Mother forced to give kiss of life to baby son just minutes after doctor sends her home with antibiotics
A young mother had to resuscitate her newborn baby son on her living room floor less than an hour after a doctor said her son just had a chest infection.
Leon Johnson was born 10 weeks premature and spent six weeks in a special baby care unit before he was strong enough to be allowed home at the beginning or March with his mother Amy Tidmarsh, 22.
Just a few weeks later the worried mother rushed her poorly son to the doctors when he became ‘pale and unresponsive’ following a cold. He was prescribed antibiotics and sent home despite her fears that he was more seriously ill. Less than an hour after seeing the doctor Miss Tidmarsh gave herself the kiss of life after he stopped breathing in his push-chair.
Miss Tidmarsh from Kirby Cross in Essex, said: ‘I was crying and terrified. He wasn’t breathing, he was as white as a sheet and I couldn’t find a pulse. ‘I put him on the floor and did mouth-to-mouth on him and gave him two chest compressions. ‘He coughed and started breathing again. I was so relieved.’
An ambulance was called and Leon was taken to Colchester Hospital where he was put onto oxygen immediately and tests revealed he had bronchitis and infections in his nose and throat.
Miss Tidmarsh said doctors suspected the seven-week-old tot had also been fighting out other infections and his tiny body could not cope anymore. He was rushed to St Mary’s Hospital in London for specialist care and put into a coma and onto a life support machine for several weeks.
Miss Tidmarsh said she was angry about the doctor’s initial response. ‘The doctor had told me he just had a chest infection and prescribed antibiotics,’ she said.
‘I was very concerned because he was pale and unresponsive, I told him (the doctor) he had been born 10 weeks premature but the doctor said it was to be expected it would take him longer to get over things because he was premature. ‘He made me feel like I was overreacting and making a fuss. I think he should have sent us to hospital as a precaution but because he was a doctor I started to doubt myself.
‘I was told later at hospital that if I hadn’t taken him in myself he would have died.’
The mother-of-three took all her children to the doctors when the family came down with a cold but on March 14 she booked an emergency appointment for Leon because he had not recovered, was not feeding and was pale and lethargic.
She said: ‘His chest was rattling, you could hear it rumbling. Normally he loved his bottle but he just wouldn’t wake up to take it. I knew something was wrong. He was unresponsive and limp like a rag-doll.’
The anxious mum said she waited 45-minutes for her appointment at the Station Approach Doctors Surgery in Frinton, Essex, and after the GP listened to her son’s chest he diagnosed a chest infection and a course of antibiotics.
When she returned home Miss Tismarsh, who had done a First Aid course, realised Leon had taken a turn for the worse. She managed to revive her lifeless son and put him onto an anti-cot death mat which monitors breathing and heartbeat.
She said: ‘I had only just seen the doctor and he told me nothing was seriously wrong, even after I had resuscitated him I was doubting myself. ‘I put him on the mat and he kept stopping breathing. The alarms were going off so I called my mum and told her I thought Leon was dead but I didn’t know what to do.’
After he was taken to St Mary’s Hospital in London for specialist care his anxious mother and father Justin Johnson, 27, a ground worker, kept a bedside vigil.
Miss Tidmarsh said: ‘His body was so weak it had almost given up fighting. He had four blood transfusions and they paralysed him to try and rest his body.’
Leon was on life support for two-and-a-half weeks before being strong enough to be transferred to Colchester General Hospital. The 11-week-old tot was discharged last week and is now at home with his family.
Miss Tidmarsh’s said her mother complained at the doctor’s surgery and was told that ‘baby’s can deteriorate’ quickly. The surgery refused to comment on the case.
Miss Tidmarsh said: ‘I asked a doctor at St Mary’s if I had walked into her surgery with Leon five hours before she saw him at the hospital would she had been able to pick up that something was terrible wrong and she said ‘without a doubt’.
‘No one knows children better than their mother. I think the doctor should have been extra cautious, even if it was just to satisfy me. My son’s life, like any child’s is precious.’
‘I shake my head in despair’: Top British judge’s frustration at the asylum ‘merry go round’
A senior judge yesterday described Britain’s immigration appeals system as a lengthy and expensive ‘merry go round’. Lord Justice Pitchford said he despaired at the ‘extraordinary process’ which takes up hours of court time and costs taxpayers a fortune.
His comments came after he ruled on the case of a Zimbabwean asylum seeker still in the country after nearly a decade.
The 28-year-old woman, referred to only as RM for legal reasons, arrived on a five-week visitor visa in 2001 before obtaining a student visa and then claiming asylum. Her asylum case was rejected five years ago but has now been through the Home Office three times and three lengthy appeal hearings and is still not resolved.
Yesterday the judge sent it back for the whole process to start again. The bill to the taxpayer for court costs and legal aid already exceeds £100,000, it is believed.
Ruling on the case at the Court of Appeal he said: ‘I shake my head in despair if not in disbelief at this extraordinary process which occupies so much court time’.
But it was ‘regrettably’ necessary to send the case back yet again to the asylum and immigration tribunal, he said. ‘This means another hearing, and more expenditure of public money on legal costs on both sides, probably with more appeals to follow.’
He said the woman’s future in this country ‘is once more up in the air and still the merry-go-round goes round, and round, and round again’. RM was 18 when she arrived in July 2001. Her visitor visa lasted until September, but rather than return home she asked to stay as a student and was given a visa until October 2002. She then asked to stay indefinitely, claiming she was a dependant of her aunt. But this was refused.
She appealed against that decision but then withdrew the application, and in July 2005 claimed asylum. This was refused by the Home Office in December 2006.
On being told the following month she would be deported RM launched an appeal, claiming she faced persecution in Zimbabwe as her aunt had campaigned for the MDC opposition party. But the judge said her aunt had stopped all involvement with the MDC, and both she and family members had often visited Zimbabwe.
At the next appeal hearing, however, the decision was overturned. The Home Office appealed again, and yesterday the Court of Appeal ruled against RM. Lord Justice Pitchford, sitting with Lords Justice Ward and Leveson, said the immigration judge who allowed her asylum claim was ‘not entitled to assume’ she would be subjected to persecution in Zimbabwe.
British Easter walk banned on “health” grounds
Every year the Christians from different churches get together to march a 400-yard route to celebrate Easter. But this year their Good Friday parade has been banned – because it breaches health and safety laws.
Church leaders say town hall bureaucrats are refusing Christians rights routinely afforded to minority groups, and have vowed to defy them.
Previously organisers of the parade in Willesden, north London, had only needed to inform police of their route. But new red tape means they now need permission from Brent Council. Officials said they banned the procession because they were contacted too late to carry out a ‘consultation’ to close the roads.
Father Hugh MacKenzie, of St Mary Magdalen Roman Catholic Church, said: ‘The rights of Christians are being overlooked in favour of the rights of Islamic groups and gay rights organisations. ‘One does wonder whether if it was a homosexual rights or Islamic group the council would have been more flexible, as it doesn’t seem like rocket science to permit us to walk 400 metres. ‘The rights of Christians are just not respected in Britain.’
Church leaders have vowed to walk in the road anyway carrying a cross, a painting of Jesus washing followers’ feet and other religious symbols.
Brent Council hosts a Diwali [Hindu] street celebration every year. Last November it boasted it had held the biggest Diwali event in the country, after more than 60,000 people turned out. And in July last year the council appealed to the Muslim community to notify it of any Eid events so it could promote them free of charge. But it did not do the same for other religious festivals.
Last night former Home Office minister – and devout Christian – Ann Widdecombe said: ‘Don’t Brent Council know about Easter? These processions will be taking place all over the country on Good Friday, it’s part of our tradition. ‘It’s ridiculous and petty that a group cannot walk 400 yards. Why should they need special permission to do that?’
Every Easter for 13 years, about 200 worshippers from four churches – the New Testament Church of God, St Andrew’s Church of England, St Mary Magdalen and Willesden Green Baptist Church – have marched before celebrating communion together.
Father MacKenzie said: ‘It is a long-standing tradition in the area. It is a chance for us to get together. ‘The idea of tolerating the major religions, particularly the Christian religion which has been at the heart of our civilisation, and our right to express ourselves in this moderate way is a very basic aspect of religious freedom.’
Last night Brent Council told the worshippers to walk on the pavement. A spokesman added: ‘Brent Council was not contacted about the march until around a week ago. ‘There is a strict legal procedure we have to follow to issue a traffic order closing roads so people can march in the highway, which includes advertising and consultation, and this takes about five weeks. ‘We are very sorry to say there is now not enough time for us to legally facilitate this march.’
British liberal newspaper reveals the liberal distrust of the people
Why did one of Britain’s oldest liberal papers collude with the state in the arrest of a man for expressing an idea?
Something very odd happened at the weekend. A 40-year-old member of the far-right British National Party (BNP) was arrested for burning a copy of the Koran in his own back garden. Yes, it is apparently now a crime to express your disdain for a certain religious faith in the privacy of your own home. But that’s not the end of it. What makes this case especially odd is that the man in question – Sion Owens – was reported to the police by a broadsheet newspaper that claims to be liberal: the Observer. Since when has it been the job of the respectable, left-leaning press to grass people up to the cops for alleged speech crimes?
When spiked looked into this strange story, we discovered that there are some major disagreements at the Observer in relation to it. The crime correspondent defended the Observer’s actions, but one of the paper’s top columnists questioned the wisdom of reporting a private expression of ideas to the authorities.
Owens, a senior member of the BNP who lives in south Wales, does seem to be an odd individual. Going into his garden, placing a Koran in a metal Quality Street box, dousing it with flammable liquid and then setting it alight while a colleague filmed him – it was a stupid and childish act. However, it was done in a private garden. So regardless of the fact that it was videoed, this was a form of private expression, and therefore none of the state’s business.
The Observer clearly didn’t think so. When the film of the Koran-burning incident was leaked to the paper, it decided to inform the police ‘immediately’; it sent them the offending video. It also got the Home Office to chide Owens. ‘The government absolutely condemns the burning of the Koran. It is fundamentally offensive to the values of our pluralist and tolerant society’, a Home Office spokesman said. The Observer seems almost boastful about its actions. ‘A video clip of the act, leaked to the Observer and passed immediately to South Wales police, provoked fierce criticism from the government’, it said in Sunday’s paper.
Owens, the paper proudly informs us, was ‘arrested following an investigation by the Observer’. The Crown Prosecution Service is now withdrawing the case against Owens, thankfully, but the chief prosecutor says an investigation is ongoing and ‘almost certainly other proceedings will ensue’.
So why did the Observer, the world’s oldest Sunday newspaper and a proud upholder of liberal values, collude with the state in the arrest of a man for expressing his thoughts in his own garden? Such behaviour seems to contradict the views of CP Scott, a former editor of the Guardian, the sister paper of the Observer, after whom the trust that currently owns the Guardian Media Group is named. ‘Comment is free’, said Scott, and ‘the voice of opponents no less than that of friends has a right to be heard’. What would he think of his successors effectively policing their opponents’ private speech?
Mark Townsend, the crime, defence and legal affairs correspondent at the Observer, who penned Sunday’s piece about the Koran incident, told spiked that he stands by the paper’s decision to inform the police. ‘On top of the free speech debate, this is clearly a security issue that had to be dealt with sensitively’, he says. ‘The issue isn’t just one of freedom of expression as there could be very serious violent repercussions.’
But this view isn’t shared by all at the paper. Henry Porter, a long-time columnist for the Observer and well-known commentator on civil liberties, told spiked: ‘I am not in the loop on the thinking that went into this decision: there may be all sorts of concerns about which I am unaware. On the face of it, though, it would seem a doubtful decision because handing over the video, which appears to have been made for private use and was in a sense a private expression of this individual’s views, is likely to inflame feelings more than if the matter was simply ignored. That is the practical aspect.’
‘The second worrying part’, he continues, ‘is that this does indeed seem to sanction an invasion of the private sphere, in which, of course, all manner of reprehensible thoughts and actions are concealed’.
However, he says, ‘If there is evidence that the individual was about to publish the video, then I think there is perhaps cause for police action because of what happened a few days ago in Afghanistan where several people lost their lives. It is a delicate issue and by no means clear cut. However, it is the case that prohibition of an act, whether in public or private, often makes that act more likely to occur. That is why I am against the ban on the burqa in France.’
Unlike Porter, I believe that Sion Owens should also have had the freedom to release the film into the public domain, if he so chose. Freedom of speech, the cornerstone of all our freedoms, is too often compromised on the grounds that people might be harmed as a result of it. But people should be trusted to make up their own minds about whether to act upon footage of some idiot burning the Koran, rather than prevented by the state from seeing such footage in case it drives them crazy. To censor is to treat the public as a pogrom-in-waiting, whose eyes must be protected from offensive words and imagery. It is an updated, perhaps slightly more PC version of the same patronising assumptions that were exposed in the Lady Chatterley Trial: ‘Would you let your wife or servant read it?’ The question some are implicitly asking in relation to the BNP Koran video is: ‘Would you let the white working classes watch it?’ or ‘Would you let angry Muslims watch it?’. Perhaps that is what Townsend was getting at when he said the video could have ‘serious violent repercussions’.
The denigration of free speech through the idea that sections of the public are volatile and unpredictable is captured in the way that, in recent years, the category of ‘incitement’ has been replaced by the looser term ‘stirring up hatred’. As spiked has previously observed: ‘There was a time when, in legal terms, to incite meant to be in a close relationship with another person or group of people and to try to convince them or cajole them, face-to-face and intensively, to commit a crime. Today the term “incitement” is used far more promiscuously so that everything from a speech at a rally to a Jamaican dancehall song playing at a disco to a placard saying “I hate Islam and you should hate it too” can be said to incite hatred or violence.’ The treatment of all sorts of words and images as forms of ‘incitement’ speaks to a new degraded view of people as fundamentally incapable of enjoying full freedom of speech.
To my mind, the Observer/BNP affair could have some potentially quite Orwellian consequences. It seems that even within journalism – the fourth estate – some no longer understand how crucially important freedom of speech is. Some even seem to think it acceptable to play a part in having someone arrested for the ‘crime’ of expressing his views in a private arena. It will be a very sad day when people are not at liberty to give voice to their inner feelings without the threat of criminal charges. That would be bad for us all – for the public, for freedom, and for journalism.
Poor children arrive at British schools feeling ‘tired and hungry’
Because their parents spend the money on beer, cigarettes, drugs and gambling? From my experience with them, those are the poor who have problems. Most of the poor DON’T send their kids to school hungry
Growing numbers of children are turning up at school unfit to learn because of crippling poverty, according to research published today. Teachers are reporting a rise in pupils entering the classroom feeling tired, hungry and dressed in worn-out clothes.
A study by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers found almost eight-in-10 staff had pupils living below the poverty line and a quarter believed numbers had increased since the start of the recession.
One teacher from Nottingham told of a sixth-former who had not eaten for three days as her “mother had no money at all until pay day”.
A teaching assistant from a West Midlands comprehensive told researchers that some pupils had “infected toes due to feet squashed into shoes way too small”, while another member from Halifax reported a boy who was ridiculed in the PE changing room because his family could not afford to buy him any underpants.
Some teachers told how pupils were consistently late for lessons as parents could not cover the bus fare to school. Other children from middle to lower income families have been forced to cut out school trips because money is so tight, it was claimed.
The disclosure follows the publication of figures showing a rise in the number of pupils eligible for free school meals as families struggle to stay above the breadline in the recession. Almost 1.2 million five- to 16-year-olds claimed free lunches last year – a rise of more than 83,000 in just 12 months.
Mary Bousted, ATL general secretary, claimed that problems would escalate further because of Government funding cuts – putting the Coalition’s social mobility drive in jeopardy.
“It is appalling that in 2011 so many children in the UK are severely disadvantaged by their circumstances and fail to achieve their potential,” she said. “What message does this government think it is sending young people when it is cutting funding for Sure Start centres, cutting the Education Maintenance Allowance, raising tuition fees and making it harder for local authorities to provide health and social services.
“The Government should forget empty rhetoric about social mobility and concentrate on tackling the causes of deprivation and barriers to attainment that lock so many young people into a cycle of poverty.”
The ATL, which represents 160,000 school staff, surveyed members ahead of its annual conference in Liverpool next week. Some 86 per cent said poverty was having a negative impact on pupils’ ability to learn. Eight-in-10 said pupils from the very poorest families came to school tired, three-quarters claimed they arrived hungry and some 72 per cent suggested they were unable to complete homework.
Four-in-10 said poverty levels had increased over the last three years. The comments follow claims from Lesley Ward, former ATL president, that poverty levels in some parts of Britain now mirror “the times of Dickens”.
Craig Macartney, a secondary school teacher from Suffolk, said: “More children from middle to lower income families are not going on school trips and these families find it difficult to meet the basic cost of living. “A family with two or three teenage children who have one earner who loses hours, or their job, will struggle to reach the minimum income to pay for basics. “This will get worse as the impact of the cuts affects families. The number of young people with mental health problems has been on the increase in the last three years.”
Anne Pegum, a further education college teacher from Herfordshire said: “We have students who miss classes because they cannot afford the bus fare or cost of other transport to get to college. “We have students who miss out on meals because they do not have money to pay for them and in some cases then feel unwell and have to be helped by our first-aiders.”
A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “We’re overhauling the welfare and schools systems precisely to tackle entrenched worklessness, family breakdown, low educational achievement and financial insecurity. “We’re targeting investment directly at the poorest families. The most disadvantaged two year olds will get 15 hours free child care.
“We’re focusing Sure Start at the poorest families, with 4200 extra health visitors. We’re opening academies in areas failed educationally for generations and bringing in the Pupil Premium to target an extra £2.5billion a year directly at students that need the most support”.
Genes could hold the key to a long and healthy life
How about that!
Longevity genes that may control the speed of ageing have been discovered by scientists. The researchers have pinpointed eight genetic variations that control the production of a crucial hormone which is linked to old age as well as diseases of the elderly.
They believe that by manipulating the DNA strands they could slow down the ageing process and ward off age related conditions.
The genes control levels of the steroid dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate [DHEAS], one of the most abundant in the body and vital to many key functions. Levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate [DHEAS] are known to peak in our mid to late 20s and then decline as we get older. By the time we reach 85, the body contains about five per cent of its peak amount.
Researchers have established links between declining DHEAS levels and diseases such as type 2 diabetes and lymphoma, as well as a decreased lifespan.
A group scientists from across the globe analysed the DHEAS levels and 2.5 million genetic variants in 14,846 people from Europe and the USA. Results, published in PLoS Genetics journal, identified eight common genes that controlled the concentration of DHEAS, with some of those genes associated with ageing and age-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes and lymphoma.
Researchers say their findings provide the first genetic evidence that DHEAS can cause common age-related diseases or a decreased lifespan. Supplements of the steroid have already been commercially available for the past few years.
Dr Guangju Zhai, the study author from King’s College, London, said that while taking it could theoretically slow down the ageing process, it was too early to say for sure how effective it could be. “It is hoped that through manipulation or gene therapy we could slow down the ageing process or the affect of age related diseases,” he said.
Dr Zhai and his team now plan to spend the rest of the year looking closely at each gene in the hope of discovering more. “The next stage will be to identify which genes have which function, and which have a particular effect on DHEAS levels. “Once this is identified that could be the next stage in coming up with technology to manipulate the genes and maybe even get the body to increase DHEAS levels itself.”
Professor Tim Spector, senior co author from King’s said: “For 50 years we have observed the most abundant circulating steroid in the body, DHEAS, with no clue as to its role. “Now its genes have shown us its importance in many parts of the ageing process.”
Government and companies ‘hoodwink consumers’ over healthy lifestyles, according to food freaks
They are in a pet because the government is less Fascist than they are
Big business and the Government could be colluding to “hoodwink consumers” in the name of encouraging healthier lifestyles, academics have warned.
Health policy experts claim that ministers’ attempts to “nudge” shoppers into eating better or taking more exercise, rather than banning junk food, are little more than a “smokescreen for inaction”.
They say that simple attempts to change people’s behaviour ignore the complex range of factors that have led to Britain’s obesity rate rising, from the low price of fatty and sugary food to its availability on every street corner.
It comes after leading charities and pressure groups walked out of a joint Department of Health initiative with food and drink manufacturers and major retailers, saying they were “profoundly disappointed” by limited targets that allowed corporations to dictate public health policy.
In a paper published at BMJ.com on Friday, Prof Tim Lang and Dr Geof Rayner from the Centre for Food Policy at City University say it is now widely accepted that obesity is caused by several factors including diet, physical activity, genetics, over-supply of food, marketing and consumer choice.
But they claim that rather than drawing up detailed action plans and drafting regulations to deal with the problem, the British Government alone is focusing on the fashionable discipline of behavioral economics known as “nudge” theory.
The idea is that by finding easy ways for people to choose healthy lifestyles, such as by displaying fruit and veg at the checkout instead of chocolate, ministers avoid the need to pass new laws or restrict commercial activity. It also avoids accusations of heavy-handedness by a “nanny state”.
But the authors claim the theory is overly simplistic, writing: “It dispenses with the complexity of real life contexts and acknowledges only the immediate proximal horizons of consumer choice. At a stroke, policy is reduced to a combination of cognitive and ‘light’ environmental signals, such as location of foods within retail geography.”
They cite the availability of stop smoking packs in high-street chemists and the introduction of London’s bike rental scheme as examples of “nudge-inspired interventions”.
They also point out that a scheme encouraging shoppers to buy healthier food required them to spend £117 in order to redeem £50 worth of vouchers. “The lesson here might be that nudge is a smokescreen for, at best, inaction and, at worst, publicly endorsed marketing.”
The authors concede that social norms have a role in determining consumer behaviour, but ask: “How can ‘nudge’ reshape the agri-food business’s long commitment to lower the price of fat, soft drinks, or high calorie readymade foods or the ubiquitous ‘offer’ of food at every newsagent, station platform, and petrol station?”
They conclude: “Our final worry is that nudge becomes collusion between the state and corporations to hoodwink consumers. At least nannies are overt.”
In a response piece published by the BMJ, Dr Adam Oliver from the London School of Economics argues that nudge ideas are not meant to replace laws but are just “an additional tool to complement regulation by moving society incrementally in a direction that might benefit all of us.”