Mother-of-three with terminal bone cancer says doctors missed her condition NINE times
A mother of three dying of bone cancer claims her GP and local hospital missed NINE chances to spot it in a single year. Fiona Zitouni, 39, has been given 18 months to live after the disease was finally diagnosed 10 months after she first reported pains in her arm to her doctor.
Mrs Zitouni said she had been ‘betrayed’ as she faces leaving behind her three sons Leon, 17, Louis, 15, and Ahmed, six, as well as her husband Fouzi, 39. ‘I’m totally and utterly devastated,’ she said. ‘The thing I would want most in the world is to hold my first grandchild and that is probably not going to happen.’
Fiona, from London, said she found a lump in her breast in March 2008. She had asked for a mastectomy but a lumpectomy was performed at the Whittington Hospital in Archway and it appeared to be a success.
The cancer was only at stage one and Fiona was given radiotherapy and had a 98 per cent chance of making a full recovery. But she went to see her GP at Allenson House Medical Centre after getting pains in her right arm in October 2009.
Fiona was prescribed painkillers but the pain became so bad she taken to the Whittington’s A&E in January last year and had X-rays. She said she was told the pain was thought to be ‘muscular’.
Mrs Zitouni visited her GP five more times and had another set of X-rays done at the Whittington. She was prescribed painkillers, physiotherapy and even a collagen injection.
‘I was in so much pain I just wanted them to cut my arm off,’ Mrs Zitouni said. ‘I kept asking at the hospital and at my GP surgery if it was possible that the cancer had come back in my arm but they kept saying it was muscular. ‘In all that time not one of them referred me to see my oncologist.’
She then saw an oncologist, a different doctor to the one who had performed the lumpectomy. He immediately sent her for a bone scan. Fiona went back to see her regular doctor, who had no knowledge of the bone scan, last July. The GP examined her and gave the all-clear – but she demanded the results of the scan. It was positive for cancer.
Fiona said: ‘I burst into floods of tears. My sister was crying too. ‘It was stage four and I knew that it would be terminal but he said it could be treated.’ ‘He said: “Put it this way, you’ll be here in six months. And that was all I had to go on when I went home.’
Mrs Zitouni says she has had no offers of counselling since the day of her diagnosis.
She has since had five months of chemotherapy – losing her hair and gaining 66lb due to powerful steroids. She said: ‘I feel betrayed by the GP. I feel let down by the A&E department at the Whittington hospital. I feel let down by the doctor at the hospital himself.’
She is planning to leave memory boxes for her children and fears for their financial future as she does not have life insurance.
Fiona now hopes to go on a glamorous trip to the ballet with her sister and take her son Ahmed on his dream visit to Disneyland Paris before she becomes too ill. ‘I want him to have some good memories with me because he is going to lose his mum,’ she said.
Both the Whittington Hospital and her GP surgery refused to comment on Fiona’s case due to patient confidentiality. A hospital spokeswoman said: ‘She says she will be writing a formal complaint to the chief executive.’
Wife gives birth leaning against wall outside closed hospital
Rugby team captain Jamie Green, 32, took Vicky, 28, to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, after she went into labour unexpectedly in the middle of the night. But when they arrived at the hospital they found the maternity unit locked and Vicky began to give birth by the time a security guard opened the front doors.
Jamie crouched behind his wife and ‘caught’ the newborn baby ‘like a rugby ball’ as she braced herself against the wall outside. He described holding his son Jonathon tightly to his chest seconds before midwives arrived on the scene. The dramatic scenes were captured on CCTV.
Jamie, who runs a glass wholesale business, said: ‘With Vicky screaming “He’s coming” we parked and got across the car park to the other entrance. ‘Unbelievably, the door was locked and I was banging on the door and ringing for the porter. ‘He appeared and I shouted “My wife’s having a baby, help” but he came back with just a wheelchair and no midwife.
‘Vicky just had to pull down her trousers and I could see the head. I was standing behind Vicky and she was standing up, braced against the wall. ‘I just thought it’s me or nothing, I have to catch him otherwise he will hit the floor. ‘I caught him like he was a rugby ball and held him tightly against my chest like I would have done in a game to keep him warm.
‘I’m an OK rugby player but I’ve been getting some stick from my mates about my safe pair of hands because I have been known to drop a few sitters in my time. ‘When Jonathon gets older we will tell him about his dramatic birth. Because it was caught on CCTV, he will have the best home video ever.’
Jamie is now named as the baby’s ‘father’ and official ‘deliverer’ on his son’s birth certificate and the place of birth is listed as ‘ATC entrance’.
Chartered accountant Vicky, who lives with Jamie in Royston, Hertfordshire, was due to give birth at home with the help of a midwife. But when she started feeling contractions at around 3.30am on Saturday March 5 she called the designated midwife and discovered she was away on holiday. Two other area midwives were too busy to help and the nearest midwife would have had to travel from around an hour away in Bedford.
So Jamie, who plays hooker for Royston Rugby Club, put Vicky in the car and drove to the Rosie maternity unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. The department’s entrance was closed due to renovations so they drove across the car park to the hospital’s front doors which were also locked.
Vicky said: ‘I knew there was no time left and on the next contraction he was going to be born. ‘So I said to Jamie ‘you’re going to have to catch him’. Everybody is just laughing when they hear what happened. ‘Jamie is club captain of the rugby club in Royston and now his team mates say “at least you caught something”.’
Jonathon was born weighing a healthy 9Ib 4oz and the family were back home by midday. The couple also have two sons together, William, five, and three-year-old Thomas.
A spokesman for Addenbrooke’s Hospital said the maternity unit entrance was closed for renovation and the hospital’s main front doors were locked at 10pm to protect staff.
Kate Hawes, senior manager of midwives at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, said access is granted when patients announce their arrival. She said: ‘Sometimes nature intervenes and despite the best-laid plans and everyone’s efforts, things can change quite rapidly.’
Political correctness is as severe a form of censorship as any, warns The Duchess of Cornwall
The Duchess of Cornwall yesterday branded political correctness ‘as severe a form of censorship as any’. In a timely speech, Camilla described freedom of expression as being ‘at the heart of our democratic system’ and expressed her hope that people would continue to speak without fear or favour.
The Prince of Wales’s wife also expressed her ‘passionate belief’ in the ability of newspapers to ‘question, debate and criticise’ and described the Press as having a ‘pivotal’ role in scrutinising every corner of society.
Camilla, who has fielded her fair share of brickbats from the media, chose to speak out at a time of intense public debate over the insidious nature of privacy laws. Parliament is facing calls to debate super-injunctions – draconian gagging orders being used with alarming regularity by celebrities to prevent the media reporting details of extra-marital affairs and other personal misdemeanours.
But rallying to the defence of the media, the Duchess said yesterday: ‘I take enormous pride in our ability to question, debate and criticise all aspects of our society.
‘I believe passionately in freedom of expression. I believe freedom of expression, so long as it doesn’t contravene the law, or offend others, to be at the heart of our democratic system. In this, you [the Press] play a vital, if not pivotal role.
‘But just one note of caution: in our right to speak freely, please let us not become too politically correct, because surely political correctness is as severe a form of censorship as any.’
Sources close to the Duchess said that by ‘political correctness’ she was expressing her hope that people – and newspapers – would be able to speak out about a variety of issues, including race and sexual equality, without feeling ‘inhibited’.
‘She sees arguments over what is deemed the politically correct thing to say about issues that affect our day-to-day life as a way of curtailing free speech,’ the sources said.
The Duchess was speaking at the prestigious London Press Club awards, giving a warm and witty address to the assembled editors.
‘When it comes to the Press you have probably guessed that my motto is “No news is good news”,’ she said. ‘But I wanted to take this opportunity of talking about something that matters deeply to me but which I feel sometimes goes unnoticed, and that is to celebrate what is best about Britain.’
In particular she praised the nation’s ‘brave’ armed forces as well the foreign correspondents and cameramen who risk their lives to report on international incidents.
Camilla also jokingly referred to ‘a certain wedding the other week’ which, she said, provided a much-needed boost of patriotism.
Drawing to a close, she concluded: ‘There is nothing shameful in expressing pride in our values and accomplishment.’
As she presented the awards, Camilla couldn’t help but smile when one of the speakers included a waspish remark about the financial problems recently suffered by Duchess of York.
Fired: Stationmaster who pulled trolley off line to stop an accident… and what a surprise, it’s all down to elf ‘n’ safety
Over nearly three decades of dedicated service, he was always happy to go the extra mile for his rail passengers. Stationmaster Ian Faletto even spent his own money on flowers, carpets and heaters as well as handing out free sweets and jigsaws to travellers.
Now, however, he has been sacked after pulling a shopping trolley dumped by vandals off the track. The 49-year-old bachelor believed his prompt action prevented an accident at Lymington Pier, Hampshire.
But bosses at South West Trains saw it very differently – and dismissed him after a 27-year career for ‘a serious breach of safety’.
Mr Faletto said: ‘I can’t believe it after all I have done for them. What I did prevented an accident which could have derailed a train and injured passengers.
‘I saw the trolley on the line and managed to remove it before the first train arrived that morning. Health and safety rules have gone too far when you prevent an accident and get sacked for it. I just want my job back.’
As well as dipping into his pocket to add homely touches, he used to go in on days off to make sure Lymington Pier and the other three stations he ran were staffed. Mr Faletto, from Southampton, also painted railings in his own time and had not taken a holiday in five years.
‘I’ve been a real ambassador for the company,’ he said. ‘I have spent thousands of pounds of my own money making the stations the best they can be.
‘That’s what commuters deserve for the amount they pay, to have a nice warm place to wait and they were grateful for it. ‘I don’t know how I am going to get by.
‘Because I was sacked, I lost my mortgage protection and my pension. I will have to find a way but the trains are all I know.’
The incident which cost Mr Faletto his job was on Sunday, March 6. After arriving at 8.30am and spotting the trolley, he contacted the signalman to request that the power be turned off and jumped on to the line in protective shoes to remove it.
A week later, a district manager saw the incident while looking through CCTV footage and it emerged that the power had not been switched off. Mr Faletto was suspended and then sacked following a disciplinary hearing.
Passengers are also very unhappy at the decision to axe him. They include the Reverend Alex Russell, 52, from St Mary’s Church, Pennington, who is organising a petition in a campaign backed by 200 people. ‘He always went the extra mile for passengers,’ she said. ‘No one has ever had a bad word to say about him.
‘People have been driving miles just to sign my petition. He has been sacked for breach of health and safety but there is an exception rule if it is an emergency. ‘I would have thought stopping an accident is an emergency. ‘His life is in ruins. He has worked for the railways for 27 years and has nothing else.’
Mr Faletto also ran Lymington Town, Ashurst and Beaulieu Road stations on a branch line from the main line to Lymington, a staging post for Isle of Wight ferries. The single-track line has two trains an hour in each direction. Mr Faletto, who is taking his former employers to a tribunal, worked at nearby Sway station for 15 years before moving to the Lymington line. He has won 25 awards, including most improved station in the region and best kept station in the country for four years in a row. Mr Faletto also won a rare award for ‘outstanding personal contribution’ to the railways.
He fears standards have slipped in his absence. ‘I’m so upset about this as well as angry,’ he said. ‘I went back to see the station and it’s a blooming mess now, full of rubbish. I tried to make it the best it could be.’
Degree? You may be better off with a McDonald’s job: British school leavers told to ‘ignore snobbery’ and join fast food chain
University is the wrong choice for many youngsters – and a ‘McJob’ is a better option, according to the boss of McDonald’s. While studying for a degree may be the right path to take for some people, it can be a disaster for others, Jill McDonald said yesterday.
The fast-food chain’s chief executive called for an end to education ‘snobbery’, stressing that no one should feel forced to go to university.
More than half of her executive team even started work flipping burgers, she said.
A ‘McJob’ is considered a low-paid, dead-end work, but the firm says this impression is unfair and misleading. Of its 85,000-strong British workforce, around 16,000 are studying for a qualification organised by the company.
Options range from an NVQ in Maths and English – which is the equivalent of a GCSE – to a foundation degree in hospitality.
Speaking at the Institute of Directors annual conference in East London, Mrs McDonald said: ‘We need to acknowledge that the road many young people take today may not be the one we took in the past. ‘We need to remove the snobbery that does down workplace learning. ‘For many put off by high fees, this could and should be the route they take.’
The 46-year-old, who is married with two young children and coincidentally shares the surname of her employer, said she is ‘definitely’ not saying that people should not go to university.
In fact, she has a first-class degree in business studies from the University of Brighton.
‘I am definitely not saying that people shouldn’t go to university if they have the opportunity to do so, but I do believe it might not be the right route for everyone,’ she added. ‘Universities are getting more competitive and expensive, but if that is someone’s preferred option, that’s great. ‘Work-based training can be a fine option for young people to consider.’
Her comments come as the Coalition has come under fire for plans to allow fees for UK undergraduates of up to £9,000 a year. Students’ tuition fees are paid by the Government in the first instance, with graduates paying back the loan when they earn more than £21,000.
Britain is grappling with a youth unemployment problem among 16 and 17-year-olds, according to official figures. Nearly 40 per cent of this age group are unemployed, which means nearly 220,000 are desperately searching for a job.
McDonald’s is one of the largest employers of people under the age 21. Every week, around 200 of its workers get an NVQ. This is free, and the fast-food chain provides them with text books and access to a computer. They typically study during their lunch break, or before or after their shifts.
Meanwhile, research published today shows that many graduates are ending up in menial jobs such as waitressing. A shocking 42 per cent of this summer’s graduates will be ‘under-employed’ in a job for which a degree is not needed, according to the Centre for Economic and Business Research. It found students doing law, history, philosophy and languages will fare the worst, with more than 50 per cent finding they are under-employed.
Warmist scientists close their ears to other views
By James Delingpole
Yesterday I was at Downing College, Cambridge, for a Climate Change conference organised by Professor Alan Howard, the scientist/philanthropist/entrepreneur known, inter alia, for having devised the Cambridge diet and for funding the magnificent lecture hall in which the event took place. (For more reporting – and some brilliant cartoons from Josh who sat right next to me sketching in a most impressive way – see Bishop Hill; and many, many thanks to the Howard Trust for organising it.)
The big difference between this and almost any other Climate Change conference is that it was the first – in Britain, anyway, so far as I know – to field a solid team of scientists from both sides of the debate. The Warmists included Professor Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit, Professor Andrew Watson – also of the UEA and Professor John Mitchell, former chief scientist at the Met Office. The Sceptics – Realists if you prefer – included Professor Henrik Svensmark, Professor Nils-Axel Morner, and Professor Ian Plimer. Any mention of “Climategate” announced Prof Howard at the beginning would result in immediate ejection: he wanted to keep this event civil and scientific.
So no, I didn’t go up and introduce myself to Phil Jones as the man who made him world famous. I think he may have given me a long, hard, hollow stare at breakfast yesterday morning; and there was a dodgy moment during a coffee break where he perched his cup near me, suddenly noticed the danger, and fled elsewhere. But I certainly wasn’t going to bother him, not least because I think he cut a rather pitiable figure. His talk – essentially on why the CRU’s adjusted temperature figures are kosher – was slightly nervy and resolutely dull. I got the impression he now wishes climate science were just an apolitical backwater in which yer average PhD could happily eke out his career untroubled by the kind of controversy which has all but ruined Jones’s life.
Some of the presentations were excellent. It was particularly good to hear Professor Svensmark make his compelling case (which no one on the other side could successfully refute) on cosmic rays and cloud formation. But overall, I shared the disappointment expressed by one of the final speakers, Czech President Vaclav Klaus that there had been almost no honest, open debate between the two sides. One side made its case; then the other put its contradictory case. But apart from a bit of snide questioning and the odd sniping shot from the wings, there wasn’t much by way of robust exchanging of ideas. It was more – as Klaus noted – a series of monologues.
You’d have to be very naive, though, to conclude that the fault lay on both sides and that if only they could communicate with one another we’d all attain the sensible middle ground position where wisdom, truth and sweet reasonableness resides. That would be to fall for what I call the “Dog S*** Yoghurt Fallacy.”
It goes like this: one side of this debate thinks that the best thing to put in yoghurt is fruit; the other side is of the view that what really needs to be added to yoghurt is a nice bit of dog poo. Now suppose we were to compromise. Suppose the latter faction were to concede sufficient ground to agree that only a tiny quantity of dog poo should go into the mainly fruit-rich yoghurt, would this constitute a victory for commonsense?
Of course it wouldn’t. Even if just the smallest, smidgen of a fraction of dog poo were to go into that yoghurt it would still be irredeemably tainted. Similar rules apply to the current debate on global warming. On one side – what you might call the fruit side – you have those scientists, economists and, yes, bloggers who maintain that CO2 is a generally beneficial trace gas which encourages plant growth and poses no risk of catastrophic global warming. On the other side – the dog poo side, obviously – you have “scientists”, politicians, spivs, rent-seekers, cranks, whackos, eco-loons, EU fonctionnaires and such like who believe that CO2 poses a major problem to global climate and must be taxed and regulated to oblivion.
Which side is right? One of the very few things which emerged from yesterday’s debate with pellucid clarity was this:
WE DON’T KNOW.
The Warmist scientists are quite capable of talking a good game about their belief system, even to the point – almost – of being persuasive on the subject of their computer “projections” of future global temperatures.
But then, so too are the Sceptics. You’d need to be very set in your belief system indeed to come away from one of Professor Ian Plimer’s feisty, funny engaging lectures and not be convinced that the whole idea of AGW is a complete crock. Same goes for Professor Nils Axel Morner’s hilarious, crazy-Swede lecture on his experiences measuring sea-level rises in the Maldives (there hasn’t been any: whatever the Maldives president and his underwater cabinet tell you). Same also goes for Prof Svensmark: really his cosmic ray theory is gloriously compelling.
In other words there is still an enormous amount of uncertainty out there about the chaotic system which causes climate. But here’s the rub: global policy makers are acting as if there isn’t.
And the reason they’re acting as if there isn’t because, essentially, they have been hijacked by the scientists on the Warmist side who – behaving far more like political activists than dispassionate seekers after truth – have exaggerated the strength of their case, even to the point of tweaking their data and suppressing contradictory research, in order to ensure that their “correct” interpretation of reality is the one that prevails.
This was the whole point of the Climategate scandal and why it mattered. And since Climategate – as we saw from the entirely unapologetic, nay struttingly arrogant in some cases – behaviour of the Warmist scientists present absolutely zip-all has changed.
Hence Dr Klaus’s frustration. Apart from being the only European leader (apart from Hungary’s) worth his salt, Dr Klaus is also an economist and a former serf of a Communist state. He said: “The arrogance of global warming activists and their fellow travellers in politics is something I know well from the past. They wish to suppress truth, control the market and dictate policy and I, who have spent most of my time living under communism feel obliged to warn against it.”