Another of Britain’s Third World nurses at work
But Britain needs them because few others are willing to work in the chaotic NHS
A nurse accidentally turned off the life support machine of a paralysed patient, leaving him permanently brain-damaged, a misconduct hearing was told today. Violeta Aylward, was not qualified to look after Jamie Merrett, who was paralysed from the neck down following a road traffic accident in March 2002.
The then 37-year-old had been so worried about the care he was receiving he set up a camera at his home in Devizes, Wiltshire, following previous problems with his ventilator.
But just days into looking after him Aylward, a learning disabilities nurse without proper medical training, was caught on film turning off the machine. Footage from the camera, which he had put in to guard against poor care, shows her grabbing the resuscitation machine and shouting, ‘What do I do with this?’ before paramedics were called to save him.
Mr Merrett, who requires 24-hour care, was left permanently brain damaged after his brain was starved off oxygen for up to 21 minutes.
Violeta Aylward is a Filipino learning disabilities nurse who had not worked in intensive care and was not trained to manage a ventilated patient.
Mr Merrett who suffered severe brain damage, was shown in a BBC documentary struggling to say his name – his sister Karren Reynolds right, attended the misconduct hearing today
Although Mr Merritt was paralysed from the neck down and dependent on a ventilator, he could operate a wheelchair and remained mentally alert, using a voice-activated computer to manage his own affairs and study languages. He had warned NHS Wiltshire, which funded his care, that staff twice previously failed to connect his ventilator properly.
When he had the camera installed in January 2009, Mr Merrett needed 24-hour care from nurses trained to look after a ventilated patient with intensive care experience. A notice stuck beneath the camera read: ‘This is my webcam. It is for my family to see that I am safe. It is recording.’
Footage shows Miss Aylward approach the ventilator and push a button once which starts an alarm beeping and a red light flashing.
She then pushes the button again, switching off the machine and cutting off the oxygen supply. Mr Merrett, who cannot speak as he is starved of air, clicks his tongue against the roof of his mouth – a warning sound ventilated patients are told to make in an emergency.
Miss Aylward eventually realises something is wrong and calls for the care assistant on duty, who asks: ‘What have you done?’, before calling 999.
Miss Aylward is seen floundering with the resuscitation equipment. Instead of connecting it to the hole in Mr Merrett’s neck she puts it in his mouth. She calls out: ‘How do you do this?’ She then urges her patient: ‘Jamie breathe please.’
Paramedics restarted the machine after 21 minutes but by then Mr Merrett suffered severe brain damage.
Aylward, of Reading, now faces being struck off the nursing register after being charged with failing to provide adequate care to Mr Merrett and working when she was not competent to do so.
Wiltshire Primary Care Trust were responsible for commissioning Mr Merrett’s care but had to subcontract it out to nursing agencies due to a lack of staff.
Neil Moloney, for the Nursing and Midwifery Council, said Aylward was employed by Ambition 24 Hours Nursing Agency to provide care to Mr Merrett. Her first shift was on December 23 2008 during which she raised no concerns. She worked three further shifts over the Christmas and New Year period with no problems.
But it was during a night shift on January 8 2009 that Aylward turned off Mr Merrett’s ventilator after checking its settings.
Mr Moloney said: ‘At approximately 8.15pm an incident occurred where the registrant switched off Patient A’s ventilator.
‘On two previous occasions Patient A had experience significant failings with the nursing care of his ventilator and was very anxious about the re-occurrence of such an incident so therefore installed CCTV in his room.
‘The CCTV footage was reviewed following the incident. At around 8.05pm the registrant went into Patient A’s room to undertake observations. ‘She left the room and returned shortly afterwards to check the ventilator settings. ‘She is seen to push several buttons and after a few moments a red light appeared and the alarm was activated.
‘The registrant continues to push buttons in an attempt to turn it back on and calls to care assistant Mercedes Creed in to the room for assistance.” Care assistant Miss Creed then told Aylward to start resuscitation using an Ambubag while she went to call 999.
The footage shows Aylward attempt to do mouth-to-mouth on the patient despite the fact the Ambubag should be used on his tracheotomy. Within minutes a paramedic from a first response team arrived and took over and two further paramedics in an ambulance followed.
Mr Merrett rushed to Salisbury Hospital Intensive Care Unit but by that point he had already suffered permanent brain damage.
Mr Moloney said Aylward was employed to look after Mr Merrett despite not having the proper training to do so. ‘The agency were aware of the requirements that the nurse must have Intensive Care Unit training or experience. ‘The registrant was on the books as a registered learning disabilities nurse, not a register general nurse. She did not have ITU training or experience.
An investigation by Wilshire County Council, who run the local Primary Care Trust, and the police followed but it was decided there was insufficient evidence to pursue a charge of Grievous Bodily Harm.
Aylward, who is not attending the hearing due to ill health, faces being struck off it a fitness to practise panel find her guilty of misconduct.
British Christians Fight for Right to Wear a Cross at Work
Two Christian British women have taken their case over religious liberty to the highest level, now set to square off against the Government of the United Kingdom at the European Court of Human Rights over their right to wear a cross or crucifix at work . In opposition to the women, the government will have to state publicly whether it backs the right of Christians to wear the symbol at work. The Telegraph reports that government ministers will argue that because displaying the cross is not a “requirement” of the Christian faith, employers can ban the wearing of the cross and fire workers who insist on doing so:
“The Government’s refusal to say that Christians have a right to display the symbol of their faith at work emerged after its plans to legalise same-sex marriages were attacked by the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Britain.
A poll commissioned by The Sunday Telegraph shows that the country is split on the issue. Overall, 45 per cent of voters support moves to allow gay marriage, with 36 per cent against, while 19 per cent say they do not know.
However, the Prime Minister is out of step with his own party.
Exactly half of Conservative voters oppose same-sex marriage in principle and only 35 per cent back it.
There is no public appetite to change the law urgently, with more than three quarters of people polled saying it was wrong to fast-track the plan before 2015 and only 14 per cent saying it was right.
Click here to find out more!
The Strasbourg case hinges on whether human rights laws protect the right to wear a cross or crucifix at work under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It states: ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.’
The Christian women bringing the case, Nadia Eweida and Shirley Chaplin, claim that they were discriminated against when their employers barred them from wearing the symbols.
They want the European Court to rule that this breached their human right to manifest their religion.”
The European Court of Human Rights is based in Strasbourg, France, and is not a part of the European Union’s patchwork of institutions but rather aligned to the Council of Europe, which is dedicated to the protection of human rights across 47 countries. The New York Times reports that the court considers cases brought against nations that are bound by the European Convention on Human Rights, and notes that British Prime Minister David Cameron has recently called for the court to restrict its power to overrule national judgements.
RT reports that the U.K. government will now fight in the court against Eweida and Chaplin, asserting that the Christians have no right to wear a cross or crucifix at work:
“Nadia Ewedia is a British Airways employee, who was asked to cover her cross while at work, and was placed on unpaid leave when she refused to do so. Shirley Chaplin is a nurse moved to a desk position after she refused to remove a crucifix.
The women claim they were discriminated against when their employers barred them from wearing a cross and crucifix respectively.
The government position is that wearing the cross is not a ‘requirement of the faith’ and therefore employers can ban the wearing of the cross at work.”
The Telegraph reports that lawyers for the two women claim that the government is setting the bar too high in their position, and that “manifesting” religion includes doing things that are not a “requirement of the faith.” They go on to argue that Christians are given less protection than members of other religions who have been granted special status for garments or symbols such as the Sikh turban and kara bracelet, or the Muslim hijab.
The government’s position has been criticized by British religious leaders. The UK Press Association reports that The Archbishop of York Dr. John Sentamu has attacked the government for denying that Christians have a right to wear the cross at work, saying on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show:
“My view is that this is not the business of government actually. They are beginning to meddle in areas that they ought not to. I think they should leave that to the courts to make a judgment.
“If someone wanted to manifest their belief as a Christian that they wanted to wear a cross – after all at their baptism they are sealed with a cross of Christ – so if they decided to say ‘I know I am sealed with it, but I am going to wear it’, I think that is a matter really for people and that we should allow it. The government should not raise the bar so high that in the end they are now being unjust.”
The Telegraph notes that Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, accused government officials and the courts of “dictating” to Christians, and said the government position regarding crosses was another example of Christianity becoming sidelined in official life.
Ads against gay marriage? How offensive, says the WI
Infiltrated by feminists?
Being slow hand-clapped as he addressed Women’s Institute members was the moment that Tony Blair’s premiership first lost its golden shine. It also marked a turning point for the WI as the organisation became increasingly politicised.
The WI — for years the standard-bearer for traditional family life — is now poised to cause a political stir again.
It has rejected an advert to be placed in its WI Life magazine from C4M (Coalition for Marriage) which is leading the campaign against the Government’s plans to allow same-sex marriages.
Helen Evans, advertising manager for the magazine which is sent to the WI’s 210,000 members, told C4M: ‘We are a national campaigning charity and your campaign doesn’t fit with any of our resolutions first and foremost. As WI Life is the national membership magazine, any promotion of your campaign could be seen as an endorsement …. to members. We do also welcome all women to the WI and this campaign could offend many of our members.’
A spokesman for C4M, whose supporters include Lord Carey the former Archbishop of Canterbury, said: ‘It’s a surprising and unnecessary decision. Most ordinary members will see this as an over-reaction.’
Labour’s former Home Secretary Jack Straw, while a passionate advocate of civil partnerships, has consistently opposed gay marriage.
Back in 2000 he insisted that the introduction of civil partnerships would not lead to changes to marriage law. He said: ‘[Marriage is] about a union for the procreation of children, which by definition can only happen between a heterosexual couple. So I see no circumstances in which we would ever bring forward proposals for so-called gay marriage.’
How things change. Twelve years on, he now supports gay marriage. So much for principles, Jack!
How giving your children five-a-day can actually damage their teeth
You can’t win!
Children who are encouraged to drink large amounts of fruit juice as part of their ‘five a day’ could be damaging their teeth, dentists have warned. They are concerned that health- conscious parents who regularly give their children juices and smoothies bursting with fruit could be doing long-term damage.
Kathy Harley, dean of the dental faculty at the Royal College of Surgeons, warned that half of five-year-olds had signs of wear to their tooth enamel. She has called on schools to offer milk or water to pupils during breaks instead of fruit juice, which has a high acid content.
Dental erosion, which is irreversible, is caused by acid attacking the surface of teeth – and citrus fruit juices in particular are very acidic. While fruit juices contain a range of vitamins that are good for your health, they are also often high in natural sugars, which cause tooth decay.
Miss Harley suggested parents should give their children fruit juice as a treat once a week, for example on Saturdays. The NHS recommends only one 150ml glass of fruit juice per day, which counts as one of the recommended five daily portions of fruit and vegetables.
It suggests people drink the juice with a meal as this can help to reduce damage to the teeth.
Drinking more than one glass of juice a day does not count as more than one portion of fruit, as it does not contain the fibre found in the whole fruit. Juicing or blending fruit releases the sugars inside and is worse for the teeth if drunk frequently. Some researchers also say drinking juice slowly can cause more damage to teeth.
Dentists have previously warned that, while tooth decay is less common as more children and adults brush their teeth regularly than in the past, dental erosion is a growing problem due to acidic drinks.
Research published last year by King’s College London Dental Institute, based on a study of 1,000 people aged between 18 and 30, suggested eating an apple could be worse for teeth than drinking a fizzy drink because of the acid it contains.
Experts recommend people continue to eat fruit but drink water afterwards to wash away the acid or eat something containing calcium, such as cheese, which neutralises acid.
Damien Walmsley, an adviser to the British Dental Association said: ‘If you are having fruit, keep it to meal times. That [may] go against the [recommendation of] five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, but it is not a good idea snacking on it because of the continual drip, drip on to the tooth.’
The Department of Health said it had no plans to remove fruit juice from the five-a-day. A spokesman said: ‘It contains nutrients, including vitamins which are important as part of a healthy, balanced diet.’