How a Nigerian doctor worked in 14 different NHS hospitals despite not even knowing how to perform CPR
A foreign doctor who didn’t even know how to carry out mouth-to-mouth resuscitation worked in 14 British hospitals. Dr Lucius Okere was allowed to work as a locum for ten months even though he didn’t understand the meaning of basic medical terms such as “crash call” – thinking it meant car crash.
He also slapped patients to see if they were conscious and didn’t properly wash his hands. Incredibly, not one of the 14 hospital trusts which employed the Dr Okere checked his ability to speak English or his competence.
The Nigerian-born doctor, who qualified in Bologna, Italy, was finally struck off by the General Medical Council in January after staff at one of the hospitals reported serious concerns. During the GMC hearing he was described as a “dangerous and frightening doctor”, “everybody’s nightmare” and a “disaster waiting to happen.”
This is the latest case to highlight how patients are routinely being put at risk at the hands of EU doctors who are allowed to work in hospitals and surgeries without formal checks on their language and competence.
Due to strict rules imposed by Brussels, the GMC watchdog is banned from carrying out tests on doctors coming in from EU member states because it restricts the “free movement of labour”.
All other doctors coming countries across the world – including Australia, Canada and the US – have to prove that their medical skills and language are up to scratch before being allowed to work.
This flaw in the regulation was tragically exposed in 2008 when 70-year-old David Gray died after being given ten times the recommended dose of morphine by an incompetent German GP Daniel Ubani, who was covering an out of hours shift at a surgery in Cambridgeshire.
In the wake of this case, both the Department of Health has urged health trusts to carry out their own checks on doctors – which are allowed under EU law – but many are failing to do so.
Dr Okere, who is married with children, first came to England in May 2007 and settled in Islington, North London. He signed up with an agency CES Locums and was sent to work at various hospitals including East Surrey Hospital Trust in Redhill, Kettering General and Lymington New Forest Hospital in Hampshire. Each time his contract was terminated within a few days over serious concerns of his competence.
But as none of the trusts reported him to the GMC, he was allowed to carry on working and moved on to different hospitals.
He was finally referred to the watchdog by staff at Epsom General hospital in Surrey, where he had worked for four days in 2008 before being dismissed. But even after he had been reported, he was still allowed to work in at least two NHS hospitals.
At the GMC hearing it emerged that nobody knew exactly what sort of work Dr Okere had carried out in Italy before coming to Britain. He qualified in 1993 before spending five years training for his diploma in Surgery. It is believed he then worked in a small convalescent hospital which treated minor illnesses – any patient who became seriously ill was transferred to a main hospital for treatment.
At the hearing it emerged that he did not know how to “scrub up”, where surgeons wash their hands and arms very thoroughly before an operation. It was also revealed that while working at Lymington Hospital he mistook the meaning of a “crash call” – the medical term for a cardiac arrest – for a car crash.
Former NHS director dies after operation is cancelled four times at her own hospital
A former NHS director died after waiting for nine months for an operation – at her own hospital. Margaret Hutchon, a former mayor, had been waiting since last June for a follow-up stomach operation at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex. But her appointments to go under the knife were cancelled four times and she barely regained consciousness after finally having surgery.
Her devastated husband, Jim, is now demanding answers from Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust – the organisation where his wife had served as a non-executive member of the board of directors. He said: ‘I don’t really know why she died. I did not get a reason from the hospital. We all want to know for closure. She got weaker and weaker as she waited and operations were put off.’
Mr Hutchon, of Great Baddow, Essex, said his wife, 72, had initially undergone major stomach surgery last June but the follow up procedures were repeatedly abandoned.
Mr Hutchon, 71, said: ‘The case has been referred to the coroner because of the long time it has taken. In some ways, I would like the coroner to order a post mortem.’
The pensioner said his wife had been left very weak before her operation because she had been unable to take in nutrients.
‘From July to October there was talk of another operation and then between November and December there were three or four postponements and she was becoming so institutionalised we decided to get her home until an operation was certain. ‘It was a blessing because although neither of is could have guessed it – it gave us a last month together. ‘Nevertheless, she was unable to take proper nourishment and went into the operation on the better side of a low state – she was very weak.’
A spokesman for Broomfield Hospital said it could not comment on individual cases.
Useless British police again
Harassing the innocent is all that they are good at
Boxing legend Frank Bruno told today how he was stopped by police recently on suspicion of stealing his own car. He said the ‘two youngsters’ involved were ‘a disgrace’ and should have checked beforehand that it was his car, which has its own number plate.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live that the incident had happened ‘in the last month’ at Berkhamsted, Herts. ‘They said ‘there’s a lot of high performance cars, sir, being stolen around the area’. ‘I could see them laughing like two hyenas in the car, but I didn’t find it funny.’
Asked if they had recognised him, he said: ‘They recognised me, like Tom and Jerry, and Peter Pan, and Batman, but I think, I didn’t want to give them no hassle, showed them the documents, waited there for 10 minutes, and done what I had to do. ‘Because the police are the police, they are the law of the land, you’ve got to keep up to the rules and regulations of the law of the land.’
He said there were some police officers around the area of his home, in Bedfordshire, who were ‘good as gold’. ‘You’re going to get a little bad bunch here and there, but they were a disgrace, to stop and ask, “have you nicked the car?”. ‘I thought they were joking, I thought it was Candid Camera, but it weren’t Candid Camera, it was serious.
‘But when you’re dealing with the police, don’t go ‘what are you saying to me’, hold it down. ‘No, officer, it’s my car, check it out’. ‘I think they checked it out, but some of them abuse their power, but there’s good and bad in everything, so I don’t want to diss them at all.’
Asked if they had been rude to him, he said: ‘They weren’t rude to me, but they’ve got all the gadgets in the car, the latest gadgets, that can tell what time it is in Iran, what temperature it is.’
The former world heavyweight champion added that where he lived, in Bedfordshire, he had previously been stopped for speeding. ‘They warned me, and let me off, so you’re going to meet good and bad in whatever you do.’
British Cafe owner wins extractor fan appeal after neighbour claimed ‘smell of bacon offends Muslims’
A cafe owner was yesterday celebrating victory after a six-month legal battle to fry bacon triggered by Muslim complaints. Beverley Akciecek, 49, was ordered to tear down an extractor fan after a neighbour told council bosses his Muslim friends refused to visit his home because of the ‘foul odour’. Graham Webb-Lee said the smell made them feel ‘physically sick’.
Mrs Akciecek and her husband Cetin, 50 – himself a Turkish Muslim – spent months struggling to pay legal fees and worrying about the future of their business. Now the planning inspectorate has announced that they can keep the extractor fan at the Snack Shack cafe in Stockport. The council has been ordered to pay the entire legal bill, which could be as high as £5,000.
Mrs Akciecek, a mother of seven, said: ‘This is a victory for common sense but we shouldn’t have been put through this in the first place. We had lots of support from the Muslim community. They were infuriated.’
When the couple took over the cafe in 2007, they replaced a worn-out extractor fan with a modern one. They had not applied for planning permission but after the complaints, were told they had to. They applied retrospectively in May last year but were refused, before their successful appeal.
Yesterday Mr Webb-Lee said: ‘This is disgraceful. It makes our house stink of vile cooking smells, we can’t eat our breakfast. I will be speaking to my lawyer.’
The Lib Dem-run council originally ruled the smell from the fan, which has been in Bev’s Snack Shack for more than three years, was ‘unacceptable on the grounds of residential amenity’ and told her to take it down. But Beverley and her husband appealed the decision. After a six-month legal battle, the Planning Inspectorate finally announced they had won their case.
She said today: ‘The council have got to pay our legal fees which is a great relief because we were beginning to struggle. ‘It would have cost us a couple of grand to move it which we just didn’t have. ‘We would have had to shut down while they were doing it, which would have taken a couple of weeks and it would have been a nightmare.
‘This has really taken it out of us as a family. We were like robots, we did everything we had to do but it was always there and it caused us so much stress. ‘Now we can just get on with being a normal family.’
They claim they received no complaints about the cafe, which is open from 7.30am-2.30pm six days a week, until around eighteen months ago.
Mrs Akciecek said: ‘I just think it’s just crazy. Cetin’s friends actually visit the shop, they’re regular visitors, they’re Muslim people, they come in a couple of times a week. ‘I have Muslim people come in for cheese toasties. Cetin cooks the food himself, he cooks the bacon.
‘When we go to a cafe my husband wouldn’t be offended by the smell of bacon. ‘His friends are not offended by it, we have three visitors who come here for a sandwich, friends of my husband, and the smell doesn’t offend them at all.
‘We’ve never had a problem about the smell because everything is pre-cooked. We cook it in the oven so there’s no foul smell. ‘It’s pre-cooked so the smell isn’t as strong when we’re frying it off.
‘It’s been a sandwich shop for about eight years, cooking exactly the same stuff. The lady before me did double because they were actually building new houses across the road so she was really busy.
‘They were there before me but they were also there when the lady who owns the business was here. She had five staff, you can imagine how busy that shop was and they never complained at all.’
Brain link to anti-social and yobbish behaviour in teenagers
Those who have studied psychopathy, as I have, certainly do tend to get the subjective impression that a psychopath has a “bit missing” in his brain. This may be a small move towards identifying the “bit” concerned
Bad behaviour in teenagers could be explained by stunted growth of the “caring-sharing” areas of their brains, study suggests. Scientists have found that yobs and hoodies have smaller regions of the brain that deal with emotions especially fear and the ability to feel the pain of others. This suggests that their anti-social behaviour could have a biological basis and could lead to possible new treatments.
The study led by Cambridge University attempted to explain why five per cent of school age children suffer from Conduct Disorder (CD), a recognised psychiatric condition characterised by aggressive and anti-social traits.
They looked at 63 boys with an average age of 18 with CD, some of whom developed problems at an early age and some who began to display anti-social behaviour in adolescence. They were compared with a group of 27 “normal” teenagers from similar backgrounds.
Brain scans showed that two regions were significantly smaller in affected teenagers, including those who only became badly behaved when they reached adolescence. The two areas were the amygdala and insula, which contribute to emotional perception, empathy, and the ability to recognise when others are in distress.
Rates of CD have increased sharply around the world since the 1950s. The condition can develop in young children, or not show itself until the teenage years. Those affected are at greater risk of mental problems, substance abuse and criminality in later life.
It has long been thought that adolescent-onset CD is merely the result of susceptible teenagers imitating badly-behaved peers. But the new research challenges this view, pointing to brain changes that affect all youngsters with the condition.
The scientists are cautious about how to interpret the findings, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Professor Ian Goodyer, one of the researchers, said: “We hope that our results will contribute to existing psychosocial strategies for detecting children at high risk of developing anti-social behaviour.”
He stressed their study had not demonstrated a foolproof “test” and only provided a springboard for further, more extensive, research. He said environmental and family factors also played a part.
Dr Graeme Fairchild, co-author from the University of Southampton, said: Changes in grey matter volume in these areas of the brain could explain why teenagers with conduct disorder have difficulties in recognising emotions in others. “Further studies are now needed to investigate whether these changes in brain structure are a cause or a consequence of the disorder.”
Dr Andy Calder, from the Medical Research Council’s Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, another author, said: “Only when we are confident that we understand why the disorder develops can we apply this knowledge to the further development and evaluation of treatments. “The disorder has a devastating impact on families and communities and at the moment we have few effective treatments.”
Rise in carbon emissions was due to an increase in gas used to heat homes driven by the COLD weather
For some reason, people aren’t worrying much about global warming these days–even though, as we write, it’s 40 degrees out in New York City, far warmer than it was just two or three months ago. Gallup finds that only 51% of Americans worry about global warming even a “fair amount,” making it the lowest-priority environmental issue. That is to say, the lowest of the low, as a January Gallup poll found “the environment” the subject that fewest voters–less than a quarter–rated “extremely important.”
London’s Guardian reports that in the United Kingdom, “greenhouse gas emissions rose by nearly 3% last year, according to government statistics released on Thursday.” The story is accompanied by a photo of a snow-covered street with the caption: “Last year’s rise in carbon emissions was due to an increase in gas used to heat homes driven by the cold weather.”
For some reason, the story doesn’t mention the connection between cold weather and the increase in greenhouse gases. We suppose the Guardian doesn’t want to alarm its readers. After all, if emissions are rising because of cold weather, that’s an act of God, there’s not much anyone can do to save the planet.
This strikes us as overly fatalistic. For one thing, we’re all going to die anyway, and we lose nothing by facing up to the inconvenient truth. What’s more, you never know. With some good old-fashioned Yankee ingenuity, maybe man can come up with a way of making the weather warmer so as to avoid the threat of greenhouse gases.