Two babies die and three more patients ill after E.coli outbreak at hospital
Two babies have died following a hospital outbreak of E.coli poisoning.
Five-day-old Hope Evans was born ‘very premature’ and contracted the infection while being cared for on a specialist ward.
The second baby died in the community, but doctors suspect the child’s mother had caught the infection at the hospital and passed it on at home.
Both cases are centred on Singleton Hospital in Swansea.
Hope died after contracting the ESBL E.coli strain, which is resistant to antibiotics and can cause serious problems for the ‘vulnerable’.
The killer infection within a hospital will cause concern among patients, and in particular expectant mothers, despite health officials’ insistence that the maternity ward remains ‘open as usual’.
NHS chiefs at the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board said they were aware of five cases of the infection over the past month.
It said two of the cases of ESBL E.coli – normally less serious than the food poisoning strain of E.coli – are being investigated in the maternity and neonatal unit at Singleton.
The unit was yesterday only open for full-term births and non-premature babies as a precaution.
Hope was born in the hospital on October 31 but never went home after contracting the illness. She died on November 4.
Health officials yesterday said a new mother on a maternity ward had contracted the infection but is not seriously ill.
A hospital spokesman said: ‘ESBL E.coli is most often found in the gastrointestinal tract but may cause urinary tract infections. ‘It is resistant to commonly used antibiotics such as penicillin, but can be treated.’
Dr Bruce Ferguson, medical director, said: ‘Tests have confirmed that in one of these cases the ESBL E.coli infection was contracted in the hospital. ‘Sadly, this was a very premature baby who, despite the best efforts of staff, later died.
‘The cause of death of this baby is currently being investigated by the coroner. Everyone involved with the unit and in the care of this baby deeply regret this tragic loss.’
Dr Ferguson added: ‘These appear to be isolated incidents which have been contained, and there is no evidence of the infection spreading further.
‘Checks have been taken of patients, equipment and areas in the maternity-neonatal unit and no evidence of ESBL E.coli has been found. The unit has an excellent record for hand hygiene and general infection control adherence.’ Extra precautions have been taken at the hospital which include carrying out a ‘deep clean’ at the obstetric theatres and increasing cleaning in the neonatal and labour wards.
The doctor said: ‘As a precaution, we have temporarily restricted the neonatal unit to admissions for babies of 36 weeks and over gestation. ‘We would like to reassure expectant mothers due to give birth in Singleton Hospital that the maternity unit is open as usual for full-term births.’
According to the Health Protection Agency, there are between 2,000 and 2,500 cases of ESBL E.coli every year in England, most of which affect the elderly.
Active Down’s syndrome man was locked away in apartment for ten months until he died
A man with Down’s syndrome was locked in a one-bedroom flat and deprived of his basic human rights for ten months until his death, a report has found. Detained against his will by health and council officials in the north east, David Parsons was denied regular contact with his wife and family and ‘abandoned’ by those caring for him.
A damning report into the 53-year-old’s treatment today condemns failures so shocking that its authors question how it could have happened in the 21st century.
The Health Service Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, took the unusual step of publishing her findings in full as a warning to other bodies.
Last night, Mr Parsons’ elder brother, Roger, accused the NHS, social services and council officials of grotesque failings. ‘David was removed from his home and effectively imprisoned,’ he told the Mail. ‘My innocent, defenceless brother was subjected to months and months of mental torture. The doctor involved would not allow him to stay with his family. She had total control over him until we were able to have her removed from his case nearly a year later.
‘The family were treated with complete contempt by the NHS and social services.
‘This would never have happened to somebody who didn’t have Down’s syndrome.’
His brother had lived in rented accommodation provided by Newcastle council from 1989 and was joined there in 1992 by his wife, who suffers from learning difficulties. They received day-to-day support from the Coquet Trust, a charity based in the North East which was set up to help those with learning disabilities living in the community.
But in November 2005 concerns were raised about a deterioration in Mr Parsons’ health and his ability to look after himself. He was admitted to the Northgate Hospital, operated by the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust, as an informal patient for an assessment that was expected to last no more than six weeks.
After two months doctors declared that Mr Parsons had developed dementia and epilepsy, a diagnosis disputed by the family.
Nevertheless, despite their recommendation to discharge him, and because of uncertainty about where he might live, Mr Parsons remained in the hospital for another five months on a locked ward.
When he finally left the hospital in June 2006 his previous address was considered to be unsuitable so he and his wife were rehomed.
Despite protests from the family they were moved to a self-contained flat at a residential care home for the elderly and for the next ten months they remained there under lock and key.
On April 7, 2007, Mr Parsons was admitted to hospital with a chest infection. Two days later he died from pneumonia.
His family, who had fought to have him returned to his original home, lodged a complaint before his death and insist he would still be alive today had he not been treated so inhumanely.
The joint report by the Health Ombudsman and Local Government Ombudsman concluded that he had been ‘discharged into inappropriate locked accommodation’ until his death ten months later.
Highlighting significant failings, Miss Abraham wrote: ‘His rights, best interests, and family relationships were not taken into account when the trust and the council made plans for his care. ‘This was highly likely to have had some impact on the quality of his life, and hence his wellbeing, in the last 18 months or so of his life.
‘His family were also wrongly denied the opportunity to be involved and will never know if they could have made a difference to his quality of life in those last months, which must be a cause of significant and ongoing distress. ‘It is shocking that the events described in this report happened in the 21st century.’
Last night, Newcastle council spokesman Ewen Weir said: ‘We fully accept the findings of the joint report and once again apologise unreservedly to Mr Parsons’ family.’
The Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust said: ‘The recommendations of the report are clear and we will work with all of our partners to ensure the actions are fully implemented.’
Britain’s “elf n safety” [Health & safety] police
They are almost certainly motivated by the natural tendency of public officials in general and the police in particular to constantly seek extra powers and to cover their backsides whenever there is the remotest possibility that something might go wrong.
Today, that mentality manifests itself in our hi-viz jacket culture of risk aversion to the point of mental illness. Councils routinely ban Bonfire Night parties, either on spurious public safety grounds or because they contravene ‘smoke-free’ environmental policies.
Police close roads for hours after minor car accidents and turn every skid-mark into a ‘crime scene’.
No area of human activity is exempt from the tentacles of elf’n’safety.
Traditional pastimes are outlawed or severely constrained by rules, regulations and arbitrary ‘guidelines’ enforced with Stalinist zeal.
The problem is compounded by ‘no win, no fee’ ambulance-chasing spiv lawyers, who pretend there’s no such thing as an accident and ‘where there’s blame, there’s a claim’. The fear of being sued for com-pen-say-shun petrifies private companies and public bodies.
We are plagued by over-policing and hysterical health and safety
We are plagued by over-policing and hysterical health and safety
This column has made a reasonable living over the years documenting the wilder excesses of elf’n’safety insanity. And I’m pleased to report there seems to be no shortage of material. I could fill this page week in, week out with the latest lunatic examples. The dilemma is usually what to leave out.
For instance, a golf club in Scotland has just been forced to pay £120,000 because it didn’t have sufficient signs warning players about flying balls.
Niddry Castle Golf Club, in Winchburgh, West Lothian, was sued by Anthony Phee, who was hit in the eye by a wayward drive from fellow golfer James Gordon.
The Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled that Mr Gordon was 70 per cent responsible for the incident, but that the club had to bear 30 per cent of the blame because it had failed to post a sign warning players that they could be struck by balls.
Even though Mr Gordon shouted ‘fore’ — the traditional warning of a wild stroke — he was found guilty of negligence and ordered to pay Mr Phee £277,000 damages for his loss of sight in one eye.
The judge also ruled that the club was liable ‘for their failure to place signs at appropriate places’.
Mr Phee is naturally entitled to sympathy and some financial redress for his injury. That’s what insurance is for. But all the warning signs in the world would not have prevented him being hit by Mr Gordon’s mis-struck ball. It was an accident. And accidents happen.
Don’t be surprised, though, if some killjoy now demands that all golfers are forced to wear hard hats, safety goggles and hi-viz jackets at all times when out on the course. That’s if they don’t want golf banned altogether.
Elsewhere, in Lymington, Hants, one of the world’s oldest cricket clubs has been ordered by its local council to spend £50,000 erecting safety nets around its entire boundary and designate a person to patrol the perimeter shouting warnings about the dangers of flying cricket balls.
If it refuses to comply, the club — which dates back two centuries — has been threatened with eviction. So it now faces either bankruptcy, to cover the cost of the netting, or being kicked off the ground where it has been playing continuously for 175 years.
It almost goes without saying that of the estimated 1.8 million balls bowled at the ground in those 175 years, not a single one has ever struck a spectator or passer-by.
At this rate, they’ll soon be banning all sports, short of tiddlywinks
At this rate, they’ll soon be banning all sports, short of tiddlywinks
That didn’t stop Councillor Penny Jackman insisting: ‘The plain and frightening reality is cricket balls have been landing at great speed a matter of inches from unsuspecting people.’
During a heated meeting, Mrs Jackman was also overheard saying to a colleague: ‘Oh, let’s just shut the buggers down.’
There speaks the genuine voice of elf’n’safety — the genuine voice, in fact, of all authority in this country.
This has nothing to do with safety. It’s about throwing their weight around, showing us who’s boss, finding out what people like to do and then stopping them doing it.
At this rate, they’ll soon be banning all sports, short of tiddlywinks. And even that has its inherent dangers. Better safe than sorry, eh?
‘Let’s just shut the buggers down.’
Sounds about par for the course.
Only 3% of British secondary teachers are rated outstanding as inspectorate blasts classroom performance
Only 3 per cent of secondary school teachers are deemed to be ‘outstanding’, Ofsted’s annual report has revealed. The figure for primaries is a mere 4 per cent, while teaching is substandard in close to half of all schools, according to inspectors.
They found that tens of thousands of teachers lacked knowledge of their subject, or did not know how to communicate with pupils.
Many did not plan lessons well, or at all, wasting time getting pupils to complete pointless tasks, such as copying text.
And their failure to control the classroom has allowed bad behaviour to become endemic.
The report coincided with results showing one in seven schools is stagnating – ‘stubbornly’ refusing to improve despite warnings.
Yet a week today, hundreds of thousands of teachers are to strike, closing almost every school in England. And those in the NASUWT union have voted to work-to-rule, rigidly sticking to 6.5-hour days and 32.5-hour weeks, for 194 days a year.
In a scathing attack, Miriam Rosen, Ofsted’s acting chief inspector, said there is ‘no excuse’ for incompetence. She pointed to the example set by a number of outstanding schools operating in the most deprived parts of London, but said she was ‘disappointed’ in the quality of teaching nationwide, which is still ‘too variable’.
She said a ‘relentless focus on the quality of teaching and learning’ was needed. Ofsted’s report, published yesterday, showed that teaching was substandard in 41 per cent of schools.
When additional measures, such as quality of curriculum, are taken into account 30 per cent of all schools are failing pupils. This means they are either ranked ‘inadequate’ or ‘satisfactory’ – Ofsted parlance for ‘not good enough’. And one in seven schools judged satisfactory last year – nearly 800 – have failed to improve.
The report also highlighted the growth of an education underclass. A fifth of schools serving the poorest pupils are four times more likely to be rated ‘inadequate’ than those in the richest areas, it revealed.
Nansi Ellis, of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, called the report irresponsible. She said: ‘Constantly telling schools and teachers that they’re bad doesn’t help anyone to improve.’