Payout for mother who lost womb and 33 pints of blood in botched caesarean
It was a medical blunder which robbed her of the opportunity to have the large family she had always hoped for. Shortly after giving birth to her son Daniel, Kelly Sutton was left fighting for her life after doctors failed to properly close her womb after a Caesarean. Mrs Sutton lost massive amounts of blood and it was hours before the mistake was spotted, even though she was in excruciating pain, and she was rushed back into theatre for emergency surgery.
She was given 33 pints of blood and was ‘minutes from dying’. But surgeons could not stem the bleeding and were forced to deliver an ultimatum: remove Mrs Sutton’s womb to save her life.
For Mrs Sutton, now 31, and her husband Timothy, 32, who works in the construction industry, it meant the end of a dream they had shared since becoming teenage sweethearts at school.
The couple embarked on a six-year battle for justice after the dreadful ordeal at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton, in July 2006. They have now won a ‘substantial’ six-figure payout from Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust after independent experts agreed that clinicians should have realised Kelly was continuing to bleed.
The couple hope the compensation could help fund the arrival of a little brother or sister for Daniel, now aged five, through a surrogacy arrangement.
But it will never eradicate the scars and terrible memories of an event that should have been the happiest day of their lives, the birth of their first child.
Mrs Sutton said: ‘We both came from large families and had always planned to have several children of our own. ‘I was told while recovering in intensive care. I could see the surgeon’s lips moving but couldn’t take in what he was saying. ‘It was devastating and still is. ‘It never goes away. I think about what happened every single day.’
She was given a Caesarean on July 6 after her delivery date was 10 days overdue, and measures to induce the birth didn’t work. She got a glimpse of her little boy before he was taken for checks, and went to a day room with her husband while her family waited for news.
‘I was in the most crushing pain across the chest and abdomen, I’d never had a baby before but I knew it wasn’t right. ‘From then it snowballed, I collapsed, they were giving me oxygen and finally I was rushed past my waiting family on a trolley to critical care. I could hear my mother saying: ‘Is that my daughter?’
‘It was like a horror film, my blood count had plummeted and I’d already lost two litres of blood. I was at death’s door.’ Staff had failed to realise that Kelly was bleeding internally despite warning signs and even given her a drug that made her bleed more easily.
It was hours before she was transferred for emergency surgery where a different surgeon discovered her womb had not been completely closed. ‘I had to have 33 pints of blood transfused. When he opened me up, all the blood came rushing out – it was enough to fill a washing up bowl.’
At first the surgeon thought he’d succeeded in stopping the bleeding, but later that evening Kelly’s condition dramatically deteriorated. ‘He told my family there was no choice: if I didn’t have a hysterectomy I would die’ she said.
Mrs Sutton, who works with the elderly in care homes near their Wolverhampton home, said ‘I lost such a precious experience with Daniel as a newborn baby because I was too ill to cuddle him.
‘During the first two months after I was discharged home, I needed 24 hour care and was in constant pain. In addition to the hysterectomy, the internal damage I suffered has left me with bowel and bladder problems. ‘My life has been completely turned upside down – simply because a surgeon did not realise that I hadn’t stopped bleeding.’
The couple plan to investigate the possibility of having a baby with a surrogate mother that would be genetically their own, as Mrs Sutton’s ovaries are still working. ‘You can’t pay a surrogate mother, it’s against the law , but we can now afford the expenses that are allowed so one day, fingers crossed, Daniel has a little brother or sister to grow up with’ she said.
Julie Lewis, a medical law expert, with Birmingham-based Irwin Mitchell Solicitors (must credit), represented Mrs Sutton in her legal battle for justice. She said ‘Surgeons should have recognised that Kelly was bleeding internally when she was unwell back on the maternity ward. ‘If medical professionals had diagnosed the internal bleeding earlier then Kelly’s life might not have been put in danger and she could have avoided the need to undergo a hysterectomy.
‘Having suffered such a massive blood loss, she is very fortunate to be alive. The hysterectomy has had a devastating effect on her. ‘At the age of 31 she has had to cope with the knowledge that she will not be able to have any more children herself. ‘Although the Trust has now settled out of court, I hope that they will attend to the retraining of their clinicians to ensure these mistakes never happen again.’
Statins for pregnant women?
This is a very worrying proposal. Statins have severe side-effects. Damage to the unborn would be a real possibility. And since some of the side-effects are mental, the damage might not be immediately obvious. This could make thalidomide look like a picnic in comparison
Scientists believe that statins, taken by millions of older Britons to reduce their cholesterol levels, can help reduce the severity of pre-eclampsia.
If the world’s first full clinical trial is successful, it could provide the first simple and effective treatment of a complication that affects 70,000 pregnancies a year in Britain, killing up to 10 women and 1,000 unborn babies.
Prof Asif Ahmed, who is leading the study at the University of Edinburgh, said: “If we are successful, and I am very optimistic that we will be, this treatment will transform clinical management of women with pre-eclampsia. “This is the first stage but I am sure that within the next five to seven years, the type of statin used in the trial will be on the prescription pad. “It will be a great breakthrough not only for mothers and babies in our country but also in the developing world where there is a chronic need for cheaper therapies.”
Pre-eclampsia leads to high blood pressure in pregnancy and in severe cases can lead to the woman suffering kidney and liver damage or their unborn baby being stillborn.
About one in 100 expectant mothers in Britain suffers from a particularly dangerous early-onset form, for which the only treatment is delivering their babies prematurely. But research has suggested that two proteins linked to inducing the condition can be controlled through the use of statins.
The new trial, funded by the Medical Research Council, will involve 128 pregnant women who have been diagnosed with early-onset pre-eclampsia. Those given statins will be monitored to see if the drugs lower their levels of one of the proteins, known as soluble flt-1. This would likely make their condition less severe and so reduce the need for their babies to be delivered early.
Despite researchers’ confidence that the trial will lead to a breakthrough in clinical management of pre-eclampsia, they stress that pregnant women should not yet start asking doctors to prescribe them statins.
Lobbyists who cleared ‘Climategate’ academics funded by British taxpayers and the BBC
A shadowy lobby group which pushes the case that global warming is a real threat is being funded by the taxpayer and assisted by the BBC. The little-known not-for-profit company works behind the scenes at international conferences to further its aims.
One of its key supporters headed the official investigation into the so-called “Climategate emails”, producing a report which cleared experts of deliberately attempting to skew scientific results to confirm that global warming was a real threat.
Another scientific expert linked to the group came forward to praise a second independent investigation into the Climategate affair which also exonerated researchers.
Set up with the backing of Tony Blair, then the Prime Minister, and run by a group of British MPs and peers the organisation, Globe International, started life as an All Party Group based in the House of Commons.
It is now run as an international climate change lobbying group flying its supporters and experts club class to international summits to push its agenda. Last year, it said, it spent around £500,000 flying its supporters to these meetings.
It has also paid out at least £75,000 on travel for prominent UK politicians, including for its former presidents Elliot Morley [corr], the ex-Labour environment minister now facing jail for expenses fraud, and Stephen Byers, the former Labour cabinet minister who was suspended from the Commons after he was filmed describing himself a “cab for hire” when offering to lobby his parliamentary contacts for cash.
Now Globe is planning a mass lobby of the United Nations Rio 2012 summit in Brazil, where world leaders will discuss climate change, by holding a World Summit of Legislators in the city to coincided with the event.
Next week the group’s current President Lord Deben, the former Tory Cabinet Minister John Gummer, is due to launch a major report on climate change policy alongside Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary.
Globe has also recently held behind-closed-doors meetings with William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, and other senior Coalition ministers.
Last year two prominent experts linked to Globe were drawn into the controversy over emails leaked from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit.
Lord Oxburgh, the organisation’s director, was called in to head an internal inquiry into the leaked emails which included one infamous message referring to a “trick” to “hide the decline” in global temperatures.
The peer’s investigation cleared the scientists of malpractice. But critics claimed the report was a whitewash and Lord Oxburgh also failed to declare his involvement with Globe before he began his investigation.
Meanwhile Bob Ward, from the Grantham Institute, which works alongside Globe, praised a second inquiry by former civil servant Muir Russell, which also cleared the climate researchers. He said it had “lifted the cloud of suspicion” and demonstrated that “the integrity of climate science is intact.”
Globe International’s work is paid for with donations from multi-millionaire backers and through partnerships with other environmental groups.
Globe also confirmed last night that it received direct funding from the Department of Energy and the Department of International Development (DfID). including a grant of £91,240 provided by DfID since the Coalition came to power last year.
More cash from DfID is filtered through the Complus Alliance – a “sustainable development communications alliance” of broadcasters based in Costa Rica which is also supported by the BBC World Service Trust, the Corporation’s independent charity. Complus, which was awarded DfID cash last year and in 2006, says it has an “ongoing relationship with Globe” helping it run “shadow negotiation” teams at international summits of world leaders.
A spokeswoman for Complus said: “The BBC is a founding member not a funding member. They can make in-kind contributions, like organising events, supporting logistics, sharing content.” She added that Complus did not fund Globe but work with them on “convergent objectives”.
Last night a DfID spokesman confirmed the department had given Complus £250,000 in total to provide research, advocacy and communications work on the impact of climate change.
Last night Globe’s general secretary Adam Matthews said: “Globe is not a lobbying organisation. It is an international group of legislators. It was set up by the legislators themselves. “We facilitate them coming together to discuss environmental issues. Our members have multiple views – some quite sceptical on some aspects of the climate change debate.” “We are funded by the World Bank, the EU, international parliaments and Governments, including the UK Government. The coalition Government contributes to our work through DFID.”
Globe International, registered as a not-for-profit firm under the name The Global Legislators Organisation Ltd, makes minimal disclosures about its finances to Companies House. Last year it declared a £500,000 loss, but still managed to fly a number of key supporters to summits and international conferences.
Lord Patten attacks ‘intolerant’ secularists
The new chairman of the BBC has waded into the growing row over secularism by warning that atheists are “intolerant” of religion.
Lord Patten of Barnes, the former Cabinet minister and a practising Catholic, said that he felt he was regarded as “peculiar” over his faith.
His comments come amid a deepening battle over the freedom of religious belief, which last week saw a Christian electrician threatened with the sack for displaying a cross in his van.
Lord Patten, a Conservative peer who will take control of the BBC Trust next month, is the highest-profile political figure to enter the debate over what is seen as a creeping attempt to remove Christianity from public life.
But his comments angered secularists, who last night expressed concern that his faith could affect his ability to remain objective in making decisions.
In a lecture delivered last week at Our Lady of Grace and St Edward in Chiswick, called ‘Personal Faith and Public Service: Christian witness in the wider world’, Lord Patten said he was dismayed by the attitude of secularists to the Pope’s visit last year.
Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the atheist campaigners, called for Pope Benedict XVI to be arrested when he came to Britain last year over the Catholic Church’s record on child abuse, and demonstrations were held in London to protest at state funding for the papal visit.
“Some of the arguments put forward by secularists against the Pope’s visit were lacking in intellectualism and were extraordinarily mean-spirited,” said Lord Patten, who oversaw the Government’s preparations for the papal trip.
“I’m surprised the atheists didn’t have better arguments [against the Pope’s visit].”
He claimed those who reject religious belief were hypocritical to portray religious people as being narrow-minded given the level of aggression they have displayed to Christians.
“It is curious that atheists have proved to be so intolerant of those who have a faith,” he said.
“Their books would be a lot shorter if they couldn’t refer to the Spanish Inquisition, but it is them who tend to have a level of Castillian intolerance about them.”
The former governor of Hong Kong and current chancellor of Oxford University, who described himself as a cradle Catholic, said his own experience was that people looked down on him intellectually for having religious belief
He said: “It makes people think I’m peculiar and lack intellectual fibres because I don’t have any doubts about my faith, but I’d be terrified to have doubts.”
This admission echoes the claim made by Tony Blair in 2007 that people in political life who speak about their faith tend to be viewed by society as “nutters”.
A report earlier this year, endorsed by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, warned that the Church faces a battle to prevent faith being seen as “a social problem” and says the next five years are set to be a period of “exceptional challenge”.
Fears have been growing that Christians are suffering from an increasing level of discrimination following a series of cases in which they have been punished for sharing their beliefs.
Last week, Colin Atkinson, an electrician, was summoned to a disciplinary hearing by his employers for displaying a small palm cross on the dashboard of his company van – but eventually allowed to keep the symbol of his religion.
However, Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said he was alarmed by Lord Patten’s criticism of secularists and questioned whether he could remain impartial in his role as chairman of the BBC Trust, which is designed to represent the concerns of licence-fee payers.
“Lord Patten’s comments don’t bode well for his position as chairman of the BBC Trust,” he said.
“He is supposed to represent all viewers, not just Catholics or religious people and I am quite concerned that he will not be able to be objective when religion comes into conflict with free expression in programme-making.”
Mr Sanderson suggested the Conservative peer’s faith could also influence his response to debates over the amount of time the BBC devotes to religion, which has been a recurring source of tension between the corporation and the Church of England.
Over recent years, the BBC has upset Christians by broadcasting the controversial Jerry Springer the Opera, which depicted Jesus in a nappy, and commissioning a cartoon featuring an infantile Pope bouncing on a pogo stick.
Fears have been raised amongst Church leaders that the BBC has become increasingly hostile to Christianity, but last year the corporation rejected calls from secularists for atheists to be included on Radio 4’s Thought for the Day.
Welfare handouts aren’t fair – and the British public knows it
A new survey shows that despite years of propaganda from the Left, Britons retain a deep-seated sense of fairness and individual responsibility, says Janet Daley
Like a mythical traveller seeking truth, a think tank has asked a profound question: what is fairness? And lo, the people have answered with (almost) one voice: what “fair” means is that those who are deserving shall receive, and those who are not shall be – well, not exactly cast out, but certainly not entitled to everything that’s going.
As we report today, Policy Exchange – supposedly the Prime Minister’s favourite ideas outlet – has done a brave and unusual thing. Rather than polling the public just on policy and voting intention, it has put a far more abstract moral issue before them. It instructed the pollsters at YouGov to find out precisely what the public thought the most powerful term of approbation in the political lexicon – “fair” – actually amounted to.
The quite unequivocal reply that was received (with breathtakingly enormous majorities in some forms) came as no surprise to this column. To most voters, fairness does not mean an equal distribution of resources and wealth, or even a redistribution of these things according to need. It means, as the report’s title – “Just Deserts” – implies, that people get what they deserve. And what is deserved, the respondents made clear, refers to that which is achieved by effort, talent or dedication to duty: in other words, earned on merit.
As I have written so often on this page, when ordinary people use the word “fair”, they mean that you should get out of life pretty much what you put in. Or, as the report’s authors put it, “Voters’ idea of fairness is strongly reciprocal – something for something.” By obvious inference, a “something for nothing” society is the opposite of fair. And this view, interestingly, is expressed by Labour voters in pretty much the same proportion as all others.
Imagine that. After all these years of being morally blackmailed by the poverty lobby, harried by socialist ideologues and shouted at by self-serving public sector axe-grinders, the people are not cowed. Even after being bludgeoned by the BBC thought monitors and browbeaten by Left-liberal media academics with the soft Marxist view of a “fair” society – from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs – they have not bought it. They do not believe that if people are poor, it is necessarily society’s fault, and therefore society’s duty to deal with the consequences.
No, they say, as often as not, poverty is a consequence of lack of effort or self-control – and, therefore, the individual must accept the consequences. And they do not believe that such character failings and their consequences should be disregarded in the apportioning of welfare or help from the state – help which they know is made possible by the efforts of those who do “the right thing”. They still have a firm and undaunted conception of the “undeserving poor” – a term so unfashionable that no politician would be capable of uttering it – and would like such people to be made to accept their reciprocal obligation to society in return for any assistance from public funds.
So the idea of “workfare” schemes, in which the long-term unemployed must undertake services to the community such as litter collection or graffiti removal if they are to continue receiving benefits, is hugely popular. Indeed, the public believes that one of the causes of unemployment is that out-of-work benefits are too generous.
This is a striking example of how voters can come to a common-sense understanding of an economic situation – that if you pay people not to work (or to be poor) then they are likely to stay out of work (or remain poor) – even though almost no one in public life has ever enunciated it. More surprising, perhaps, is the robust demand that those who could work, but won’t, should have their benefits cut or stopped altogether – even if they have children. There seems to be little sympathy for the argument that the children of the workshy should not be penalised for their parents’ fecklessness.
Now, this matter of children, and how they affect matters, is an interesting one. Those who responded to this poll seemed to take a quite startlingly hard line on the question of how much the presence of children should be taken into account by the welfare state. A majority said, for example, that there should be no additional child benefit paid after the third child, and they were only lukewarm on the subject of tax breaks for families with children (although they certainly prefer tax reliefs to cash benefits). And although they believe that lone parenthood should be discouraged, they are not particularly keen on the idea of encouraging marriage by incentivising it through the tax system.
On the face of it, this might appear odd, given what seem to be the traditional (some would say almost Victorian) attitudes that are expressed about work and life’s vicissitudes in the survey as a whole. I think the result might have been different if the wording of the question had been more clearly linked to fairness: ie, is it fair that a married person supporting a family should pay the same amount of tax as a single one with no dependants?
But that notwithstanding, there is a comprehensible pattern here. I suspect that people now see marriage and the having of children as a matter of personal choice – a private decision one makes for oneself – rather than as a virtually inevitable part of adult life. Raising a family in today’s world is not viewed so much as a function of accepting your grown-up role in the community, but a lifestyle option which you or may not adopt according to your personal tastes. What follows from that assumption is that you must accept responsibility for that decision.
That is the common thread throughout this survey: overwhelmingly, and with remarkable consistency, people reiterate their belief in individual responsibility. Their insistence that those who are able should be prepared to support themselves – and any children they produce – is not mean-mindedness or lack of compassion. (There was a clear message that those genuinely unable to make their own way should be helped.) Rather, it is an acknowledgement of the value of self-respect and self-determination: an understanding that taking responsibility for yourself is a proper part of fully fledged grown-up life, and that not having such expectations of people demeans them.
That part of the argument has been won. Now the case must be made more clearly that those who are carrying out the most important business of the society, by raising its children in a responsible way, are genuinely deserving of special consideration – even if it was their own self-sacrificing decision to do so.
Is teaching racist? No more than Oxford University or ‘Mastermind’
We are too quick to throw around accusations of racial discrimination, argues Alasdair Palmer
There was consternation in schools last week when The Guardian – the teachers’ favourite newspaper – reported accusations that the profession was “institutionally racist”. The evidence for the charge was that while those of black Caribbean or black African origin make up 2 per cent of the population, they provide only 0.7 per cent of our head teachers.
That might sound like a standard Guardian whine. But it is actually a very common complaint, and one which is treated with the utmost seriousness. From a statistic showing that the proportion of a particular ethnic group in a particular position does not mirror that group’s share of the population as a whole, the conclusion is drawn that the only explanation can be racism. This is visible everywhere, from the insistence that the police are institutionally racist to last week’s claim that Mastermind must be guilty of the same fault, since it hasn’t had enough contestants from ethnic minorities. Even David Cameron was at it a couple of weeks ago, lamenting that Oxford’s admissions system was “disgraceful” – code for “racist” – because it admitted only one black student last year (actually, it was only one black Caribbean student).
Yet the inference, although widespread, is invalid. It’s a way of not thinking about whatever problems there are with ethnic or other “minority” representation. (Minority has to be in quotes, because women are frequently described as a minority, even though they are actually the majority.) Racism can be the explanation for the fact that a group is under-represented, but it does not have to be, and frequently is definitely not.
If you look at Britain’s Olympic sprinting team, you will not find the white middle classes represented. Indeed, you may not find anyone white at all. Is this the result of racism? Er, no. It is simply the consequence of the fact that the fastest runners, at least over short distances, do not happen to be white and bourgeois. No one complains, for the obvious reason that there is nothing sinister going on.
Again, almost all of the workmen who built skyscrapers in New York and other big cities on America’s East Coast were, until recently, Mohawk Indians: there were very few Italians, Jews or Wasps. This was not down to racial prejudice on the part of the contractors: it was merely that Mohawks were better at the job. For reasons no one fully understands, they had less fear of heights and were better able to weld rivets 20 storeys up.
If Mr Cameron’s reasoning were valid, the over-representation of Mohawks in high-rise construction, and of blacks in sprinting, should automatically be labelled a “disgrace” – as should the fact that Jews and Chinese, for instance, do better at getting places at top universities and firms than the ethnically Anglo-Saxon. Which merely shows the silliness of that form of inference.
The real explanation for the failure of some groups to do as well as others is not that admissions tutors, the Civil Service, and other employers are closet racists who conspire to ensure that incompetent whites are appointed to top jobs, in preference to more able individuals from ethnic minorities. Educational attainment is determined by many factors, particularly the sorts of things a child is exposed to before the age of seven. The gaps within the ability range have opened up considerably by then, and get wider during the school years.
By the time a child is old enough to go to university, there is not much that government can do to close them – other than ordering institutions not to admit or appoint on merit, but on some other characteristic, such as ethnic or class background. That, of course, is precisely what this government is trying to do, and it really is a disgrace. Dispensing with merit as the only criterion for entry to our top institutions is the fastest way to destroy them. But then again, perhaps that is the idea.
Two arrested in raids over sectarian ‘hate comments’
There are two football teams in Glasgow, Scotland, that are traditional rivals. One (“Celtic”) is basically Catholic. The other (“Rangers”) is Protestant. Together they are referred to as “The Old Firm” and Glasgow divides on religious lines over which team you support.
And Protestant/Catholic hatred of one another in Glasgow is very similar to attitudes in Northern Ireland. In both cases the animosity goes back hundreds of years into history. So religious rivalry is added to sporting rivalry.
The hatred seems to have given a focus recently by the fact that one of the players for Rangers is black and that the manager of Celtic is from Northern Ireland.
One result is that the manager of Celtic and a couple of other supporters were recently sent parcel bombs, apparently by a male/female couple. The bombs did not explode but they have been used as an excuse to ban expressions of animosity towards the opposing team. That traditional animosity went on for years without any harm coming to the teams concerned seems to have been overlooked. Just one act has been used to criminalize the speech of everybody else.
“Two men have been arrested in raids targeting “sectarian and hate-filled” web comments about Celtic manager Neil Lennon and Rangers striker El Hadji-Diouf.
A 23-year-old and a 27-year-old are in police custody after the raids in the early hours of the morning.
The arrests were made in Paisley and Dalmarnock in the east end of Glasgow. Both men have been charged with sectarian breach of the peace.
Lennon has endured sectarian threats against him throughout his career as a player and manager at Celtic and was the target of a parcel bomb campaign, which also saw devices sent to QC Paul McBride and MSP Trish Godman.
A number of youth players for various Scottish clubs have also been disciplined for comments they made online.
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up — on his usual vastly “incorrect” themes of race, genes, IQ etc.