Tuesday, July 07, 2009

British patient lived with cancer for 50 years before dying of bedsore in an NHS hospital

Cancer patient Pamela Goddard battled against cancer for 50 years before she died of an infected bedsore during a stay in hospital. The treatment for the cancer appeared to be working, but the bedsore continued to get worse.

Pamela Goddard had great faith in the NHS. It had, after all, kept her alive for more than half her 82 years. The piano teacher first contracted breast cancer in the 1960s and had survived a series of recurrences of the disease over the years. So when it returned last year, this "completely vital" woman, who was still working up to 30 hours a week, was fully expected survive. The cancer did not kill her, but a bedsore did.

What appeared to be the start of one was noted on her back as she was admitted for radiation treatment in September and it was allowed to gradually develop into a "raging sore" which left Mrs Goddard moaning in pain. During four weeks of what her family describe as "torture" in a bed in East Surrey Hospital, the sore resulted in a fatal blood infection and she died on October 27.

Her son Adrian Goddard, who lives in the US, said: "She survived cancer for 40 years, then died from a bedsore. "It is just beyond belief that they could let a bedsore develop to the point where it actually kills someone from septicaemia." He said the nurses seemed largely unconcerned by the growing size of the sore and his mother's increasing pain. "The bedsore was painful. There were various procedures that should have been done. You are supposed to debride the thing, clean it, treat it. "She was supposed to be lifted and moved so there's not constant pressure on it," Mr Goddard said.

"There were explanations like 'there was only one nurse and it wasn't possible to do it or the equipment was broken'... just a series of excuses. "Most of the time there were [enough nurses]. None of them struck me as being frantically busy to put it mildly. "There were lots of conversations about last night's activities in the pub, a lot of strolling around, looking at charts without doing anything. "The level of crisis that attracts their attention has to be very high for them to put down their biscuits. I guess they get inured to it, the moaning, the fact my mother was in great pain."

The first sign Mrs Goddard was unwell came early in 2008 when she suffered from back pain. She went to Barts Hospital in London but the recurrence of cancer which was the cause of the pain was not diagnosed until she broke her leg in June. The treatment for the cancer appeared to be working, but the bedsore continued to get worse despite attempts to treat it with "maggot therapy" in which maggots are used to clean out the wound.

On October 11, Mr Goddard said a doctor told him that "she was recovering well, except there was something in the blood work, which suggested an infection". "If it didn't go away, he said he would give her penicillin or something," Mr Goddard said. "It never occurred to him this by now raging bedsore was the source of the infection."

Mr Goddard said he and other members of the family had tried to persuade nurses and doctors to take more action, but said the "inertia was extraordinary, the worst sort of institutional dysfunction".

Mr Goddard said anyone in a similar situation should "do what you need to do to find some sort of private care for them". "She certainly wasn't ready to die. To the extent she realised it was happening, she must have been horrified," he said. "The thing that makes me most angry was she had such faith in the system and it let her down so badly. "She was basically in torture over a four-week period. Then she was drugged up and left to die. "It's unconscionable, very sad."

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust Director of Nursing, Mary Sexton, said: "We offer our sincere condolences to the family of Pamela Goddard on the loss of their mother. "We are committed to providing high quality patient care and are sorry that on this occasion the family feel that that standard has not been met. "We have received a formal complaint, which we have responded to, but are carrying out further investigations at the request of the family.

"The presence of pressure sores is associated with a twofold to fourfold increased risk of death, but this is because pressure sores are a marker for underlying disease severity and other co-morbidities. "Mrs Goddard was receiving complex treatment for a number of medical conditions from a number of health care organisations at the time of her death."


11 serious errors a day in NHS surgery

Eleven people are seriously harmed during NHS surgery every day, it emerged yesterday. The number of major errors has risen by 28 per cent in five years, with more than 4,000 patients hurt in 2007/08. Mistakes include objects such as scalpels and coils being left inside patients, organs being punctured, and the wrong dosage of drugs being given.

A total of 722 objects were left inside patients during surgery last year – one every two and a half days. That number has soared by 13 per cent in the five years to 2007/08.

The figures were revealed just days after a damning MPs' report found that many hospitals are routinely covering up such mistakes. The Commons health select committee warned that another hospital disaster like the one at Stafford, where up to 400 people died, could not be ruled out – because managers were putting Whitehall targets and cost-cutting above patient safety. Government policy 'too often' gave the impression that hitting waiting list targets, achieving financial balance and attaining elite foundation trust status were more important than patient safety. 'This has undoubtedly, in a number of well documented cases, been a contributory factor in making services unsafe,' the report said.

The MPs added that many mistakes were not reported by the NHS – raising the possibility that the recorded number of medical mishaps is just the tip of the iceberg.

The latest figures were uncovered by the Liberal Democrats in a parliamentary answer. Health spokesman Norman Lamb said: 'These figures raise serious concerns and call into question the Government's claim to be making patient safety a priority. 'There really is no excuse for leaving objects inside people. Far too many avoidable mistakes are still being made. 'Many doctors and nurses are under enormous amounts of pressure to meet Government targets. We have to ensure that patient safety isn't being compromised to satisfy the whims of Whitehall. 'If we really want to raise standards in the NHS then we need to give local people the power to hold their health services to account.'

The figures show that there have been a total of 17,921 errors during surgery over the past five years. The number of cases every year has shot up by 28 per cent to 4,161 in 2007/08 – 11 a day.

Most of the cases involve people having organs mistakenly punctured, which can lead to haemorrhaging. Over the last five years, the organs of 12,125 patients were punctured, with the annual figures soaring 33 per cent to 2,817 in 2007/08.

Hundreds of other surgical mistakes were reported, including not removing or inserting tubes properly, using wrongly-matched blood, forgetting to give drugs on time, and not sterilising equipment properly. Failure to sterilise is a key method by which superbugs such as C. Diff and MRSA can spread.

There were also dozens of reports of the catch-all 'performance of inappropriate operations'. The total uncovered by the LibDems represents only a fraction of the mistakes made in the NHS every year, as it only covers errors during operations. Overall, there are around 250,000 mistakes causing harm to patients reported across the Health Service every year. More than 3,600 of those affected die as a result.


Medical arrogance

During his ABC infomercial last week, President Obama continued to insist that the type of reform he has in mind would reduce the cost of health care, improve its quality, and enable people to keep their current insurance policies and doctors. He is wrong on all counts.

Very little in the Democratic bills making their way through Congress would do anything to reduce costs, while the new subsidies their authors envision would increase costs. That is why the Democrats are talking about both explicit and disguised tax increases. During the ABC special, the president hinted that reform would give doctors and hospitals new incentives to avoid unnecessary care. But since government cannot reliably distinguish between the necessary and the unnecessary, all it can do is encourage less care — and leave it to doctors and other health-care workers to administer the rationing. Obama would be well-advised, for his political health, to do no more than hint at this prospect.

Obama wants to establish a government-run insurer. Because it could pass along its costs to its private-sector competitors, that insurer would quickly come to dominate the market, regardless of its quality. (All estimates agree that many millions of people would lose their existing coverage.) It would thus strengthen the government’s ability to reshape health care to its specifications. Obama seems entirely too confident that it could do so intelligently.

The better course would be to make it easier for people to buy insurance policies for themselves and their families, so that they would not have to rely on either the government or their employers. Under such a system people would run less of a risk of being denied care that they want, and would also have an incentive to keep an eye on costs. And in a market less fragmented on the basis of employment status, individuals would be better able to buy renewable insurance policies that they could keep even after getting sick.

President Obama could easily get such a plan through Congress if he wanted it and were willing to face the wrath of the Left. By pursuing his political and ideological ambitions, he is risking getting no bill at all — or, worse, one that takes America in the wrong direction.


Obamacare: Do or die for America

With so much coverage of the current debate on Barack Obama’s attempt to impose nationalized healthcare on America, it may seem that little else can be said on the subject. Yet it needs to be discussed, and its manifold dangers explained to the American people. It is impossible to overstate the significance of this battle. If successful in establishing this pinnacle of his socialist agenda, Obama will unleash a “change” on the country from which it may never recover.

Clearly, he is aware of the governmental power he has the potential to accrue with the passage of this single atrocious new entitlement. His lust for that power is evident in the ferocity with which he is striving to ramrod his plan through the congress and onto America. The stakes are far too great for him to do any less. Ultimately, the zeal with which he is pressing forward should be the greatest indication to Americans of the long-term perils that await them if he succeeds.

While it may seem odd to draw comparisons between the healthcare “debate” and the recent uprisings in Iran, certain disturbing parallels indeed exist. America and the world witness the tragedy of an oppressed people yearning to be free, and the manner in which the Iranian government is scrambling to regain its iron-fisted control of the situation. Central to this effort is their disinformation campaign. And while nobody in our country is being slaughtered over health care controversies, the situation is rife with ominous signs of a government/media propaganda blitz that rivals anything ever concocted by Tass or Pravda.

Furthermore, though the violence in Iran is not likely to be recounted in our communities, particularly with respect to medical care, ominous patterns of governmental coercion, and suppression of all opposition are already beginning to unfold here. And if the poisoned seeds of impending tyranny are any indication, it is chilling to ponder the bitter fruit that they may bear if not immediately checked.

It is not necessary to delve into ideological parallels between Obama and the ruthless Iranian leadership. Clearly, his Cairo speech revealed an appalling willingness to laud the Islamic world in a manner that he never proffers on behalf of America and the rest of Western Civilization. Anyone who doubts this need only to contrast that speech against the venom and anti-American hatred of the “Reverend” Jeremiah Wright, under whose spiritual leadership Obama willingly sat for more than two decades.

Still, with respect to healthcare, the underlying ideology is a secondary issue. It makes no difference why Obama and his kind are so intent on lowering the quality of American healthcare to levels reflective of nightmarish and dysfunctional Euro-socialist states. Their willingness to employ fraud and overreaches of power speaks volumes in itself. The results of this approach are entirely predictable. Any program that is implemented through such thuggish tactics cannot possibly redound to the benefit of America’s greatness or the former freedoms enjoyed by its people.

Pivotal to the onset of unrest among Iranian citizens was the obvious tampering of election results, ensuring the reelection of Islamist puppet Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. On the Iranian street, it was a given that Ahmadinejad’s rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi, was far more popular. Yet the “election” results painted a completely different picture, and predictably, one that the “religious” autocracy had intended from the beginning.

Of course nothing like that could happen here in America, or could it? On June 20, just in time for Obama’s big healthcare propaganda blitz, an “independent” CBS News/New York Times poll was released which claims that an amazing 72% of Americans are in support of putting their medical care under the complete control of the government. Apparently, the monstrosity of a socialist bureaucracy enjoys even more popularity on mainstreet than Ahmadinejad does in Tehran.

However, on closer examination, it turns out that, by a two to one margin, participants chosen for the poll were Obama supporters. By resorting to such absurdly skewed “sampling” pollsters can easily manufacture “overwhelming” public support or opposition on any topic they choose. Thus has CBS/New York Times revealed its willingness to sway public opinion by generating the illusion of political momentum.

Equally significant is that, in this role, CBS/New York Times is clearly disseminating misinformation in concert with the agenda of Obama and the Democrats. These formerly respectable establishments of the press have abdicated their time-honored role of protecting liberty and national integrity by keeping the public informed. Instead, they have assumed the dark mantle of demagogues and propagandists for the state. Joseph Goebbels would be proud.

Much worse is yet to come. At least CBS/New York Times still felt compelled to do their dirty deed under the guise of an objective poll. In comparison, the actions of ABC “News” vastly eclipse any previous sellout of the public trust by the press. Not content to merely parrot the Obama/Democrat party line, on Wednesday June 24, ABC News conducted a government “healthcare” infomercial from inside the White House. Comically denying any partiality, this broadcast was clearly crafted to advance Obama’s socialist cause, denying any opposing viewpoint from being presented, even during paid commercials.

In a sad post-mortem on the demise of the American Republic, CBS News/New York Times, along with ABC News, would not be memorialized as principled martyrs who lost a valiant fight to keep spreading truth among the people of the country. Rather, descending to the point of becoming ideological brothels from which any “informational” service can be purchased for the right price, these once great institutions willingly abandoned their rightful purpose, and now publicly strut their wares for the right bidder.

Despite all of this, the path to a takeover of the medical system is far from certain. Obama’s own desperation, revealed in such antics as the ABC News publicity stunt, stand as evidence that huge obstacles remain before Americans will consign their physical well being to the insipient madness of liberal bureaucracies. In response, Obama has been driven to mimic the tactics of those Iranian Ayatollahs who feel their grip on power slipping away. While insisting that the plan is a “done deal,” he demeans any who oppose it as “not logical.” In doing so, he demeans himself and the office he holds.

Next week, this country will be celebrating the two hundred and thirty third anniversary of its founding. Those courageous individuals who crafted and signed the Declaration of Independence birthed a nation on principles so wise and noble that it has since risen to the pinnacle of civilization. But if such ideals are abandoned, it cannot exist forever on the mere momentum of its glorious founding.

It seems wholly unlikely that Americans may ever face the prospect of blood running in the streets of their cities. But the specter of a government run healthcare system, and the sinister manner in which it is being advanced, represent a dangerous departure from the nation’s former greatness.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Obama health care bill will cost this country over 250,000 jobs.

I have already seen jobs lost by the specter of his reform package. On my web site http://www.gorillamedical sales.com , a job board for medical device sales representatives to seek employment, companies are simply allowing vacant sales territories go unfilled in anticipation of health care reform.