Heart attack victim told ‘open the window and take paracetamol’ on patient helpline before she died
A heart attack victim died after a telephone helpline nurse told her to open a window and take some paracetamol, a hearing was told. Nurse Sharon Badderley was working a night shift from home for Liverpool PCT, when she offered the ill-judged advice in a four minute phone call.
Badderley, who had been in a trouble before for misdiagnosing cardiac issues, failed to properly assess information given by the patient even talking over her during the call, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard yesterday.
After her former manager Susan Roseboro heard a recording of the tape she said it was ‘very obvious’ that the woman in her 50s was having a ‘cardiac episode’. She said she was concerned about the lack of probing questions from Badderley who seemed to ‘talk over’ the patient during the call which was over a telephone system installed by Primecare for the PCT.
The call in the early hours of June 22 2007 lasted less than four minutes when the average was 15 to 20, the hearing was told.
After listening to the recording at the hearing Mrs Roseboro said: ‘The patient was in her 50s and she sounded distressed and breathless, she said she had heavy arms, she was sweaty and she had a pain in her windpipe. ‘She thought she was suffering from indigestion. Miss Badderley suggested it might be a viral infection. She told her to open a window and take some paracetamol.
‘The patient then asks about breathlessness but isn’t given time to reply. ‘It was particularly short time for this call – approximately four minutes when the average was about 15 to 20 minutes. ‘These were all signs of a cardiac episode.’
At a subsequent meeting, when she was told the patient, referred to during the hearing as Patient A, had died, Mrs Roseboro said Badderley responded ‘flippantly’ before becoming distressed.
Mrs Rosboro said: ‘She responded quite flippantly – [she said] “So you’re holding me responsible for this death?” After the meeting Badderley, a nurse with seven years’ experience working the response lines, was suspended from Primecare and later resigned.
Describing the computer system the nurses and Primecare used, Mrs Roseboro said a number of information boxes would have warned Badderley about the patient’s condition.
Badderly signed off telling the woman to call back if she felt worse but failed to ask her if she was satisfied with the advice given.
Panel member Ruth Poole asked Mrs Rosboro if she had put any pressure on the Primecare nurses to handle calls quickly. ‘There was no pressure on anybody,’ said Mrs Roseboro. ‘Quality was more important than quantity.
‘It gave the impression of trying to hurry the call through.’ Ms Roseboro said Badderly had been in trouble before on a ‘cardiac issue’ and had been sent on extra training. The panel also heard that Ms Badderly had suffered from her own health issues and was under investigation by the PCT having been off work for around six weeks. Badderley is not present or represented at the hearing.
Charges that she failed to properly assess information reported by patient A during a telephone consultation as possible symptoms of a cardiac episode were found proved against her.
Panel chair John Matharu said: ‘The panel has listened to the recording of the call and is satisfied Ms Badderly didn’t perform a proper consultation. ‘She missed the patient saying that she ‘feels her wind pipe is burning’ that her arms felt like lead’ and that she ‘couldn’t lie down and couldn’t sit up’. ‘There were six times where patient A tries to tell Ms Badderly something but is interrupted.’
The panel will now decide on an issue of misconduct and the hearing continues.
New mother left in bloodied sheets for three days and given no food for 24 hours as hospital staff ‘just could not cope’
A new mother says she was left in blood-stained sheets for three days and given no food for 24 hours after having a caesarean section. Elspeth Kirk, 29, said the birth of her first child Ava turned into a nightmare as desperately overstretched hospital staff struggled to cope.
Mrs Kirk, a teacher from Westcliff, Essex, was admitted to Southend Hospital in Essex on Wednesday, December 7 and had a caesarean section the following morning. She was moved to a recovery ward for two and a half hours before being moved again to a post-natal ward where her troubles began.
She said: ‘I couldn’t move because of the epidural anaesthetic I had so they came to give me a bedbath but then just gave me a cloth and told me to wipe under my arms then took the bowl away.’
Mrs Kirk was keen to have a meal as she hadn’t eaten since having lunch on Tuesday just before her labour started. She said: ‘Someone brought around the tea trolley. I asked if I could have something to eat and the woman said she would get back to me. She never came back. ‘I kept asking people if I could eat but they were all so busy. They all said they would go and find out but they never did. ‘I just gave up in the end – I had gone past the point of hunger.’
Mrs Kirk was eventually given a cup of tea and two slices of bread and jam at 10.30am on Thursday. ‘The nurse who listened to my bowels said I should really have had food the previous night,’ the new mother said.
She added that she struggled to breastfeed her daughter as there was no-one available to guide her.
When she was finally allowed out of bed, three days after the caesarean section, the sheets were covered in dried blood. ‘The nurse looked quite horrified,’ Mrs Kirk said.
Her husband, Dean, 32, said two other new mothers were so disgusted that they discharged themselves from the ward.
Mrs Kirk, who works at a special school in Leigh, Essex, said her bloodied sheets were not changed for three days, while the DVT tights she was given to wear to prevent thrombosis turned black because the floor was so filthy.
Despite their ordeal, the couple have nothing but praise for the medical staff who they say were desperately overstretched.
Mrs Kirk said: ‘They were fantastic but they were so short-staffed. At the weekend there were just three people on duty. They just could not cope. ‘They were so busy you didn’t want to hassle them. ‘We had to be seen by a paediatrician but there was only one on duty and he didn’t have time to see us.
‘Two women were so upset at the thought of having to stay another two nights they discharged themselves even though one had high blood pressure. ‘The whole thing was awful at what should have been a very happy time.’
Liz Glenister, head of midwifery services at the hospital, said: ‘I am sorry to hear of Mrs Kirk’s experience at the hospital and would welcome the opportunity to discuss the points she has raised in person. ‘I would ask Mrs Kirk to make contact with our patient advice and liaison service so we can fully investigate her concerns.’
British Pupils could be forced to study history and geography until the age of 16 in curriculum shake-up
Pupils may be forced to study history and geography until they are 16 under plans for a shake-up of the national curriculum. An independent review ordered by Education Secretary Michael Gove called for the move yesterday as part of a wider drive to address concerns that England’s schools are falling behind the rest of the world.
A separate report yesterday warned of a sharp decline in history teaching, with 159 schools not entering a single pupil for a GCSE in the subject last year.
Recent studies have exposed a shocking ignorance about history among school-leavers. One found that half of all 18 to 24-year-olds did not know Nelson led the British to victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, with a similar proportion unaware that the Romans built Hadrian’s Wall.
Under the proposals, all pupils in England would be required to study history, geography, a foreign language, design and technology and the arts until at least 16, even if they are not planning to take a GCSE in them.
At present pupils can drop these subjects at 14. An expert panel appointed by Mr Gove found that the curriculum in England narrows earlier than in countries with more successful education systems, where pupils are required to study key subjects such as history for longer.
As a result, many youngsters are ‘deprived of access to powerful forms of knowledge and experience at a formative time in their lives’, the panel said.
A move to make these subjects compulsory would tie in with the Government’s new English Baccalaureate, awarded to pupils who gain at least five Cs at GCSE in English, maths, science, history or geography and a foreign language.
Tory MP Chris Skidmore, vice-chairman of the all-party history group, warned that the decline in history teaching had potentially far-reaching consequences.
Mr Skidmore, who will use a Commons debate today to call for history to be made compulsory, said: ‘At the moment we are the only country in Europe, apart from Albania, that allows children to finish history at 14. ‘There are dozens of schools where not a single pupil is studying history beyond that point. ‘Yet history is a subject that binds us as a nation. Having a common understanding of the past helps us to create a more coherent and tolerant society.’
Mr Skidmore said the subject was becoming increasingly confined to the most academic schools, particularly in the south.
Yesterday’s proposals are part of wider reforms designed to boost England’s competitiveness by improving the curriculum. Other suggestions include requiring children to learn their times tables at a younger age.
Ultraviolet rays could prevent chickenpox
And give people skin cancer instead!
ULTRAVIOLET rays could help prevent the spread of the common childhood disease chickenpox.
New research suggests people in temperate zones are more at risk of catching the disease. It is hoped the research will lead to new ways of preventing chickenpox and its more severe relative, shingles.
Dr Phil Rice, a virologist at the University of London, found chickenpox was much less common in places with high UV ray levels.
UV light is known to deactivate some viruses, and Dr Rice believes his findings show UV rays could deactivate the varicella-zoster virus – responsible for chickenpox and shingles – on the skin before it transmits to another person.
Purge on Britain’s ‘elf and safety’ Scrooges ruining the spirit of Christmas with false edicts
A purge has been launched by Ministers on the health and safety Scrooges who ruin the spirit of Christmas. They released a list of false ‘Christmas elf and safety’ edicts wrongly used to ban children’s snowball fights and brand Santa’s sleigh as dangerous.
The move was accompanied by a renewed pledge to scrap all pointless safety ‘do’s and don’ts’ and make it easier for unnecessary rulings to be overturned.
Chris Grayling, the Coalition Minister in charge of the red-tape purge, said: ‘Christmas is a time for celebration and fun. ‘We’re determined to stamp out the health and safety kill-joys who try to bring the spirit of Scrooge to Christmas events.’
The ten-point list of ‘ridiculous’ Christmas safety bans, compiled by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), included:
* Children banned by teachers from having snowball fights in case injured pupils seek compensation;
* Homeowners and businessmen being sued for clearing the snow outside their properties by passers-by who had slipped over;
* Carol singers being classed as a health and safety risk;
* Panto performers ordered not to throw sweets into the audience for fear of injuring them;
* Santa’s sleigh outlawed for posing a traffic risk – a Father Christmas was banned from riding his sleigh through Alnwick, Northumberland, after council officials said their insurance would not cover it.
The HSE said it was wrong to use health and safety rules to ban people from putting coins in traditional Christmas puddings.
Mr Grayling, the Work and Pensions Minister, said that in the New Year he would set up a ‘challenge panel’ to help businesses overturn needless rules. He added: ‘We are putting common sense back at the heart of health and safety. ‘Our reforms will root out needless bureaucracy and ensure the health and safety system is fit for purpose.’
The SNP’s offensive against free speech
A draconian law passed in Scotland yesterday blurs the distinction between hurtful words and harmful deeds
Yesterday, the Scottish National Party (SNP) pushed through a new law stipulating that people can be imprisoned for things they say.
While most of us claim to be proud to live in a liberal, tolerant society, it seems that our tolerance has limits. These limits are defined clearly in the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communication Bill, which seeks to criminalise ‘offensive’ songs and chants by football fans – especially fans of the two Glasgow clubs that dominate Scottish football, Celtic and Rangers. With prison sentences of up to five years, simply for things that are said or sung, this is one of the most draconian laws ever introduced.
The new Scottish law is the antithesis of everything that Mill, and other prominent free-speech defenders like Voltaire, stood for. The thinking behind the new law places the protection of people from offence above the principle of free speech. But instead of admitting that this is a state infringement on free speech, Scotland’s politicians have sought to justify their intervention on the grounds that words can, and do, cause real ‘harm’.
So why have Scottish government ministers decided that a bunch of football fans singing songs that have been sung for decades now constitutes a harm requiring government intervention? Why will fans who sing songs and shout chants during games become criminals overnight?
The answer lies partly in a more generalised culture in which the idea of a society of resilient, rational, robust individuals has been replaced by the notion of fragile, damaged people in need of protection from each other.
In Scotland, the idea that football fans are a thick-skinned bunch who can put up with abuse from rivals for 90 minutes every Saturday has been replaced by the assumption that the majority of fans are potential victims at permanent risk of suffering offence or psychological damage.