Saturday, February 13, 2010

British Parents forced to call emergency number from outside GP surgery 'because doctors were too busy to see dying baby'

A couple whose baby was dying of meningitis were forced to dial 999 for an ambulance from outside their GP surgery - after being told doctors were too busy to see him. Lee Freeman and Shaunna Bent sprinted more than a mile to their local GP surgery with five-month-old Jaydon in their arms after he was struck down with classic meningitis symptoms. But when they arrived, a receptionist told them no doctor was available and they could leave their number so someone could call them back.

Convinced that Jaydon was seriously ill, the couple dialled 999 on their mobile phone from the pavement outside and an ambulance arrived within eight minutes. But the critically ill baby died from meningococcal septicaemia just hours later at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

Now father Lee wants to know why there was no doctor available to help his dying son. He said: ‘The surgery rang us back while we were in hospital to ask how he was getting on and I just said he'd passed away and put the phone down. I did not know what to say to them. ‘We want people to know what happened to us so it does not happen again.’

The couple became concerned about little Jaydon on January 25 because he was sick and whimpering. They rushed more than a mile from their house in Littledean, Gloucestershire, to nearby Dockham Road Surgery in Cinderford to try to see a GP but a receptionist told them to leave a contact number because no doctor was available. After they called an ambulance, a doctor rushed out of the surgery to examine Jaydon but could do little to help him.

Shaunna, 19, said: ‘He was really strong and kept fighting but in the end they said it was best to let him go.’

Now the couple cannot bear to go back to the home where they enjoyed such a happy first Christmas with Jaydon. Shaunna added: ‘I was so chuffed when he was born. ‘He was a lovely bubbly baby who was always laughing. He was so happy that he used to wake up smiling.’

The couple are planning to make an official complaint after Jaydon's funeral, which takes place today. Dr Simon Silver, lead doctor at the surgery, said: ‘Meningococcal septicaemia is an absolutely devastating illness. Prompt treatment as in this case can sometimes be powerless. ‘This must surely turn the parents' life upside down and we hope they do not suffer too much in their grief. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to them.’

A spokesman for NHS Gloucestershire said that they would look into the complaint. He said: ‘A child's death is always a terrible tragedy and our hearts go out to the family concerned. ‘We recognise that this must be an extremely distressing time for them. ‘We have a robust complaints process in place and we would urge the family to make contact with us so we can look in to the individual circumstances of this case.'

Asked what prompted the doctor to run outside the practice, both Dockham Road Surgery and NHS Lothian refused to give any more information, before the investigation. The couple were unavailable for further comment today as they were attending the funeral.


Now three MORE female patients kept in British hospital store cupboard surrounded by blood-stained bins

A flagship hospital is facing an investigation as patients told of their nightmare stays in tiny windowless ‘broom cupboard’ treatment rooms. Elderly women described being transferred to 12ft by 16ft store rooms in the middle of the night – where they were surrounded by blood-stained bins, bandages and shelves of medical supplies. Some missed meals because they were not on proper wards while others described sleepless nights as nurses continually entered to collect stores.

It has emerged that Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital has 27 cupboards – labelled ‘treatment rooms’ and regularly used to house patients – attached to wards.

NHS watchdog the Care Quality Commission has launched an investigation into the £229million hospital, built less than a decade ago with private funding, after a flood of complaints. The scandal came to light when 80-year-old Doris McKeown this week told the Daily Mail how she spent two days in one of the rooms as she awaited surgery for compressed nerves in her spine.

Now 85-year-old Rhoda Talbot has told how she was admitted to the hospital last month with a hair line fracture to her spine and was moved into the ‘stock cupboard’ the night before her discharge. Her son Rod said: ‘It was literally a store room. There was shelf racking filled with stuff used to run the ward, green buckets with dirty, bloody needles in them and oxygen cylinders.’

When Mrs Talbot, from Wroxham near Norwich, was collected by her family, she said: ‘I’m absolutely shattered. They [nurses] were in and out all night. Every time they came in they turned the light on.’ Mr Talbot is planning a formal complaint and wants an apology to his mother over her ordeal.

Another woman, Helen Howes, 35, complained to the ward sister after spending the night in a similar windowless room before urgent surgery on an abscess. She was hemmed in by dressing packs, catheter bags and other medical supplies and her handbag was put on a medical waste bin. ‘Even in the night I was having my bed moved across because the nurses needed to get to something on the left-hand side and my bed was too close for them to open the drawers,’ she said.

The mother of one, who lives near Norwich, doesn’t blame nursing staff. ‘They are powerless,’ she added. ‘They knew it was common practice. I wanted to highlight the completely unacceptable manner in which vulnerable patients, who perhaps feel too ill at the time to complain or feel they don’t have a voice to raise these issues, are treated.’

Katherine Murphy, director of the Patients Association, condemned the cupboards. She said: ‘It’s so undignified. Families shouldn’t put up with it.’

Mrs McKeown, of Bungay, near Lowestoft, Suffolk, was moved to a ‘treatment room’ at 2am on October 22 and spent 48 hours there before surgery. The 80-year-old missed out on meals and medication because she wasn’t on a proper ward and described the room as ‘like a broom cupboard’. Her daughter Dr Helen McKeown, a GP, added: ‘My mother needed emergency surgery and she ended up in a cupboard. Where’s the dignity in care?’

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb branded the rooms unacceptable. Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital responded that all its treatment rooms were used strictly on a short-term basis.

Director of nursing Christine Baker said: ‘Our interest is in making sure all our patients get the best possible care and that their dignity and privacy is protected. 'We carefully assess any patient’s needs before they are placed in a ward clinical treatment room.’ Hospital spokesman Andrew Stronach claimed many hospitals followed the same procedure.


Australia: Doctors shut operating theatres in NSW government hospital due to leaky roof

SURGEONS and anaesthetists at the ailing Hornsby Hospital will shut the operating theatres to all but life-saving cases on rainy days after a senior nurse slipped in a puddle from a leaking roof and shattered her arm last week. The snap decision will force some patients to move to Royal North Shore Hospital and others to wait longer for surgery.

Doctors, furious that a leaking air vent in the operating theatres has still not been fixed, say they fear a patient or staff member will die if they do not take action. The chairman of the hospital's medical staff council, Richard Harris, said yesterday that doctors had been left with no option after the Health Minister, Carmel Tebbutt, said on radio during the week that the leaking vent had been fixed in October and a new leak had developed during last weekend's torrential rain.

"How ridiculous. The water is coming from the same place. It has been leaking for 16 years and it has not been fixed. I don't want anyone else getting hurt or killed," Dr Harris said.

The Bureau of Meteorology predicts thunderstorms for Sydney for the next three days. Rain is expected to return on Thursday, which could put staff and patients at risk of electrocution, a senior anaesthetist, David Benson, said.

"If you have water in a roof where there are electrics, by definition you have some potential for safety issues," he said. "It is now time to to force the hand of the state government to to fix this problem." Dr Benson said a cut in the power supply caused by water in the roof could also put patients at risk. "There is a one-second delay before the generator cuts in but that is enough to cause the computerised monitoring systems to shut down and reboot themselves. "So effectively you are without any way of monitoring a patient for about a minute and half, which could be critical."

At present about seven patients a day have elective surgery at the hospital but this rises to about 25 a day later this month.


Bill Clinton, stents, and Demcare

Former President Bill Clinton was rushed to the hospital for a heart condition and has reportedly received a stent. ABC News has details:
Former President Bill Clinton was rushed to a Manhattan hospital late this afternoon, sources tell ABC News. Clinton, 63, was transported to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan for a condition related to his heart.

ABC News’ chief political correspondent [and former Clintonite, ABC News forgets to disclose] George Stephanopoulos reported that sources said he was taken to the hospital “likely for a stent procedure.”

ABC also tells us that Hillary Clinton was spotted leaving the Oval Office a short time ago and “did not seem ‘too concerned’ or ‘in a rush.’” For what it’s worth.

Update: Clinton received two stents.
The former president’s counselor Douglas Band released a statement saying that Clinton is in “good spirits.”

“Today President Bill Clinton was admitted to the Columbia Campus of New York Presbyterian Hospital after feeling discomfort in his chest,” said Band. “Following a visit to his cardiologist, he underwent a procedure to place two stents in one of his coronary arteries.” A stent is a wire mesh tube used to prop open an artery.

Best wishes for the former president’s recovery.

Now, a timely reminder: Stents don’t grow on trees. They were not created, developed, marketed, or sold by government bureaucrats and lawmakers. One of the nation’s top stent manufacturers, Boston Scientific, has weighed in on the Democrats’ proposed massive taxes on medical device makers:
Boston Scientific Corp (BSX.N) warned on Tuesday that a proposed tax in the U.S. health care reform bill that cleared the Senate Finance Committee last week could have serious consequences for the company, including job losses.

“The bill that came out of the committee last week makes absolutely no sense and would be very damaging to Boston Scientific, and the medical device industry as a whole,” Boston Scientific Chief Executive Ray Elliott said during a post-earnings conference call. “In a nutshell, it would raise costs and lead to significant job losses. It does not address the quality of care but the political scorecard of savings.”

Elliott said that the company’s tax liability would be doubled, adding $150 million to $200 million a year, and it would be forced to make substantial cuts in research and development spending, which could result in 1,000 to 2,000 jobs being lost at Boston Scientific…

…In addition to direct fees on device makers, the industry faces a double tax because hospitals, which have agreed to accept $155 billion in cuts in government payments over 10 years, will pass on part of that burden to device makers, said Elliott.

A teachable moment: Taxing innovation in the name of “health care reform” has consequences.


Founders Would Cheer Virginia’s Anti-Obamacare Bill

Virginia is moving towards passing legislation that would make it unlawful to implement federal legislation to compel Virginia residents to buy health insurance, a/k/a, Obamacare. On Monday, February 1st, the Democratic-controlled state senate of Virginia passed a bill that would block the implementation of the individual mandate of Obamacare.

Some have argued that, constitutionally, federal legislation compelling Virginians to buy health insurance is no different than any other economic regulation imposed by Congress. That kind of “that’s the way we’ve always done it” thinking is not only incorrect constitutionally, but may help explain why reckless spending at the federal level has pushed America to the verge of bankruptcy.

It reminds me of an exchange between a reporter and one of the several Democratic committee chairmen in the House that are addressing the health care bill: The reporter asked the chairman “where in the Constitution does it say the federal government can mandate citizens to buy health insurance?” The chairman snapped back: “Where does it say we can’t?!” Sadly, like many of his cohorts, this chairman was blissfully unaware that if the Constitution doesn’t say the federal government can do something, then it can’t do it. And nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government given the authority to mandate citizens to purchase anything.

The bigger-government approach to the healthcare issue is clear cause to reexamine some fundamentals of how our government should operate. Our system of government is a republic. Before the Revolution, the sovereign was England. Following the Revolution, the power of the sovereign devolved to the people of the states, as explicitly noted in both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution itself.

The states, as sovereign entities, granted express and limited powers to the federal government by way of the United States Constitution. To prevent one branch of the federal government from exceeding its express and limited powers, we have a “horizontal” system of checks and balances – the three branches of the federal government.

However, we also have a “vertical” system of checks and balances between the states and the federal government. This vertical system of checks and balances has been used too infrequently, but Virginia is now using it to declare our own law regarding healthcare freedom as a means to counteract an unconstitutional law (if it passes) at the federal level. This would create a conflict of laws.

But as James Madison wrote in Federalist 51, freedom is best protected when political ambition counteracts political ambition. Virginia is protecting the freedom of its citizens by “checking” the federal leviathan on the matter of healthcare.

The courts would need to resolve the coming conflict. Ultimately, however, the voters will decide: do federal politicians who may vote for Obamacare stand with the people and the Constitution? Virginians are saying “no” on a bi-partisan basis.

Too many people in Washington forget they get their authority – and I’ll add, their only authority – by a grant of express and enumerated powers from the sovereign states. But also as Madison wrote, that power “should be drawn from the same fountain of authority, the people.”

Our Virginia legislation, however, is important for other reasons. It may prove to be a model for other states to combat the reckless, out-of-touch ways of Washington. It has long been apparent that people are frustrated with government, but many people didn’t think they could do something about controlling such a behemoth. Now people are figuring out the way to stop abuses of power which seem to be crippling our economy and eating away our liberty, is by using the Constitution against those who violate it. Leadership in this approach must come from the states. It is the states that were expected to control the federal government, that’s why Madison said that the “different governments will control each other” in Federalist 51. The “different governments” are the state and federal governments. It’s part of our constitutional role as a state.

As attorney general for Virginia, I’m with Madison. The people of Virginia have every reason to expect that when the government violates the law – especially the supreme law of the land, the Constitution – there will be someone to protect them every bit as much as they are protected against violations of law by ordinary criminals. For too long, the federal government has operated as if it granted authority and freedoms to people and the states. It’s time to start returning this system to its proper balance. The system has broken down, and that has real consequences for jobs, the economy, our security and our freedom.

Virginia’s history is steeped in protecting liberty – the foundation of our nation’s greatness. Once again, Virginia is taking the lead in protecting our citizens’ sacred liberty.


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