins said the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) may produce guidelines to recommend smaller servings to help combat obesity.
Well, that’s fine, then. Guidelines can be ignored, can’t they?
Sir Michael, who leaves Nice next year to become president of the Royal Society of Medicine, said: ‘Someone had actually reduced the number of chips in a standard portion.

‘Nobody noticed, which is quite interesting. Nice could suggest it.

‘It could be a recommendation. When it comes to obesity we have to do more to help people reduce their intake of food.

'It is not a single bullet but a whole variety of things that we need to do to help people and help communities.’
I really don’t think we need that kind of ‘help’. I’m pretty sure we don’t need to pay you to come up with it, either…
The watchdog is drawing up guidelines to help councils and health trusts tackle obesity.

This is expected to be published in November 2012 following public consultation.
What sort of public consultation?

The sort where the public point out what useless, counter-productive nannying claptrap you’ve come up with, and you then go ahead regardless?
The details are unlikely to include specific advice telling fast-food chains and restaurants to cut chip portions.

However, Sir Michael indicated that in future the watchdog could suggest such measures.
Suggest away. I’m sure everyone will feel free to treat your suggestions with all the attention they really deserve.


Saturday 4 June 2011

Fifth mother dies at 'worst maternity unit in the country' as sister blasts doctors for 'delaying treatment'

Violet Stephens, 35, died just days after the Care Quality Commission delivered another damning report on Queen's Hospital in Romford, Essex. Last year the hospital had three maternal deaths which makes its death rate three times higher than the national average for maternity units.

Ms Stephens, a care worker, from Brentwood, Essex, was rushed to hospital at the beginning of April when she was 32 weeks pregnant. She had raised blood pressure a warning sign that she might have the potentially fatal condition pre eclampsia. It was her third pregnancy and she had suffered from the condition at the same stage of her first pregnancy.

But staff delayed giving her a caesarean operation for four days and she died soon after surgery from HELLP Syndrome an advanced form of pre-eclampsia...
Source: Daily Mail.

Mother-of-two dies after doctors give her 16 times correct dose of labour-inducing drug

Suzanne Ballantyne, 47, a partner at Capsticks Solicitors, was being treated at St George's Hospital in London, after her unborn child died in the womb 39 weeks into her pregnancy.

Doctors gave her an 800-microgramme dose of misoprostol, as recommended by the Trust's in-house protocol, in an attempt to induce labour and retrieve the foetus. However, the drug is known to put patients at increased risk of tears to the uterus.

Guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists - published just four days before Mrs Ballantyne's death last November - recommend doses of no higher than 50mcg...
Source: Daily Mail.