Mother-of-three dies after waiting months for X-ray to reveal tumour the size of a football in her chest
A mother-of three who repeatedly visited her GP suffering from breathlessness over seven months was finally sent for an X-ray… which revealed a tumour the size of a football in her chest.
Her family have today received a six-figure out-of-court settlement after she died on the operating table in November 2005.
Terri Bailey from Bedworth in Warwickshire visited her local health centre complaining of difficulty breathing and pain under her left breast. However, she was only referred for an emergency scan when she was seen by a third GP. He spotted her ‘red flag’ symptoms and referred her to the George Elliot Hospital in Nuneaton.
The X-ray revealed a large tumour which weighed 1.6kg and covered most of her chest. Her family said they were told there was only a two per cent chance she would die during an operation to remove the tumour, but Ms Bailey passed away after developing a severely abnormal heart rhythm that couldn’t be restored.
The settlement comes just weeks before the case was due to go to trial. The three defendants – University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust and GPs Dr Peter Hickson and Dr Sukhdev Singh – jointly offered to settle the case out of court for an undisclosed sum. None has admitted liability for failings into Ms Bailey’s care.
The compensation, approved in the High Court in Birmingham today, will provide for her three children, Zac, 15, Leah, 18, and Connor, 20.
Ms Bailey, who was a home care supervisor, died on the operating table while undergoing surgery at the Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry in November 2005. Tests later showed the tumour to be malignant.
Her mother, Janine Dennis, 58, from Bedworth, Warwickshire, said: ‘When Terri died we were shocked and devastated, particularly as the surgeon had told her that the risk of dying during surgery was only two per cent. ‘We just wanted answers about how and why she died but the more we learned from the medical experts instructed by our solicitor, the more angry we became that steps were not taken by those supposedly caring for her, that could potentially have saved her life.
‘It has been a long legal battle in our fight for justice for Terri which has been made particularly difficult due to the fact an out of court settlement was only offered just weeks before a trial and that despite this pay-out no one has been held accountable or apologised for Terri’s death.’
She added: ‘We understand that Terri had a malignant tumour, but she should not have died during surgery. ‘She was taken from us so suddenly under circumstances which should have been avoided. ‘I just hope that lessons have been learnt, as no other family should have to go through the pain and devastation that we have.’
The medical law firm which represented the family says Ms Bailey’s death was an avoidable tragedy, which raises serious questions about pre-surgical preparations and has urged the hospital to learn lessons to protect future patient welfare.
Lindsay Gibb, a medical negligence expert at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, said: ‘This tragic case has sadly left three children without their mother and raises a number of extremely serious concerns regarding the level of care Terri received from both her GPs and the hospital.
‘The symptoms which Terri was suffering from should, in the view of our medical experts, have rung alarm bells much earlier and prompted a chest X-ray which would have been easy to arrange and would have led to a much earlier diagnosis. ‘Instead it would appear two GPs ignored signs that something was seriously wrong, which delayed her being referred to hospital.
‘By the time a CT scan finally revealed the true extent of her illness, the tumour was very large making the operation more difficult. Terri did not know at the time of surgery that her tumour was malignant, which would in all likelihood have limited her life expectancy.’
Third of British 11-year-olds fail to grasp the 3Rs: 200,000 pupils STILL struggle to read, write and add up
One in three pupils is leaving primary school without a proper grasp of the basics, official statistics reveal today. Around 200,000 still struggle to read, write and add up, despite billions of pounds poured into education under the last Labour government.
The figures, unveiled by the Department for Education, will raise fears that thousands of pupils will find it hard to cope with the secondary curriculum from next month and may fall even further behind.
The Coalition has already pledged to drive up poor standards with a focus on arithmetic and the ‘synthetic phonics’ reading scheme, where children learn the 44 letter sounds and how they blend together.
There will be a toughened up literacy test for 11-year-olds in spelling, grammar, punctuation, handwriting and vocabulary from 2013. And a reading test is also being introduced for six-year-olds next year. Currently, children sit three exams in reading, writing and maths during the final May of primary education. The results are then published in Key Stage Two national league tables in December.
Last year, 35 per cent failed to reach the expected standard, known as ‘level four’, in all three tests. The figure is expected to be about the same this year.
But Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said there may be ‘a bit of improvement this year’ as schools pay more attention to the measure. ‘The Government distinguishes between performance measures and accountability measures,’ he explained. ‘This combined figure (for reading, writing and maths) is a performance measure and therefore public information. Schools recognise this is being presented so they’re putting more effort into it.
They would pull out the stops if it became an accountability measure.’
Last year, the proportion of pupils passing English, combining the reading and writing paper, was 81 per cent. This was up from 80 per cent in 2009, but no better than in 2008. In the reading paper, just 84 per cent of pupils hit national targets, down from 86 per cent in 2009 and 87 per cent in 2008. Results in writing increased from 68 to 71 per cent. The proportion of pupils reaching the standards in maths rose from 79 to 80 per cent. Overall, 65 per cent of children reached ‘level four’ in reading, writing and maths, up from 62 per cent in both 2009 and 2008.
Previously, all 600,000 Year Six pupils used to take science SATS and the results were also used to compile school league tables. But now a representative sample takes the test. Last year, 81 per cent achieved ‘level four’.
This year’s national curriculum tests were hit by controversy as almost 2,000 headteachers reported problems, raising concerns that pupils had been let down by poor marking. More than a third of heads questioned by the National Association of Head Teachers said that the problems with marking were ‘severe’ or ‘outrageous’.
Reaching the required ‘level four’ in maths means 11-year-olds should be able to do basic tasks such as multiply in their heads. For reading, they should understand themes and refer to the text when explaining views. Pupils should also be able to use grammatically complex sentences and spell accurately.
Last year, Ofsted estimated the cost of delivering Labour’s literacy and numeracy programmes since 1998 at £4.5billion.
British weathermen discover that they were wrong about big storms and basic theory for the last 90 years
“This research shows how much more remains for us to learn about the weather around us”. So could they be wrong about global warming too? OF COURSE NOT! That’s not falsifiable
Researchers found that our basic understanding of “low pressure systems” has been flawed for more than 90 years. Scientists from the University of Manchester contradicted traditional understanding of how low pressure systems evolve.
The Norwegian model in use since the 1920s is that when a storm occludes, it will automatically weaken.
Writing in the journal Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, they found that the Great Storm of October 1987 and the Burns’ Day storm of January 1990 did not fit the model.
Dr David Schultz, from the university’s School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, who led the study, said that while both were occluded (evolving), but still deadly. He said scientists know that the deepening of a low pressure system is not dependent on when a cyclone occludes.
Dr Schultz said: “The Norwegian model of low pressure systems served us well for many years, but it’s time to move on. “What we teach students in school needs to be changed. And forecasters need to be retrained to have this latest information.
“I hope that this model will help people understand the particular weather conditions associated with these potentially hazardous storms. Yet, this research shows how much more remains for us to learn about the weather around us.” He added: “With this new interpretation of the occlusion process we can explain why not all low pressure systems occlude – the winds are not strong enough to wrap up the storm.
“The Norwegian model of low pressure systems served us well for many years, but it’s time to move on. “This new model is better than the Norwegian model at explaining the available observations of the structure and evolution of occluded low pressure systems.”
Dr Schultz added: “I hope that this model will help people understand the particular weather conditions associated with these potentially hazardous storms.”
Horror! Farmland prevents rare plants from getting pollinated
So farmland must be CUT BACK, is the implicit message
A study has challenged the idea that areas such as farmland provide pollinating insects with a “corridor” between fragmented habitats. Researchers suggested that the pollinators in their survey were “fickle foragers” and would concentrate on areas rich in pollen and nectar.
The team warned that these behaviour could have an impact on rare native plants that are pollinated by insects. The findings have been published in the journal Current Biology.
The team of researchers from Oxford University and Earthwatch UK said their findings were a surprise, as the result challenged the long-held assumption that areas that were rich in resources would encourage the movement of pollinators from one group of native trees to another.
However, they added, it actually created a barrier effect for non-specialist feeders. “Looked at from an insect’s point of view, it makes sense,” explained co-author David Boshier. “These insects are not trying to pollinate a particular species of tree, they are just foraging. So if they leave a patch of native forest and fly across farmland which happens to be rich in resources, they are likely to collect pollen and nectar there rather than carry on to another patch of native forest.”
However, Dr Boshier added: “Conversely, areas of sparse resources – such as (conifer) plantations – have less to offer so the pollinators are more likely to continue their journey and reach other patch of the native forest.”
The researchers focused their attention on the pollination of Gomortega keule, an endangered species of tree whose natural stands only survive in patches of native forest in central Chile.
Gomortega keule, listed as Endangered (Image: Tonya Lander) The study warns disruption to pollinators’ behaviour could threaten Gomortega keule’s long-term survival
The trees’ primary pollinators are hoverflies. By sampling seeds, the team was able to develop an understanding of how pollen was transported across the study area.
“If you can imagine about 900 trees, and all of the potential connections between those trees, then you end up with a lot of data regarding where pollinators are moving or not moving,” explained co-author Dr Tonya Lander.
“We used that data to build a model and, on average, these look like the patterns that are emerging,” she told BBC News. “In general, there was more pollination happening when trees are separated by tree plantations, and less pollination happening when the trees were separated by agricultural land.”
The team explained that they decided to call this effect the Circe Principle, after a nymph in Homer’s Odyssey who seduced Odysseus on his journey home from his adventures.
Another member of the team, Dan Bebber from Earthwatch, said: “This study shows that new landscape models need to take into account the positive contributions and benefits of landscapes defined as ‘non-habitat’, as well as how best they can be managed. “Our results identify possible actions to improve the interactions of landscapes of endangered species such as G. keule, and other species pollinated by common insects.”
The team now hope to carry out further studies to test whether the Circe Principle applies to other environments.
UK faces green agenda backlash as energy prices rise
The British government faces a public backlash against its green energy agenda as consumers are unwilling to spend more on power and gas bills to pay for investment in low-carbon forms of energy, a parliamentary committee warned on Monday.
“Our evidence points to the danger of a backlash against the government’s green agenda if it means rising bills for consumers,” the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee said in a report.
It urged the government and the energy industry to better engage with the public to explain underlying factors that create higher energy prices.
Three of Britain’s six major energy suppliers have announced double-digit increases in power and gas tariffs from this summer, raising fears about consumer price inflation.
An opinion poll published by utility Centrica last month showed only one quarter of respondents thought the government should stick to its plans for a greener economy if it means higher energy price.
“I don’t think there is enough understanding of the charges that are there and which are coming through, and that is why we want much greater clarity on people’s bills,” Energy Minister Charles Hendry told the committee in a hearing last month.
The group of parliamentarians also said energy providers should not wait for government or regulator action to make energy tariffs more simple.
UK consumers currently have to choose from 400 different tariffs, a complex system which the minister said also got him confused.
“I went on line to compare my tariffs and I was so confused by the options that I decided to stick where I was, and I think I am probably not untypical in that respect,” he said at the hearing.
Britain’s energy regulator Ofgem proposed last month to impose mandatory auctions on the UK’s large power producers to give access to alternative suppliers.
The proposal is part of a wider regulatory review of Britain’s energy retail market, details of which are expected later this year.
Green targets ‘could force companies to leave Britain’
Industry faces energy price increases of up to 70 per cent as a result of new ‘green taxes’ imposed by the Government.
Studies by the Energy Intensive Users Group, which represents industries such as chemicals and steel, show that the extra costs are so high that many companies may be tempted to move to countries that do not have such extreme environmental laws.
The group fears that a study by the Department of Energy into the impact of climate-change laws on energy prices for industry will attempt to downplay the impact of the new taxes. The DoE study is due to be published in the autumn.
Energy Secretary Chris Huhne last week boasted that no other country had binding environmental targets as ambitious as Britain. ‘In 15 years, our net emissions will be half what they were in 1990,’ he said.
The Department of Energy last year admitted that environmental policies had already increased average costs for non-domestic users by 20 per cent. This will rise to 28 per cent by 2015 and 43 per cent by 2020. But those figures do not take into account environmental measures that are in the pipeline.
Business pays proportionately more for its electricity because it is subject to tax through the climate change levy.
Jeremy Nicholson, director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, warned that the Government’s estimates for the effect of their policies on domestic fuel bills were highly unrealistic and ‘need to be taken with a bucket full of salt’.
He said the figures were unreliable as they made ‘utterly implausible assumptions’ about the benefits of energy efficiency measures such as lagging.
Official British Price Estimates Dubious: ‘DECC Has Massaged Green Energy Costs’
Britain’s policies to curb emissions and spur investment into nuclear and wind to secure power supplies may raise electricity prices for factories by as much as 58 percent by 2030, according to a government study.
The U.K.’s Department of Energy and Climate Change published today an initial estimate of the costs of its policies on so-called energy-intensive users such as steel factories, cement works and paper mills. The biggest rise would come a scenario whereby natural-gas prices fall, the analysis on the government website shows. Price rises would be curbed to as little as 7 percent should gas prices remain unchanged, according to the analysis.
Natural gas is used to produce about half Britain’s electricity, so its cost is used as a proxy for power prices. The government is overhauling the electricity market and studying measures such as long-term contracts to give price certainty and help attract funds for offshore wind turbines, nuclear reactors and carbon capture and storage projects. A tax on emissions from fossil fuels, under the so-called carbon floor, is planned from 2013 as well as programs to drive energy efficiency such as its Carbon Reduction Commitment.
“There are some wholly implausible assumptions about the pass-through of carbon and renewable subsidy costs,” Jeremy Nicholson, London-based director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, said by telephone. “The analysis confirms that significant compensation would be needed to offset the impact of these policies. Our suspicion is that DECC has massaged the figures to make the impacts look less severe.”
Large industrial users faced electricity price increases of 45 percent from 2007 to 2009, according to the analysis. Government policy is aimed at cutting power sector emissions and the U.K.’s dependence on fossil fuels, according to the report.
Muslim extremism in Britain
They must be the first teenage boys in history to take offence at the sight of a scantily-clad Playboy model. Most young men would salivate over a poster of a voluptuous Kelly Brook pouting provocatively while thrusting her ample bosom in their direction.
But when Mohammed Hasnath and Muhammed Tahir encountered the image of the model/actress/whatever on the side of a bus shelter in East London they were horrified.
The sight of Miss Brook dressed as an angel in a Lynx deodorant advert was too much for their religious sensibilities. So they painted a burka over her. They said it was a ‘sin’ for a woman be uncovered in public.
This poster was just one of a number the pair defaced on decency grounds. At Thames Magistrates Court, in Tower Hamlets, they admitted six counts of criminal damage, were ordered to pay £283 each and given a 12-month conditional discharge.
Hasnath and Tahir, both 18, told police that the way the women had been photographed was against their religion. Hasnath said: ‘If someone was to look at our wife or mother or daughter with a bad intention, we would not like it, so we were just trying to do good.’
There will be some sympathy for them — and not just from other Muslims. Plenty of people, especially those with young children, are uncomfortable with the proliferation of sexually-explicit advertising in public spaces.
You don’t have to be a purse-lipped prude to believe there’s far too much gratuitous nudity and hard-sell soft porn on daily display.
On one level, Hasnath and Tahir are no different from those Victorians who insisted on covering table legs lest they unleash pent-up male passion. It would be easy to dismiss them as harmless eccentrics.
But their actions come against a backdrop of growing militancy among young Muslim men and attempts to impose Islamic Sharia law on whole areas of Britain.
The most serious incident of religious intolerance in Tower Hamlets came back in April. I brought you the story of a 31-year-old Asian shop assistant in fear of her life because she refused to wear a headscarf.
Islamist hardliners first threatened to organise a boycott of the chemist’s where she worked and then, when she still wouldn’t cover up, told her: ‘If you keep doing these things, we are going to kill you.’
Up the road in Waltham Forest, which is home to one of the country’s largest Muslim populations, extremists have taken to the streets and declared the area a ‘Sharia Controlled Zone’.
As Sue Reid reported in Saturday’s Mail, stickers have appeared on walls, lamp-posts and in shop windows proclaiming ‘no alcohol, no gambling, no music or concerts, no porn or prostitution, no drugs, no smoking’.
Militants say they will patrol the streets to enforce the Sharia code. It will come as no surprise to discover that one of the prime movers behind the Sharia Zone is Ram Jam Choudary, the jihadist formerly known as Andy.
While at college he was fond of a drink, a spliff and casual sex before he underwent a religious conversion and teamed up with Captain Hook at the Finsbury Park mosque.
Somehow he manages to stay just inside the law. I’ve always assumed that’s because he is a paid MI5 informant. There’s no other good reason why he hasn’t been banged up.
Whether it’s beheading enthusiasts screaming abuse at British troops, burning poppies on Remembrance Day, or celebrating the mass murders on 9/11 and on the London Underground, Ram Jam’s never far away.
His partner in jihad, Abu Izzadeen, styles himself ‘Director for Waltham Forest Muslims’ and was recently released from prison after serving a term for funding terrorism. Izzadeen (real name Trevor Brooks from Hackney) is especially keen on killing homosexuals and segregation of the sexes.
Mainstream Muslim leaders are outraged at the activities of these extremists and denounce the likes of Ram Jam and Trev (sorry, Abu) as ‘small-minded idiots’.
Small-minded they may be, but they think big. There is a tendency towards complacency in the face of their blowhard threats.
Of course they are not representative of wider Muslim opinion. But if someone tells me he wants to kill us if we don’t covert to Islam and embrace Sharia law, I’m prepared to believe him.
What I fail to understand is why the authorities continue to indulge them. Both Ram Jam and Izzadeen are able-bodied and in the prime of their lives but they live on benefits. Izzadeen even boasts that his weekly stipend from the state is his ‘jihad-seekers’ allowance’.
Ha, bloody, ha.
Yet both of these jokers are heroes to young Muslim men of a certain mindset. I would hazard a guess that Mohammed Hasnath and Muhammed Tahir are among their admirers.
There are plenty of sexually-confused, impressionable young Muslim men ready to rally to the extremists’ flag. Hasnath and Tahir would seem to exemplify them. Brought up in Britain, they have the appearance of any other young man of their generation.
Hasnath may subscribe to a medieval philosophy when it comes to women, but he is pictured wearing 21st century iPod headphones. What’s he listening to, I wonder — Adele or a podcast of the latest rantings from some preacher of hate?
There seems to be no shortage of frustrated foot-soldiers in the scramble to impose Sharia law. But the Government has just quietly shelved an inquiry into the spread of Sharia courts because no one would co-operate.
And except in the more extreme cases there’s a reluctance not only to prosecute but make any connection between extremism and Islam itself.
Hasnath and Tahir were originally charged with ‘religiously-aggravated’ damage. The religious bit was dropped when they agreed to plead to common or garden criminal damage.
But their actions were religiously motivated. The same philosophy underpins both painting a burka on Kelly Brook and issuing death threats against a woman shop assistant who refuses to wear a headscarf.
Let’s hope these two young men have learned their lesson and can now grow up and channel their energies in another direction. Getting a girlfriend might be a good start.
Some reduction of red tape in Britain
Rules which ban the sale of liqueur-filled chocolates without an alcohol licence and demand permits for selling toilet cleaner are just some of the laws ministers will tear up as part of a war on red tape. Around two-thirds of the 257 regulations imposed on retailers are being repealed or revised as part of the coalition’s ‘red tape challenge’.
Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, will abolish 130 pieces of red tape and simplify a further 30 rules which apply to the retail sector.
The Cabinet minister said some of the most ridiculous regulations he discovered included the poisons licensing system, which makes retailers hold £35 licences for selling products such as fly spray or bleach.
The legal age for buying Christmas crackers will also be dropped from 16 to 12 – the minimum in the European Union.
Redundant laws such as the war-time Trading with the Enemy Act, which restricts trade with the old USSR, Germany and Yugoslavia – a country that no longer exists – as well as other nations, will also be repealed.
The requirement on shops to notify the licensing authorities when people buy new TVs will be scrapped. Officials insisted it would not drive down collection of the TV licence fee.
Mr Cable conceded that governments had announced repeated crackdowns on red tape with little action, but he said the latest scheme would tear up legislation quickly to make it easier for firms to do business. He said: ‘We have struck a balance between keeping regulations necessary to protect consumers, the workforce and the environment, while rolling back the number of rules and regulations our businesses have to deal with.
‘We have heard these promises by successive governments before, but these first proposals from the red tape challenge show that we’re serious and we are making real progress.’
Mark Prisk, the Business Minister, said: ‘Every 30 minutes a business somewhere has to fill in a form. We have four million businesses in this country – that is a lot of productive time lost.’
Sunday trading laws will stay in place after employees made representations to the Government over being able to spend time with their families.
Business groups met the announcement with scepticism, calling on the Government to tackle the bigger regulatory burdens rather than tinkering with less important rules. David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: ‘There is no doubt that scrapping some of these specific regulations will have a positive effect on some firms in the retail sector. ‘But we question how these incremental changes will deliver real change on the ground at a time when the Government is introducing more big ticket regulation, for example around parental leave and flexible working.’
John Walker, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: ‘It is evident that hefty regulatory changes in pensions, flexible working and maternity and paternity are still going to hit small firms hard.
‘Some of these regulation cuts being announced today will have no tangible impact on small firms at all as they are outdated and unused anyway.’
Beware lettuce addiction!
When Elsie Campbell began having cravings for lettuce, she thought it was a passing fancy. Even when it became an obsession that saw her eating four whole lettuces a day, she still tried to shrug it off as harmless.
Luckily for Mrs Campbell, her husband Jim, a research scientist, suspected there might be something more to it. He worked out that lettuce contains a particular nutrient that is lacking in breast cancer sufferers and that his wife’s urge to eat so much of it could mean she was suffering from the disease.
After a visit to her doctor, the mother of three was diagnosed with breast cancer, but has now made a full recovery thanks to the early diagnosis. She credits her husband’s quick-thinking for saving her life.
‘I’d always eaten it in salads, but suddenly, I just couldn’t get enough of it. I could eat three or four whole lettuces a day. I’d eat a whole iceberg lettuce at work, and sit on the bus on the way home thinking about eating more and more. ‘I’d get home and cut one into chunks and eat it like a watermelon. ‘I knew something wasn’t quite right – and my husband and my sons started to get quite worried about me.
‘Jim started investigating which nutrients and minerals were found in lettuce – and realised they were the same ones that your body can be deprived of when it is fighting cancer.’ Mrs Campbell, from Derby, added: ‘Not long afterwards, I discovered a small dimple on my breast – and my doctor confirmed I had breast cancer.
‘It’s only now that I realise my body was making me eat lettuce to combat the cancer. It was like my body was trying to cure itself.’ Mr Campbell has now created a website, questionmyhealth.com, that he says can help identify if users are suffering from a nutrient deficiency caused by something more serious.
The website asks users to answer a series of questions about themselves – such as whether they have white spots on their fingernails, whether they have a high libido, or whether they crave Marmite. It then analyses the answers and warns of any minerals or vitamins the user may be deficient in – and what that could mean.
The scientist, who has also written a book on nutrient deficiencies, hopes the site will help others spot potential diseases and cancers while they are still in the early stages.
Mr Campbell said: ‘Some chronic diseases, like diabetes and Alzheimer’s, can take 20 years to develop, but your body can give you a clue to what you are dealing with early on if you know what to look for.’
He added: ‘As a scientist, I know that everything has to have a cause and effect. Elsie didn’t start eating lettuce for no reason, so I started to do some research in which minerals and vitamins are found in it. ‘I discovered lettuce, like a lot of green veg, contains sulforaphane – which can attack cancer cells. I wondered if that was the reason why her body was craving it and suggested that Elsie visited the doctor.
‘Coincidentally, she discovered the small dimple on her breast the same day. We were devastated when the doctors told us she had cancer – but relieved that they managed to catch it so early.
‘Her lettuce cravings really were a warning sign – if she hadn’t suspected something was wrong, she would have probably never found the dimple, or certainly would not have been so concerned about it.’
Mrs Campbell, whose lettuce craving began in 2004, was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2005. She had the small lump removed from her breast and had months of treatment but has now been given the all-clear.
She added: ‘Strangely, since the lump was removed, I haven’t wanted to eat a single lettuce leaf – the craving’s completely vanished. ‘I was so lucky Jim spotted the signs when he did – my lettuce addiction probably saved my life.’