Hospital put dying patient in storage cupboard ‘for being too noisy on ward’
Nurses put a dying woman in a hospital storage cupboard overnight because they said she was being too noisy. 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.
Nottingham University Hospitals Trust has now apologised ‘unreservedly’ for the great-grandmother’s treatment which they admit was ‘not acceptable’.
Miss Duggan, a mother of nine, was first admitted to Nottingham City Hospital on March 4 after suffering a heart attack. The retired waitress was not expected to survive the weekend and was released from hospital on March 8 and died shortly after on March 14, Mothers’ Day.
Her daughter and former carer Janey Agutters (CORR), 45, and daughter-in-law Susan Young and said that when they first visited Miss Duggan, she had no name above her bed and the nurses were not aware of her eating needs.
When they went to see her a few days later, she pointed to the storage room full of boxes, sharps bins and trolleys and said she had been kept there overnight. Mrs Young, from Nottingham, took pictures of the room on her mobile telephone. She said staff told her boxes were removed from the room and divorcee Miss Duggan was wheeled in there in a bed.
But the family believe the boxes were not removed and Miss Duggan was left in a wheelchair all night. There was also no nurse call buzzer for the pensioner in the room.
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.’
After the family confronted them, hospital staff admitted that Miss Duggan, a grandmother to 15 and great-grandmother to seven, should not have been put in the room, though they claim that the decision was made because she was disturbing other patients.
But her family say they are not satisfied with the explanation and have demanded to know whether Miss Duggan was on a bed or in a wheelchair in the room and how long she was in there. They have now taken the case to the NHS ombudsman.
Mrs Young also said that her mother had been begging to go home and that doctors had refused to discharge her even though she had just a few days left. But when a member of staff at the hospital discovered that Miss Duggan had traces of MRSA, the hospital allowed the family to take her home with half-an-hour, according to Mrs Young.
Mrs Young added: ‘She had a big graze on her arm and they couldn’t explain why. We went in one day and she had juice over her glasses and all over her. ‘It’s like they thought, she’s got dementia, she’s dying, why do we need to do anything?’
Jenny Leggott, deputy chief executive and director of nursing at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said: ‘We are deeply sorry and apologise unreservedly to Mrs Duggan’s family for the shortcomings with the care provided.
‘We have investigated the concerns raised and have assured the family that we will do everything possible to avoid future occurrences of the difficulties they brought to our attention.’
Parenting isn’t a bunch of skills that can be taught in a British school
British proposal to have a High School course in parenting would denigrate both what it means to be a parent and the purpose of education
If the Lib-Con education secretary Michael Gove really means business and plans to keep his promise to raise educational standards, then he should politely reject Frank Field’s hare-brained proposal to put parenting on the GCSE curriculum. At a time when far too many schools are struggling to teach their pupils basic literacy and numeracy, Field has proposed a formal exam for 16-year-olds which would turn them into the ‘five-star parents’ of tomorrow.
When I first read the proposals, drawn up by Labour’s Field but now being considered by the Lib-Cons, I thought it might be a clever work of satire designed to poke fun at Britain’s inept and meddling politicians. Hitherto, the dishing out of gold stars and smiley faces was confined to increasingly sceptical schoolkids; now, however, parents could find themselves infantilised by having their methods and behaviour judged by a star system in school classrooms!
What better way to degrade education than to suggest, as Field does, that ‘schools will want to teach this to boost their standing in the league tables’. At a time when many British schools already try to manipulate league tables by encouraging their students to opt for soft, unchallenging subjects, exhorting schools to embrace yet more nonsense in a dumbed-down curriculum just seems surreal.
Hopefully, there are still some serious policymakers who will understand that a school course on parenting would do nothing to improve the quality of family and community life. Parenting is not a skill or an academic subject that can be effectively communicated in an institutional setting. The core assumption of social engineers, and of policymakers like Field, is that child-rearing consists of a range of practices that mothers and fathers need to learn. On the surface of things, no one could dispute this assertion: every human relationship involves learning and gaining an understanding of the other person. A parent needs to learn how to engage the imagination of a child; how to stimulate him or her; how to restrain him or her from doing something harmful. Yet these things cannot simply be taught to prospective parents; instead, experience shows that effective child-rearing is learned on the job. Why? Because the most crucial lessons parents are learning have little to do with abstract skills and instead are about the very relationship they are developing with their children. Learning how to manage this relationship in order to guide a child’s development is the crux of effective parenting.
The issue is not so much whether parenting needs to be learned, but whether it can be taught. Everyday experience tells us that not everything that has to be learned can be taught. Parenting can’t be taught, because it is about the forging and managing of an intimate relationship. And when it comes to relationships, people learn principally from their experiences. Relationships have unique characteristics that are only really grasped by the people involved. People learn through reflecting on their experience of joy and pain, the exhilaration and the disappointments of their interactions with someone who is significant to their lives.
When it comes to a real school subject, such as maths or science, it is possible to teach facts without the student having personally to experience and discover them for himself. It is possible to teach skills that can be applied in all scientific experiments. But this is not the case with parenting. The very instability of parenting advice, and the regularity with which yesterday’s authoritative recipe for ‘good parenting’ is dismissed as hopelessly inaccurate and replaced with another, indicate that the idea of ‘teaching parenting’ is really prejudice masquerading as a skill. It is sad that a respected political figure like Frank Field has not yet learned that parenting is not a skill, but a relationship – and a messy one at that.
Sadly, we live in a world in which virtually every social problem is associated with poor parenting. The simplistic doctrine of parental determinism spares policymakers from engaging in the serious business of grasping complex social phenomena. Parenting has become an all-purpose causal agent that apparently explains all the bad stuff. Solving this apparent parenting deficit is presented as a way of fixing society. At a time when parenting is more extensively discussed than ever before, it is curious that Field states that ‘our nation has fallen out of love with the art of being good parents’. In the real world, parenting has acquired a sacred, quasi-religious character. Parenting is culturally valued more than ever before. Indeed, there is now a veritable parenting industry and there has never been a time when British fathers and mothers have felt so anxious and concerned about their roles. Thirty years ago, parenting was not seen as a suitable issue for policymakers. Today, it has become a focus for political discourse. And as I argued in my book Paranoid Parenting, this obsession with parenting has had the perverse effect of eroding parental confidence and complicating family life.
Fiddling with the curriculum
Field’s proposal is bad news for parents. But if implemented, it would have serious damaging consequences for education, too. Some hoped that after the defeat of New Labour, policymakers would resist the temptation to politicise the curriculum. But sadly, some politicians remain addicted to the dead-end strategy of attempting to fix the problems of society through fiddling with what is taught in schools. Anyone familiar with the experiences of the past two decades knows that our schools have become the target of competing groups of policymakers, moral entrepreneurs and advocacy organisations, all of whom want to use the curriculum to promote their own ideals and values. As a result, pedagogic issues are continually confused with political ones.
The school curriculum has become a battleground for zealous campaigners and entrepreneurs. Public-health officials constantly demand more compulsory classroom discussions on healthy eating and obesity. Professionals obsessed with young people’s sex lives insist that schools introduce yet more sex-education initiatives. Others want schools to focus more on Black History or Gay History. In early 2007, the then New Labour education secretary, Alan Johnson, announced that not only was he introducing Global Warming Studies, but that he would also make Britain’s involvement in the slave trade a compulsory part of the history curriculum.
At a time when educators feel unable to endow their vocation with real meaning, they continually turn to new causes in order to transmit at least some semblance of values. This was the intention behind Johnson’s announcement, in February 2007, that ‘we need the next generation to think about their impact on the environment in a different way’. Johnson justified this project, aimed at shaping the cultural outlook of children, through appealing to a higher truth: ‘If we can instill in the next generation an understanding of how our actions can mitigate or cause global warming, then we lock in a culture change that could, quite literally, save the world.’ ‘Saving the world’ looks like a price worth paying for fiddling with the geography curriculum and using it to instruct children about global warming. But behind the lofty rhetoric lie some base assumptions.
The curriculum is increasingly regarded as a vehicle for promoting political objectives and for changing the values, attitudes and sensibilities of children. Many advocacy organisations who demand changes to the curriculum do not have the slightest interest in the subject they wish to influence – as far as they’re concerned, they are simply gaining recognition for their cause. That is what Nick Clegg, deputy PM and leader of the Liberal Democrats, was doing when he argued that education must tackle homophobia and that Ofsted inspectors should assess how well schools are managing the problem of homophobia. Sex experts continually demand that the amount of time devoted to sex education be expanded. In July 2008, the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV noted that pupils were getting inadequate instruction because sex education was not a compulsory subject. The same month, the Family Planning Association argued that children as young as four should receive age-appropriate ‘compulsory sex education’, with sex and relationship education enjoying a position in the curriculum similar to other compulsory subjects, like maths and English.
While the campaign to transform sex education into a compulsory school subject is sometimes questioned by traditionalist critics, many similar initiatives around different causes are not remarked upon. In September 2008, the New Labour government announced changes to the national curriculum that will instruct boys as young as 11 on how to be good fathers. Children would be taught that if they abandon their offspring they will face prosecution and a possible jail sentence. Where did this initiative come from? It certainly doesn’t represent a response to a pedagogic problem identified in the classroom – rather it emerged from the deliberations of policymakers and experts who feel strongly that something should be done about ‘deadbeat dads’. And when that question ‘what should be done?’ is posed, they inevitably come up with the now-formulaic solution: deal with it in the national curriculum.
So Janet Paraskeva, chair of the UK Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, stated that: ‘There needs to be something in the national curriculum to make children aware they will need to take financial responsibility for their children.’ Parakeva insisted that she meant business, arguing ‘this won’t be a simple bolt-on to the national curriculum’ since ‘we want to give children at a young age a good understanding of the financial commitment of becoming parents’.
Pareskeva’s proposals expose the fundamental flaw in all this curriculum meddling. It assumes that the problems of the adult world can be fixed through instruction in the classroom. But of course, it is not a lack of information that is responsible for anti-social behaviour or the disorientation of the adult world. Forcing children to deal with adult problems exposes them to issues that they can’t do anything about, while depriving them of a real education. Field argues that disadvantaged children in particular will benefit from studying for a GCSE in parenting. I beg to differ. What disadvantaged children need is high-quality, subject-based education. They can’t afford the luxury of wasting time on well-meaning social experiments. Experience shows that the proliferation of social-engineering initiatives on the curriculum benefits no one, while disproportionately penalising those with minimal access to intellectual capital.
Ye’re all going to dieeee
Die, I tell you, die … ye’re all going to die, die a most horrible death … die, yes you … die. And so reports the BBC: “Many more people will die of heart problems as global warming continues, experts are warning,” they tell us.
“Climate extremes of hot and cold will become more common and this will puts strain on people’s hearts, doctors say … A study in the British Medical Journal found that each 1C temperature drop on a single day in the UK is linked to 200 extra heart attacks.”
“Heatwaves, meanwhile, increase heart deaths from other causes, as shown by the events in Paris during summer 2003.”
The worst of it is that these people are serious and so is the BBC. They cannot see how stupid they look, how stupid they sound, and how stupid they are. In fact, they are beyond stupid. They are barking mad.
Amongst other things, I wonder if any of them know what a Saturated Adiabatic Lapse Rate is [The higher up you go, the colder it gets], and what thus happens when you drive from the coast (altitude 0ft) to my home, altitude a smidgin short of 1000ft? Are they really saying that this puts people at risk of a heart attack?
It is these people that are the real health hazard – they sap our life energy with their constant, sterile diet of scare stories. But if they are so in love with the idea of death, they should embrace it and save us leading them there. I am sick to the back teeth of them.
Dormouse craziness in Britian
Development blocked because dormice MIGHT be there — even though there is no sign of any
The humble dormouse is potentially standing in the way of the development of a £12m Morrisons supermarket in Wadebridge, Cornwall.
Morrisons, one of three retailers proposing sites around the town, wants to build a store on the local football club ground. To gain permission it has offered to provide a replacement ground at nearby Bodieve. But the possibility that dormice, a European Protected Species, are inhabiting that site has led planning officers to recommend the council refuse permission.
The local planning officer said the football club development should be refused as “there is a reasonable likelihood of dormice being present”.
Although no dormice have been found, they have been spotted 2km away. The local planning committee meets to rule on Morrisons’ application on Thursday.
Stephen Frankel, a spokesman for campaign group Love Wadebridge, said: “These companies are very powerful. They want to ignore us, but it seems they cannot ignore our dormice.”
Morrisons said it had commissioned a local ecologist to carry out a dormouse survey. It said it had asked Cornwall Council to defer its decision on its planning application until the survey had been completed.
A spokesperson said: “At this stage, no evidence has been produced to show there is a dormouse presence on the site. However, our scheme, should it be granted consent, would provide for a significant amount of new dormouse habitat.”
British businesses facing a wave of green taxes
Thousands of British businesses will be liable for significant fines and charges under a new government “green tax” scheme. Companies that fail to register their energy use by next month will be hit with fines that could reach £45,000 under the little-known rules.
Those that do participate in the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) initiative by declaring their energy use will face charges for every ton of greenhouse gas they produce. These payments are expected to average £38,000 a year for medium-sized firms, and could reach £100,000 for larger organisations.
Surveys have shown that thousands of businesses are unaware they are supposed to be taking part, or even that the scheme exists at all.
The imposition of new charges and fines will put pressure on firms at a time when economists are warning of a “double dip” recession as companies, consumers and the public sector all cut their spending.
Business leaders criticised the CRC — which was created by Labour but implemented by the Coalition — as “complex and bureaucratic”. One accused ministers of swinging “a big hammer” at companies and questioned whether it would have any environmental benefits.
Under the scheme, any company or public sector organisation that consumes more than 6,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy a year – meaning a power bill of about £500,000 – must register its energy use by the end of next month. From April, firms will need to buy permits for each tonne of carbon dioxide emitted. For those using 6,000MWh, that could mean £38,000.
The scheme is intended to create a financial incentive to cut energy use, and those organisations that record the biggest reductions will get bonuses, funded by penalties imposed on those with the worst record.
Of about 4,000 organisations estimated to qualify for the scheme, only 1,229 have registered to date, leaving thousands at risk of fines. Missing the Sept 30 deadline will mean an immediate £5,000 fine, and £500 for each day after that, up to a maximum of £45,000.
Another 15,000 smaller organisations are also required to register and could be expected to buy permits in the future. If they miss the September deadline, they face fines of £500.
WSP Environment & Energy, a consultancy firm, estimated that a total of 7,500 businesses would miss the deadline.
Greg Barker, the energy and climate change minister, who is overseeing the scheme said yesterday: “I understand the original complexity of the scheme may have deterred some organisations and I want to hear suggestions as to how we can make the scheme simpler in the future.”
Executives and business groups said that the scheme had been poorly communicated and publicised, leaving many companies in the dark.
One recent survey suggested that 53 per cent of executives had not even heard of the CRC and did not know whether their firm was affected.
The Environment Agency, which will run the scheme for the Government, has refused even to publish a list of the companies that are required to register, citing the Data Protection Act.
The Coalition is pressing ahead with the CRC despite Conservative pledges to cut red-tape on businesses.
Business groups said the paperwork and costs involved in complying with the CRC scheme could put a significant new burden on companies already struggling in an uncertain economic climate. The Bank of England is expected to underline fears about the economy today with forecasts for faltering economic growth and persistent inflation.
Yesterday, the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply reported a slowdown in British manufacturing exports to Europe.
Bob Jarrett, of the BHF-BSSA Group, a trade body that represents thousands of independent shops, said ministers had not done enough to explain or justify the CRC. “We’ve only come across this in the last few weeks, and yet the deadline is at the end of next month. The Department for Energy has not given this nearly enough publicity,” he said.
Breastfeeding British mother told ‘put them away or get off’ the bus
A BUS company has been scolded after one its driver allegedly told a breastfeeding mother to them “put them away or get off”. Lauren McKenna, 22, was forced to walk more than kilometre home with her six-week-old baby D’Marion after the incident on a bus service in Manchester, northern England, The Daily Mail reported.
“I started to feed D’Marion and like normal I lifted up my jumper, pulled my t-shirt down and put a blanket over his head so nobody could see anything,” she said. “I noticed the driver kept looking in his mirror at me and turning around and when we got to [local stop] Ancoats he stopped and said, ‘Are you breastfeeding?’
“When I said yes he said, ‘You can’t do that on here.’ He said you can either ‘put them away’, which didn’t make sense because he couldn’t see anything, or ‘get off the bus’. I was fuming so I got off the bus.”
Ms McKenna later called the bus firm, Stagecoach, to complain, but a female operator told her: “You shouldn’t be doing it should you.”
When contacted by the Mail, a spokesman for Stagecoach said: “We fully support mothers who wish to breastfeed their babies. “We are taking this matter extremely seriously and are carrying out a thorough investigation into this case, including a review of CCTV evidence from our buses.”
In March this year, new mother Amy Wootten sparked outrage by claiming she was thrown off a bus in southwestern England while breastfeeding her daughter, following a passenger complaint about her “indecent exposure.” However, after reviewing CCTV footage, the bus operator said it could find no evidence of the incident and accused her of making the story up.
A senior citizen lies down to stop “travellers” invading a park. Guess whom the police move in on?
A pensioner who tried to stop travellers trespassing on a park in a conservation area was ordered to move by police – only for around 30 caravans [trailers] to then colonise the site.
At one point the 70-year-old man was on the ground with his face almost touching the wheels of a truck towing a caravan which had stopped with its bumper over his head.
The drama unfolded when seven caravans moved on to the historic site in the shadow of a 13th century church under cover of darkness after removing part of a wooden fence rail at its boundary.
The pensioner lay down across the missing section as five more caravans arrived at the site yards from his home.
The man, who didn’t want to be identified for fear of reprisals, said: ‘The police arrived and told me to move. I asked them for their inspector’s name and they refused. ‘Meanwhile, the travellers were threatening to come back and “sort me out” but the police did not act on that. I was so disgusted I went home.’
The caravans moved a short distance away while police guarded Yardley Old Park in Yardley, Birmingham. But after 30 minutes officers left, allowing the mainly Irish travellers access to the beauty spot which is bordered by the medieval Old Grammar School and Grade I listed St Edburgha’s Church, which dates back some 800 years.
Tim Moon, 28, whose family home overlooks the 30-acre park, said police seemed ‘more interested in keeping the traffic moving’ than stopping more travellers from getting in. He said: ‘We heard a commotion and I saw this man lying across the pavement where the travellers had removed the fencing. Travellers were standing over him and gesturing for him to move. One man tried to drag him away by the feet. ‘The caravans were blocking the road and traffic was backed up in both directions – the police seemed to just want to get the cars moving again.’
The first travellers arrived on Thursday night. Since the second convoy was confronted by the pensioner on Sunday, more caravans have arrived on a daily basis.
Suzanne Lyons, 56, whose home overlooks the park, said: ‘We needed help from the police but whilst there was a lot of finger wagging going on, there hasn’t been much action.’
Yesterday the travellers could be seen reclining on patio furniture in the sunshine. Bags of rubbish were piled up by an oak tree but there was no evidence that the trespassers had begun moving earth or laying hardcore.
One traveller said they were from three distinct groups who had been staying locally at other illegal sites. They said they planned to leave by tomorrow, when an eviction notice served on them by Tory-run Birmingham City Council runs out. Bailiffs can remove them if they remain beyond 6pm tomorrow.
Liberal Democrat councillor Neil Eustace said the council had asked police to immediately remove the travellers as soon as it became aware of the problem last Friday, using powers to tackle trespassers, but officers had refused because in most instances it is considered a civil, rather than criminal offence.
Superintendent Mick Gillick from West Midlands Police said officers advised the pensioner to move ‘for his own safety’. He added: ‘The police have no powers to enforce civil law, but are supporting the landlords ( Birmingham City Council). ‘No criminal offences have been reported to the police.
‘Local officers are listening to residents and other stakeholders to ensure their concerns are recorded and investigated where necessary.’
He said around six caravans had entered the park from a second entrance before the pensioner’s protest. But residents said all caravans entered from the spot the man was attempting to guard.