My 17 hours of hell at hospital where a patient died of thirst: Left unattended in agony, one writer’s account of her ordeal at an NHS ‘centre of excellence’
Lying in an ambulance, drifting in and out of consciousness, I managed to ask the paramedics where they were taking me. ‘St George’s Hospital in Tooting,’ came the reply.
If I could have jumped out and made a run for it, I would have. I was in desperate need, but I think I would rather have put up with an ambulance ride to the other side of the country.
However, St George’s – where 22-year-old Kane Gorny died of dehydration – has been my local hospital for ten years. In an emergency, I was always going to be taken there.
I had no idea then that a patient had died from thirst. My fear of the place was born from my own bitter experiences.
A huge, sprawling hospital, it boasts of being a ‘centre of excellence’. But it has a reputation for bureaucracy and political correctness. A few years ago, it refused to fly the St George’s flag on St George’s Day in case it offended minorities. Almost everyone I know locally has a story to tell about its services falling short.
I once turned up at its minor injuries unit with a hole through my hand – the result of my horse confusing me with the carrot – and was refused treatment until I filled in a two-page questionnaire about my ‘lifestyle choices’. Then there was the time I went for a routine mammogram and had to change into a backless gown in a waiting room full of men.
Last summer, I sought help at St George’s A&E one Saturday after my skin broke out in angry blisters. After a four-hour wait, a female doctor looked at my weeping skin and said: ‘Dermatology is not an emergency at weekends.’
As I begged her to help, she barked: ‘You seem very agitated. I think you need to see a psychiatrist.’
I walked out and went to a private hospital where, for £100, a doctor diagnosed a nasty form of eczema and put me on steroids.
I vowed then never to go back to St George’s. But when I collapsed in agony one Sunday night in May, my boyfriend had little choice but to call 999. The ambulance came pretty quickly, but as I writhed on the floor, gasping for breath, the paramedics were adamant they couldn’t take me. ‘You’ve just got gastroenteritis, dear,’ said one of them, patronisingly.
No longer able to speak, I tried to tell my boyfriend with my eyes that he had to make them take me. The next thing I remember, I was being made to walk to the ambulance. As I couldn’t move my feet, they ended up dragging me.
In the ambulance, I blacked out again. When I came round, we were still there and two paramedics were joking about what a waste of time this job was. My boyfriend later told me a third one had gone back inside and was interrogating him about what illegal substances I had taken. He crossly told them I had not taken any.
Mercifully, someone then started the engine. When we got to St George’s, the pain, which had started in my lower abdomen, was up to my shoulders and I couldn’t move.
I was put on a trolley and hooked up to an IV drip, through which I received a shot of morphine, but it took two more shots before I started to feel any relief.
A doctor did an ultrasound exam over my stomach. Two ominous black blobs billowing like jellyfish were clearly visible. But the doctor declared himself baffled. My boyfriend, who is a builder, said: ‘Those are cysts, aren’t they?’ The doctor, in his 20s, said he had no idea. St George’s is a teaching hospital. What happened next, I am sure they will insist, was all in the name of furthering the education of their students.
Two further young doctors came into the room and carried out internal examinations. Both declared that they didn’t know what they were looking for and said they were none the wiser when they had finished.
I lay on a trolley in a side room all night, my boyfriend sleeping on a chair next to me. I had to repeatedly beg for pain relief.
When it was obvious no one intended to progress my case, my boyfriend angrily demanded that I be taken to a ward. At about 10am the next day, I was taken to Champney’s ward (note the irony). I was put in a bed in the far corner. And that was it.
At no point was I given anything to eat or drink, nor did a doctor come to see me. My boyfriend went home to feed the dog and get me some essentials. At 4pm he came back and I heard him arguing with a nurse. ‘Why hasn’t Melissa Kite seen a doctor yet?’ he asked.
‘I think you will find that Melissa Kite was discharged at 9am,’ came the reply. ‘Well who the hell is in that bed then?’ he screamed, pointing to me.
I had not received any attention because, officially, I was not there. Quite what the nurses thought I was doing lying in one of their beds, I have no idea. Luckily I was still hooked up to a fluid bag, so I didn’t dehydrate. I can only imagine what it was like for poor Kane Gorny as, desperate for water, he dialled 999.
My boyfriend fetched me a drink from the shop downstairs and then lost his temper with the nurses, after which I was taken for a proper scan. It was 5pm, 17 hours after I arrived.
Two cysts the size of golf balls were diagnosed, one of which had burst and was haemorrhaging. But the specialist said there was nothing she could do apart from call me back in six weeks ‘to see if they have gone’. Barely able to walk, I was discharged with a packet of codeine.
The next day, I asked my GP to refer me to a private specialist who has recommended keyhole surgery, which I am having this week.
Never again will I go to St George’s. As far as I am concerned, there may as well not be an NHS, because if I ever fall ill, I know with absolute certainty that I cannot rely on my local hospital and will have to pay for private care.
A spokesman for St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust said they could not comment on individual cases but had passed the details to their complaints department. He added: ‘We are always very sorry to hear from a patient whose experience did not live up to their expectation. ‘We are absolutely committed to change and improve in response to feedback from patients and visitors.’
Which again strikes me as highly ironic, given their reluctance to respond to the desperate feedback I was giving them at the time.
Devastated couple blame NHS budget cuts for death of their baby boy after doctors refused to deliver him on the weekend
Killing babies: What the NHS does best
A devastated couple have blamed massive NHS budget cuts for the death of their baby boy after doctors refused to deliver him during a weekend.
Cheryl Hurley of Eastwood, Essex was just days away from giving birth when a routine scan revealed a problem with the blood supply to her child from her placenta. The 35-year-old and her partner Alex Stevens, 40, were stunned when medics told them they would have to wait four days until their son could be born.
NHS staff at Southend Hospital – which has to cut £130million from its books by 2014 – blamed a lack of staff equipment during weekends for the delay.
The couple pleaded for immediate action but were reassured the problem was not serious and were sent home where their baby died.
Miss Hurley then had to return to the hospital where she gave birth to her stillborn son, who she named Hayden.
Mr Stevens said: ‘I think what has happened is as a direct result of the budget cuts and lack of funding. ‘The NHS is supposed to be a 24-hour service. If they had delivered him during the weekend, I am sure that he would still be alive and here with us. ‘We are both devastated and very angry about the way it was handled.’
Cheryl was due to give birth on Monday June 25 but the problem was discovered on the previous Thursday.
Hospital bosses have launched an internal investigation into what went wrong.
Alex added: ‘We literally begged the doctors to keep Cheryl in during the weekend and deliver our baby but they flatly refused and sent her home. ‘The consultants were telling us that they could not deliver him because of a lack of staff and equipment and they do not induce people during the weekend. ‘They knew there was a problem yet they did nothing about it.’
Cheryl’s mother, Chris Nice, 61, was with the couple as they went through the heartbreaking experience of giving birth to a stillborn baby. She said: ‘It really is a terrible thing to happen. Hayden was absolutely beautiful when he was born.’
Hundreds of jobs are set to be lost at the hospital as efforts are made to cut £19million from the wage bill over a four-year period.
Sue Hardy, Southend Hospital’s director of nursing, said: ‘We are extremely sorry to hear of the sad loss of Cheryl and Alex’s baby. ‘We would welcome the chance to meet with the parents to explain to them the form the investigation will take.’
She said she could not comment any further until the investigation had been completed.
‘Lactivist’ flashmob take over British cafe in protest against waitress who abused breastfeeding mother
More than 200 breastfeeding mothers descended on a cafe in support of one of their own who claimed she was verbally abused by a waitress for suckling her baby in public. Kelly Schaecher, 28, claims she was told by a member of staff: ‘Don’t you ever come back to my cafe with your t*** out again!’
When word spread about her ordeal, a Facebook page set up by mothers calling themselves ‘lactivists’ and ‘mother suckers’ called on like-minded women to take a stand by deliberately breastfeeding there.
Cheered on by schoolchildren and monitored by policewomen on horseback, the group marched to the cafe to have it out with the owner. Kelly said: ‘What we did was a peaceful gathering, not a protest and we had a really good reaction from the police and the public.
‘A group of school children started clapping us and there were six policewomen on horseback to make sure no one drifted in the road.’
Kelly had popped out for lunch at the Park Street Cafe in Bristol, where she claims she was told by the waitress that if she wanted to feed her baby she would have to sit in the corner.
On leaving, Kelly, from Clifton, Bristol, told two customers about the cafe’s breastfeeding policy who promptly turned around and left. Kelly claimed she then walked a few minutes down the road when she was pursued in a car by a waitress at the cafe who screamed: ‘Don’t you ever come back to my cafe with your t*** out again!’
Kelly, who works in procurement at the University of Bristol, said: ‘When this happened, I was absolutely terrified and really shocked. I was only breastfeeding, and Bristol is a really family-friendly city. ‘You see girls in nightclubs barely wearing any clothes all the time, so why would someone have a problem with me feeding my child?
‘I turned around and said to her “You don’t know what’s coming” even though at this stage I had no idea we were going to assemble in the cafe.’
Although Kelly was distressed by what had happened, she decided not to pursue anything. Kelly had never met the person who started up the Facebook page, but word spread about her ordeal very quickly.
She said: ‘The cafe’s owner was really apologetic and gave everyone a free tea or coffee and a free cake. ‘He can’t help it if one of his staff was rude to me and he has now put up a sign saying “Breastfeeing is allowed in here”.’
Davide Pontini, 35, general manager of the Park Street Cafe, said: ‘We want to make it clear that we welcome all mothers and we have women breastfeeding in here on a daily basis.
‘It’s not company policy for us to make women breastfeed in the corner. This was simply an isolated incident due to a misunderstanding.’
The United Kingdom Is Doomed by a Perniciously Wimpy Form of Political Correctness
Normally, I get pessimistic about the future when I think about wasteful spending programs that will drive almost all developed nations into bankruptcy. And America is on that list, by the way, because of our poorly designed entitlement programs.
But sometimes my despair is the result of idiotic political correctness and bone-headed bureaucracy. And for some reason, as shown by these examples, the United Kingdom seems to have a disproportionate share of morons who want to impose bad policy on their fellow citizens.
* A job-placement center got in trouble for discriminating against incompetent people by seeking “reliable” and “hard-working” candidates.
* A women who was being threatened by thugs got in trouble with the police for brandishing a knife in her own home.
* A proposal to prevent children from watching Olympic shooting events.
* A man got arrested for finding a gun in his yard and turning it over to the police.
* The government wanted to require “competency tests” for pet owners.
* An ID requirement to buy teaspoons.
* The most useless sign in the history of the world.
* A proposal to ban skinny models.
But I don’t know if any of those horror stories can match this baffling story reported in the Telegraph.
When the chief starter at the London Olympics agreed to fire his pistol to start the races at a school sports day, parents thought it was a wonderful treat for their children. But they did not count on the intervention of health and safety officials from their local council, who ruled that the noise from Alan Bell’s starting pistol would be too frightening for the youngsters. Bizarrely, the local authority instead suggested playing a recording of a starting pistol on an iPod before agreeing to let Mr Bell start the races by sounding a klaxon.
…One parent, who did not wish to be named, told a Sunday newspaper: “It was ridiculous. We were told that the children would be distressed by Mr Bell firing his starting pistol. “Anyone who believes they would be frightened by a starting pistol has never experienced the noise at a typical three-year-old’s birthday party.
…Norman Gardiner, president of the Pitreavie Amateur Athletics Club in Dunfermline, said the decision was “health and safety gone mad.”
It’s amazing to think that the United Kingdom once ruled half the world, but now produces pencil-neck bureaucrats who think starting pistols are a menace to society.
But we Americans shouldn’t feel superior. We’re traveling down the same path.
* A Rhode Island boy got in trouble for bringing toy soldiers to school.
* A student in San Diego got in trouble for making a motion detector for a science project, simply because someone decided it resembled a bomb.
* The military was criticized for giving Osama bin Laden an Indian code name (Geronimo) as part of the operation to exterminate the al Qaeda dirtbag.
* A Florida student was expelled for having a toy gun on school property.
And how can we omit the politicians in San Francisco, who decided that banning happy meal toys was an appropriate use of government coercion.
We also have regulations in Maryland governing the application of sunscreen at summer camps.
And proposals in Seattle to require life vests on swimmers who are more than five feet from shore.
My initial instinct is that we should fire the over-paid bureaucrats who generate this kind of nonsense. I admit that such as step might only address the symptom of a politically correct world, but it would be a good start.
SOURCE (See the original for links)
Far too many British Olympians went to public school (i.e. private schools), says PM as he calls for barriers to be broken down
He’s pissing into the wind. For a start, British public schools are far more likely to give their pupils a good exposure to sport than State schools are. And practice makes perfect.
Secondly, the rich and their children tend to have better health and hence greater sporting potential. Both their environment and genetics favour public school pupils.
Only 7% of British children go to private schools but they dominate just about everything in Britain because they are just about the only ones who get a decent all-round education.
Sorry for the very British confusion here about “public” and “private” schools but it is all explained in the sidebar
Too many of Britain’s Olympic athletes went to public schools, David Cameron said yesterday as he called for barriers to be broken so all children could achieve their sporting potential.
The Prime Minister claimed that fee-paying schools were producing ‘more than their fair share’ of medal winners while sport in state schools was being ‘squeezed out’ with rundown facilities and children lacking ambition.
At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, almost 40 per cent of Great Britain’s medal winners had been privately educated – and that rose to 100 per cent of winners in equestrian events.
With about a third of the 2012 squad expected to have been educated privately, Mr Cameron lamented the numbers of top sportsmen from less well-off backgrounds.
He said: ‘Sport can change lives. So why is it that in so many schools sport has been squeezed out and facilities run down?
‘The result is that independent schools produce more than their fair share of medal winners and too many children think taking part in sport just isn’t for them. We’ve got to change that.’
In a speech at Loughborough University yesterday, Mr Cameron, who went to Eton, one of the top fee-paying schools in the country, urged young people to look up to elite athletes such as runner Mo Farah and cyclist Victoria Pendleton who were both educated at state schools.
He added: ‘Some of the barriers that hold young people back are in their minds: about imagined barriers of aspiration and confidence. The Olympics are a chance to break them down.
‘I’m not claiming one Olympics will turn every child into tomorrow’s Mo Farah or Victoria Pendleton, but just look where our great athletes have come from. Seb Coe started running with the Hallamshire Harriers. Amir Khan started boxing at Bury ABC.
‘Sustaining the momentum of the Games means opening people’s eyes to the possibility of sport. ‘Getting young people to follow their heroes and take part at school and in their local clubs.’
His comments came after Education Secretary Michael Gove warned that a ‘profoundly unequal’ education system meant that private school pupils were dominating positions of wealth and power in Britain.
Juicing can wreck your looks: Flaking skin, hair loss and rotting teeth. The latest A-list diet craze has some ugly side-effects
Last month’s news that Jennifer Aniston has become a veg juice devotee, regularly slugging back a concoction of cucumbers, beetroot, spinach, kale, garlic, ginger, carrots and celery, will only fuel the juicing fad.
Because look around any high-end gym or yoga studio these days and you’ll see women swigging something that looks like it’s been scooped from a pond. This is the juice cleanse, or the juice detox — don’t ever refer to it as a diet, that would sound like you’re doing it to lose weight, whereas, of course, this is all about purifying your body.
Popular among A-listers including Salma Hayek, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sarah Jessica Parker, juice detoxes have gone mainstream, with legions of women pulping Tesco’s entire fruit and veg aisle themselves, or paying up to £40 a day — yes, really — to have supplies delivered to their door.
It sounds terribly good for you — just masses of fruit and vegetables all juiced together, filling you full of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. But while if you’re doing it Aniston-style and eating normally for most of the week, it probably won’t do you any serious harm, the truth is that a juice regime that lasts several weeks — or even just several days — could actually be wreaking all sorts of havoc on your health.
To start with it’s unnecessary. Your body doesn’t need to detox, your digestive system doesn’t need to rest, and if you’re seriously worried about your diet and your health, you need to make long-term changes.
‘Juice fasts are simply not sustainable,’ says Natalie Jones, a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association. ‘So if you’re doing it for health reasons, there’s simply no point. Any weight you lose, you’ll put straight back on again, possibly with extra because short-term, low-calorie crash diets like this mess around with your metabolism.’
You’ll undoubtedly feel hungry as you’re not consuming any of the fibre that helps fill you up, and don’t even think about exercising.
‘Have a juice as one of your five-a-day but any more than that won’t give you extra benefits, and could do more harm than good’
‘You might be getting a quick sugar rush,’ says Natalie, ‘but you’re not consuming any carbohydrates, so exercising, or even normal daily life is going to be almost impossible. You’ll feel light-headed and exhausted.’
Stomach aches are also a common side-effect of the juice fast.
‘With no fibre in your diet, even after a couple of days, constipation will become a problem, and in the long term, your cholesterol levels could be affected as fibre helps keep them low. So if you’re not getting enough fibre, your cholesterol could shoot up.’
If that’s not miserable enough, you could find that your net calorie intake is higher than if you were eating normally. Because while juicing gives you the same level of vitamins as you’d get from eating the whole fruit or vegetable, your body isn’t using any energy to break down the food so calories from the natural sugars in the juice aren’t offset by those usually used in digestion.
And while you’re undoubtedly getting lots of vitamins, Natalie says that’s not as great as it sounds.
‘Vitamin C is, of course, good for you, but beyond a certain point, more isn’t any better for you. And, if you’re only drinking veg and fruit juices, you’re missing out on a lot of other nutrients such as calcium, protein, vitamin D, essential fats and so on.’
This lack of vitamins and nutrients can have a knock-on effect on your appearance, too.
According to renowned trichologist Philip Kingsley, if you plan to juice for a couple of weeks, you should also plan to see your hair fall out about two to three months later.
‘I’ve seen it many, many times,’ he says. ‘Women come to see me with what appears to be unexplained hair loss, and then, when you trace it back, it turns out that they were on some extreme juice fast a few months before.
‘It’s quite simple, if your body isn’t getting the nutrition it needs, it powers down the processes that it considers as being not essential to life, and one of those is hair production.’
But it’s not just your hair that will suffer.
‘Juicing for anything longer than a couple of days will have a profound effect on your skin,’ says cosmetic dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting. ‘Not only might you find that your skin dries out as you’re not getting any of the essential fatty acids it needs, but if you’ve already got a tendency to dry skin anyway, you may find that you start to develop patches of eczema as the barrier function is compromised.’
And there are long-term issues too.
‘Low-calorie diets like this cause the body’s insulin levels to spike and crash which initially causes break-outs, but over time, this insulin cycle alters the structures of collagen and elastin in the body, making them stiffer, and causing skin to look prematurely old.’
Damage to collagen will also affect your teeth, as it’s collagen fibres that hold them in place. But, even if you manage to retain your gnashers, juice diets are seriously bad news for them, as Dr Uchenna Okoye of London Smiling points out.
‘Juice from vegetables and especially from fruits, which tend to have a higher acid content, can damage the enamel of your teeth in exactly the same way that a fizzy drink would. We consider the acids in fruit and vegetables to be “good” but that’s only in the context of eating the whole thing, not when you’re drinking a super-concentrated juice.’
And the same holds true for the sugars in your juice.
‘Fructose is a natural sugar, but to the body it’s still just a sugar, so too much of it will cause cavities as the bacteria in the mouth feed on it.’
If you are going to drink juices, even just as part of a balanced diet, Dr Okoye recommends always using a straw and never ever brushing your teeth straight after drinking as the sugar and acid softens the enamel of the teeth so you could actually be doing more damage. Ideally she suggests brushing teeth before drinking a juice, and using a fluoride toothpaste which will strengthen the teeth.
So, a lack of energy, a messed-up digestive system, prematurely aged skin, rotting teeth and hair loss — hardly the healthy, cleansed body that juice devotees are aiming for, is it?
‘By all means have a juice as one of your five a day,’ says dietitian Natalie Jones. ‘But any more than that simply won’t give you extra benefits, and could actually end up doing you more harm than good.’
Disgusting prank by Leftist magazine
The Duchess of Cambridge has done nothing to deserve this. She is unfailingly polite and pleasant to all. It’s just Leftist hatred of success in others again, I suppose
For someone so beautiful, this isn’t pretty. The face of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, has been slapped on the front of a U.S. magazine with a set of yellow, decaying teeth.
The Royal was PhotoShopped like the American stereotype of a Brit with bad gnashers for a special issue of the politics and arts publication The New Republic about the future of Britain.
Last year the pearly white Duchess spent thousands of pounds having her teeth polished and turned to give her the perfect smile. French dentist Didier Fillion used a hidden brace to make Kate’s teeth appear a little out of line, un-American and therefore beautifully natural.
Sadly, this will just reinforce the British view of Americans as crude and crass. It will neither surprise nor upset most Brits.
And helping to make their own country look bad will not disturb the American Left one bit. Their patriotism is not even skin deep. It is at most a hollow pretense.