‘He could have survived’: Coroner hits out at FOUR doctors who sent toddler home THREE times before he died
A boy of 19 months died despite being seen by four doctors in three days, an inquest heard yesterday. Harry Connolly’s parents begged for their son to be kept in hospital after he was admitted suffering severe diarrhoea and dehydration.
But doctors there failed to carry out vital tests on the toddler, instead dismissing his illness and advising his parents, Lucy and Raymond, to take their son home.
A fourth, from a GP out-of-hours service, also failed to spot that Harry was seriously ill or refer him to hospital for treatment despite the fact the little boy appeared ‘lifeless’.
Instead Harry died at home in his sleep, four days after he was first taken to hospital. A post-mortem examination revealed he died of dehydration and acute kidney failure after suffering from an inflammation of the colon, which had not been spotted.
Coroner Anne Pember criticised doctors at Northampton General Hospital and a GP’s out-of-hours service. She said he could have survived had he been re-admitted to hospital and given proper treatment.
Last night Harry’s parents, who have two older sons, said he had died needlessly because of ‘sub-standard’ care. Mrs Connolly, 29, said: ‘I kept telling the medical staff that Harry was extremely sick but nobody would listen. Three opportunities to save my son were wasted.’
A two-day inquest in Northampton was told Harry fell ill at his home in the town on April 23 last year. Mrs Connolly, an administrative assistant, took him to his GP three days later and, on the doctor’s advice, he was admitted to NGH later that evening.
Harry was then examined by a paediatrician who said he was not dehydrated, but she recommended he be given Dioralyte, a rehydration treatment to boost his salt and sugar levels.
At 10.30am the next day, a second doctor recommended Harry be discharged and his parents given ‘48-hour open access’ to the children’s ward, which meant they could bring him back at any time.
Mrs Connolly returned with him the next day. But a third doctor refused to believe he was dehydrated and sent him home. The next day – Good Friday – Harry’s grandmother was so concerned that the toddler had ‘sunken eyes’ she phoned the hospital. But a nurse could not find Harry’s notes which showed he had ‘48-hour access’. She told the family they would have to go through A&E or their GP out-of-hours service, South East Health Limited.
Out-of-hours GP Aboo Thamby said the boy had a virus but was not dehydrated and did not need to go to hospital. The next day Harry was still poorly but seemed brighter. He went to bed at 9pm and was discovered dead in his cot in the early hours by his father.
In a narrative verdict, Mrs Pember described the disorganised arrangements for the ‘open 48-hour ward access’ system as ‘catastrophic’. She blamed doctors’ decisions not to weigh Harry or take blood and urine samples from him for their failure to diagnose his condition.
Mr and Mrs Connolly are suing NGH and have lodged complaints to the General Medical Council about two of the doctors involved. The hospital has apologised and said changes had been made. [Hah!]
Nurse who drank on shift and stole drugs struck off
Barn door closed after the horse had escaped
A nurse has been struck off after she drank sherry and stole drugs while supposed to be caring for vulnerable patients.
Rodina Margaret Mitchell, 62, also lied to colleagues about stealing from a drugs trolley meant for patients at Biggart Hospital in Prestwick, Ayrshire.
At a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing in London, Mitchell admitted five separate charges of misconduct, including stealing Tramadol or Co-codamol from a drugs trolley.
The NMC panel said they had no other option but to strike her off after she continued to work after drinking on a night shift at a ward for rehabilitating elderly patients in October 2010.
When charge nurse Karen Wilson questioned her about the drugs, she initially lied and said they were from her GP.
Mitchell, from Prestwick, admitted taking “two 50mg strips of Tramadol and /or one 30/500mg strip of Cocodamol from a drug trolley on the ward for (her) own personal use.”
Announcing its decision, the NMC panel said: “In drinking alcohol on duty Ms Mitchell placed her patients at unwarranted risk of harm. “Her lack of recognition of the risk her actions represented means that the Panel could have no confidence that she would not repeat her actions.
“Ms Mitchell’s actions and her dishonesty will undoubtedly have brought the reputation of the profession into disrepute. “Members of the public do not expect nurses to drink alcohol when they are on duty and have responsibility for patients’ lives and well-being. “Nor does the public expect nurses to steal medication intended for the care of patients.”
The NMC panel continued: “The Panel finds that that Ms Mitchell’s misconduct and her dishonesty has seriously undermined confidence in the profession and is fundamentally incompatible with her remaining on the Register.
“The only sanction sufficient to protect the public and maintain and uphold public confidence in the nursing profession and the NMC as regulator is to strike the registrant off the Register.”
The NMC said Mitchell was not apologised for her actions, and her only contact with the NMC was to admit the charges and the fact she was no longer fit to practise.
“Ms Mitchell has offered no information to suggest she recognises the risks she posed to her patients when she drank alcohol on duty nor the damage that her actions will have caused to public confidence in the profession.
“She was offered support and help from her employer but declined that offer. “She has not engaged with the NMC in addressing the concerns regarding her fitness to practice, except to admit the facts and concede that her fitness to practise is impaired.
“The Panel has not been provided with testimonial references.
“Ms Mitchell has provided no information to suggest she had taken any steps to remediate her misconduct. “Indeed, Ms Mitchell has told the NMC that she has retired from nursing and will not be applying to go back on to the NMC Register.”
When asked for her reaction to the striking off order she declined to comment, saying only: “That’s what I wanted.”
British PM waters down pledge to kick out all foreign criminals
David Cameron has abandoned a pledge to deport thousands of foreign criminals, including burglars, violent thugs and thieves.
The Tory leader had promised in Opposition to change immigration rules so prisoners from outside the EU were automatically sent home – even those serving short jail terms.
Currently around 7,000 foreign offenders a year escape deportation because they have been handed a sentence of less than 12 months.
But the Government has admitted it is only tightening the rules so that drug dealers serving less than a year are automatically deported.
It means other offenders, including violent thugs and benefit fraudsters, will still not be kicked out. The revelation comes after MPs criticised the UK Border Agency – responsible for processing foreign criminals and illegal immigrants – for not doing enough to kick out ex-prisoners.
Its report showed just 40 per cent of foreign criminals released from prison in a border scandal six years ago have been sent home.
In 2006, 1,013 foreign nationals were let out without being considered for deportation. By November last year, just 397 had been deported and more than 50 had still not been found.
Mr Cameron’s pledge came four years ago after a leaked internal prisons memo showed immigration officials had ‘no interest’ in deporting short sentence prisoners.
In response, a Tory policy document, called Prisons With A Purpose, published in 2007, said: ‘We will accelerate the deportation of foreign national prisoners before the end of their sentences and extend automatic deportation to non-EU prisoners serving less than a year.’
The Lib Dems have also pledged in the past to toughen up the rules.
It is estimated extending deportation to ‘all eligible foreign nationals’ would mean an extra 7,000 would face proceedings every year. In 2010, 5,342 foreign criminals were sent home, compared with 5,530 in 2009.
In a Parliamentary written answer, the Home Office said the 12 months or less policy remains in force.
Immigration Minister Damian Green added that an exception is made if a judge recommends an offender for deportation, or if the criminal has a string of convictions within the past five years.
In addition, drug offenders face automatic deportation for any crime other than possession, even for short sentences.
Tory MP Priti Patel, who asked the question, said: ‘The Government should make every effort to ensure all foreign criminals are deported. They are a huge drain on the criminal justice system.’
Ministers recently toughened rules on sending home European Economic Area nationals. They are deported if they have served a custodial sentence of 12 months or more for drugs, violence or sex crimes and of two years for all other offences.
Home Secretary Theresa May has expressed her determination to stop foreign criminals using human rights laws to remain in the country. In 2010 nearly 400 won appeals against deportation using Article 8, the right to a private and family life.
In the past decade, the number of foreign nationals in prison in England and Wales has nearly doubled to 10,866 in last December.
A UK Border Agency spokesman said: ‘Those who come to the UK must abide by our laws. We will always seek to deport any foreign criminal sentenced to more than 12 months as quickly as possible.’
Popular Anglican vicar converts to Catholicism… and takes HALF his flock with him to church 500 yards away
The C of E had become too wishy-washy and without moorings for him
A vicar led half his congregation in converting to Catholicism after complaining that the Church of England is telling believers in traditional values to ‘sod off’. Father Donald Minchew was followed by 70 of his flock when he left the Anglican church where he has led services for nearly two decades to join a Catholic church less than 500 yards up the road.
He said the extraordinary leap of faith made him feel like the ‘Prodigal Son’ returning to a church with established beliefs after years of enduring the ‘pick and choose’ attitude of the CofE where congregations are fed on a diet of ‘pap and banality’.
The 63-year-old quit St Michael’s and All Angels parish church in Croydon, south London, to move to neighbouring St Mary’s Church because he opposed many decisions by the General Synod, including the ordination of women priests and bishops.
When he first told his congregation at St Michael’s of his plan during a service there was ‘surprise and astonishment’, he said. ‘They faced a stark choice – to follow me or stay where they were with what was left. ‘I never bullied or pressured anyone to join me. I let them make their own choices. ‘In the end about 70 of the congregation of 120 came with me.
‘They are very brave because they have answered the call of God and done it at great cost, often causing rifts and divisions with family and old friends.
‘The Anglican bishop and Archdeacon of Croydon were extremely understanding and supportive.
‘But from within St Michael’s there were a few false rumours put around to try to keep members of the congregation, including the ludicrous claim that the Catholic church would be ordaining women within a decade. ‘It was a little uncomfortable but I have no regrets.
‘When I was ordained in the Church of England in 1976 there were some things that would never be challenged. ‘But now it just seems that everything has come up for grabs.
‘Those of us who believed in traditional values and opposed the ordination of women and other innovations, who were once an honoured and valued part of the Cof E, are now just being told to ‘sod off’. That’s the bottom line. ‘They all talk of being inclusive and being a broad church when what they really mean is bugger off if you don’t believe in what we believe.
‘Making the move has been like coming home. I feel like the Prodigal Son returning. ‘It is a return to a faith that has fixed values that are not going to change at the next meeting of the General Synod. ‘The Church of England has become like a buffet where you pick and choose which commandments and doctrines you want to follow.
‘We are being fed this pap diet of common worship and banality upon banality rather than the Book of Common Prayer.’
Father Minchew and his followers were received into the full communion at St Mary’s Church last week. Former Anglican bishop Monsignor John Broadhurst received and confirmed the group, who will now form the Croydon Ordinariate.
Father Minchew said 2,000 people attended the mass at St Mary’s on Easter Sunday – more than ten times the congregation he got at his previous church on an Easter Sunday.
He said: ‘In the Catholic Church they take their faith seriously compared to the take it or leave it attitude of the Church of England, where there’s a sense of ‘I don’t fancy it this Sunday.’
The father of four, who is a widower, spent a year deciding on whether to make the move which had serious financial implications for him and his family. He sacrificed his £11,500-a-year pension – which he was due to start drawing in 18 months – and will have to leave his vicarage home because of his decision.
Parishioner Barry Barnes was one of those who left after 30 years in the congregation at St Michael and All Angels. He said: ‘We saw where the church was going and decided we could no longer stay in the Church of England. ‘My wife and I decided the Church of England was no longer where we wanted to be and we joined the Ordinariate for a number of reasons.
‘Their attitude towards homosexuality and in light of the possible ordination of women as bishops, neither of us can accept that.’
A spokesman for the Diocese of Southwark, said while they regretted losing Father Minchew and some members of his congregation, ‘we wish them well for their future Christian journey’.
Another very British farce
The men who built the empire would be disgusted by these pansies
It must have looked like a major catastrophe unfolding as 25 firefighters descended on the scene. But this was no terrorist atrocity or terrible car crash – the five teams of emergency crews had been scrambled to rescue a stranded seagull from a three foot deep pond.
And matters became even more farcical, when the emergency crews were rendered utterly powerless to act because of health and safety rules prevented them from ‘risking their lives’ by venturing into the waist deep waters.
Instead they watched helplessly as staff from a nearby wildlife centre pulled on his waders, paddled out to the stricken Herring Gull, and freed its foot from a plastic bag.
Ten minutes later, Adam Briddock, 20, part of the two man team, returned safely to shore at Carshalton Ponds, in South London, with the gull in good health on Saturday.
London Fire Brigade said they were ‘not willing to put the lives of our firefighters at risk for the sake of a seagull’.
Ted Burden, who runs Riverside Animal Centre in Beddington, said: ‘It was a bit ridiculous really. Five fire crews turned up, but because of protocols they couldn’t go into the water. ‘It is health and safety gone mad really when you look at it, because the water was not really anymore than waist deep.’
A member of the public became so concerned for the welfare of a bird they went home to get an inflatable boat in a bid to go out on the water themselves, but the craft was found not to be water-worthy.
An RSPCA spokeswoman described the situation at the ponds as ‘quite a scene.’
A fire source said firefighters were sometimes frustrated by strict protocols, like not rescuing trapped birds, which sometimes did not fit actual scenarios firefighters were presented with.
The fire source added: ‘Although we have the facilities to effect a rescue, we are not allowed to do it for a bird. There is no leeway.’
The adult gull was taken back to the centre, dried out and fed, before it was released back into the wild the next day.
A LFB spokesman defended the numbers of firefighters sent out, saying it was a standard response to an animal being in trouble, and the firefighters were on hand in case a member of public had tried to rescue the birds or the water rescue team had got into trouble.
She added: ‘We are not willing to put the lives of our firefighters at risk for the sake of a seagull. Our firefighters get called out to lots of different incidents and never know what they’re going to find when they get there.
‘At any incident we need to make sure we have enough staff on hand in case something goes wrong and to ensure that our firefighters, and the public, are safe at all times.’
London Metropolitan University mulls alcohol ban for ‘conservative Muslim students’
A London University may become the first in the country to ban alcohol from part of its campus to attract more Muslim students, its Vice Chancellor has said.
London Metropolitan University is considering banning the sale of alcohol from some parts of the campus because a “high percentage” of students consider drinking “immoral,” Prof Malcolm Gillies said.
One-fifth of the University’s students are Muslim, and of those the majority are women. It is an issue of “cultural sensitivity” to provide drink-free areas, Prof Gillies told a conference, adding he was “not a great fan of alchol on campus”.
Do you think London Met should ban alcohol at sites around campus?
No – It is wrong to pander to an extreme viewNo – It would discriminate against those who do drink alcoholYes – It is right to make Muslim students feel comfortableYes – Students drink far too much and this might encourage them to drink less
“It’s a negative experience – in fact an immoral experience – for a high percentage of our students,” he said.
He went on: “Many of our students do come from backgrounds where they actually look on [drinking] as a negative. And given that around our campuses you have at least half a dozen pubs within 200m, I can’t see there is such a pressing reason to be cross-subsidising a student activity which is essentially the selling of alcohol.”
“Because there’s no majority ethnic group, I think it [selling alcohol] is playing to particular parts of our society much more [than to others]”.
Professor Gillies said the University was “much more cautious” about the portrayal of sex on campus than universities had been 30 or 40 years ago, the Times Higher Education reported.
Many of its female Muslim students “can only really go to university within four miles of home and have to be delivered and picked up by a close male relative”, he said.
“Now we’ve got a younger generation that are often exceedingly conservative, and we need to be much more cautious about [sex] too.
“Their student experience is going to be different from someone gorging out in the Chocoholics Society or someone who is there to have a…libidinous time.”
London Metropolitan University was founded in 2002. It has 30,000 students from 190 countries.
The British government loses it
Christopher Booker’s article in the Mail is extraordinary. The idea that we are intending to add massively to the cost of making home improvements by forcing people to complete a variety of other works at the same time is quite mindblowing.
Anyone thinking of building a new conservatory, replacing their old boiler or putting in new windows had better move fast.
If they wait a couple of years they could find themselves falling foul of a deluge of new ‘green’ red tape that will leave them having to pay thousands of pounds extra.
Under plans being discussed by the Government, revealed by yesterday’s Daily Mail, anyone hoping to make improvements to their home from 2014 may have to carry out a whole lot of additional works to show their property is ‘energy efficient’.
I find the idea that it will be forbidden to replace a broken down boiler without spending thousands more quite immoral. Are people supposed to sit in the cold if they can’t afford it?
This is going to make ordinary people very, very angry.
Alan Davies has committed a thought crime against the post-Hillsborough cult of emotional correctness
(The Hillsborough disaster was a human crush which occurred during the semi-final FA Cup tie between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest football clubs on 15 April 1989 at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England. The crush resulted in the deaths of 96 people, with a total of 766 other persons being injured. All of them were fans of Liverpool Football Club)
The furore over Alan Davies’s perfectly sensible comments on Hillsborough raises a question: what are you allowed to say about that tragic event? All Davies said is that it is ridiculous for Liverpool FC to refuse to play a match on the anniversary date of the Hillsborough disaster, which is true.
We don’t normally hide away from the world on the anniversaries of terrible events. We don’t all stop using the London Underground on 17 November (the anniversary of the King’s Cross fire of 1987 that killed 32 people) or keep our children home from school on 21 October (the date in 1966 when a slag heap killed 116 schoolkids in Aberfan).
So why shouldn’t Liverpool, like every other team, play football on 15 April?