Wrong medication, no doctor and midwife neglect kills baby in NHS hospital
“Overseas-trained” staff again, it would seem. Biobelemoye is an African name, usually Nigerian, I gather
A midwife repeatedly chanted “no pain, no gain” to the mother of a stillborn boy while she was in the throes of labour, a disciplinary hearing was told.
Biobelemoye Toby told the sobbing woman she was a ‘silly girl’ and ‘did not deserve the baby’ as she screamed for a doctor and her husband begged the midwife for help.
The 41-year-old was two weeks overdue when she was incorrectly given a double dose of medication to induce the labour at the Royal Free Hospital, in Hampstead, London.
On being transferred to the labour ward a second midwife, Beverley Blankson, told the husband she was concerned about the baby’s heart beat, told him to watch the monitor and disappeared from the room.
The baby was born a few hours later on March 25, 2005, with the cord wrapped around his neck. Despite efforts to resuscitate him, he could not be saved.
Both midwives are accused of a string of charges relating to the delivery at the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Baby A’s father, a journalist referred to as Mr A, told the hearing after a series of visits to the hospital over the previous two days they were told a doctor would induce at 9.30pm on March 24. No one came, but Toby said she would administer Prostin – a gel that starts labour – and get things underway.
The committee heard not only did Toby miscalculate the amount of medication needed, she also left patient A alone despite a sudden onset of pain. Mr A said when they asked for a doctor, Toby said: ‘If Mohamed wont come to the mountain, the mountain will go to Mohamed, I will find the doctor’. She returned without a doctor and insisted she would start the process herself. ‘She would only be with us for a short period of time, then kept leaving us,’ Mr A said.
He recalled his wife screaming: ‘Help me, help me, get me a doctor’. But Toby kept insisting she was ‘not in real labour’ and would just have to cope, the panel heard. She would then go back to the nursing station, leaving Mr A begging for her to come back whilst his wife screamed in pain.
‘I clearly recall her saying to patient A: ‘You are a silly girl, you don’t deserve this baby. I am going to take it off you.’
As the night progressed, patient A asked for pain relief and was told as she could have was Pethidine. But the NMC heard that in the past the patient had a severe reaction to the drug and said she could not take it.
The panel was told Toby said: ‘Pethidine or pain’, leaving the first-time mother with no other option.
The midwife also removed the machine, which was monitoring the babys heart rate, and subsequent investigations have shown she wrongly recorded the rate as far slower than it actually was.
Finally patient A was walked over to the labour ward where Blankson took over care, but left them alone for around three hours.
When patient As water had run out, Blankson told him not to fill it from the taps as it was not safe to drink.
He said: ‘I held her arm and looked her in the eye and begged her to stay with patient A. ‘I ran to the car and when I came back I saw midwife Blankson in the corridor. I was shocked she had left patient A on her own after all that I said to her.’
Blankson then mentioned she was ‘concerned’ about the babys heart rate and handed Mr A a call button and told him to call her if the rate dropped. Every time he pressed the button however, she did not respond and he had to go and get her from the corridor to check.
Mr A said: ‘I was watching the monitor like a hawk. This was my sons life and suddenly I was being left in charge of it.’
An inquest held in 2007 found that this point was the ‘last possible time to save baby A’, but Blankson failed to recognise the seriousness of the situation. At around 6am, both Blankson and Toby started encouraging patient A to push. ‘They were saying they wanted to get the baby out before the end of their shift,’ Mr A said.
He told the committee he and his wife were made to feel they were ‘too posh to push and hyper sensitive’ as the labour progressed.
Blankson has admitted the majority of charges against her but denies requesting that Patient A’s partner monitor the CTG, during the periods when she was away and denies failing to identify deviations from the normal on the CTG between 02.18 and 07.25.
Toby has not attended the central London hearing and has cited poor health for her absence.
Muslim gang launched horrific attack on religious studies teacher they did not want teaching girls
A gang of four Muslim men launched a horrific attack on an RE teacher because they did not approve of him teaching religious studies to Muslim girls, a court heard yesterday.
Gary Smith, 28, was left with facial scarring, both long and short-term memory loss, and now has no sense of smell. He became depressed after his face was slashed and he suffered a brain haemorrhage, fractured skull and broken jaw following the attack.
The men were said to have attempted the assault several times, ‘lying in wait’ for Mr Smith before successfully am-bushing him on his way to work on July 12 last year.
The gang was recorded planning the attack by detectives who had bugged defendant Akmol Hussain’s car over an unrelated matter. They were taped saying they wanted to hit or kill the teacher just because he was the head of religious studies at the Central Foundation School for Girls in Bow, East London. In one recording Hussain said: ‘He’s mocking Islam and he’s putting doubts in people’s minds …. How can somebody take a job to teach Islam when they’re not even a Muslim themselves?’
Armed with an iron rod and brick, they punched, kicked and attacked Mr Smith, leaving him unconscious covered in blood on the pavement in Burdett Road, Tower Hamlets, East London.
Mr Smith was taken to hospital after he was found by two passers-by, and only regained consciousness two days later.
The gang, made up of Simon Alam, 19, Azad Hussein, 27, of Bethnal Green, Sheikh Rashid, 27, of Shadwell and Akmol Hussain, 26, of Wapping, fled the scene in a car and went on to boast about their role in the assault. Alam said he hit Mr Smith over the head with a metal bar saying: ‘I turned and hit him on his face with the rod and he went flying and fell on his stomach.’
Sarah Whitehouse, prosecuting at Snaresbrook Crown Court, said: ‘He was subjected to a violent attack while he was on his way to work. ‘His injuries included bleeding in the brain and a broken upper jaw. He has been left with permanent scarring to his face. The attack was pre-meditated and was vicious and sustained. ‘It was also a cowardly attack, carried out by a group of at least four men, using weapons, on the single victim who would have had limited opportunity to defend himself.’
The teacher had been at the school for eight years teaching faiths including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism and Hinduism. ‘It was a cowardly attack, carried out by a group of at least four men, using weapons, on the single victim who would have had limited opportunity to defend himself’
Ms Whitehouse added: ‘He was targeted as the victim of this attack quite simply because of his position as head of religious studies at the school. ‘The defendants held strong religious beliefs and they chose him because they did not approve of his teaching.’
Hussain’s car had been bugged on an ‘unrelated matter’ and it was during that surveillance operation that some of the gang members were recorded discussing the attack. He spoke about a pupil at the school, calling her teacher a dog – an offensive name in Islam. He is then heard saying ‘this is the dog we want to’ and then a word is said in Sylheti – a language from Bangladesh – that means to hit, strike or kill.
Two other attempts, on on July 8 and one on July 9 last year failed when Mr Smith did not take his usual route to work.
Akmol Hussain, 26, of Wapping, Azad Hussein, 27, of Bethnal Green, Sheikh Rashid, 27, of Shadwell and Simon Alam, 19, of Whitechapel, all in East London, admitted GBH with intent. A fifth defendant, Badruzzuha Uddin, 24, also of Shadwell, admitted assisting the thugs by hiding blood-stained clothing.
Now British Elf ‘n Safety zealots warn: Beware low-flying GEESE
A keep-fit class in a local park is not an activity most would consider fraught with danger.
While participants may occasionally suffer minor injuries such as a muscle strain or a twisted ankle, health and safety zealots have identified a previously undiscovered danger – low-flying geese.
A fitness instructor was warned of the airborne peril after being approached to run exercise classes for office workers in a leafy part of West London. Before being allowed to organise the workout sessions, the instructor was asked to provide a list of potential hazards at Chiswick Business Park, which has attractive landscaped gardens centred around a lake.
After struggling to think of any dangers posed at the location, the woman received a form from the park’s own health and safety team highlighting the supposed risk of injuries caused by a ‘collision’ with wildlife. The form stated: ‘Instructors are instructed to stay clear of wildlife (eg low-flying geese)’.
One of the keep-fit participants said they were most surprised when told about the potential risk to their health. ‘When I heard about it, I thought it must be a joke,’ said a class member, who asked not to be identified. To be spending time deliberating whether a group of adults running on the spot are in serious danger from airborne geese does seem to be taking health and safety just a little too far.’
The assessment form also warned of the dangers of trees, lampposts and benches. Instructors were told to ‘avoid trees with low-hanging branches’ and to keep clear of such areas completely ‘during low light conditions’.
They were also urged to ‘brief clients’ on the safe use of ‘park furniture’ and to ‘avoid all water features, or if moving past, to slow down and inform clients to avoid the water feature’.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) said it did not have any records of anyone attending hospital accident and emergency departments as a result of injuries caused by low-flying geese. A spokesman said that accidents involving ducks or geese tended to occur when people tripped or slipped over while feeding them. However, she said that several thousands of people were injured every year after bumping into a tree or branch.
RoSPA occupational safety adviser Roger Bibbings criticised risk assessments that focused on trivial rather than real safety issues because they undermined the whole system.
Mr Bibbings said: ‘Part of the problem is that risk assessments can turn into a tick-box exercise in which ¬people include every conceivable risk and every conceivable hazard they can imagine. It doesn’t help anybody. When you get people going over the top on health and safety, it brings the whole system into disrepute.
A spokeswoman for Chiswick Park Enjoy-Work, which runs the private park for about a dozen businesses, said all event operators had to provide ‘relevant’ risk assessments. She said that firms normally drew up their own assessments based on an inspection. But she confirmed that Enjoy-Work had itself drawn up the assessment referring to low-flying geese for one instructor because she was struggling to complete a form.
The spokeswoman said that the company had included a number of potential hazards that other operators running similar fitness classes had mentioned. She added: ‘I think it is a case that this issue was raised, it was of concern, and we like to look after the wildlife here and make sure it is safe. We do have a large lake on the site which is home to a lot of wildlife including ducks, swans, herons and geese.’
Apart from fitness sessions, events held for the park’s 5,000 employees include fireworks displays and barbecues.
Weak teachers will be removed from British classrooms in just one term as heads get new powers to fire
Radical plans to fast-track the sacking of almost 20,000 incompetent teachers have caused fury among unions. Education Secretary Michael Gove yesterday unveiled proposals to enable heads to axe bad teachers within a term, rather than the current average of more than a year.
He will also stop the ‘dodge’ of teachers putting off disciplinary proceedings by going on sick leave with full pay, by allowing hearings to be held during this absence.
And incompetent teachers will no longer be able to move from school to school as heads will be granted access to the ‘performance data’ of potential staff.
Under the proposals, the time it usually takes schools to remove poorly performing teachers will be cut from a year or more to one term, the equivalent of a few months.
Restricting the time a headteacher can formally observe a class teacher, known as the ‘three-hour observation rule’, will be scrapped. Complex and prescriptive ‘capability’ procedures for dealing with performance will also be overhauled.
Ministers say the system ‘fails to respect the professionalism of headteachers and teachers’. Around 60 pages of ‘unnecessary’ guidance will be axed, the Department for Education (DfE) said, and it will be made clear that staff illness need not bring disciplinary action to a halt.
But while school leaders welcomed the moves, one teaching union said the measures will give headteachers ‘a licence to bully’.
NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: ‘Not content with subjecting teachers to a significant two-year pay cut, assault on their pension provision and savage cuts to education budgets causing job losses, ministers today have added insult to injury by effectively proposing that teachers will be on a permanent capability procedure.’
She added: ‘Stripping away safeguards to ensure that teachers are treated fairly and professionally will not deliver high performance. ‘These proposals will give headteachers a license to bully.’
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said: ‘Society places a great deal of faith in teachers. ‘It’s vital for all concerned that systems are in place to ensure performance is managed and poor performance is addressed resolutely.
‘This will mean that those who place their trust in the profession can be reassured. ‘There are really very few weak teachers in the country but we must be able to help those that are to move on quickly, fairly and respectfully. ‘This is only right for the vast majority of dedicated and skilled teachers in our schools, as well as for pupils themselves.’
Mr Gove said: ‘Heads and teachers want a simpler and faster system to deal with teachers who are struggling. For far too long schools have been trapped in complex red tape. ‘We must deal with this problem in order to protect the interests of children who suffer when struggling teachers are neither helped nor removed. Schools must be given the responsibility to deal with this fairly and quickly.’
According to figures from the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE), 15 teachers were struck off for incompetence between 2001 and the beginning of last month, and there have been 81 competence hearings in that time.
Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said: ‘The Government’s proposals to merge the regulations for managing teachers’ performance and objectives with those dealing with under-performing teachers are unfair, unjust and unworkable. ‘The proposals turn performance management on its head. Instead of helping teachers become even better at teaching, it will give heads an easy way to get rid of teachers that they dislike.’
Ministers have already announced other reforms to boost teaching standards, including moves to raise the degree requirements needed to start a teacher training course, and a review of the professional standards teachers are judged against.
They are also considering allowing grammar schools to expand. Although the Coalition has refused to increase the number of selective schools in England – currently 164 – it is likely to allow existing ones to increase their intake. At present the number of places they can offer is restricted by local councils, which fear their expansion will make other schools in the area less attractive.
However, Education Secretary Michael Gove is ready to scrap the rule with the publication of a revised schools admissions code this summer.
The most sought-after grammar schools, which dominate league tables for GCSE and A-levels, have up to ten applications for every place. Many are looking to boost their intake by at least a sixth from 2012, and as much as a half by 2017.
Grammar school war
Mr Gove’s move is likely to reignite the bitter row over grammars within Tory ranks. David Cameron was accused of a ‘humiliating climbdown’ after ditching policy backing their return – and now faces calls to come to the aid of two long-established grammar schools in Reading.
Michael Fallon, Tory MP for Sevenoaks, Kent, has fought for a new grammar school in his constituency. He said the Education Secretary’s plans will be a step forwards but stressed the need for more selective schools.
‘Many places at grammars are taken by pupils from outside the county they are in,’ he said. ‘Expansion of existing grammars will at least take some of the pressure off places. But what we really need is more grammars.’
There are 158,000 pupils currently at grammar schools – nearly five per cent of the school roll. Heads predict that the move could boost this figure by 50 per cent within the next five years – the equivalent to each grammar taking on three additional years of entry.