Blundering hospital sent injured child home with a plaster cast on the wrong limb
What prize oafs! They just don’t care about getting it right. And they don’t listen either
Blundering doctors sent a toddler with a fractured leg home after putting a cast on the wrong limb.
Lucy Rylatt was left in agony after injuring herself on a trampoline while on a family holiday in Williton, Somerset. The 23-month-old’s worried parents Samantha and Dave rushed her to nearby Minehead Hospital, where she was unable to have an x-ray as it was out of hours and closed.
Doctors suspected a fracture in her right leg and she was taken to nearby Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, where it was put in a cast. But staff mistakenly put a plaster cast on her left leg and allowed the 23-month-old to return to her family.
Now Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton has apologised for their blunder.
The error meant Lucy was walking on a broken leg for five days before her parents decided to take her back to the hospital.
An x-ray showed that the wrong leg had been plastered and red-faced doctors quickly put the fractured right leg in a cast.
Father Dave, 49, of Westford, Somerset, said: ‘We took Lucy to Musgrove and they sustained a fracture in Lucy’s left leg and put it in plaster.
‘When we went back a doctor told us she was fine. Lucy was hobbling around and we noticed she was uncomfortable.
‘Samantha contacted Minehead Hospital and we took her straight there. An x-ray showed it was actually her right leg that was fractured and they plastered it.’ Lucy is expected to wear the cast for another two to three weeks.
The operations director for a consulting engineering company, said: ‘You almost can’t believe it could happen. ‘My wife feels so guilty about it. She had been told that it was the right leg and Minehead and expected that the cast would be fitted to that leg. ‘But then when they got to Musgrove Park the consultant insisted it was the left leg and she felt intimidated and assumed she must have been wrong. ‘I am just so frustrated.’
Samantha and Dave made a complaint to the NHS but claim it took a week before they received a reply.
But he added: ‘We’re not after compensation because that’s taken money out of our own pockets and I don’t believe in that.’
A spokesman for Musgrove Park Hospital apologised to Lucy’s family and said they had responded to the complaint in three working days. He said: ‘With an un-witnessed accident and no obvious signs of injury such as swelling, bruising, or deformity, it can sometimes be difficult to identify the site of injury in very young children.
‘To protect children from the risk of radiation we don’t request x-rays unless there are sufficient concerns. ‘Unfortunately, having examined Lucy, the doctor felt it was the left leg that was injured. We are very sorry.’
British independent school adopts the International Baccalaureate high school exam
King Edward’s school, the first school in Britain to scrap A-levels in one go in favour of the International Baccalaureate, has had some stunning results
This year’s A-level results will be announced tomorrow but King Edward’s School in Edgbaston, Birmingham, already knows how well it has performed – because not one of its pupils took the exam. Two academic years ago, Chief Master John Claughton decided that the school would become the first in Britain to ditch A-levels in one go in favour of the International Baccalaureate, an examination system as unfamiliar to the teachers as to their pupils.
For a school (founded 1552, fees £11,000 a year) whose alumni include Enoch Powell, Bill Oddie, Field Marshal Slim and JRR Tolkien, it was a sizeable risk. “We did a lot of research, spoke to a lot of people, had a lot of meetings with parents, and yet I still couldn’t quite free myself from the anxious feeling that I might be blowing the reputation of the entire school,” says Claughton, himself a King Edward’s Old Boy. “All the time, I was aware that there were plenty of schools out there, waiting like jackals and all too happy to feed on our failure.”
He needn’t have worried. When the IB results were announced last month, the King Edward’s boys had achieved scores every bit as high as at A-level – if not higher, if you accept the notion that the Baccalaureate is more bruising, both in terms of workload and intellectual demands.
Not only had 37 out of 113 boys scored more than 40 points (held to be the equivalent of four A* A-levels), but three had notched the maximum score of 45, achieved by only 109 pupils worldwide, out of a total 119,000 IB entrants. Overall, too, marginally more King Edward’s boys had won university places than their most recent A-level predecessors, with 17 getting into Oxbridge and 16 into medical school.
But what had made the Chief Master decide to set a new course through such stormy seas? “It was a feeling that the school was no longer the intellectual and academic powerhouse it had once been,” he replies. “Over the years, the intellectual life of the school had been diminished by the way the A-level course had been divided up into compartmentalised modules, and by the way in which pupils were required to sit AS-levels in the first year of sixth form. Teachers had lost a lot of the freedom they had enjoyed, when it came to teaching bright kids the things they wanted to teach, in the way they wanted to teach them. As a result, a certain sterility had crept in. On top of which, there was also a growing disenchantment with A-levels, both with the way the content had been dumbed down and with the massive grade inflation at results time.”
So much so that when the moment came, the school decided not to opt for a “dual economy” (running IB alongside A-levels) but to go for the Big Bang, and become fully IB-operational from the first day of the autumn term 2010.
During his days at King Edward’s, the young John Claughton had been able to get away with studying just three subjects at A-level (Latin, Greek and Ancient History), whereas his pupils are now having to do six IB subjects, including English, mathematics, one science subject and one foreign language – as well as a community-service project, a 4,000-word Extended Essay (on the subject of their choice) and a philosophical-type course, Theory of Knowledge.
This meant teachers were being presented with the challenge of not just keen young men who had chosen their subject out of interest, but a fair number who were having to do certain subjects in order to fulfil IB requirements. The Baccalaureate regulations specify that you can take three subjects at Higher Level (harder) and three at Standard Level (easier), plus Maths Studies (even easier). There are seven maximum points per subject (42 in total), with the remaining three points allocated for the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge.
The downside, therefore, is that the IB is harder work for everyone. The upside, however, is that a good score enables pupils to outshine their A-level rivals in university applications.
This is the bit that interested 18-year-old Jimi Oluwole (who scored the maximum 45 points, and is off to study engineering at Cambridge). “I was attracted by the fact that the Higher Mathematics would be more rigorous,” he says. “I felt that would be recognised by Cambridge. I also enjoyed writing my Extended Essay, which looked at how temperature affects a can of soup rolling down an incline. That gave me a lot of things to discuss with the professors at my interview, who were very interested in the whole idea.”
The pleasure of being stretched and tested is a theme echoed by Oluwole’s contemporaries. “I really enjoy a challenge; that’s what keeps me going,” says 18-year-old Ihsaan Faisal, who scored 43 points and is to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford. “I’m the kind of person who frets if they’re not busy, and the good thing about the IB is that there’s no time to put your feet up.”
But what about being forced to carry on with subjects that you’re not so good at? “My best subjects are science and maths, so at first, I wasn’t too keen on having to do English and French,” says 18-year-old Ravin Jain, another 45-pointer, who’s off to read physics at Oxford. “Gradually, though, I found myself enjoying those subjects, too. I even watched a whole Shakespeare season on the television, which was something new for me.”
The view from the common room, meanwhile, is that the boys will be far better equipped for life than their A-level counterparts. “Firstly, having done the IB, there’s no way they will have their socks knocked off by the pressure of work in their first and second years at university,” says Paul Golightly, head of history.
“Career-wise, too, no matter what road they go down, it will be an advantage to have a good command of a foreign language, and to be able to call upon their English language skills when writing reports.”
At the same time, the staff all say that the course has reinvigorated them. “With the IB, we have enjoyed far greater freedom, not least because we haven’t been confined to reading texts written in the English language,” says Tom Hosty, head of English. “Instead of plodding through a familiar old A-level text, we can study Greek tragedy, Ibsen plays, Russian novels, you name it.”
And there is similar breathing room in history. “In the normal A-level module exploring the one-party state, you’d typically look at Hitler and Stalin,” says Paul Golightly. “On our course, we also took in figures like Castro and Peron.”
The more unexpected spin-off is that it turned teaching from a one-way into a two-way street. “We are having conversations we never had when we were teaching A-level,” says Tom Hosty. “I remember engaging in the most fascinating half-hour debate with one of the school’s star mathematicians, over why Euripides was a better dramatist than Sophocles.
“There’s no question about it: doing the IB, pupils get drawn into the topics they are studying, and the intellectual life of the school has improved immeasurably.”
Which counts as quite a result for the Chief Master. “It has all worked out very well, and we are delighted with the points our boys have scored,” says Claughton, whose son James was among the pioneering IB cohort. “Yes, there were two or three boys who only got scores in the 20s, but by and large, they were the ones who would only have got a couple of Cs at A-level.
“The reason the new system has worked is because we introduced it for genuine, philosophical reasons, as a means of helping boys think and work in a less compartmentalised way, and not just as a more effective way of getting our boys into university. That said, there were some dark, nerve-racking times along the way, both for staff, students, and for the silly head who had the idea in the first place.”
Another false rape claim from Britain
A mother-of-two has been jailed for making two false rape claims against men she was dating after one, who she had met online, failed to show up for a liaison. Emma Saxon, 23, from Sheffield, was jailed for eight months after telling police she had been raped in a BMW car in a supermarket car park.
The victim of her slur Martin Blood spent 14 hours in a police cell and suffered the indignity of an intimate medical examination while the police spent 90 hours investigating before finally concluding it was a hoax.
Sheffield Crown Court heard Saxon, 23, was given a community penalty in 2007 after a similar false allegation against a former boyfriend.
Jailing her Judge Michael Murphy said: ‘Rape is such a terrible, diabolical offence that it is always treated very seriously in these courts. It is a dreadful thing for a person to be raped. It is a most serious allegation for one person to make against another. It is truly awful if it is untrue.’
Saxon, of Westfield, Sheffield admitted perverting the course of justice by making a false rape allegation.
Bev Tait, prosecuting, said a man rang the police saying Saxon had been raped in the car at a Sheffield supermarket ten minutes beforehand by a man called Martin.
An incident team swung into action and police traced the car driver within 20 minutes. Officers went to his address but found the car engine cold in the driveway and a dry patch where the car was standing although it had been raining heavily.
Despite their suspicions about the allegation police arrested Mr Blood and as well as being kept in a cell for 14 hours and being examined by a doctor his car was thoroughly searched.
Saxon was taken to the police station and also examined by a doctor but refused to take part in a video interview.
Ms Tait said it took a month for six police officers and a detective inspector to finally ascertain that the allegation was groundless.
Mr Blood told police he met Saxon on a dating site and for him it was a purely sexual relationship but she wanted something more and they would often exchange texts and arrange to meet up.
On July 16, 2010 they exchanged texts about 9pm. He walked his dog an hour later and swapped more texts with her. She wanted to meet him and he said he would but had no intention of doing so. He went to bed and the next thing he knew was when officers arrived at his home.
He said in a victim impact statement read in court that he was ‘terrified’ of the medical examination but went through with it because he was innocent. When he asked for a glass of water in his prison cell an officer gave him a look as of he was ‘scum’ which he said would haunt him for the rest of his life. He had been forced to take time off work as a school caretaker with stress and it was as if ‘his entire life had fallen apart.’
Saxon was then arrested. She admitted she had an affair with Mr Blood but on the night in question she was pressurised by other people she was with to report him to the police.
In the previous allegation which was made in 2006 her ex-boyfriend was arrested and interviewed by police but Saxon then undertook a video interview before police concluded she was lying.
Rebecca Stevens, for Saxon, said she lived in supported council rented accommodation and had suffered with learning difficulties. ‘The offence was unsophisticated and it was obvious to the police from the outset that there were suspicions about the allegation,’ she said. She was a ‘vulnerable young woman’ in the company of ‘less desirable’ people who bullied her into making the allegation and it was not her who initially reported the complaint.
Given her lack of co-operation with the police it was hard for her to admit she had lied and her refusal to give a video interview was an acceptance that ‘what she was doing was wrong and she no longer wished to pursue the matter.’
By June last year she freely admitted the matter. She had difficulty in managing her everyday life and her two sons aged one and three lived with her mother. There was a real likelihood she would lose her home and children if jailed.
But Judge Murphy said the false allegation, the ‘shame and degradation’ suffered by Mr Blood through his false arrest and her previous conviction for a similar offence made jail inevitable. ‘It is important that people understand that a false allegation of rape is a wicked thing to do,’ he told her.
Council refuses to name and shame traders who sell bootleg alcohol because it would ‘breach their human rights’
Illegal traders caught selling dangerous bootleg alcohol and tobacco are avoiding being named and shamed because of council fears over breaching their human rights.
Half of all the businesses visited during a crackdown on counterfeit goods by Derby City Council were found to have illicit products – including alcohol containing dangerous levels of lead and chemicals – on their premises.
Councillors who wanted to publicise the shops found selling dodgy products say they were advised that doing so would breach human rights laws.
‘It’s frustrating that we cannot go ahead with this because we cannot fall foul of any laws,’ said Councillor Hardyal Dhindsa. ‘My approach was that we wanted to try and bring businesses on board with us to change their lifestyle and behaviour so we have a better city. ‘It was a new approach and that was the main reason for doing it and not prosecuting.’
Of 22 businesses visited by the authority 11 were found to have illicit goods on the shelves.
Analysis revealed that some alcohol samples contained seven times the permitted levels of cadmium, which can cause kidney damage, and six times the permitted levels of lead, which can harm the nervous and reproductive systems.
The operation followed the discovery of fake Drop vodka being sold in the city last year. It was found to contain isopropryl alcohol – normally used as a cleaning fluid.
Councillor Dhindsa said: ‘There are two major issues, the first being the significant health risks of these illicit goods, and the other is an estimated £2 billion being lost in legitimate tax revenue at a time when we can least afford it.
‘The money is instead lining the pockets of organised criminal gangs rather than funding public services and the NHS. ‘I want the public to realise how serious this situation is and why we are working hard to tackle it.
‘This not a victimless crime and in most cases it’s likely that you’ll be buying counterfeit or illicit products that can serious damage your health. Ultimately, the public are left picking up the bill for the impact of that along with directly funding organised criminal gangs.’
Douglas Walkman, team leader for trading standards, said: ‘We are not surprised by our findings on the week of action and will look to continue disrupting the trade in illicit alcohol and tobacco.
‘In Derby alone we know that the sale of counterfeit alcohol and tobacco is widespread.’