‘I feel utter grief and loss for the life that Milly could have’: Mother of girl crippled after hospital blunder speaks out after court awards £10.8m medical negligence payout
The parents of a girl ‘left trapped in a body that no longer functions’ after an ‘avoidable’ hospital blunder has been awarded compensation worth £10.8 million. Milly Evans, 11, suffered devastating injuries after medics failed to notice her heart had stopped shortly after she was born.
She now suffers from cerebral palsy, needs 24-hour care and help with all aspects of daily living.
Today a High Court judge awarded one of the highest clinical negligence payouts after ruling Lincoln County Hospital was at fault.
Speaking after the judgement, Milly’s mother Kate, 41, said: ‘Milly is a very beautiful, bright, kind and loving daughter, with a wicked sense of humour. ‘Unfortunately, she is trapped inside a body that does not function, and she is not able to do the very basic things that we all take for granted.
‘I feel utter grief and loss for the life that Milly could have had if she had she not been injured.
‘Milly is a very much-loved member of the family and we all feel privileged to have such a lovely daughter.
Mrs Evans, who lives with her husband Andy, 45, and family in Lincolnshire, added: ‘The family have been through a very difficult time. The money will never make up for the mistake that condemned Milly to a lifetime of dependency on others.
‘However, it will ensure that Milly is provided with full-time care and equipment throughout her life. We now want to build a loving and secure life for Milly in a new adapted home.
‘Milly is incredibly hard-working, adventurous and positively enjoys many activities. including sailing. ‘We are over the moon that not only will Milly be looked after financially for the rest of her life, we can now pay for the technology and modifications needed to help her achieve her full potential.’
Mr and Mrs Evans claimed that if the baby’s heart had been properly monitored on March 1 2001, the midwife would have spotted the life-threatening condition fetal distress soon after she was delivered.
After Milly’s birth at she was transferred to the neo-natal unit, where she underwent resuscitation and suffered a seizure.
They say without this failure Milly, who is confined to a wheelchair and able only to communicated through sophisticated eye-gaze equipment, could have been delivered earlier without suffering catastrophic injury.
Their counsel, Susan Rodway QC, told the judge, Sir Robert Nelson, that it was a tragic case. She said: ‘It is yet another incident of an avoidable accident at birth which caused devastating injuries.’
Milly sat smiling in court as the judge approved a settlement involving a lump sum of £5.866 million and lifelong periodic payments rising to £204,000 a year.
He had heard that United Lincolnshire Hospital NHS Trust admitted liability in March 2010 but had contested the amount of damages until the parties recently reached agreement.
He told Mr Evans, a former squadron leader in the RAF and member of the Red Arrows display team, who was unable to continue his career because of Milly’s disabilities, that he and his 41-year-old wife, Kate, had both done a ‘fantastic’ job. ‘The love and devotion you have shown to Milly with her problems has been enormous,’ he added.
Paul Rees QC, for the trust, paid tribute to the family and offered them an unreserved apology for the events surrounding Milly’s birth. Mr Rees added: ‘No amount of fine words can put right that wrong. I know that and everyone in court knows that. But they are entitled to hear in open court that apology.’
The family’s lawyers, Access Legal from Shoosmiths, said that the money would ensure that Milly had a positive life experience as far as possible given her condition. She would now be able to have a specially-adapted home, with hoists and a hydrotherapy pool, which would be big enough for her to access all rooms.
Partner Denise Stephens said: ‘Milly is an amazing girl, with a beautiful smile and a sense of humour. ‘She requires round-the-clock care and attention, and will do so for the rest of her life. ‘It was crucial, therefore, that we were able to secure a compensation award of this size to provide for Milly’s needs.’
Sylvia Knight, director of nursing and patient services at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘I offer my unreserved apologies on behalf of the Trust, for the tragic incident in 2001 that has affected the life of Milly and her family.
‘Since this incident, we have made many changes to our practice that will help ensure this does not happen again. ‘Families attending the maternity unit can be reassured that our teams will deliver high quality, safe and attentive care during their stay.’
Mother begged staff to transfer daughter to intensive care before she died of heart failure
A mother driven to despair as her baby daughter lay dying in hospital bribed a nurse with a £100 gift voucher in the hope of improving her care.
Hayley Fullerton died of heart failure within a month of her first birthday after doctors ignored Paula Stevenson’s pleas to transfer the little girl to an intensive care unit.
In the weeks leading up to Hayley’s death, Miss Stevenson became so concerned about the ‘brutal’ care her daughter was receiving that she tried to bribe one nurse to stop her daughter being ‘overlooked and neglected’.
Yesterday, the 40-year-old told an inquest: ‘I was out of my mind with worry and was so upset. The doctors were arrogant and unprofessional.
‘I tried to express my concern to the nurses, I even bought a £100 gift voucher in an attempt to bribe one of them. ‘I hoped the other nurses would hear about it and look after Hayley in the hope they would get one too. But nothing worked.’
Hayley had been diagnosed with a hole in the heart before she was born, and was admitted to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for corrective surgery when she was ten months old.
Miss Stevenson said that while the operation was a success, complications arose during Hayley’s recovery after doctors inserted the wrong size tube into her lung, causing it to collapse.
The inquest heard Hayley’s parents became increasingly concerned that their only child was struggling to breathe and looked ‘puffy’ – but were repeatedly told by medics that there was nothing to worry about.
When her lung collapsed for a second time, Hayley was put in an isolation ward, despite Miss Stevenson and husband Bobby Fullerton begging doctors to transfer her to intensive care.
The couple and Hayley’s grandparents, Sylvia and Edward Stevenson, kept a vigil at her bedside, but Hayley died in November 2009 – four weeks after the corrective surgery.
It was during the recovery from the surgery when complications arose, ultimately leading to her tragic death
A report by the hospital concluded that there had been failings in the little girl’s care and said Hayley may have survived if there had not been.
Miss Stevenson, who kept her maiden name after marrying Mr Fullerton, said that the more she complained about her daughter’s treatment, the worse it seemed to become.
She added: ‘All Hayley did was sleep. What was happening to her was destroying me. ‘Hayley’s experience at Birmingham Children’s Hospital can only be described as brutal.’
Miss Stevenson and Mr Fullerton live in Australia, but Hayley was born in Northern Ireland, where Miss Stevenson grew up, so that her family could be around her. The couple took her to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for surgery because it is a major centre of paediatric cardiac care.
The inquest continues.
The Utterly Horrifying English Welfare State
I’ve occasionally commented on foolish public policy in the United Kingdom, including analysis on how the welfare state destroys lives and turns people into despicable moochers.
But if you really want to understand the horrifying absurdity of the welfare state, check out these passages from a report in the Daily Mail.
Carl Cooper thought he was doing a public service by offering seven benefits claimants the chance to work for him. But the company boss was flabbergasted when none of them turned up on the first day. Astonishingly, not a single one even had the courtesy to tell the marketing firm boss they would not be coming in. Mr Cooper and other staff members called the new employees to ask them where they were. Initially, some refused to answer their phones when they recognised the number calling them. When the staff finally got through, five said they would be better off staying on state benefits rather than doing the commission-based work. Four of the seven also claimed torrential rain had put them off.
Wow. Five out of seven admitted that mooching off the taxpayers was a better way to live. What does that tell us about the over-generosity of handouts? Let’s continue.
Mr Cooper, who runs Car Smart, a marketing firm for independent car dealers in Canterbury, Kent, criticised the benefits system and said it rewarded people for doing nothing. He added: ‘I was left stunned when none of the new recruits turned up for work. They are a bunch of workshy layabouts. ‘These are people who are so morally twisted that they would rather stay on the dole than work. ‘People keep saying there are not enough jobs in the UK but the real problem is that there are not enough determined or ambitious people. ‘The benefit system is too generous and encourages the unemployed to stay unemployed and just breeds more laziness.’
But it’s even worse than Mr. Cooper realizes. He’ll still be paying these people, but in the form of taxes that then get redistributed to subsidize idleness.
You might think the moochers would lose their benefits because they chose laziness over work, but you would be wrong.
Mr Cooper said all his employees received a basic retainer of £100 a week initially and are enrolled on to the company’s commission structure, which could see earnings rise to up to £400 a week. The jobseekers who failed to turn up will not lose their benefits because the basic pay is under the minimum wage.
I found the above story via Kyle Smith, who also cites a story from the Times about a crazy proposal to have bureaucrats scrub floors and serve as human alarm clocks for the welfare class.
Town hall officials have been told to get down on their hands and knees and “clean the floors” of the homes they visit under David Cameron’s Troubled Families programme. They have also been urged to turn up at family homes at 7am if necessary to get parents out of bed and children ready for school on time. The orders were issued by the programme head, Louise Casey… “I want to see people rolling up their sleeves and getting down and cleaning the floors if that is what needs to be done. If a family needs to be shown how to heat up a pizza, show them how to do it. If it takes going round three times a week at 7am to get Mum up, then do it.”
I have three quick reactions to this bit of foolishness.
1. I’d like to see the head bureaucrat, Ms. Casey, spend a month scrubbing floors and waking people up at 7:00 a.m. She strikes me as the typical leftist clown, sitting in an office enjoying a cushy and overpaid job while dreaming up absurd ideas on how to waste taxpayer money. Maybe if she gets her hands dirty by “rolling up [her] sleeves,” she’ll learn the difference between blackboard theorizing and the real world.
2. My gut reaction is that the government should cut the handouts to these dysfunctional households. For every day the welfare bums aren’t up on time to get their kids to school, they lose 10 percent of their loot. If their floors are dirty, that’s another 10 percent. If you want to change their behavior, start cutting into the budget for cigarettes and booze.
3. More realistically, we’re dealing with a problem of people who have little if any self-respect, and they pass horrible habits to their children. Kicking them off the dole might wake up some of them, but I suspect more than a few of them are past the point of no return. Society would probably be better off if their kids were put in foster homes, but I’m sure government would screw that up as well.
Stories like this leave me increasingly convinced that the only good approach is radical decentralization. Get these programs out of capital cities like Washington and London. The U.S. welfare reform was a decent start, but get responsibility to the local level. And in cities, put neighborhoods in charge. Have those small communities in charge of raising the money and spending the money.
That approach is far more likely to generate good ideas and good solutions, though I confess I’m pessimistic about anything working.
But we should figure out ways to stop inter-generational poverty and welfare. I gather it’s considered bad form to suggest mandatory birth control for welfare recipients, so has anyone proposed a different approach that might work?
Senior British family court judge campaigns to break Britain’s ‘divorce addiction’
Britons have an addiction to divorce fuelled by a ‘Hello! magazine’ attitude to marriage, a top judge has warned. Sir Paul Coleridge said family breakdown was ‘one of the most destructive scourges of our time’.
Citing growing evidence of harm to a generation of children, he said youngsters whose parents separated saw their educational achievements and job prospects damaged.
In a highly unusual move for a serving judge, Sir Paul will tomorrow launch a campaign – backed by senior legal figures and Church leaders – to promote marriage. There was ‘incontrovertible’ proof that married couples were more likely to stay together, he said.
Sir Paul, one of the most senior family court judges, voiced particular concern over what he called the ‘Hello! magazine, Hollywood image’ of marriage, saying: ‘The more we have spent on weddings, the greater the rate of family breakdown.’
And he also warned that a trend for older couples to split once children leave home was having an ‘extremely emotionally disturbing’ impact on families.
Sir Paul’s campaign is expected to be supported by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu and the Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, while patrons of the campaign include former chief family law judge Baroness Butler-Sloss, family lawyer and academic Baroness Deech and Baroness Shackleton, the divorce lawyer who acted for Prince Charles and Sir Paul McCartney.
The judge warned that courts had ‘streamlined’ family cases to contend with the growing numbers, making it too easy for couples to split – suggesting they should be required to go through counselling and mediation.
‘We don’t traditionally comment on matters of policy, but there are very few people who have had as much experience of what is going on as the family judiciary,’ he told the Daily Mail. ‘We have watched it get worse and worse and worse. The time for sucking our teeth is over. Waiting for government or others to take action is merely an excuse for moaning and inactivity.’
According to official figures, there were 400,000 cases heard in the family courts in 2010 and 120,000 divorces, up 5 per cent on the previous year. There were 241,000 marriages in 2010, a near 100-year low. Some 22 per cent of marriages in 1970 had ended in divorce by the 15th wedding anniversary, whereas 33 per cent of marriages now end in the same period. Cohabitation, meanwhile, rose from a million couples in 2001 to 2.9million in 2010 – and it is projected to rise to 3.7million by 2031.
Referring to the ‘Hello! magazine’ attitude, he said: ‘Marriage is not something that falls out of the sky ready-made on to beautiful people in white linen suits. ‘It involves endless hard work, compromises, forgiveness and love. However right the person is, they might not be right two years later. It doesn’t matter how wonderful you appear to be to your partner at the beginning, you will begin to display faults that we all have.
‘In order for a relationship to last, you have to hang in there and adjust and change and alter and understand. Long, stable marriages are carved out of the rock of human stubbornness and selfishness and difficulties.’
Sir Paul, 62, who has been married for nearly 40 years and has three children and three grandchildren, also warned of the rise in so-called ‘silver splitters’ – couples who separate late in life, often when their children leave home. In the past decade divorce among the over-50s has risen by 10 per cent.
‘It is very sad that we now see such a huge number of people in their 50s, 60s and 70s getting divorced and carving up their estates and their lives,’ he said. ‘There has been a dramatic increase. The truth is that people think it’s fine to do that once children are grown up. It probably isn’t as destructive as when as child is 12, but if you speak to those in their 20s or 30s who experience their parents breaking up long after they have left home, they will tell you almost always that it’s an extremely emotionally disturbing thing for them, and indeed for any grandchildren. It creates huge sensitivities. The tectonic plates of a family shift.’
Sir Paul said he backed proposals to make it compulsory for anyone wishing to apply to the courts over an acrimonious separation to attend mediation or counselling. Tory ministers have suggested that separating couples should be made to understand the impact of conflict on children.
But the judge suggested a wider shake up of the law, which he said dated back to the 1950s. ‘The law and the courts have undoubtedly played a part, because in order to manage the enormous flood of cases we have had to streamline the law and the process. There is no such thing as a defended divorce any longer. We see that the fight is no longer over the divorce itself, but over money and children,’ he said.
Sir Paul said he was not interested in ‘preaching’ or pronouncing moral judgments. And he defended the right of judges to speak out on issues of concern in which they had expertise. It was the same, he said, as doctors alerting the public to an epidemic they had detected. ‘It would be irresponsible to remain quiet. This is an exceptional situation,’ he said.
The Marriage Foundation, the new campaign group he will lead, will accept divorce is sometimes unavoidable and will not argue that those who make a sustained commitment to one another outside marriage are in some way inferior.
‘This is not going to be a cosy club for the smug and self-satisfied of middle England but, we hope, the start of a national movement with the aim of changing attitudes across the board from the very top to the bottom of society, and thus improve the lives of us all, especially children,’ the judge said. Instead, the campaign will seek to promote marriage as the ‘gold standard’ for relationships that benefit couples, children and wider society.
A report to be published by the foundation will say there is now overwhelming evidence that married relationships are more stable and the children of such relationships fare better.
A baby born to cohabiting parents is more than ten times more likely to see its parents separate than one born to married parents.
Among natural parents, almost 90 per cent of married couples were still together when their children were seven compared with just 69 per cent of couples who were cohabiting. Almost one in four children living with cohabiting parents as a baby, meanwhile, was in lone-mother families by the age of seven compared with only one in ten living with married parents.
The costs and consequences for society, the foundation will say, are unsustainable. Half a million children and adults are drawn into the family law and justice system every year, with 3.8million children currently caught up in the family justice system.
The financial cost to society of broken relationships is estimated to be £44billion a year. Research by the Youth Justice Board suggests 70 per cent of young offenders are from broken families.
The positive benefits of marriage include higher incomes and greater accumulation of wealth, avoiding the loss of income that tends to follow a breakdown.
Marriage also improves health, with one study suggesting the health gain may be as large as the benefit from giving up smoking.
Final High School exam overhaul to halt Britain’s “rampant grade inflation”
Sweeping reforms to the “gold standard” A-level exams have been signalled by the head of the exam watchdog. Glenys Stacey, the chief executive of Ofqual, said that after more than a decade of “persistent grade inflation” in exams, which was “impossible to justify”, the value of A-levels and GCSEs have been undermined.
To restore public confidence, wholesale changes were needed to the structure of exams and the culture within exam boards, she warned.
It is the regulator’s first admission that the continuous rise in results has been fuelled in part by the cumulative effect of examiners giving students the “benefit of the doubt”.
The chief sounded the death knell for the two-part A-level, introduced 12 years ago and about to be taken by thousands of sixth formers in this summer’s exam season which starts next month. Her comments herald the scrapping of the AS level, taken in lower sixth, and a return to the traditional A-level where pupils take exams at the end of the course.
* Current A-levels, made up of modules examined at intervals, were not working and needed to be changed
* Resits were robbing schools of teaching time
* Good quality multiple choice questions should form a part of some A-level subjects to ensure more of what pupils are taught in lessons is examined
* England needed to learn lessons from high performing countries where maths and English are compulsory to age 18
The Government is carrying out a fundamental review of the national curriculum and the examination system after fears that endemic “dumbing down” has created a generation of students who struggle to cope with degree level work.
Until now Ms Stacey, who was appointed by Michael Gove last year, has avoided the term “grade inflation”, criticising it as “unhelpful and negative”. She said last year that rising results may be explained by “young people being taught well and working hard.”
But the regulator head admitted that “containing” grade inflation in this year’s A-levels and GCSEs, by ensuring exam boards set “justifiable” grade boundaries, was a major focus. Her remarks pile pressure on the beleagured boards to rein-in examiners to avoid any hikes in results this August.
“If you look at the history, we have seen persistent grade inflation for these key qualifications for at least a decade,” she said. “The grade inflation we have seen is virtually impossible to justify and it has done more than anything, in my view, to undermine confidence in the value of those qualifications.
“One of the reasons why we see grade inflation, and it is a laudable reason, is that a lot of the time there are very small gains just by giving the benefit of the doubt. But the benefit of the doubt factor has an impact over time. We need to find ways to manage grade inflation.”
Experts say modular exams, introduced under Labour, fuel grade inflation because they are easier to pass and pupils are allowed numerous resits.
The chief executive revealed that Ofqual will consult over the summer on proposals to “move away from a modular approach” at A-level. “We have found that there is a strong and persistent view from universities that the modular approach to A-levels is not achieving what it needs to, that the parts don’t add up to the whole,” Ms Stacey told the Sunday Telegraph.
She said teachers had also raised concerns about the structure of current A-levels. “There are only so many school hours in a year. When time is spent preparing for modular exams, doing test papers, doing exams, doing resits, where is the time for teaching?” said Ms Stacey. “It is said to me sufficiently often that I am sitting up and taking notice. I think I am quite right to be concerned about it.
“It is not simply a question of ‘well, let’s propose we get rid of the January exams’, you do need to have regard to the structure of the two-part A-level. The answer may well be different subject by subject.”
Ms Stacey said that England needed to learn lessons from exam systems in high performing countries around the world. An international report to be published by Ofqual next month will compare the English approach to countries such as Canada, China, the Netherlands, Finland, South Korea and New Zealand.
It will say that high quality multiple choice questions, project work, oral assessment and compulsory subjects all featured more strongly in overseas exam systems.
The findings will bolster the case for making maths and English mandatory in sixth form, which is likely to be part of the Government’s reforms.
“We are quite unusual in this country in that students here have a free choice about what they study,” said Ms Stacey. “That is not the approach internationally. We are concerned about whether A-levels are preparing students in the round and subject specifically for university study.”
Ms Stacey, was previously the chief executive of the now defunct Standards Board for England, a non-departmental body responsible for promoting high ethical standards in local democracy.
Attacks on Lovelock are absurd
James Lovelock has been called the godfather of global warming. He’s one of the world’s most honoured scientists and environmentalists. His “Gaia theory” — that the Earth operates as a single, living organism — created an entirely new field of Earth science studies following its publication in 1979.
His electron capture detector first enabled scientists to detect CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and other pollutants in the atmosphere, which in many ways was the start of the modern environmental movement. His inventions have been used by NASA.
His books on the potentially cataclysmic effects of man-made climate change — The Revenge of Gaia and The Vanishing Face of Gaia — are required reading for anyone wanting to understand modern-day thinking on global warming.
And last week, in an interview with msnbc.com, he admitted he has been unduly “alarmist” about climate change, along with others like Al Gore. Lovelock said it’s not happening as quickly as he feared and that he and many others have been “extrapolating too far” from computer models. “The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing,” Lovelock said. “We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books — mine included — because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened.
Even though Lovelock is revered by global warmists for his Gaia theory and his previous writings predicting billions would die from it by the end of this century, his latest comments have prompted outrage from the same quarters.
Suddenly, the godfather of global warming is being condemned as everything from over-the-hill (he’s 92 and shows no signs of slowing down) to allegations he’s just seeking publicity for his new book and playing into the hands of climate deniers.
All these allegations are absurd.
Lovelock is a self-made genius, who already has all the fame he needs.
He hasn’t broken with the theory of man-made global warming. He still believes it’s happening, just not as quickly as he once thought.
His next book will outline ways in which he believes mankind can help regulate the Earth’s natural systems.
What’s marked Lovelock’s scientific career, however, most of it spent outside the academic establishment (his laboratory is a converted barn near Cornwall, England) is his willingness to test theories against real-world observation.
As “an independent and loner,” Lovelock told msnbc.com, he doesn’t mind admitting “all right, I made a mistake”, as opposed to university and government scientists whom, he said, fear admitting error will lead to a loss of funding.
Indeed, Lovelock regularly angers global warmists and environmentalists by refusing to toe the party line. He’s long argued wind turbines and solar panels are useless when it comes to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, as well as being blights on the landscape. He says the most effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally is through the increased use of nuclear power.
He compares environmentalists who demand the world must rapidly abandon fossil fuels to passengers on an airplane, who, having discovered it is pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, insist the pilot turn off the engines, thinking that will fix the problem.
“We cannot turn off our energy-intensive, fossil-fuel-powered civilization without crashing,” Lovelock warns. “We need the soft landing of a powered descent.” Exactly.
Lovelock’s only real problem when it comes to dealing with the global warming establishment, is that he’s always been too smart for the room.
Solar Climate Change is happening now
The sun is entering a ‘muddled’ magnetic state. ‘Little Ice Age ‘ (Maunder-Dalton) circulation patterns are emerging and more rapid world cooling is taking over — says Piers Corbyn, British astrophysicist and forecaster
“The Sun’s magnetic field is getting into a muddle as one half of it changes out of step with the other and this muddled behavior is likely to become very marked in MAY.
“This strange behavior was pointed out by Japanese researchers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and the Riken research foundation* who say this was the sort of behavior which probably took place during low periods of solar activity in the past** and which drove the world into a cold state of longer winters, cold Spring months and lousy summers.
“At the same time independent observers have noticed an increase in Little Ice Age type (Maunder-Dalton type) weather events and circulation patterns around the world such as more extreme hailstorms and cyclonic cold weather in Britain and Ireland with the Jet stream shifted well south***.
“These changes and findings increase our confidence in our forecast made two years ago of general world cooling and our specific forecasts for individual months and regions such as for an exceptionally cold May this year in central and east Britain and West Europe – and which comes with the present very warm weather in East Europe which we predicted 4 weeks ahead.
“Although these developing circulation patterns are generally cold the wide-amplitude swings of the jet stream of which they are part also mean there will be some warm or very warm spots. This happened in March with a generally cold or very cold Northern Hemisphere while the UK and USA were warm and extremely warm respectively.
“May will also see dramatic contrasts and we will have more of a grasp on the boundaries between contrasting parts in our detailed May forecasts for Britain and Ireland, Europe and the USA issued at the end of April.