Woman, 26, died of DVT after being ‘fobbed off’ by nurse who relied too much on computerised guide
A 26-year-old woman died from deep vein thrombosis two days after being ‘fobbed off’ by a nurse who misdiagnosed her condition because she was relying too much on a computerised guide, an inquest heard.
Marketing executive Rebecca Cain had identified the condition herself after ten minutes’ research into her symptoms on the internet. But a nurse at her local NHS walk-in clinic ignored her fears and, instead of ordering an immediate blood test, wrongly diagnosed a minor muscle problem and sent her home to rest.
Rather than rely on her 16 years’ experience, nurse Claire Firkin ‘gave far too much weight’ to a computerised guide designed to help nurses in the absence of doctors.
The guide used by the Department of Health is designed to help nurses to ask the appropriate questions. They tick boxes for ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers and get directed to the next question. The system, also used in NHS call centres, is supposed to ‘support’ the nurse’s judgment rather than determine it, the inquest was told.
The inquest was told that Nurse Firkin selected the wrong set of questions on her computer and was led to the wrong conclusion about Mrs Cain’s leg pain. Miss Firkin should have followed the guide for ‘calf pain’ rather than ‘leg pain’.
Mrs Cain’s husband Gareth, a 28-year-old architect, told the inquest his wife had woken on Saturday June 6 last year with pain in her right calf. Mr Cain said she was very concerned when she was still in pain on Thursday, especially as the leg had swollen and her mother had suffered DVT at 21.
Mrs Cain was taking a contraceptive pill called Dianette which carries a ‘significant’ risk of DVT and the inquest was told this ‘must have been a factor’ in her developing the condition. After looking at the NHS Direct website Mrs Cain ‘was convinced it was DVT’.
She took aspirin ‘to thin her blood’ and made the earliest available appointment with her GP for the following Monday. But on the Friday the pain became worse and she went to Nottingham city centre walk-in clinic.
‘She called me as soon as she came out,’ said Mr Cain. ‘She was in tears saying that the nurse had “fobbed her off”. I asked if she had mentioned she was concerned about DVT or a blood clot and she said she had and the nurse had told her it was definitely muscular.’
On Sunday, while visiting friends in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, Mrs Cain collapsed. She was taken to hospital where doctors diagnosed DVT but she died hours later. A post-mortem examination confirmed she died from a blood clot to the lung caused by deep vein thrombosis.
Nurse Firkin told the inquest in Harrogate: ‘I have no recollection of Mrs Cain expressing her concerns regarding DVT. If she had I would have acted on it.’
However, coroner Geoff Fell concluded ‘it was inconceivable she didn’t raise her concerns’, especially as she was a ‘communicator’ in her job. Recording a narrative verdict, Mr Fell concluded Mrs Cain’s symptoms at the clinic were ‘indicative of DVT’ but ‘went unrecognised’, resulting in a ‘failure to receive appropriate medical treatment’.
He said he would be asking NHS Nottingham City to carry out a serious case review.
Failed asylum seekers ignore British courts
Locking them up until they get on a plane is too harsh, apparently
At least 100 failed asylum seekers have gone missing after being ordered to leave the UK since May, figures showed today. A total of 176 unsuccessful asylum applicants absconded after authorities served them with removal notices, and a maximum of 75 have been tracked down since.
But the figure of 101 unaccounted for may be higher because of the way records are kept. Tory MP David Nuttall, who uncovered the figures, said there could be ‘hundreds’ of failed asylum seekers in the country and that it was ‘pointless’ to tell people to leave if they could not be forced to do so.
The UK Border Agency said it makes ‘strenuous efforts’ to stop failed asylum seekers from absconding and that measures are in place to try and track them down.
In a written parliamentary reply to Mr Nuttall (Bury North), immigration minister Damian Green said 176 failed asylum seekers absconded between May 1 and October 31 this year after being served with removal notices. Home Office figures showed 32 had subsequently been detained, 19 removed or embarked, and 24 had subsequently lodged a new application for asylum. But officials said the same individuals could be counted in more than one of the categories.
In the same period for 2009, 265 absconded with 94 subsequently detained, 43 removed or embarked, and 66 new applications lodged – leaving at least 62 unaccounted for.
‘This is evidence that there are hundreds of failed asylum seekers somewhere in the country and we know not where,’ Mr Nuttall said. ‘The vast majority of my constituents expect that once asylum seekers have exhausted the appeals process, and it has been determined that they do not have the right to be here, that they would properly be removed.
‘Clearly that is not working in all cases and I will be interested to see how it is proposed that this is tightened up. ‘I am fully supportive of what the Government is doing but I want to improve the operation of government. They have taken over the system that was in place before but it is not working. ‘So let’s see what we can do to improve it. If somebody stays anyway it is pointless to tell them they cannot stay.’
But Matthew Coats, head of immigration at the UK Border Agency, said: ‘When an individual absconds we circulate information and use intelligence to track them down. We prioritise cases where public safety may be at risk, working closely with police. Immigration absconders and those who help them face the risk of prosecution, an unlimited fine and prison.
‘The UK Border Agency makes strenuous efforts to ensure that failed asylum seekers do not abscond in the first place. Applicants have to regularly report in person, but we also make personal visits to ensure that failed asylum seekers are still living at their recorded address. ‘We continue to return those who refuse to leave voluntarily.’
Around 25,000 asylum applications are received each year. In 2009, 72 per cent of applications – 17,545 cases – were refused.
Stop being so generous to migrants: French plea to Britain after Dunkirk suburb is over-run
The mayor of a French village invaded by migrants has called on Britain to halt handouts to deter them from crossing the Channel. His comments came after makeshift tents appeared in the Dunkirk suburb of Teteghem, which is less than five miles from the main port. Fears are growing there that it could become the site of a new ‘Jungle’ – the infamous ghetto in nearby Calais which was torn down last year.
Franck Dhersin, a former MP and adviser to President Nicolas Sarkozy, says his village cannot cope, and pointed the finger at Britain’s benefits system. He told the Daily Mail: ‘The reason the migrants keep coming to France and slipping over the Channel is because the UK is too generous with them. ‘Stop giving them money and a place to live and they will soon go somewhere else. End of problem.’
He revealed that his village was currently home to 200 Afghans, Iraqis, Kurds, Sudanese, Vietnamese, Eritreans and Palestinians. ‘For the past four weeks, numbers of migrants camping out have been increasing by 50 per week. ‘At this rate within a month we will have another Calais Jungle on our doorsteps,’ he said. ‘I regularly visit the migrants and they all tell me they want to go to England.
‘Why? The reason is simple. They have money and a place to stay as soon as they arrive. ‘England has done a lot to help the situation by setting up police and Customs over here, but the problem still remains.
‘Since they razed the Calais Jungle last year the situation has changed,’ added Mr Dhersin. ‘Now, instead of choosing Calais, the migrants are trying Dunkirk and the Belgian ports of Zeebrugge and Ostend.’
He said that Teteghem was an ideal squat location for migrants because it is next to the motorway linking France to Belgium and very close to the port of Dunkirk.
‘The reason they are here is because the people-smugglers have charged them money to camp here. The smugglers are dangerous and very violent. ‘Last week a Vietnamese man stabbed another man and the week before that there was a shooting.’
Already migrants have been knocking on doors asking for water and power to charge their mobile phones, said the mayor. ‘We are a small village with a population of 7,500. The migrants are hardened people. They have travelled thousands of miles to get here. ‘They have nothing to lose and will stop at nothing to get what they need’, he added. ‘Something has got to be done, but in the long term the problem must be solved in Britain. ‘We are just victims of a British problem here.’
Francoise Lavoisier, of the Salam migrant charity, said: ‘Lots of the migrants used to live in the Jungle. ‘They are trying to go to Britain because they think it’s an Eldorado.’
This week’s false rape claim from Britain
Jailed for 18 months
A young woman who had ambitions of becoming a glamour model falsely accused a man of raping her as part of a ‘wicked’ scam to clear her £3,000 drug debt. Samantha Merry, 21, claimed that she had been sexually assaulted by the man in a brutal attack which allegedly happened in front of a group of people.
Her victim was arrested in front of his partner and their children at 4am and driven to a police station where intimate swabs were taken and he was held in a cell for 23 hours. He remained on bail for 15 weeks with the threat of a lengthy jail term hanging over him while officers investigated the allegations.
Merry, of Great Baddow, near Chelmsford, Essex, is believed to have made up the allegation after her drug dealer offered to cancel the debt if she took action against the man because he had a grudge against him. It was only after CCTV footage came to light that proved the man could not have attacked Merry that he was cleared, Chelmsford Crown Court heard.
Merry, an office junior, admitted perverting the course of justice and was jailed for 18 months yesterday.
Judge Anthony Goldstaub, QC, told her: ‘Your motivation was entirely for your financial benefit in exchange for the victim’s imprisonment. ‘As a result, your victim’s life became the stuff of which nightmares are made. He remained under suspicion and on bail, expecting prosecution and fearing imprisonment for this crime.’
Judge Goldstaub told her that her lies could stop genuine rape victims coming forward for fear they would not be believed.
The court heard that Merry claimed she was attacked on March 3 this year. She made a detailed 13-page statement, leading to a case that cost Essex Police thousands of pounds, including 235 man hours and £3,700 on forensic tests.
CCTV footage later revealed that she had lied and on June 14 she was arrested. Richard Stevens, prosecuting, said: ‘She said she had a drugs debt of £3,000 involving crack cocaine. The dealer had told her to accuse the victim of rape and it was her hope that doing so might wipe her debt.’
Paul Donnegan, defending, said his client had no previous criminal record and had suffered abuse in the street since she admitted to lying. But the judge turned down pleas to spare her prison, saying it was a ‘careful and wicked deception’. He added: ‘Some might say if you try to send someone to prison for five or six years you really deserve to go to prison yourself. The effect on the victim is appalling. It was premeditated and mercenary.’
Merry uses the nickname Sexy Sam on her Myspace page on which she writes: ‘Before I met my boyfriend I wanted to get in to some kind of modeling [sic]’.
After the case, Chief Inspector Joe Wrigley said: ‘Justice has been done and I hope it serves as a warning to anyone who would want to make a false allegation.’
Britain’s Green Energy Policy Is Killing The Old And Vulnerable
MORE than five million British households will struggle to stay warm this winter and the number of people likely to die in freezing temperatures is set to rise sharply, a leading charity warned yesterday.
There are increasing concerns for poorer pensioners and other vulnerable people, said National Energy Action.
Fuel poverty is defined as when a household needs to spend more than 10 per cent of its income keeping warm. Campaigners say it is caused by poorly insulated homes, low incomes, and the continued high cost of energy bills. Gas and electricity prices have soared more than 80 per cent in the last five years.
Just last week British Gas announced a seven per cent hike despite owners Centrica showing profits of more than £2.2billion. The rise comes as the number of families struggling to pay their heating bills reaches 5.5million and excess winter deaths this year are expected to be higher than ever.
Action’s Maria Wardrobe said: “The reality of fuel poverty is living in a cold, damp home, which can lead to health problems and seriously worsen existing conditions such as chest complaints with the possibility of this leading to heart attacks and strokes.
“Fuel poverty will continue to grow at alarming rates unless people are able to reduce their energy bills by a national programme of energy efficiency and Government schemes must be effective at targeting help at the most vulnerable.”
The British police have sat on their hands over “Climategate”
by John O’Sullivan
Skeptics refuse to let Climategate go away quietly. As we shall see below – even 12 months on – legal analysts show how climate criminals can still be put behind bars. If only UK police applied a more powerful legal instrument: the Fraud Act (2006) discredited government scientists could be prosecuted today.
Those of us with a modicum of legal training have been saying it all along; with the expertise of the Serious Fraud Office instead of those dawdling backwoods country bobbies, Professor Phil Jones and other accomplices linked with the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), University of East Anglia, England could all be put behind bars serving a ten-year stretch.
Any Crown prosecutor would slaver over the evidence against Jones. The leaked emails conclusively proved Jones admitted his criminal intent. Not only did he implicate himself he asked his colleagues to conspire with him to destroy key data because he said he would destroy everything in his possession rather than comply with the law.
Indeed, when the police went in they found that Jones had carried out his threat- all the metadata – the calculations used to dishonestly ‘homogenize’ cooler raw temperatures into warmer ‘official’ data were gone. The ‘Jones dog ate it.’ What more proof does it take get the British government to admit that climate crimes were committed?
Some of us with legal training smelt a rat when the investigation was first entrusted to Norfolk Constabulary. Why was this case, potentially the biggest international criminal fraud of all time palmed off onto plodding country constables?
But then it got worse! Almost immediately it was announced that ‘aiding’ Norfolk’s ‘finest’ was a secretive private police unit, the National Domestic Extremism Team (NDET). Yes, you read that right- a private police unit was in on the act. Now why would this be, we may wonder? Perhaps its may have to do with their pension fund?
And where the hell was the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) when required? The SFO are mandated under law to take over any fraud case where more than £500,000 is involved and/or there’s an international dimension. Moreover, unlike the SFO the NDET were under no obligation to abide by the Freedom of Information (FOIA) Act. Like Jones, they got a green light from the authorities to play fast and loose with the evidence and then get away with it.
So throughout the coldest winter for 30 years progress in the investigations froze as completely as the weather. With no SFO in the picture (publicly accountable) and ACPO and NDET not accountable, being totally exempt from freedom of information laws (FOIA) this investigation is going nowhere fast.
Today we see the same navel-gazing mainstream media not telling you the truth about how Jones and his accomplices can still be arrested, tried and jailed under the Fraud Act. Unlike that lesser toothless statute there is no time bar at all under the tougher Fraud Act when hunting down such complex international criminal conspiracies.
Grammar is back in British schools … and spelling will also score marks under exams shake-up
A-levels and GCSEs are to be toughened up with fewer but harder exams and a crackdown on poor grammar and spelling under sweeping reforms being unveiled next week.
In a five-year blueprint for schooling, Education Secretary Michael Gove will signal a return to traditional A-levels and GCSEs, taken at the end of courses.
Teenagers will be able to bypass ‘bite-size’ exams taken throughout the school year amid fears ‘the art of deep thought’ is being lost following reforms by Labour.
Candidates for all written GCSEs will be marked down for poor grammar, spelling and punctuation, while universities will be given a bigger role in setting questions at A-level and GCSE to protect exams from political meddling.
The reforms will undermine AS-levels, one of Labour’s most controversial exam reforms. Taken in the first-year of the sixth-form, they were part of a drive to break down A-level courses into six separately tested modules. Critics claim the trend towards ‘modular’ examining has led to grade inflation and left pupils ill-equipped for university study.
In further measures, Mr Gove plans to overhaul the exam league tables system amid evidence that schools are attempting to boost rankings by entering pupils for non-academic courses such as ‘personal effectiveness’.
Meanwhile a new school curriculum – scheduled for introduction in September 2013 – will give renewed attention to core knowledge and concepts, key events in history and the classics of English literature.
Next week’s White Paper follows claims by Mr Gove that the credibility of the country’s exam system has been weakened by constant change and political interference under Labour. He has been particularly scathing about science GCSEs, which now include questions such as ‘which is healthier – a battered sausage or a grilled fish?’
Moves to restore rigour to the system include allocating marks in all written GCSEs to spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Between 1992 and 2003, five per cent of marks for most GCSEs were designated for these disciplines. But an overhaul of the exams simply said accuracy in written communication should be incorporated into wider marking. Practice across examiners is said to be inconsistent. Even in English GCSE, only around 13 per cent of marks are awarded for accurate spelling and punctuation.
The White Paper is also expected to commit the Coalition to a significant review of the curriculum at primary and secondary level. The 18-month review will spell out what children should know at each age amid claims the current National Curriculum contains too many vague statements.
Under reforms, schools will be encouraged to teach subjects such as history as stand-alone lessons rather than mixed into theme-based humanities projects.
Mr Gove also plans to scrap a rule limiting headteacher observations of lessons to just three hours a year. Currently teachers must also be given notice of the observation and told which aspects of the lesson will be evaluated.
Ending this will put Mr Gove on a collision course with the unions, but he said: ‘I would like to change the culture so that it is more routine and normal for teachers to be observing and learning from each other.’
The White Paper, expected to be unveiled on Wednesday, also includes measures for discipline, including tougher powers for teachers to restrain unruly pupils.