Bungled NHS scan: They tried to kill a live baby. How could they?
Pregnant woman told baby was gone — but it was still there and alive. Only her instincts saved it from them
A pregnant woman who was advised to have a termination after an NHS ultrasound indicated she had suffered a miscarriage only found out her baby was still alive after requesting another scan.
Chelsea Muff, 32, spent two weeks grieving after a sonographer told her she had lost the child following an ultrasound scan. But the mother-of-two requested a second scan two weeks later and her child was found to be still alive. She has now told how she is trying to cope with the knowledge that she could have inadvertently terminated the baby.
Now almost four months pregnant, Miss Muff, mother to 14-year-old Corey and 11-year-old Destiny, said: “She said there was an empty sac – she said it had gone. I was shocked and upset.
“After the first scan a consultant came in and confirmed that I had miscarried and gave me the option to book in for an evacuation procedure, take a tablet there and then that would bring labour, or wait for it to come away naturally. “I chose to wait. If I had taken the tablet I could have terminated my baby and never known.”
Miss Muff, of Bradford, West Yorks., was seven weeks pregnant when she suffered a small bleed on June 24. She attended A&E at Bradford Royal Infirmary and was given an early appointment two days later.
It was here she was given the abdominal ultrasound scan which appeared to show she had miscarried. She later discovered because the pregnancy was so early, she should have been offered an internal ultrasound.
She was booked in for a vacuum suction on July 8 but never attended because she was still upset. She then rang to ask if they could carry out a second scan. It was at this scan on July 15 that she discovered she was still pregnant and heard her baby’s heartbeat for the first time.
She said: “The member of staff was shocked but really pleased for me. She said ‘you have a live baby’. I didn’t believe it. I had been so upset and couldn’t believe this could have happened.
“I was really happy at that point. It was only later, after discussing it with my partner, who was really mad about what I had been put through, that I realised I could have killed my baby by taking the tablet.”
Chelsea, whose baby is due in February, has submitted a formal complaint in the hope lessons can be learned and no other women have to go through the emotional turmoil she suffered. “How can they tell you your baby has died and the next minute tell you it is alive?” she said. “When I went to book in with a midwife at the doctors they even had a letter saying I had miscarried so they were shocked as well.
“It should be compulsory to do an internal scan. I don’t know what went wrong in my case but hopefully by complaining I will get an explanation about why I wasn’t offered one.”
A spokesman for Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We sympathise with Miss Muff for the distress she has experienced. The Foundation Trust is taking all necessary actions to investigate the circumstances and has contacted Miss Muff directly to discuss her concerns.”
Miss Muff, a mother-of-two, told how she asked for a second scan because she was still showing signs of being pregnant. She said: “It happened very quickly, after they gave me the scan and told me I had miscarried they offered me tablets to bring on labour there and then. “They offered me the tablets, which I didn’t take, and booked me in for an operation for two weeks later.
“I didn’t take them because, to be quite honest, I didn’t want to believe it was happening to me. “I didn’t go for the operation, I couldn’t face it, but phoned up and booked myself in for another scan – I didn’t mention I hadn’t gone in for surgery.
“I couldn’t give up yet and wanted to go in for one last chance. I still felt like I was pregnant and was showing signs like a weak bladder and putting weight on so I wanted to be sure. “I had been reading up about miscarriages and in all cases the women involved had been given internal scans, something which I didn’t get. “I was going to ask for this after my second scan but then they told me my baby was alive.
“Of course I am happy that my baby is alive but my emotions are still up and down. I worry that if they made a mistake the first time they could make another one and maybe got the second scan wrong. “I worry a lot more and am being very cautious when I’m at work, and am careful with things like lifting.
“I am quite disgusted by the way the hospital have dealt with it, they haven’t even phoned up to see how I’m doing.”
Widow takes on BBC over its anti-Israel bias
The BBC’s secrecy rather speaks for itself: A media organization that fights to COVER UP information??
For six years, Steven Sugar pursued a one-man legal battle against the BBC in an attempt to force it to disclose a secret report.
He was trying to get the corporation to publish an internal assessment off its coverage of the Middle East conflict, which he believed would reveal bias against Israel.
Mr Sugar won an appeal for a full court hearing but when he died of cancer in January at the age of 61 it appeared his mission was at an end. Now, his widow, Fiona Paveley, has taken up the fight to reveal the contents of the 20,000-word document and the case is to be heard at the Supreme Court.
Mr Sugar’s lawyers told Mrs Paveley that she could represent him and she believes it is her duty to continue his battle.
The BBC has spent more than £270,000 on legal fees to prevent the public from seeing the report, written in 2004 by Malcolm Balen, a senior journalist, for Richard Sambrook, then BBC director of news. But a defeat for the BBC could cost the corporation even more because it could weaken its ability to deny requests made under the Freedom of Information Act.
Mr Sugar lost at the Information Tribunal, the High Court and the Court of Appeal, but his legal team – who have waived their fees – are hopeful of success in the Supreme Court.
Mrs Paveley said: “I used to tease Steven about his obsession with fighting this so I think he would have a wry smile that I’m carrying it on, but I couldn’t let it drop.”
Mr Sugar, a solicitor, first asked the BBC to publish the Balen Report in 2005 under the Freedom of Information Act and refused to accept the BBC’s argument that it was outside the Act’s scope.
The corporation successfully argued in the past that the report should not be released because it was held for “the purposes of journalism, art or literature” and, as such, was exempt. It was commissioned to analyse the BBC’s coverage of Middle East issues and make recommendations for improvement.
Mrs Paveley, a 48-year-old clinical psychologist, was approached by her husband’s lawyers after he died. They explained that the case could only continue if he was represented at court.
“I knew immediately that I wasn’t going to abandon it,” she says. “It would have almost felt like a betrayal to let all his hard work go to waste. He never gave up, so why should I?”
Mrs Paveley said that she and her late husband saw an anti-Israeli bias in the reporting of Orla Guerin, the BBC’s former Middle East correspondent, who was accused of anti-Semitism in 2004 by the Israeli government.
Mrs Paveley said: “Steven thought that reporting should be balanced. As a publicly-funded body, it seems wrong that the BBC is afraid and reluctant to be more transparent.”
Another reporter, Barbara Plett, was found by BBC governors to have “breached the requirements of due impartiality” after she said she cried as a dying Yasser Arafat left the West Bank in 2004.
More recently, Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East editor, was also found to have breached rules on accuracy and impartiality in two reports about the Arab-Israeli conflict.
A BBC spokesman said: “If we are not able to pursue our journalism freely and have honest debate and analysis over how we are covering important issues, then how effectively we can serve the public will be diminished.”
A Supreme Court spokesman said: “This is an interesting case which the Justices have decided raises an issue of general public importance. “It will effectively establish the test for what constitutes a document held for journalistic purposes.”
Riots the predictable result of the Leftist values that now rule Britain
WHEN I was a student, I took a course in the sociology of deviance. After weeks reviewing theories about the causes of law-breaking, the lecturer announced that we were asking the wrong question. “The real question,” he said, “is not why some break the law. It is why we don’t all break the law.”
Following last week’s riots in Britain, politicians and commentators have similarly been asking the wrong question. What caused thousands of (mainly) young males to torch buildings where they live, loot local shops and attack fellow citizensis a no-brainer. Kicking against authority is exciting. Being in the thick of the action when the television cameras are rolling makes you feel important. And the chance to grab some designer clothing and a widescreen plasma TV is too good to pass up.
Yet many people did not riot, and they are the interesting ones. Why didn’t everyone cash in on the anarchy? The answer lies in external and internal constraints.
External constraints have to do with the likelihood of getting caught, and the consequences if you are. Last week, many people calculated, correctly, that they could mask their faces, join a mob, and act with relative impunity. Police resources were desperately overstretched, and it soon became clear that even if the police arrived in substantial numbers, they would do nothing. The images that shocked middle England most were those showing the police standing watching as young hoodlums ran around breaking into shops and setting light to buildings. There was, for a while, no law, and no serious attempt to maintain order. Shopkeepers and householders were left to defend themselves.
Police chiefs accept they made a strategic mistake, that had they acted sooner and more firmly, the rioting may have been contained or quelled altogether. The perception that you could join a riot and get away with it undoubtedly fuelled the violence. But why were the police so inert?
The answer is that, for many years, they have been accused of being too heavy-handed. Had they acted earlier, and more firmly, we would today be hearing familiar complaints about brutality, excessive use of force and institutional racism. By doing nothing, the police ensured there could be no damaging images on YouTube and no inquiries arising from their conduct. The Brits have neutered their police and last week they saw the consequences.
The calculation by many rioters that they were unlikely to get arrested was reinforced by the knowledge that it wouldn’t matter much if they were. There is a widespread belief in Britain that the criminal justice system is weak and ineffective. Blair’s ASBOs (anti-social behaviour orders) became a joke and are being scrapped; community service orders are often disregarded; and Justice Secretary Ken Clarke insists prison doesn’t work and sentences should be cut. Little wonder youngsters are unconcerned about the possibility of a criminal conviction.
So the external constraints have withered. Even so, most people did not join in the rioting. The reason is they knew it was wrong. And this points to the crucial importance of internalised constraints. Internalised constraints are the product of early socialisation, in which we learn the basic norms and values of our society. The process starts from the moment we are born, so that by the time we reach the rebellious years of adolescence, basic notions of right and wrong are deeply ingrained and almost instinctive.
Hormones and peer group pressure might tempt us from the straight and narrow in the teenage years, but a nagging conscience drags us back again.
The key agencies of socialisation are families and schools. In Britain, both are in a state of disarray, so many youngsters grow up without a strong moral framework to guide their actions.
In the schools, there has been a 40-year revolt against structure. Gone are the rows of desks, all facing the front. Gone is the concern for spelling rules, the rote learning of arithmetic tables, the laborious phonic reciting of the alphabet. Teachers in jeans emphasise creativity, self-esteem and child-centred learning, which means students’ desires are paramount. In place of the last-resort threat of physical punishment, trouble-makers are excluded, which means they are passed around schools, repeating their mischief-making while attracting no meaningful response.
Those fortunate enough to be raised by committed parents may come out of this system relatively unscathed. Commentators have recently noticed the remarkable success of Indian and Chinese youngsters growing up in Britain. They easily outperform white and Afro-Caribbean kids in school, and they also have much lower crime rates (I saw few Indian or Chinese kids running riot on the streets last week). The explanation is that they are raised in strong, aspirational families.
At the opposite extreme, about one-third of British children grow up in single-parent families, most of which are female-headed. Despite repeated protestations to the contrary, this is not a viable or desirable way to raise children, especially boys.
The problem has little to do with money. A middle-class friend who is a single mum told me last week how she is finding it impossible to control her 14 year-old boy. He recently called her a “f . . king whore” and threatened to knife her when she attempted to punish him. She is a teacher. Boys need adult male role models, and (although it is unfashionable to say it) paternal authority.
It should come as no surprise to learn that societies that fail to socialise their young properly become unhappy, chaotic places. French sociologist Emile Durkheim warned of the dangers of anomie weakness of normative regulation back in the 1890s.
Nor is there any secret about where to search for solutions: more effective enforcement of rules by authority (including the police and the schools) is needed to maintain a predictable sense of order and renewed support for strong, cohesive, traditional families is needed to sustain the conditions required for effective, moral upbringing.
The trouble is, most Brits don’t want to hear this. They recoil against the language of rules, structure, authority and personal responsibility. They want the government to do something, but they are unwilling to examine their own codes of living. I suspect things are going to get a lot worse before public opinion resolves to do something effective to reverse the rot.
Leftist laws prevent British children from being disciplined
In another shocking example of middle-class children being involved in the riots, the father of a teenage looter said parents were powerless to punish their children because of the nanny state.
The ‘heartbroken and ashamed’ cameraman, who has helped make BBC and Channel Four documentaries on policing and justice, said that parents cannot discipline their offspring properly for fear of being reported to police or social services.
His 16-year-old daughter appeared at City of Westminster magistrates’ court on Saturday charged with stealing a £500 iPad during rampant violence last Monday.
The father of five said: ‘I am heartbroken and totally ashamed that she got caught up in all this. ‘Basically I feel this is the end product of a society that tells you that you can’t discipline your children. ‘They say, “If you hit me, it’s physical assault and if you shout at me, it’s verbal abuse”. ‘These children are a little bit out of control at the moment.’
‘Children now have the power over their parents, not the other way around. There is no respect as their rights are prioritised above parental authority. ‘When I was young, I was given a good clip round the head by my mother if I stepped out of line – now no parent can do that.
‘My daughter could go to jail for this. I hope it’s the wake-up call she needs.’
Bright British students seek jobs instead of university
Bright teenagers are preparing to shun university in favour of finding a job amid intense competition for degree courses and fears over rising graduate debt.
Research by The Daily Telegraph shows a sharp rise in the number of students aged 17 and 18 directly applying to leading companies after leaving school and college.
Employers such as Network Rail, Marks & Spencer, Laing O’Rourke, the engineering firm, and the accountancy firms PricewaterhouseCoopers and Grant Thornton are reporting huge rises in applications for A-level entry jobs this summer.
The disclosure, which comes days before students throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland receive their A-level results, casts doubt on claims that degrees are a prerequisite for careers at top companies.
The exam results are expected to trigger the most intense scramble for university places ever seen as record numbers of students compete for courses before the introduction of annual tuition fees of up to £9,000 in 2012. With those who missed out on places last year adding to demand, it is believed 220,000 out of 707,000 applicants in total may be rejected.
The demand for places has already prompted an estimated third of universities to declare themselves “full” a week before results are published. In a series of other developments yesterday, it emerged that:
A record one in 10 A-levels could be awarded an A* grade — a rise of around one percentage point on last year — which will make it even harder for universities to pick out the brightest students;
The head of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) said that schools were wrecking teenagers’ degree ambitions by advising them to study the wrong A-levels — leaving them locked out of the most academically demanding institutions;
One of Britain’s biggest exam boards, Edexcel, apologised after wrongly posting thousands of A-level results on its website on Saturday — almost a week early.
University still remains the main aspiration for most schoolchildren. But the competition for places is prompting more sixth-formers to seek other options.
These include applying to European universities where tuition fees are often a fraction of the £3,290 being charged in England from September. Yesterday, Maastricht University in the Netherlands, which charges £1,526 a year, said it had seen a 15-fold rise in applications from Britain this summer.
But some teenagers are shunning university altogether to focus on apprenticeships and other school entry-level programmes. According to figures from the Association of Graduate Recruiters, more than a quarter of leading businesses employ staff directly from schools and colleges and a fifth of other companies are considering opening up recruitment schemes to this age group. For the first time, Boots, the chemist, is running an apprenticeship scheme for sixth-formers this year.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has so far received 1,600 applications for just 100 places on its employment scheme for A-level students. Applications for the programme, which leads to a chartered accountant qualification in four years, have doubled in a year and increased almost fourfold since 2008.
Gaenor Bagley, the firm’s head of people, said: “Students are being forced to look at different options for their future and university may not be the right solution. Anyone who has a genuine interest in pursuing a career in business has options.”
Network Rail has received 8,000 applications for 200 places on its paid apprenticeship programme, up from just 4,000 in 2010. The firm said demand for positions was being caused by university leavers unable to find graduate jobs.
Marks & Spencer said applications for just 40 places on its management scheme had increased from 1,100 to 1,600 in a year. Laing O’Rourke said applications for its training scheme had increased by almost 10 per cent to 284 this summer, while Grant Thornton said it had 700 applications for school leaver-entry jobs.
The Government has created more than 100,000 extra apprenticeships for people aged 19 and over this year as an option for young people.