Boy, 6, dies of meningitis after NHS doctors tell him to ‘go home and sleep off sore throat’
A six-year-old boy died from meningitis just hours after he was sent home with antibiotics by hospital staff. Mohammed Akheel Khan was rushed to Rochdale Infirmary Urgent Care Centre by his mother Safina, after he started vomiting at school. He was discharged by a doctor, who Mohammed’s family say told them the little boy had tonsillitis and that they should let him ‘sleep it off’.
But less than five hours later Mohammed was taken back to the hospital after his condition deteriorated. He was diagnosed with meningitis and died two hours later.
Mohammed’s grandmother, Christine Akram, who lived with Mohammed and his mother in Rochdale said: ‘We noticed some small bruises on his stomach and asked them to check for meningitis, but they just told us it was nothing. ‘When he was discharged he started to be sick in the car park so I went back in and told them I was not happy. ‘They just said take him home, put him to bed and let him sleep it off.’
After Mohammed first became unwell at school, teachers at his primary school contacted his mother who took him straight to hospital at about 4pm. He was discharged at 6.30pm but his condition worsened and he was taken back to the UCC at 11pm. He was diagnosed with meningitis at about 1am on Saturday and a consultant was called to treat him, but he died under two hours later.
Mohammed’s funeral was held on Monday. Rochdale Infirmary’s A&E was recently downgraded to an urgent care centre and Mohammed and his family campaigned against the changes. Last month, Mohammed was among a 400-strong crowd who marched through Rochdale town centre to protest against cuts at the hospital.
Mrs Akram added: ‘When we went on the march he was telling everyone that he was going to save Rochdale Infirmary. ‘He was such a clever and bright little lad. He was always happy and always wanted others around him to be happy.’
The UCC is staffed by two GPs and emergency nurses who can call on consultants for support. A hospital spokesman said Mohammed was treated by the same level of medic who would have seen him had the unit still been an A&E.
Dr Anton Sinniah, clinical director of medicine for the Pennine Acute Trust, which runs Rochdale Infirmary, said: ‘He was seen by the doctor in the Urgent Care Centre. ‘Full checks were carried out. Mohammed was then discharged and the family was advised to come back if he became unwell again or if they had any concerns. ‘It would appear that his clinical condition deteriorated despite his initial improvement.
‘Mohammed was brought back to the UCC six-and-a-half hours later by family concerned that he had developed new symptoms. ‘A consultant paediatrician at Rochdale Infirmary assessed Mohammed but despite every effort by staff Mohammed sadly died in the early hours of Saturday morning. ‘Our thoughts and condolences are with the family at this sad and tragic time in their lives.’
A spokesman for the trust said: ‘Despite the recent replacement of the A&E department at Rochdale Infirmary with the Urgent Care Centre, the doctor who saw Mohammed was the same as had the unit still been an A&E department.’
Rochdale Council confirmed that no other cases of meningitis have been reported at the school. A letter has been sent to parents advising them of common symptoms to look out for. [Sounds like their doctors need the letter too]
Paramedics refuse to take dying woman to hospital because it was too busy
An ambulance crew allegedly refused to take a dying woman to hospital because they felt local accident and emergency departments were too busy, a coroner heard today. Janet Kent’s family GP told how she had sent the paramedics to her address but they did not take her to hospital – she died hours later.
Dr Anita Briden told an inquest a senior paramedic told her 66-year-old Mrs Kent did not need to be admitted and that local A&E units were ‘heaving’. However, Robert Myall, an ambulance service clinical manager, denied the accusations, claiming instead that the GP had never asked or told him to transport Mrs Kent to hospital. He also said he would never have used the term ‘heaving’.
The inquest in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire heard how Mrs Kent, herself a former hospital surgical sister, had visited the doctor’s surgery on June 21 last year, complaining of a sore throat and nausea. The following day she was dead, killed by a 30cm-section twisted bowel. A pathologist concluded that the problem had been ongoing for about a week by the time the widow died.
Today coroner Richard Hulett heard conflicting accounts of the hours leading up to Mrs Kent’s death. Her GP, a partner at the Pond House Surgery in Wooburn Green, Bucks., said she had been unable to diagnose any condition or illness during Mrs Kent’s visit on June 21, and that it was only when asked that the patient confirmed she had been constipated and had been vomiting.
She sent her back to her home in Bourne End from the surgery with strict instructions to let her know of any improvement or deterioration in her condition over the following 24 hours. ‘I had a feeling about her, almost like a sixth sense. I wasn’t seeing anything meaning I could send her to the hospital but there was something which made me think: “I’m not happy”,’ the GP told the inquest today.
Dr Briden then learned the next morning that the patient, who was described as obese, had been in touch with the surgery to say she was worse. She called Mrs Kent and then telephoned Wycombe General Hospital but said the doctor on the medical team was ‘very rude”‘and would not admit her, saying instead she would have to be seen by doctors in the Accident and Emergency department.
Dr Briden arranged for an ambulance but then found her plans were not being carried out. ‘The ambulance team had arrived at Mrs Kent’s house and had refused to take her to hospital,’ she said. ‘They said they felt she was okay and didn’t need to be admitted. I said I wanted Mrs Kent to be taken to hospital and was insistent with them. ‘The paramedics told me A & E departments were heaving at local hospitals.’
However, Mr Myall contradicted her, stating: ‘At no stage was I asked to take her (Mrs Kent) in. ‘If the doctor had said: “I want you to take her in” there would have been no problem.’ He said the patient had been alert and chatty and that he had discussed with Dr Briden about the GP visiting her again but that a range of tests revealed nothing medically untoward. ‘There was nothing I was concerned about at all,’ he said.
Katie Gallop, a barrister representing Dr Briden, said to Mr Myall: ‘Dr Briden told you of her concerns about Mrs Kent and passing urine and her renal function. ‘She said she believed she was in early stage renal failure,’ replied the South Central Ambulance Service employee. Ms Gallop added: ‘And she wanted the patient taken to hospital.’
‘No,’ said Mr Myall.
The lawyer continued: ‘And you said it was in the patient’s best interests for the patient to stay at home.’ My Myall again said: ‘No.’
Dr Briden then dispatched colleague Lesley Hawkins, who was nearby, to take urgent blood samples from Mrs Kent. Mrs Hawkins told the hearing how she left waiting patients to carry out the task, stating: ‘I’ve never been asked to go and do a home visit in the middle of a surgery before so I knew how concerned she (Dr Briden) was.’
Arriving barely 10 minutes after the ambulance had left, she found Mrs Kent vomiting and complaining of feeling unwell.
Dr Briden gave instructions to the patient’s family that she needed to go to hospital, whether by car or ambulance. They dialled 999 and a rapid response car was sent with Emergency Care Practitioner Gary Toohey. He again carried out tests but found nothing unusual. However, he said: ‘Although she was a good colour she just appeared unwell. ‘She was sat up on the side of the bed, she was slumped forward. She was talking. ‘I felt: “You’ve had enough.” I said: “Look. I want you to go to hospital”.’
He summoned an ambulance and after that had arrived, he left. Mrs Kent was taken to Wycombe General Hospital but doctors there were unable to save her life.
British PM says migration threatens British way of life
David Cameron will claim today that uncontrolled immigration has undermined some British communities. In his most forthright speech on the issue since he became Prime Minister, he will say that mass immigration has led to “discomfort and disjointedness” in neighbourhoods because some migrants have been unwilling to integrate or learn English.
Pledging to cut the numbers entering Britain to tens of thousands, rather than hundreds of thousands, Mr Cameron will say that “for too long, immigration has been too high”. He will also promise to “stamp out” forced marriages, saying that “cultural sensitivity” cannot be allowed to stop the Government from acting.
In the speech to party members in Hampshire, the Prime Minister will attack Labour for claiming it was racist to talk about immigration, saying it is “untruthful and unfair” not to speak about the issue, however uncomfortable.
The Prime Minister will also blame the welfare state for creating a generation of workshy Britons, leaving the jobs market open for migrants. Figures show that of the 2.5 million extra people in employment since 1997, three quarters were foreign-born workers.
But Mr Cameron will argue that it is not a case of “immigrants coming over here and taking our jobs” because some migrants have created wealth and jobs. He will say that the “real issue” is “migrants are filling gaps in the labour market left wide open by a welfare system that for years has paid British people not to work”. “Put simply, we will never control immigration properly unless we tackle welfare dependency,” Mr Cameron will say.
He will say that he can see why people have argued that “immigration will remain high because British people won’t do the jobs migrant workers do”, adding: “We have had persistently, eye-wateringly high numbers of British-born people stuck on welfare.”
The speech comes three weeks before the local elections and is likely to be seen as an attempt to convince voters that the Conservatives are in touch with public opinion. The Tories are fighting a large number of council seats in the North where immigration was one of the major issues at last year’s general election – with Labour subsequently admitting they failed to address the concern in their heartlands.
Mr Cameron will say: “When there have been significant numbers of new people arriving in neighbourhoods, perhaps not able to speak the same language as those living there, on occasions not really wanting or even willing to integrate, that has created a kind of discomfort and disjointedness in some neighbourhoods. “This has been the experience for many people in our country and I believe it is untruthful and unfair not to speak about it and address it.”
He will attack the levels of immigration under Labour and commit to tackling the obvious “abuses of the system” that routinely happen, including sham and forced marriages. Mr Cameron will say: “For a start, there are forced marriages taking place in our country and overseas as a means of gaining entry to the UK. This is the practice where some young British girls are bullied and threatened into marrying someone they don’t want to. “I’ve got no time for those who say this is a culturally relative issue – it is wrong, full stop, and we’ve got to stamp it out.”
Between 1997 and 2009, 2.2 million more people came to live in Britain than those who left to live abroad, Mr Cameron will say. “That’s the largest influx of people Britain has ever had and it has placed real pressures on communities. Not just pressures on schools, housing and health care – though those have been serious – but social pressures, too.”
He will tell his audience that by getting to grips with all forms of immigration he can return it to the levels of the 1980s and 1990s. “And I believe that will mean net migration to this country will be in the order of tens of thousands each year, not the hundreds of thousands every year that we have seen over the last decade,” Mr Cameron will say.
It follows a speech by Mr Cameron earlier this year in which he said that British Muslims should subscribe to mainstream values of freedom and equality, and claimed that the doctrine of multi-culturalism had “failed”.
Today, Mr Cameron will mount a vigorous defence of the Coalition’s policies, saying they have started to bring immigration down.
He will single out those who have claimed that it was not possible to do so without harming the economy or British universities. Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, fought a fierce Whitehall battle to try to ensure firms were not hampered by caps placed on immigrant workers and was vocal in his criticism of some of No 10’s plans to limit entry into Britain. Mr Cameron will outline the measures to ensure the best economic migrants can still be hired by companies, and will add: “I completely reject the idea that our new immigration rules will damage our economy.”
He will reject concerns about the effect the tightening of rules on student visa applications will have on universities. He hopes to reduce the number of visas issued by 80,000 a year.
Figures yesterday showed a record number of foreign workers are based in Britain. There are almost four million migrants in work in this country despite government pledges to do more for British workers.
The number of people in employment increased by 212,000 during 2010, but more than 80 per cent was made up of migrants, according to the Office for National Statistics. Just over 29 million people were in work in Britain during the last quarter of 2010. Of those, 3.89 million, or one in seven, were people born overseas, the highest level on record. That was a rise of 173,000 on the same period in 2009.
The useless (but politically correct) British police again
Woman driving to dying mum’s side is arrested for a crime she didn’t commit…then finds her car’s been stolen when police release her SIX hours later!
A woman on the way to pick up her terminally-ill elderly mother for a hospital appointment was subjected to a nightmare ordeal by police who put her in a cell on suspicion of stealing petrol. It was six hours before officers realised they had made a mistake because the theft was in fact carried out by two men. [What utter imbeciles!!]
And by the time they returned law-abiding grandmother Beverley Bennett to the spot where she was arrested, her car had been stolen.
When Mrs Bennett, 58, complained about her treatment, police said she could not take action against them because they were immune from prosecution in negligence cases. But she has now been awarded £2,000 in an out-of-court settlement after she found a lawyer and the force admitted an ‘error’.
‘I have never been in trouble in my life,’ said Mrs Bennett, from Grays, Essex. ‘I don’t even have any points on my licence. How on earth did they end up arresting me, a little lady of 4ft 11in, when they should have been looking for two male suspects? ‘I cannot trust the police any more. I didn’t feel that way before but all they did was pass the buck.’
It was in May last year that staff at Tesco in Chadwell St Mary contacted Essex police to report that two men in a black Honda Accord had driven away without paying £20.70 for fuel. Mrs Bennett visited the same petrol station in her Honda Accord an hour later.
When police arrived to take details of the theft two days later, staff accidentally handed over her registration number and CCTV footage of her filling up and paying – although they did say the suspects were male.
Officers failed to view the footage, however, and the suspects’ sex was not put on to the Police National Computer. On June 24, Mrs Bennett was on her way to collect her 79-year-old mother Susanna Smith, who had cancer, for an appointment at King George Hospital in Ilford, East London. She was pulled over in Dagenham by an officer who noticed her registration had been tagged as belonging to a crime suspect.
‘I honestly thought it was a joke – that someone was having a wind-up,’ she said. ‘But once I was in the cells I realised they certainly were not joking.’ Her £1,500 car was left in a layby beside the A13 dual carriageway while she was taken to Grays police station, where her handbag, shoes and reading glasses were confiscated before she was transferred to a cell await questioning.
The divorced mother of two, who is a registered carer for her disabled grandson, protested her innocence but was not freed until officers finally checked the CCTV footage they had been handed.
She was taken back to her car but it had disappeared and was never recovered, forcing her to make a claim on her insurance. She has now replaced it with a 12-year-old Ford.
Mrs Bennett says the stress caused by the incident caused her mother to be admitted to hospital. She died in December from emphysema, although she had been battling breast cancer. ‘She could not handle any stress as it would cause a strain on her heart,’ she said. ‘It made her ill.’
Solicitor Ian Gould, who specialises in cases against the police, represented Mrs Bennett and won her the payout. He said: ‘It was a catalogue of errors by the police which led to this situation.’
The Essex force yesterday admitted it still had not arrested the right suspects for the theft at the petrol station. A spokesman added: ‘An investigation has concluded that, when crime details were recorded on Essex Police’s systems, vital detail was missed. ‘This was human error and the member of staff concerned has been spoken to.’ [What a comfort!]
Call young criminals customers: British probation chief says being considerate stops re-offending
Criminals must be treated as customers – not offenders, a probation service boss has insisted. They should be invited to speak about their needs and asked how they feel about the treatment they receive, London probation chief Heather Munro added.
And these people should not have to spend time in shabby waiting rooms or be sent to dingy offices to be interviewed. Giving criminals the same consideration a company gives its customers will steer them away from committing future crimes, according to Mrs Munro.
‘It’s a bit like running a business,’ she said. ‘Any business would ask its customers how it can improve its service. It just doesn’t make sense not to.’
The call for probation officers to make life more comfortable for offenders comes at a time of growing concern over the way their service deals with criminals under its supervision.
Last week judges criticised the Government’s plan to keep more offenders out of jail, citing worries ‘relating to occasional poor and ineffective monitoring and management’ of community sentences.
Around half of those given community punishments never finish them, and in London – where Mrs Munro’s service supervises 70,000 criminals a year – probation officers have a particularly poor record.
Lapses by staff were blamed for the decision to free violent career criminal Dano Sonnex from jail in 2008. He went on to torture and murder two French students.
Mrs Munro said the answer to helping criminals quit crime was to consider their feelings and think about how an offender would feel walking into a probation office. ‘I don’t think staff had thought about it from that angle,’ she said. ‘What do the waiting rooms look like, the interview rooms? How are people treated? ‘That whole process hadn’t been thought of in terms of the offender, it was, “how do we deliver this in a way that suits us?”.’
The decision to refer to criminals as ‘customers’ follows efforts by police forces to find softer language to refer to some groups of offenders.
For example, the Metropolitan Police has referred to ‘group rape’ rather than gang rape. However the Met has used the word ‘customers’ in official terms only to apply to victims of crime.
The use of the word for criminals is an extension of the practice of social workers, who refer to troubled families as ‘clients’.
Mrs Munro, a 55-year-old mother of two, told the Guardian newspaper that probation officers should continue to help criminals after their period of punishment and supervision ends.
The idea of a 24-hour helpline for criminals would save money by making them more likely to stop offending, she added. And she suggested there might be a state employment agency for ex-cons to run alongside the helpline. She also called for a biometric fingerprinting system to check offenders turn up when asked to do so. In such cases, they would not need to speak to a probation officer.
Mrs Munro, who earns £130,000 a year, said that better treatment of offenders would be good for victims of crime. ‘The first thing is to acknowledge what any victim has been through,’ she said. ‘But you also want, as a victim, for something not to happen again. ‘And that’s the same as I want. It’s about fewer victims in the future.’
But her call was criticised by Tory MPs and academic experts. Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, said: ‘This is putting the criminal’s rights before those of victims and of ordinary law-abiding people – and it makes people’s blood boil. ‘We know from a poll that 80 per cent of people think sentencing is too lenient. ‘With people like Mrs Munro in charge, that is no wonder.’
Criminologist David Green, of the Civitas think tank, said: ‘The use of the word “customer” could not be more inappropriate. If a customer doesn’t like what they see in Tesco, they don’t need to shop there. But an offender on probation cannot choose his probation officer. ‘This undermines the authority of probation officers. They have to build a good relationship with an offender, but their job is to serve the public, not the criminal.’
A London Probation Trust spokesman insisted it had ‘not adopted’ the word customer to describe offenders but to ‘illustrate a particular approach’. ‘Our chief executive was simply outlining that if we were a business we would conduct customer feedback,’ he added. ‘In this context we would do so to gain insight into how we could cut re-offending further in order to make communities safer.’
Peer attacks Cameron over Oxford race comments
A leading peer and former College principal has criticised David Cameron for his attack on Oxford, claiming that “in no other country would a politician be allowed to speak like this about a top university”. Cross-bencher Baroness Deech described the Prime Minister’s claims that only one black undergraduate was admitted by Oxford last year as “damaging and ill-informed”.
The peer was the latest person to hit back at the Prime Minister after the university accused Mr Cameron of using “highly misleading” figures.
Mr Cameron caused outrage when he told an audience in Harrogate, North Yorkshire on Monday: “I saw figures the other day that showed that only one black person went to Oxford last year. “I think that is disgraceful, we have got to do better than that.”
Aides to the Prime Minister later accepted that Mr Cameron should have said “one black Caribbean undergraduate” after the university challenged him over the figures, but insisted Oxford was “missing the point” because the total number of black undergraduates admitted was just 27.
Lady Deech, principal of St Anne’s College, Oxford until 2004 and independent adjudicator for higher education between 2004 and 2008, used her blog to condemn Mr Cameron’s comments.
She wrote: “I deplore the ill-informed and damaging comments made … by the Prime Minister about his own university, giving the impression that either it discriminates against black candidates or that it is not doing enough to attract them. “In no other country would a senior politician speak like this about a top national university, thereby undermining its reputation and all the efforts made to open up access.”
Lady Deech, formerly chair of the committee in charge of Oxford’s admissions policy, added that the university had spent millions on reaching out to students from all backgrounds. She added: “The result is, according to the latest figures, that there are about 17,000 potential students applying for 3,000 vacancies … success in attracting candidates inevitably brings with it disappointment for many more.”
Comparing the Prime Minister’s remarks to those made by then chancellor Gordon Brown about Laura Spence, a medical student from a state school who failed to gain a place at Oxford despite an impeccable academic record. She wrote: “Gordon Brown got it wrong about Oxford in 2000 when he criticised it for not accepting Laura Spence … Surely David Cameron does not want to be another Gordon Brown?”
A “disproportionate” number of black and minority ethnic candidates applied for oversubscribed courses such as medicine and maths, Lady Deech added. “Chances would be better if the BME applicants considered other sciences and humanities in greater numbers,” she said.
Oxford University said the figure quoted by the Prime Minister referred to UK undergraduates of black Caribbean origin starting courses in 2009/10. There were an additional 26 students who said they were of black origin, and another 14 of mixed black descent.
Update on British Koran burner
Apparently the pigs realized that the original charge against him would not stick (How can something done in private be an offence against public order?) so they had to let him go. They now seem to be searching for something else to charge him with.
“The case has been withdrawn against a BNP candidate for the Welsh assembly election who had been accused of being filmed burning a copy of the Koran.
Sion Owens, aged 41, was charged with a public order offence on Saturday. When he appeared at Swansea Magistrates Court the Crown Prosecution Service said it was withdrawing the case against him.
CPS prosecutor Bryn Hurford told Mr Owens to be in “no doubt” that investigations into his actions were continuing and that “almost certainly other proceedings will ensue.”