Family of British meningitis victim take legal action

The careless attitudes of both British and Australian public hospitals toward the possibility of meningococcal infection never ceases to astound me. How can such a serious disorder be so lightly regarded? One would think that there would be a protocol to rule it out before any other possibilities were considered — with the benefit of the doubt going to immediate antibiotic treatment

If a child in my care developed the symptoms, I would certainly not take the child to a public hospital — JR

The family of a child who suffered serious brain damage after medics failed to diagnose her meningitis are taking legal action against the hospital trust, their solicitors said.

Ellie Sutton from Whitham, Essex, was referred to the paediatric unit at Colchester Hospital after her GP suspected she was suffering from meningitis in February 2006, when she was eight-months-old. But she was discharged less than an hour later after being seen by a medical student despite the fact that an initial assessment recorded her temperature as 39.9C – higher than the hospital’s own guidelines, which recommended any child with a temperature of more than 38C should be kept in and monitored hourly.

Her mother, Sarah Gill, took her back to the hospital later that evening and the doctor recommended her condition was investigated further, but a medical review was not conducted until the ward rounds some 11 hours later.

As a result of the delays Ellie, now aged five, has been left with severe brain damage and will now need care and assistance for the rest of her life, a spokeswoman for medical law specialists Irwin Mitchell said.

Ms Gill, 28, said: “Ever since the illness Ellie has had some mobility problems due to weakness and sensory impairment in her right side, and she also now suffers from severe learning difficulties, limited speech and behavioural problems. “What is most upsetting is that Ellie’s injuries could easily have been avoided, if only the hospital had followed its own guidelines and given Ellie a better standard of care. “We put our trust in these professionals and they failed with disastrous consequences.”

Medical law specialists at Irwin Mitchell are now negotiating a care package on behalf of the family, after the Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust admitted that without the delays in treatment Ellie may have made a full recovery.

Tom Mather, a partner in the medical law team, said: “The hospital missed several opportunities to recognise that Ellie was severely ill, despite Ms Gill’s concern over her daughter’s condition. “It is particularly difficult to accept that the hospital did not follow its own guidelines, and that there was an 11-hour delay even when it had been acknowledged that Ellie may have been suffering from a serious illness.

“As a result of these errors, Ellie will have very significant long term care needs and it is likely that she will never be able to look after herself, and we are working to ensure Ellie is provided with the very best rehabilitation and care available. “It is vital the hospital learns lessons from these serious mistakes to make sure this situation can never happen again.” Optimistic!]


Useless degrees: One in three British call centre workers is a graduate

A third of call centre workers are graduates, say researchers. A survey of UK-based call centres showed that 35 per cent of their agents are now educated to degree level – up from 25 per cent last year.

Two in five call centre bosses reported seeing a surge in applications from graduates, particularly over the past 12 months.

The survey, by Hays Contact Centres in conjunction with the Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service initiative, found that many graduates intend to develop a long-term career in the industry.

The soaring numbers of graduates seeking work in call centres shows the impact of the recession on the graduate jobs market. Many firms are squeezing graduate training programmes while universities are turning out unprecedented numbers.

The Association of Graduate Recruiters, representing leading employers, suggests that nearly 70 graduates are chasing every vacancy.

Call centre starting salaries are usually £12,000 to £18,000. Some graduates can expect to move up to senior marketing or sales roles but others see it as a stop-gap.

Figures issued earlier this year by the Higher Education Statistics Agency showed that nearly 20,000 of last year’s graduates – 10 per cent – were unemployed six months after leaving university – up from 8 per cent in 2008.


Two British men arrested just for for watching 9/11 Koran burning video

We read:

“In a disturbing development, Northumbria Police in Gateshead last week arrested two men after they watched and shared a video on Facebook of a man burning the Koran in the US during the recent 9/11 commemoration at Ground Zero in New York.

The men were drinking in the Bugle pub, Leam Lane, Gateshead, when they were arrested after watching and sharing the videos.

Around 30 people staged a protest outside Gateshead police station on Wednesday evening, the 15th of September, following the arrests.

The group stood outside the doors to the police station with an England flag for about three hours watched by a contingent of uniformed officers.The protesters had gathered at around 8pm after the two men were arrested earlier in the day on ‘suspicion of inciting racial hatred’.

The protest continued until around 11pm when the two arrested men were bailed pending further enquiries.

Youtube have now removed all footage of Derek Fenton burning the Koran. Of course, if he had burnt the Stars and Stripes (or any other flag or religious book) the video would still be available. Double standards by Youtube, perhaps?


Britain’s Minister for Climate Change is dangerous delusional green Taliban, says successful British weather forecaster Piers Corbyn

“Chris Huhne – leader of the Coalition’s green Taliban, speaking as Energy & Climate Change Secretary 21 Sept, at the LibDem conference put forward a litany of deadly dangerous delusional diktats from the new Green Religion, and he must be stopped”, said Piers Corbyn, astrophysicist of long range weather and climate forecasters,

“Huhne listed recent weather extremes which in fact were caused by predicted solar driven changes in the jet-stream and frontal activity, but pretended they were CO2 driven; and quoted ‘warmest ever’ world temperature claims which rely on false data and he of course ignored supercold events in the Southern hemisphere this year. See here and here and Red bold items in Comments in here

“His policies benefit profiteering speculators and oil cartels, are anti-industry, anti-world development, anti-job and cause hunger, suffering and death – through:

– billionaire profiteering at the expense of the public though carbon trading;

– increasing world energy and oil prices which increase asset values & profits of Oil companies;

– increasing food prices from the burning of food (biofuels);

– the holding back of third world development (Africa needs cheap coal-fired electricity not windfarms which treble the price of electricity);

– deaths on UK & European roads when road salt ran out in the last two winters due to the MetOffice warmist mild-winter forecasts;

– politicians refusing to use solar-based forecasts – which would upset the CO2 lobby – which can warn of extreme deadly weather events around the world and save lives.

“His mad scheme of building more wind-farms if carried out would ensure the lights would have gone out over Europe last winter and would do in many winters to come. See slide 31 in presentation via WAnews27 – one of Red bold items in Comments section of here

“There are three key points which must be brought to politicians:

1. The theory of Man-made Global Warming & Climate Change is failed science based on fraudulent data. IT JUST DOESN’T ADD UP!

All the dire predictions of the UN (IPCC) since 2000 have failed. CO2 does not cause extreme weather. The world is cooling not warming. There is no evidence in 600, 600,000 or 600million years of data that changes in CO2 levels in the real atmosphere drive world temperatures or change climate; indeed it is temperatures which generally drive CO2 levels. – See here. Extra CO2 has ZERO effect, and any concession to the notion there is somehow some ‘weak’ effect waiting to happen falls into the trap the Climate hype industry machine has set for the ill-informed and the usual Appeasement brigades who surface in all political conflicts.

2. The driver of all important weather extremes is solar activity.

In the end it is extreme weather that matters rather than averages and this is controlled by Jet stream shifts and extra activity of weather fronts, and These are driven by changes in solar activity and largely predictable – See ongoing discussion in Comments as linked above, here – especially the comment of Aug 8th concerning predicted changes in the jet stream + records of the solar activity that caused them.

3. MORE CO2 is GOOD not bad.

CO2 is plant food and more CO2 increases the productivity of agriculture. Carbon fixing policies are madness which if carried out in the name of ‘Clean coal’ [NB Smoke from coal is easily removed and should be, but that is another issue] would double the cost of electricity and double the amount of coal used to produce power because carbon fixing (‘sequestration’) is very energy intensive.”


Everyone is special in the therapy culture

A new report blames teachers for overdiagnosing kids with special needs. But the whole of society is playing this game

There are currently 8.5 million schoolchildren in England. There’s nothing particularly startling about that. What is incredible though is this: 1.7 million of them – that is, nearly a quarter – have been diagnosed as suffering from a special educational need (SEN).

Though there are varying gradations of SEN, from the severely disabled to the merely hyperactive, that is still a remarkable number of children with needs considered special. Indeed, given that so many are now requiring extra support, special needs are ceasing to appear quite so special.

What’s more, the number of kids with learning disabilities is rising. In 2003, there were 1,169,780 diagnoses of the less severe level 1 and level 2 SEN. This year, the figure had risen to 1,470,900. Those with more severe impediments are also increasing, with a three per cent rise in level 3 SEN diagnoses in the same period.

Now, if it seems improbable that English children are increasingly afflicted with learning diabilities, especially given the concomitant year-on-year improvement in GCSE and A-Level grades, then last week’s report from Ofsted calling for schools ‘to stop identifying pupils as having SEN’ and concentrate on teaching might seem welcome. As Ofsted’s chief inspector Christine Gilbert said: ‘We felt that schools and teachers were well intentioned but they were over-diagnosing the problems – teachers in the classroom weren’t confident they could deal with the problem. We feel teachers and schools need to have more confidence about looking at what are the barriers to learning.’

This is surely a positive recognition on the part of officialdom that too many surmountable problems are being passed off as special needs – right? After all, as the Ofsted report points out, to diagnose a pupil lacking the motivation to revise before his GCSEs as suffering from an SEN sounds more like an abdication of pedagogic responsibility than pastoral concern. But there are problems with Ofsted’s report, and they lie in its diagnosis of what is behind the problem of ever-expanding special needs, its examination of why this is happening.

For Ofsted, or at least those interpreting Ofsted’s report, it seems that it is all the schools’ fault. They are seduced by the extra funding that comes with SEN diagnoses and their teachers are glad of the extra help that the funding provides. Not only that, expanding SEN diagnoses tap into a ‘culture of excuses’. That is, according to the Ofsted report, some schools are passing off their poor academic performance as a consequence of having a high number of special needs pupils. No wonder Christine Blower of the National Union of Teachers considered the report ‘insulting’.

Can everything really be laid at the feet of cynical and opportunist schools? Aside from the fact that there is no actual money to be made from getting a kid with poor concentration diagnosed with a SEN, the phenomenon of medicalising, of pathologising, many everyday behaviours is hardly limited to schools. And it is this broader therapeutic culture, where many social and individual problems are increasingly turned into diagnostic categories, that lies at the root of the rapid expansion of SEN in schools. Schools may be playing a game, but the terms of that game have been politically and socially determined. Given the attempt to pin the blame solely on schools, it is little wonder that the Lib-Con coalition’s solution of ‘overhaul[ling] the system’ and ‘improv[ing] diagnosis and assessment’ is so underwhelming.

That the root of the problem lies not within schools but within the society in which they acquire their meaning and purpose becomes clear with the example of that increasingly common SEN diagnosis: dyslexia. Back in 2007, as reported by James Panton on spiked, Durham University education professor Julian Elliott made the news by saying that there was little scientific evidence for dyslexia. This was not to suggest that certain people are pretending to have difficulty reading and writing. Rather, he was arguing that the criteria for diagnosis was so variable, so broad – from mentally inverting letters to untidy writing – that it was, well, meaningless. Hence the diagnosis could proliferate so rapidly.

So, if dyslexia is not a medical phenomenon, then what accounts for the fact that it is being more commonly diagnosed? Elliott’s explanation is key: ‘[The condition] persists as a construct largely because it serves an emotional, not a scientific, function.’ That is, in a society in which we, as its increasingly isolated, individuated members, pale before big social or, in this case, educational problems and challenges, it becomes easier to turn them into facts of life, of nature. It is emotionally reassuring that there is nothing that can be done about the challenges we face.

No doubt the emotional benefits of this trick of the light are great. If your child is struggling at school, it’s a relief to know that it is not because he is lazy or thick. And if you yourself have trouble with your spelling, it is a weight lifted to know that it is not your fault. So while the Department of Education might not be able to solve any large-scale educational problems, it can certainly make people feel better about these problems.

But the problems with hyperactive diagnoses of this type are twofold. First, they devalue the existence of genuinely inhibiting conditions. So, for children suffering from a severe mental disability, for children struggling to overcome a genuine impediment to learning, their travails are rendered equivalent to those of a child who makes a lot of noise while running around, or as they’re otherwise known these days: an ADHD sufferer.

Secondly, the expansion of SEN diagnoses does a disservice to those children tagged with a mild condition. It doesn’t encourage children to strive, to improve their reading, to develop their mental arithmetic skills; instead it reconciles them to their troubles. It explains failure, even makes children feel good about these failures.

In the context of expanding SEN diagnoses, poor spelling or a lack of concentration cease to be problems to be overcome; they are just the way things are. The prospect of low achievement ceases to be a spur to doing better – it becomes an SEN-diagnosed child’s destiny.



About jonjayray

I am former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody
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