Breast cancer patients wrongly given all-clear brand £5,000 payouts an ‘insult’
A charming combination of refusing diagnostic tests (they cost money) and botching the tests that were done
Breast cancer patients who were wrongly given the all-clear after a series of screening blunders have branded their £5,000 payouts as an ‘insult.’ Fourteen women were misdiagnosed by a radiologist with some having to endure aggressive treatment and have a mastectomy when the disease was spotted.
Four women have already received a payout and four more claims are expected to be settled soon. The women were treated at the Accrington Victoria Hospital
The hospitals trust said it was working to make the rest of the payments as quickly as possible. But the patients are angry at the low level of the payouts set by the independent NHS Litigation Authority.
Victim Letitia Newhouse branded the misdiagnosis as a ‘disgrace’, and said the compensation was ‘insulting’ compensation. The mother-of-two had to have a mastectomy and was hospitalised during gruelling chemotherapy when her breast cancer was finally spotted.
Married Letitia, from Sawley, Lancashire, said: ‘I will never be able to come to understand how many mistakes were made in my diagnosis. ‘This has changed my life and the stress has been unbearable. It was never about the money, but £5,000 is an insult, a derogatory amount.’
Letitia, 53, said her breast cancer was missed FIVE times before she was finally diagnosed. First her GP turned her away before the cancer was then missed twice in appointments with Dr Glenn Kelly in 2006, in addition to two further check-ups. Only after she demanded a biopsy on the lump in her right breast was the cancer spotted – seven months after she was first checked.
She underwent a mastectomy, but then had to endure months of gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy. During her appointments with Dr Kelly she said that the cancer was not spotted on mammograms. She was also not offered an ultrasound, which is standard procedure. ‘I was made to feel like a time waster, but I knew something was wrong,’ she said.
‘Initially I was told that there was no tumour. I was told I had a blocked milk duct. ‘When I forced them to do a biopsy they discovered there was a tumour. It was 12cms long and it was in three of my lymph glands. I was traumatised. ‘They said it was the biggest you can get. It was awful.
‘I have been told that the tumour was there to see on the mammograms in the first place,’ added Letitia, who now works as a volunteer with the Rosemere Cancer Foundation.
Dr Glenn Anthony Kelly is alleged to have given the women the all-clear while working as a senior radiologist at Accrington Victoria Hospital. The General Medical Council has launched an investigation into the allegations and he has not worked at the trust since April 2009. It was revealed in September 2009, that 355 mammograms had to be re-checked when colleagues raised concerns at the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.
Eighty-five women from across East Lancashire had to undergo a second breast examination, and 14 were told they had invasive breast cancer. Another four women were diagnosed with a secondary breast condition, ductal carcinoma in situ.
Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans has criticised the sum. ‘If £5,000 is typical of the compensation then clearly that is deficient, but there is no sum of money that would compensate women who have gone through complete trauma and fear for their lives through this misdiagnosis,’ he said.
‘The most important thing for the women involved is to make sure the mistakes made in these cases never happen again. People seem to get more for tripping on cracked pavements in other parts of the country than that, or for repetitive strain injuries, which run into thousands. ‘You compare that to the removal of a breast and the fear that it was too late, which some women must have had.’
Hyndburn MP Graham Jones said: ‘There is no monetary value you can put on how traumatic it must have been for these individuals. ‘One can only hope the NHS Trust has resolved these issues and that people feel a lot more confident now they have been re-diagnosed and had a retest.’
Peter Weller, associate director of patient safety and governance, wrote to Mrs Newhouse to apologise. He said: ‘I would like to express apologies on behalf of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust that the care you received was not of the standard expected.’
Cancer survivor Mary Brennan, who helped set up the Barnoldswick and Earby Bosom Friends support group for cancer patients, said the figures being discussed were not high given what the women had endured. Mary, 61, said: ‘It seems a small amount for what they have had to go through. But, to be quite honest, I don’t think anything would be sufficient.’
Lynn Wissett, deputy chief executive and director of clinical care and governance for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘The trust continues to work with the NHS Litigation Authority, patients and their legal representatives to conclude any claims that have been initiated. ‘The trust has apologised to all women affected by the breast screening incident, and remains committed to working with them to ensure any legal action is progressed swiftly and appropriately.’
Vicious British social workers again
They ignore abuses by the underclass and hound decent families over hypothetical problems. Ferals are “supported” (translation: Their abuses are ignored) while the children of decent families are taken away on the slightest excuse
A baby was found dead in his pushchair in front of a blazing gas fire – his body charred and burned – after social services missed 17 chances to save him.
Alex Sutherland, aged 13 months, had been dead for at least three days, according to a harrowing report published yesterday. He had faeces on his hands, legs and buggy, had severe nappy rash and had bruising on his head and body.
His mother, Tracey Sutherland, 39, a former pharmacist, was found nearby by police walking in the rain in her pyjamas and smelling of alcohol. She later admitted neglect and was jailed for 27 months.
Yesterday a Serious Case Review found Alex died despite numerous calls to social services from relatives, friends, police, nurses and a childminder. The report states there were 17 separate occasions when fears were raised over his welfare.
Yet he was not placed on the `at risk’ register and was allowed to continue living with his mother at their home in Wythenshawe, Manchester, even though she admitted drinking up to six bottles of wine a day.
The case echoes that of Baby P – Peter Connelly – a 17-month-old boy who died in 2007 after suffering up to 50 injuries over eight months, despite being repeatedly seen by Haringey Children’s services and NHS professionals.
In March 2009 a review by Lord Laming said a higher priority should be given to child protection. He said there was a lack of communication and joined-up working between agencies and he highlighted problems, with under-trained social workers and a `tick box’ mentality.
The findings were published as Alex’s suffering – and the failures surrounding his case – were heading towards their tragic conclusion. Yesterday’s Serious Case Review spells out a catalogue of occasions when the authorities could have taken action.
The report, by Manchester Safeguarding Children’s Board, condemned health and social workers, saying Alex’s case was `poorly managed throughout’ and his neglect was `both predictable and preventable’.
Referring to Alex as Child T and his mother as Mrs E, it said: `Child T was known to agencies because of Mrs E’s misuse of alcohol, yet 17 expressions of concern (four of which alleged she was drunk) failed to trigger a reconsideration of the initial assessments that the likelihood of future significant harm was low.
`No single agency was responsible for failing to protect Child T from the chronic neglect which he suffered at the hands of his mother, but rather he was the victim of the multiple failures of all those agencies . to recognise the risks to which he was exposed and to take appropriate action.’
The report went on: `There were a number of contacts made with agencies by Mrs E’s family and friends expressing concern about her drinking behaviour and the impact it had on Child T.’
It said the mother-of-two had had an alcohol problem throughout her adult life after being introduced to drink by her step-father at the age of eight. By 2007 she was drinking six bottles of wine a day and drank throughout her pregnancy. Just three weeks after Alex was born in October 2008, police were called to the house to find him lying on the floor in front of a gas fire while Sutherland staggered around drunk.
He was returned to his mother just nine days later after Sutherland insisted she would deal with her alcohol problems. After his death, Sutherland told police: `This is horrible, I’m a disgrace, an absolute disgrace. I didn’t mean to harm him at all, absolute disgrace I am, sick in the head. Do I go to prison now?’ She was jailed at Manchester Crown Court in April last year.
Laura Roberts, chief executive of NHS Manchester, said: `We are very sorry that we.did not fully recognise the extent of his neglect.’
Pauline Newman, the city council’s director of Children’s Services, said it was clear `there were areas where we could have done better’. She added: `We have carried out an extensive programme of work since this little boy died to ensure that staff fully understand the lessons that need to be taken on board from this tragedy.’
`We have also further trained staff to be assertive and challenging to parents who abuse alcohol.’
Ian Rush, the chairman of Manchester Safeguard Children’s Board hit back at claims they did nothing to prevent the child’s death. He said that Sutherland hid the true extent of her alcohol abuse from them. ‘The report is clear in saying that the level of neglect this little boy was experiencing was preventable, had things been different at certain points and had people assessed the situation in a different kind of way,’ he said.
Laura Roberts, chief executive of NHS Manchester, said: ‘The death of this little boy was a tragedy and we offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends. ‘We are very sorry that NHS Manchester, as one of the agencies involved in his care, did not fully recognise the extent of his neglect.
British boys’ schools decline in shift towards mixed classrooms
Traditional boys’ schools are “near extinction” as growing numbers of headmasters axe single-sex education to admit girls, according to research. Less than five per cent of establishments listed in the latest edition of the Good Schools Guide – published today – are independent boys’ senior schools. It represents a dramatic decline compared with the first edition of the guide 25 years ago when almost a quarter of schools featured only admitted boys.
Girls’ schools have also fallen in popularity since the mid-80s, it is claimed, forcing some to close or merge with other similar schools nearby.
But according to the guide, boys’ schools are more likely to adapt to parents’ increasing preference for mixed classrooms by axing their single-sex status to go fully co-educational.
In the last 25 years, some of the most famous boys’ schools in the country have converted into wholly mixed schools. This includes Marlborough, Oundle, Repton, Rugby, Stowe, Uppingham and Wellington College. The latest to convert is Milton Abbey – established almost 60 years ago – which will become co-educational in September 2012. It follows the introduction of girls into its sixth-form five years ago.
The move represents a dramatic shift in the attitudes of many parents who traditionally believe boys and girls thrive in separate classrooms without the distractions of the opposite sex.
Anthony Seldon, the master of Wellington, said some mothers and fathers believed children were “better prepared for life” after being educated in a mixed classroom. But he added: “Overwhelmingly, I’m saddened by this development because it’s not good for the education system and it denies parents the right to choose between different types of school.”
The Good Schools Guide rates the top state and independent schools in Britain. According to figures, 24 per cent of schools chosen for the guide in 1986 were boys’ independent senior schools, but this year the number has plummeted to just under five per cent. This includes Eton, Harrow, St Paul’s School, Radley, Dulwich College and City of London. Westminster, Charterhouse and Magdalen College School, which admit girls into the sixth-form, are also listed.
Girls’ schools represent 13 per cent of the top state and independent schools listed, fewer than half the proportion a generation ago.
Janette Wallis, a senior editor at the guide, said independent boys’ schools were now “near extinction”. “Boys’ schools, like girls’ schools, have been affected by economic pressures and by some parents’ preference for co-ed – probably more so,” she said. “But they have rolled with the punches by taking in girls. “On the up side, this means not a single boys-only school from our first edition has had to close down.
“On the down side, so many of them have gone co-ed – and so quickly – that we now have parents ringing us up in frustration that they are struggling to find a boys’ independent school for their son. We’re having to steer them towards the survivors.”
How coffee can boost the brainpower of women… but scrambles men’s thinking
The heading above reflects the heading of the academic journal article concerned but is a poor reflection of the journal abstract, which follows:
“We tested whether increased caffeine consumption exacerbates stress and disrupts team performance, and we explored whether “tend and befriend” characterizes women’s coping. We gave decaffeinated coffees, half of which contained added caffeine, to coffee drinkers in same-sex, same-aged dyads. We measured individual cognitive appraisals, emotional feelings, bodily symptoms, coping, and performance evaluations, together with dyad memory, psychomotor performance, and negotiation skills under higher or lower stressful conditions. Evidence consistent with the first hypothesis was weak, but we found that women performed better than did men on collaborative tasks under stress, provided caffeine had been consumed. The usefulness of multi component, cognitive-relational approaches to studying the effects of caffeine on stress is discussed, together with special implications of the effects for men”
It would appear that the authors have over-interpreted their results. What they found was that women were better at collaborative tasks, which is not big news, given the female specialization in socio-emotional relationships. What is interesting is that women needed caffeine to bring out their greater abilities in that respect. One would have thought that they would be superior with or without caffeine. I suspect poor experimental design — unrepresentative sampling etc. There is no obvious reason why caffeine should affect men and women differently
Next time you have a high-pressure meeting at work, keep an eye on what goes into your colleagues’ cups. Drinking coffee improves women’s brainpower in stressful situations – but sends men into meltdown, according to a study. While sipping a cappuccino or downing an espresso boosts women’s performance when working with others, the same drinks impair men’s memories and slow their decision-making.
And given that Britons get through some 70million cups of coffee a day, the implications are significant, say the researchers.
Psychologist Dr Lindsay St Claire said: ‘Many meetings, including those at which military and other decisions are made, are likely to be male-dominated.
‘Because caffeine is the most widely consumed drug in the world, the global implications are potentially staggering.’
The researchers, from Bristol University, wanted to examine what coffee does to the body when it is already under stress, such as during a tense meeting.
They recruited 64 men and women and put them in same-sex pairs. Each pair was given a range of tasks to complete, including carrying out negotiations, completing puzzles and tackling memory challenges, and told they would have to give a public presentation relating to their tasks afterwards. Half of the pairs were given decaffeinated coffee, while the others were handed a cup containing a large shot of caffeine.
The researchers found that men’s performance in memory tests was ‘greatly impaired’ if they drank the caffeinated coffee. They also took an average of 20 seconds longer to complete the puzzles than those on the decaffeinated coffee.
But women completed the puzzles 100 seconds faster if they had been given caffeine, the Journal of Applied Social Psychology reports.
Mexico complains about BBC show’s “offensive” slurs
“Mexico’s ambassador in London has written a furious letter to BBC bosses to complain about “offensive and xenophobic” comments made by presenters of the popular TV motoring show “Top Gear.”
Ambassador Eduardo Medina Mora was infuriated by “insults” made by presenters Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May during Sunday’s episode of the cult show, which has been sold to television channels around the world.
“Why would you want a Mexican car? Because cars reflect national characteristics don’t they?,” said Hammond as they discussed the Mexican sports car, the Mastretta.
“Mexican cars are just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat.”
The trio then described Mexican food as “refried sick” before suggesting Mexicans spent all day asleep….
Top Gear is well-known for its edgy banter and its hosts are no strangers to controversy. Hundreds of viewers complained in 2008 about a joke made by Clarkson about murdering prostitutes.
If the cap fits, wear it.