Baby dies after mother is forced to give birth in hospital waiting room as midwives were ‘too busy to move her into a bed’
A distraught mother gave birth in a hospital waiting room and was then told her baby was dead. The tragedy happened early on Monday morning, after Sara Proud arrived at Leicester Royal Infirmary only to be told midwives were too busy to move her into a bed from the labour ward’s Day Room.
Ms Proud and partner Steven Yorke, from Leicester, have made a formal complaint to the infirmary about her ordeal, saying the hospital should have done more for her and her baby.
The couple’s ordeal began on Sunday evening, when Ms Proud went into labour – two days ahead of her due date.
They were concerned because they had been warned earlier in the pregnancy that the baby, whom they had decided to call Kyle, had a suspected heart problem and might have to be rushed straight to specialists at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, as soon as he was born.
The couple arrived at the infirmary’s delivery suite at 11pm on Sunday and were placed in a waiting room.
About an hour later, Ms Proud said she knew the baby was on his way and started screaming for help while Mr Yorke went to try to find a midwife – two of whom came to help.
When he returned moments later, Kyle was already partially born, and despite resuscitation attempts, was declared dead.
Now NHS bosses at the infirmary have admitted they should have seen Ms Proud sooner.
Ms Proud, 36, said: ‘It was bad enough having our baby in that waiting room in front of other people, but coping with his loss as well is just so hard.
‘We need to know why the care wasn’t better. At the moment we don’t know if things could have been different, and we need some answers. ‘It is the worst thing you can imagine, having your baby in a waiting room with everyone looking, and then finding out he isn’t alive.
‘The first I knew of that was when I was wheeled in to join my partner a little while later. Until then, I had assumed he was all right. ‘I was able to hold Kyle. He looked as if he was just sleeping.’
Mr Yorke, 36, said when they first rang the hospital they were told it was a ‘bit busy’ and did they really need to come in?
He said: ‘This was Sara’s seventh delivery and the others had come very quickly, so staff agreed we should go in.’ ‘When we got there, we were put in what seemed to be a waiting room, and there were about three other pregnant women in there, the midwives said they would get to us soon.
‘You could see the cord around the baby’s neck, the midwives managed to pull him out and rushed off with him. ‘They tried to resuscitate him, and then just stopped. Everything just seemed to be a blur after that.’
Mr Yorke added: ‘Sara and I both have children from previous relationships, but Kyle was our first together, and my first son.
‘I feel we were neglected. Sara should have been in a delivery room and the baby monitored.’
The couple now face an eight week wait for the results of a post-mortem examination to find out when and why Kyle died. They can then start arranging his funeral.
Ms Proud said: ‘I feel so cheated. Everything is going round in our heads, and we feel the hospital could have done so much more.’
Jane Porter, head of midwifery at Leicester’s Hospitals said: ‘We are sorry and sad about the tragic death of Ms Proud’s son. ‘We have met with Sara and Steven and we will do so again when further investigations have taken place.
‘It’s clear that we should have seen Sara sooner, what’s not clear is whether her baby died during or some time before the birth and only the post mortem will be able to answer that.’
Horrendous injuries of boy, 4, after doctor injected him with 16 TIMES the correct dose ‘acid’ which burned a hole down to his spine
Another one of Britain’s many charming “overseas trained” doctors at work
A four-year-old boy was left fighting for life after a doctor injected him with a potentially-lethal dose of acid which burned a hole through his skin down to his spine.
The boy sustained the horrendous injuries after a blunder at the former Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital in Pendlebury in 2009.
He was treated there after his parents noticed he had a small haemorrhoid. Consultant surgeon Dr Gyorgy Rakoczy removed the lump and asked a nurse to bring him Phenol – also known as carbolic acid – to put on the wound.
A five per cent solution should have been used – but when the nurse returned with an 80 per cent solution, Dr Rakoczy injected it into the boy without checking its concentration. It was 16 times the correct dose and four times the level of a potentially- lethal dose, a General Medical Council hearing was told yesterday.
The highly-corrosive liquid burned away parts of the boy’s body leaving him with a hole down to the sacral bone at the base of his spine. He was rushed to intensive care and doctors warned his parents he was unlikely to survive. He did pull through, but was left severely injured and has since undergone over 30 operations.
He had part of his bowel removed and was fitted with a colostomy bag and was was unable to sit down properly for a year.
Dr Rakoczy, who qualified as a doctor in Egypt in 1979, is facing a fitness to practice hearing before the General Medial Council. He is accused of impairment by misconduct in that he failed to provide good clinical care to the boy in May 2009.
It is alleged that the boy’s parents did not understand Dr Rakoczy’s treatment plan, had not given informed consent for him to perform the procedures, and that accurate medical records for the boy were not kept.
Dr Rakoczy admits injecting the Phenol, and that a proposal to ‘wash out’ the substance when the mistake was realised was also not in the patient’s best interests.
Britain’s Energy Policy Is An Unmitigated Disaster
The cost of household energy has risen seven times faster than household income since 2004, according to a study.
The average household’s annual energy bill of £1,252 now accounts for 11pc of a couple’s basic state pension of £11,175 a year, the study by price comparison website uSwitch.com found.
The cost of energy is now the top household worry for Britons (90pc), ahead of the rising cost of food (77pc) and mortgage payments (42pc). Almost a third of consumers (32pc) say that household energy is unaffordable in the UK, the poll found.
While the average UK household income has increased by 20pc from £32,812 in 2004 to £39,468 today, the average energy bill has risen by 140pc, according to uSwitch figures. Households were spending an average of £522 a year for their energy in 2004, but now pay £1,252 a year – 3.2pc of income or double the 1.6pc of eight years ago.
Britons now have an average of £297 of disposable income left each month after all essential household bills are paid.
The study found 83pc of people believe that rising energy bills have had an impact on their disposable income, with 17pc of these reporting that they no longer have any disposable income as a result and 27pc saying energy bills have reduced their disposable income dramatically.
Director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com Ann Robinson said: “This is the cold reality facing households today; in less than 10 years our energy bills have rocketed by 140pc. The break-neck speed at which energy prices have sprinted upwards has caught many people unawares. Consumers are still playing catch-up.
“Energy now accounts for a significant slice of household income which is why the numbers rationing their energy use have risen so steeply in recent years. But going cold or without is a short-term and potentially harmful fix and not a long-term solution.
“The fact is that consumers can control how much they spend on energy by making their homes more energy-efficient and paying less for the energy they do use by moving to a competitively-priced energy plan.
“Those who are on a low income or benefits could even benefit from free insulation from their energy supplier, so it’s always worth contacting them first to see what financial help you can get.”
Strong families make successful children, not the nanny state, says study as British government launches baby guide
The welfare state has little or no bearing on how children turn out, an international research project has found. Strong families are the key to producing well adjusted and successful youngsters, it adds.
In fact, say the researchers, the children of married parents are likely to do better than those from broken or single-parent families – no matter how much state support the family is given.
The study singled out the British welfare state as an example of the failure of state support to make a difference to the lives and success of children.
The findings, published in the US in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, come in the wake of David Cameron’s announcement of free parenting classes and relationship support sessions, and a £3.4million website which will give tips on every aspect of child rearing.
Critics have called the spending a waste, saying that parents have always understood naturally how to bring up children and that a stable family is far more important to a child.
The study carried out by researchers at two American universities examined evidence from both Britain and the US – one with a large welfare state, one without – on how the lives of children progress between the ages of five and 13.
It said there were a number of risk factors common to both countries that increased the likelihood that a child would have behavioural problems.
Boys were more likely to have difficulties than girls, health problems led to other difficulties for children, and children of divorced parents faced a greater likelihood of trouble.
In Britain, the study said, the influence of ‘family structure’ – whether a child has its two birth parents, or just one parent, or lives with a step-parent – was more important than in America.
Professor Toby Parcel of North Carolina State University said: ‘We found that stronger home environments – those that are intellectually stimulating, nurturing, and physically safe – decrease the likelihood of behaviour problems in both the US and Great Britain.’
‘We wanted to see whether the role of parents was equally important in both societies because the argument has been made that more developed welfare states, such as Great Britain, can make the role of parents less important, by providing additional supports that can help compensate for situations where households have more limited resources.
‘This study tells us that parents are important in households, regardless of the strength of the welfare state.’
The effect of having two married parents was more important in Britain, the study said. It also found that children from big families were more likely to have problems here.
The study found that family structure effects were more pronounced in Britain, where a child from a family with a single mother or multiple children was at a higher risk of having behavioural problems.
‘Additionally, the more children in a British family, the greater the likelihood a child from that family had behavioural problems. These effects were absent in the US.’
The report, Children’s Behaviour Problems in the United States and Great Britain, adds to a large body of evidence which points to the importance of married parents and a stable family background in the upbringing of a child.
Mr Cameron’s own research into the happiness of individuals and families in Britain – being carried out by the Office for National Statistics at a cost to taxpayers of £2million a year – has found that marriage makes a difference to levels of life satisfaction.
A report on the happiness research last month said: ‘People who are married or in civil partnerships reported the highest average levels of life satisfaction, significantly higher than cohabiting couples.
‘The lowest average rating was reported by people who are divorced or separated, including those who have dissolved civil partnerships.’
The American study was led by Professor Parcel together with Dr Lori Ann Campbell, of Cal State-Northridge college, and Dr Wenxuan Zhong, of University of Illinois.
It’s not the British government job to lecture us on child care
I hated the Blair years for their utterly useless do-goodery; I loathed all those bossy baronesses who were forever interposing their daft initiatives about anorexic models between me and my own trouser waistband (a place no government has any right even to visit, let alone control). I dislike things being banned for people over 18 and I won’t have anybody telling me that they know better than I do about what’s best for my own child. Or grandchild. (Should I get one.)
Blair was forever ago, though, thank heaven, and my guilt at having voted the old rogue in (just the once, mind) finally faded. My blood pressure having been tranquil for some years now, it was miserable to find The Daily Telegraph shaking in my hand as of old yesterday. When I exited Wyn the Shop, I sat stunned in the car reading: “No 10 guide to changing nappies and baby talk” (oh no, please, no) and “This is not the nanny state; it’s the sensible state” (no it isn’t, it’s the state of dribbling bonkers) and “the digital Information Service for Parents has been nicknamed Digital Baby in Whitehall” (oh, make this stop! Nobody with a vote ever wants to know how much fun civil servants have nicknaming stuff).
Being a woman, I looked for the bit of the report that would explain that Mr Cameron was launching this eye-catching initiative especially “for women”, and sure enough, near the top, there it was about him being stung by criticism that his policies have alienated women voters. Well, they have! But offering them a Digital Baby app for their iPhones is not going to help a lot, is it? Making a better fist of the child benefit cut would have been more helpful. Option 1 (best) would have made it a tax-free benefit set against a parent-earner’s income and option 2 (scariest) would have scrapped it completely (by which I mean that there was no option 2).
What no one expected from a Conservative prime minister was any more of that NewLab-style chitchat. You never knew where you were as a parent in Blair’s Britain, did you? You weren’t allowed to come to private arrangements about childmindering with another parent, which killed the trade stone dead, and they fiddled around with all kinds of unhelpfulness in regard to nursery schooling.
In truth, there’s nothing actually wrong with helpful guidance on bringing a baby home from hospital and changing its nappy for the first time. I just don’t want my government to take this task on. There’s a brilliant book called Commando Dad by Neil Somebody (was a commando, apparently) who gives blokey instruction on how to hold your BT (Baby Trooper) at head end as well as bottom, lay it flat and wipe its bits. His language is breezy and upbeat. The pictures are clear and comic-book-like. He is as trustworthy and reliable a source of advice (one feels, on reading him) as the BBC midwives on their pre-war bicycles. Oops, that’s enough endorsement for Commando Dad, I think. Last thing you’d want is that somebody in Whitehall decides to make him the babycare tsar.
British novelists have made Britain nation of ‘passive racists’, says black footballer
As a former England footballer, he might not be the first person you would expect to deliver an impassioned critique of the literary canon. But John Barnes has blamed authors such as Agatha Christie, Rudyard Kipling and Edgar Rice Burroughs for making Britain a country of ‘passive racists’.
The ex-Liverpool winger insisted classic tales such as Ten Little Indians, Tarzan of the Apes and The Jungle Book have instilled bigotry in the minds of generations of British children.
Barnes launched his fierce attack on literature in a lecture to students at Liverpool University about the causes of racism in football.
The father of seven told the audience that ‘passive racism is inherent in all of us’ because of ‘preconceived ideas’ planted through books and films. He said: ‘Over the last 200 years we have had negative images of black people … in literature by Rudyard Kipling to Agatha Christie. Tarzan showed that.
‘Racism came from the idea of race, which is a man-made construct. Race is not scientific or genetic. It does not actually exist. Race came about to validate and justify colonialism and slavery.’
He added: ‘There are examples everywhere. Rudyard Kipling, one of our greatest heroes, wrote The White Man’s Burden, in which he wrote it was incumbent on the Americans to go and civilise the savages in the Philippines.
‘Colonialism in Africa – Agatha Christie wrote a book called Ten Little N*****s. Would we accuse Agatha Christie of being racist? No, but that is passive racism.’
Barnes moved to England aged 13 in the late 1970s when his father was Jamaica’s military attaché to London. He is among England’s most-capped black players, but at Liverpool FC he was regularly subjected to racist abuse from spectators and infamously had a banana hurled at him during a Merseyside derby with Everton at Goodison Park.
Twice married, Barnes has called for the National Curriculum to be revised so all children are taught that race is only a concept. He said: ‘If we get rid of passive racism then overcoming overt racism will take care of itself.’
Ross Dawson, a senior lecture in English at Liverpool John Moores University, denied Barnes had branded the authors as racists. He said: ‘He identified the contemporary idea of race and racism as originating in the history of transatlantic slavery and colonialism. These were three writers which he used as examples of popular national literature which reproduced these racial assumptions.
‘His reference to passive racism was an attempt to show how we all have assumptions about race… without really understanding where those assumptions come from.’
Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: ‘The curriculum could do with being more explicit on this issue. A key role of education is to foster respect and understanding.’
Last year, one of Tintin’s classic adventures was banished to the adult shelves of bookshops because it was deemed overtly racist. Tintin In The Congo was given warning labels by many retailers over fears it could negatively affect children.
British safety obsession and blame game puts off volunteers for Scout movement
The compensation culture is deterring adults from volunteering as Scout leaders, meaning there are 35,000 children who want to join up, but must wait.
Julian Brazier, a member of the all-party parliamentary Scout group, said the main reason for the shortage of volunteers is the fear of being sued if someone has an accident on their watch.
Tory MP Mr Brazier said society needs to accept that accidents happen without it always being someone’s fault.
If young people are prevented from joining groups like the Scouts and other adventure organisations, they will be more likely to turn to crime or become obese, he added.
‘The Scouts do a terrific job in terms of taking youngsters from a very wide range of backgrounds, and giving them opportunities for risk taking, teamwork, leadership, and all the things that are increasingly disappearing from our schools,’ he said.
‘But both the Scouts and the Guides have a waiting list of tens of thousands of children each – as a result of the shortage of volunteers.
‘There have been two surveys in recent years which both showed that the number one reason for people not becoming volunteers was the blame culture and the risk of getting sued.
‘We need to change the law; raising the bar for bringing cases for sports and adventure training like several states have done in the US.’
Mr Brazier cited a survey of 1,000 Scout leaders carried out by the Scout Association in 2006, which found that 50 per cent believed retention of volunteers was made more difficult because of fears of being sued.
When asked about how concerned they were about being sued for compensation while leading an adventure activity, just 5 per cent said they were unconcerned.
Some 92 per cent thought that risk-aversion was affecting the range and nature of activities being offered to young people.
Mr Brazier has published a report on the effect of the compensation culture on the Scouts. It reveals that the organisation receives between 50 and 60 negligence claims a year, of which around six go to court. On average, they lose a quarter of the court cases.
In one example, quoted in the report, a group in the North-West lost £15,000 because a Brownie had been injured on a piece of metal sticking out of a chair in the village hall when she went to watch a Scout panto.
The Scout’s legal advisor told Mr Brazier: ‘Apart from individually inspecting every chair with considerable resource implications endangering the running of such an event, it is hard to see what more the group could have done.
‘To add insult to injury the judge awarded the claimant twice our counsel’s valuation of the claim and 20 per cent more than the claimant asked for.’
Mr Brazier’s report concludes: ‘The threat of being sued is now the greatest barrier to volunteering in the sport and adventure training world. Society must establish the principle that accidents can happen without it being someone’s fault, and re-establish the principle of personal responsibility.’
Adventurer, TV presenter and former SAS soldier Bear Grylls was appointed Britain’s youngest Chief Scout in 2009 at the age of 35.
Hooray! Britain’s Leather lady is gone
‘Quango queen’ accused of running class war on private schools steps down
Dame Suzi Leather will stand down as chair of the Charity Commission in July after six years in the post, the government has confirmed.
Her departure follows criticism that she has pursued a class war against independent schools by demanding that they provide services to the poorest children or face losing their charitable status.
Private school headteachers and Conservative MPs have objected to the commission’s enforcement of new laws, introduced under Labour,requiring charities to prove they provide “public benefit” in order to keep lucrative charitable tax-breaks. A review of the laws has since been launched.
Dame Suzi, 56, has been nicknamed the “quango queen” for holding 30 public-sector posts over the past decade and a half.
Last year she was paid £80,000 for her part-time post at the Charity Commission, which she has held since August 2006.
Her previous roles include chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the School Food Trust, an NHS Trust and a community project. She was also the first Deputy Chair of the Food Standards Agency.
A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “Dame Suzi Leather, the Chair of the Charity Commission, is due to step down on 31 July after six years in office. “We will be advertising for a new Chair of the Charity Commission very shortly.
“As a public appointment, the recruitment process will be conducted in line with the Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies, under the principles of merit, fairness and openness.”
A spokesman for the Charity Commission said Dame Suzi had reached the end of her second term of office and was ineligible for a further term.
Owners of “Green” cars may still have to pay more in Britain
Motorists could face a 50 per cent rise in fuel duty in future years to cover a £13 billion hole in Treasury coffers caused by the increased use of environmentally friendly cars, according to a report.
The gap in public finances will come from increasing use of more fuel-efficient cars and a switch to electric vehicles, the RAC Foundation-commissioned report claims.
It added that while the fuel duty collected by the Exchequer stands at 1.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), this rate will tumble to 1.1 per cent of GDP by 2029, leaving the Treasury with a big shortfall.
The report said vehicle excise duty (VED) would also drop over this period, from 0.4 per cent of GDP to 0.1 per cent, with the combined fall leading to the £13 billion shortfall.
RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: ‘If the Chancellor was faced with a £13 billion shortfall in motoring tax revenue today, he would need to push the rate of fuel duty up from 58p per litre to 87p per litre to fill the financial black hole.
‘Clearly there is no guarantee that future rises in duty rates will be limited to inflation, as is current policy.’
He added: ‘As drivers endure record prices at the pumps they might be surprised to learn that future governments face a drought in motoring tax income.
‘The irony is that while ministers encourage us to buy greener, leaner cars, they are being forced to look at ways of clawing back the money motorists think they will be saving. This isn’t scaremongering.
‘The Treasury has already announced a review of VED bands to ensure drivers make a fair contribution to the public finances even as cars become more fuel-efficient.’
The report was prepared for the RAC Foundation by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
Institute director Paul Johnson said motoring taxation did not reflect the costs drivers impose on others and that revenue from petrol was set to fall.
He added: ‘A national system of charging related to mileage and congestion, largely replacing the current system of fuel taxation, would help solve both those problems.’
Deep Tory Rift Over Green Agenda
William Hague, the foreign secretary, has warned the prime minister that Britain’s green technology companies and potential exports are being undermined by the failure of ministers to make the case vigorously for low carbon growth. Mr Hague pleaded with Mr Cameron to take the lead by making a speech on the subject; in the event the prime minister’s long-heralded “green speech” was downgraded.
In a private letter to David Cameron, Mr Hague urges him to promote “a stronger narrative on low carbon growth”, which he argues will help persuade potential customers such as China to embrace a new economic model.
Mr Hague has emerged as one of the government’s greenest ministers and he will today tell the CBI employers’ group that he sees low carbon technology as one of Britain’s most promising export sectors.
Although Mr Hague’s aides deny he is criticising colleagues, his letter – seen by the Financial Times – appears to be a warning that the Tory party’s hardening rhetoric on green issues is causing economic damage.
George Osborne, the chancellor, captured the new mood on the Tory right when he told last year’s Conservative party conference: “We’re not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business.”
Conservative MPs have also condemned what one called “wind turbine Toryism”, claiming that Mr Cameron’s promise to lead Britain’s greenest-ever government was forcing up energy prices and holding back the economy.
Mr Hague delivered his counterblast on March 19. In a letter marked “restricted”, the foreign secretary said a greater domestic focus on low carbon growth would “give our commercial diplomacy more purchase” in countries like China.
He added: “It is also essential for our climate diplomacy. We will not secure a binding climate agreement in 2015 unless the idea of low carbon growth becomes dominant across the major economies before then.
“We can leverage this. But our diplomacy will only succeed if it is rooted in our own domestic narrative.”
Mr Hague pleaded with Mr Cameron to take the lead by making a speech on the subject; in the event the prime minister’s long-heralded “green speech” was downgraded in April into some opening remarks at a conference.
The foreign secretary says the government has credibility in the field through the creation of the Green Investment Bank, electricity market reform and the “green deal” to improve energy efficiency, but he clearly believes the government is too timid in proclaiming these achievements.
Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister, was warned by manufacturers in Asia during a trip in March that the British government was sending out mixed signals on green energy.
Mr Hague’s green credentials have been lauded by the Liberal Democrats but will raise eyebrows on the Tory right, for whom green issues have sometimes been ranked alongside gay marriage and Lords reform as being distractions to the main task of reviving the economy.