‘Tummy bug’ boy went into renal failure after call to NHS
THE mother of a seriously ill boy, who almost died after his renal failure was diagnosed as a tummy bug, has been told by health chiefs the medical advice she was given was “appropriate”.
Laura Edwards has given her son, Logan Williamson Edwards, the ultimate gift of life by donating one of her kidneys to him.
And she says the four-year-old would have died if she had followed the advice given to her from an outof- hours NHS service. Ms Edwards, aged 32, was told by an operator that Logan did not meet the “red flag” criteria to see a doctor.
She was told to give him fluids, but medical experts say if patients suffering from end-stage renal failure take on more fluid, it could lead to their death as the kidney cannot expel it and this puts pressure on other organs.
The worried mother-of-five decided to take her son, who was then aged three, to the Royal Bolton Hospital. Just a few hours later, he had been transferred to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, where he was diagnosed with endstage renal failure.
NHS Bolton, which ran the out-of-hours service until July, 2012, launched an investigation.
A letter sent to Ms Edwards on August 24 from Su Long, interim accountable officer at Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), says that the triage assessment given to Ms Edwards’ son was “appropriate” and that she was advised to take him to hospital.
But it also stated the nurse “indicated his systems were not coming up with any ‘red flags’” and advised the family to take Logan to their GP.
Ms Edwards, who gave Logan one of her kidneys last month, says the transcripts of the conversation between her and the triage nurse on the outof- hours NHS service are “incomplete and inaccurate”.
She says she is still waiting for answers from NHS Bolton, which is responsible for buying health services for local people.
NHS Bolton has admitted a “technical” problem has prevented them accessing the data on the transcripts and they had to employ a company to recover the conversations.
Ms Edwards, from Farnworth, said: “If I had listened and kept up the fluids, he would have been dead. It would have killed him. “I have waited seven months and I don’t feel I am any further than I was when I first put in a complaint. “I want the nurse to be given some training and lessons to be learnt from this.
“Someone else might have listened to the advice and done what she said and could wake up and not have their child any more.”
After Logan was rushed to A&E and diagnosed with the potentially fatal condition, he spent six months having 12 hours of dialysis every day.
Since his transplant, his health is improving and he is looking forward to starting school at The Ferns Primary Academy in Farnworth this month.
A spokesman from NHS Bolton said: “In this instance, it has taken longer than we would have liked to address this issue, as the device that recorded out-of-hours calls had developed a technical issue. “We apologise for the length of time that this process has taken and would like to wish Logan well as he continues his recovery.”
NHS Bolton has defended the out-of-hours service and stressed that patients are asked to call back if they see no improvement following initial advice.
At long last: Squatters to face six months in prison as laws giving them rights are scrapped in Britain
Squatters’ rights will be scrapped from tomorrow, and a new law will mean those who invade private homes face six months in jail. Until now, police could not evict squatters as soon as they moved in, so a homeowner’s main option to get them out was through a civil court order – which could be time consuming, expensive and stressful.
The introduction of the criminal offence of squatting, which carries a prison sentence, a £5,000 fine or both, follows a Government consultation last summer and means police can arrest squatters immediately.
Housing minister Grant Shapps said: ‘No longer will there be so-called “squatters’ rights”. ‘We’re tipping the scales of justice back in favour of the homeowner and making the law crystal clear: entering a property with the intention of squatting will be a criminal offence.
Justice minister Crispin Blunt said: ‘For too long, squatters have had the justice system on the run and have caused homeowners untold misery in eviction, repair and clean-up costs. Not anymore.
‘Hard-working homeowners need and deserve a justice system where their rights come first – this new offence will ensure the police and other agencies can take quick and decisive action to deal with the misery of squatting.’
Chief Constable Phil Gormley, from the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: ‘Police can now act immediately and remove squatters directly from properties in line with the new legislation and ensure people’s homes are protected.’
The new offence will protect homeowners or legitimate tenants who have been excluded from their homes. It will also protect those who own residential buildings that they don’t live in, such as landlords, local authorities or second home owners.
Previously, their only option was to seek a civil court order to regain possession of their properties, which could be time consuming, expensive and stressful.
But homeless charity Crisis said the new law would criminalise vulnerable people, leaving them in prison or facing a fine they cannot pay.
‘It also misses the point,’ said Leslie Morphy, the charity’s chief executive. ‘There was already legal provision that police and councils could, and should, have used to remove individuals in the rare instances of squatting in someone’s home.
‘And the new law also applies to empty homes – of which there are 720,000 in England alone, including many that are dilapidated and abandoned – criminalising homeless people when they are just trying to find a place off the streets.’
She went on: ‘It will do nothing to address the underlying reasons why vulnerable people squat in the first place – their homelessness and a lack of affordable housing. ‘Ultimately the Government needs to tackle why homeless people squat in the first place by helping not punishing them.’
Mr Shapps also launched a clampdown on rogue landlords to bring an end to ‘suburban shanty towns’ that trap vulnerable people in dangerous living conditions. He launched new guidance for councils making clear the wide range of powers at their disposal shut down so-called ‘beds in sheds’ that blight neigbourhoods.
British court lets off Muslim pervert
As a pharmacist, he is an educated man. Saying he knew no better is absurd
A pharmacist who made crude remarks to three of his female colleagues has escaped with a warning after a panel heard he came from a ‘restrictive Muslim background’ and was unaware of the offence his conduct had caused.
Khalil Jamil asked one of the women about her favourite love-making position and quizzed another about the mating habits of her horses – but a professional panel ruled his behaviour was not sexually motivated.
The General Pharmaceutical Council panel found Jamil acted inappropriately by making the comments and standing too close to his assistants.
However, they accepted that his background in a strict Muslim community meant he was unfamiliar to working in such an open environment with women and his basic social skills meant he lacked understanding of appropriate conduct.
As the remarks were not sexually motivated the panel cleared Jamil of misconduct and gave him an official warning. It also took into consideration the fact that Jamil had remedied his actions by attending a ‘dignity at work’ course.
Panel chairman Patrick Malmo QC said: ‘He felt the source of this behaviour in 2009, was that he comes from a very restrictive background, with little social life, and none at all outside of his own community.
‘He lacked social skills, and had little knowledge of how one should be when working with colleagues. ‘He was unable to distinguish between friendliness and over familiarity.’
Mr Malmo added: ‘We do not think there is a serious risk of this kind of conduct being repeated.
‘Although we do not find the registrant impaired, we have the ability to issue a warning, and given the circumstances of this case, we believe it is necessary to do so.’
In a statement read to the hearing one of Jamil’s colleagues, referred to as CH, said she was working with Jamil at the Cooperative Pharmacy in Fauldhouse, West Lothian, in July 2009, when he asked: ‘Do you have a boyfriend? Do you want a boyfriend?’
She said: ‘Whenever it went quiet he came back to me and stood close again. He asked me if I was into sports, I said “No”. ‘He said he was into boxing and said feel my stomach. He grabbed my wrist and tried to get me to touch his stomach.’
Jamil had told the hearing that he had no desire to be in a relationship with the woman saying: ‘I suppose I was showing off, at the time, that I train, I work hard.’
He made similar remarks to another assistant, referred to only as SS, while he was working as a locum at a Morrisons pharmacy in St Andrews, Fife, in November 2009.
The pharmacist approached her while she was at the computer at and asked her if she had a boyfriend and how she liked to have sex with him.
A similar incident occurred the following week in which he put his arms around her waist.
A third woman, known as SR, was working at the same pharmacy when Jamil stood close to her that as she bent down to pick up some prescriptions, she could not help but back into him.
She added that he had asked if getting her horses’ castrated had affected the animals’ sex drives and whether it would have the same effect on a man.
He had admitted that all the incidents took place but denied any possible sexual motivation.
Speaking afterwards Graham Edwards, said on behalf of Mr Jamil: ‘I think the panel’s decision was overall correct.
‘Although Mr Jamil had not acted with sexual motivation, and although he had crossed professional boundaries, it is clear that through his insight and his remedial actions and courses followed, the correct decision has been made to assess that he is not impaired.
‘However it must be said that with Mr Jamil’s failure to observe professional boundaries, which brought him to this hearing, it is correct that the panel warned him about his future behaviour.
‘The duration of the inquiry into these matters, being three years, has caused Mr Jamil and his family to be emotionally damaging, at a great deal financial of cost.’
Senior Tory attacks ‘perverse’ rules on grammar (selective) schools
Coalition education reforms that block the opening of wholly new grammar schools in England are “perverse”, a leading Tory backbencher warned today.
Graham Brady, chairman of the influential 1922 Committee, said he strongly endorsed plans to devolve power over state education away from civil servants towards local communities.
As many as 50 new “free schools” are due to open next month as state funded institutions run by parents’ groups and charities independent of local council control.
But he criticised existing rules that block new-style schools from staging admissions tests, despite powerful parental support for academic selection.
Mr Brady, the MP for Altrincham and Sale West, also claimed that attitudes towards grammar schools were stuck “in a time warp” and failed to appreciate the modern realities of a selective system.
The few grammar schools remaining in England are now seen as elitist and “ultra-selective” simply because so many parents are scrambling to secure places for their children, he added.
The comments, in an interview for the New Statesman magazine, come amid ongoing debate over academic selection in the state education system.
Currently, just 164 grammars remain in England after the majority of schools were converted into mixed-ability comprehensives in the 60s and 70s.
Labour introduced legislation in 1998 banning the opening of any more selective schools. In a controversial move, the change was endorsed by the Conservative front bench a decade later, prompting Mr Brady’s resignation as the then shadow Europe minister.
In recent months, some councils have attempted to use loopholes in the schools admissions code to expand the number of grammar places – building “annexes” of existing schools in new towns several miles away.
But Mr Brady said this failed to go far enough as it still blocked any expansion in areas that failed to contain existing grammar schools. “You can select for a ballet school, or for a music college, but if you say, ‘We’d like a school that specialises in the more academic end of the scale,’ then that’s forbidden except in those places where it already exists,” he said.
He added: “The logic of what the government is doing with education – and I very strongly endorse it – is actually to transfer the power and the choice away from the government and give it far more genuinely to communities and parents to choose the kind of schools they want. “It’s in that context that it is more perverse than ever that the government then prohibits [one of the choices].”
In further comments, Mr Brady admitted that some of the few remaining grammar schools had been forced to become “ultra-selective” because of sheer competition for places among parents.
In parts of London, some grammar schools receive as many as 10 applications for every place.
“When there’s just the one grammar school with a population of 200,000 or half a million people seeking places at schools, [grammars] become ultra-selective,” he said.
He added: “The more I’ve been involved in the debate about the selective system, the more it becomes clear to me that, for a great many people discussing this issue, [they] are doing so in a time warp – they are debating the selective system as it was 40 years ago.”
Statin fanatic ignores issues of therapeutic compliance (discontinuing treatment)
It seems very easy to find people who have had bad side-effects from statins but clinical trials report very few side-effects. Why? Because people enrolled in clinical trials are embarrassed to tell the researchers that they have flushed the garbage down the toilet because they couldn’t tolerate it. “I’d rather risk a heart attack” is one comment I have head
Statins should be given to all over-50s, regardless of their health history, because they dramatically cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes in later life, one of the UK’s leading experts has said.
Currently statins are given only to high-risk patients, around eight million people, who have high cholesterol or have a risk of heart disease.
But there is ‘clear evidence’ that healthy people can also benefit based on their age alone, says Professor Sir Rory Collins.
He led the world’s largest study to investigate statins in the prevention of cardiovascular disease which proved that cutting levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in the blood saved lives.
The risk of having a major vascular event such as a heart attack is cut by one-fifth for each 1.0mmol/L (millimoles per litre) fall in LDL, whether in high or low risk patients.
But current guidelines on their use – and misguided safety fears about muscle pain and memory loss – are restricting the range of people who can take them, he said.
‘At 50 you should be considering it and whether you should be taking them at an earlier age is an open question’ he said.
‘If you start treatment earlier and continue for longer the benefits will be much greater, you’re not trying to unfur the arteries, you’re preventing them from furring in the first place’ he said.
Prof Collins, who was giving a keynote lecture at the European Cardiology Congress in Munich, said evidence from 130,000 patients taking statins in trials show they are safe.
Yet drug safety watchdogs here and in the US have insisted on flagging up relatively minor side effects which are putting patients off the drugs, he said.
These include memory loss, depression, sexual difficulties and depression, while recent research suggests cataracts and diabetes may be more common in patients taking statins.
Trial data shows only one significant side effect, myopathy or muscle pain, which affects one in 10,000 patients, said Prof Collins.
He said: ‘We need to look properly at the safety of statins. The reality is that these drugs are remarkably safe, but the problem is that high risk patients are getting the message that these drugs have side effects.’
Prof Collins, 57, went to his GP a fortnight ago to ask about taking statins despite a relatively low cholesterol level, and was dismayed to learn she could not get high risk patients to take them because of fears about side effects.
Research earlier this year co-ordinated by the Clinical Trial Service Unit Oxford University, where Prof Collins is co-director, reviewed findings from 27 statin trials involving 175,000 people, some of whom were at low risk of heart problems.
The drugs cut the risk of heart attacks, strokes and operations to unblock arteries by one third or more.
The benefits were gained no matter what level of cholesterol patients started out with. Healthier people who were given statins also had lower overall death rates than those who were given a placebo.
It concluded the positives greatly exceeded any side-effects from taking the drugs.
More than eight million adults are already taking statins, but it is estimated that routine use by the over 50s would lead to 10,000 fewer heart attacks and strokes a year, including 2,000 fewer deaths in the UK.
The small cost of the drugs – as low as £16 a year – would be outweighed by NHS savings due to the reduced number of heart attacks and strokes.
At present, statins are restricted to those with at least a 20 per cent risk of having a heart attack or stroke over the next five years.
But, said Prof Collins, trial data shows very low risk groups can benefit where individuals have just a five to 10 per cent chance of heart disease, and even lower.
He said there did not appear to be a threshold at which the drugs didn’t work and the longer they were taken, the greater the benefit.
‘We need to review the guidelines and the current thresholds should go,’ said Prof Collins, who claimed medical tests such as liver function were also unnecessary.
Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘The issue is where do you set the threshold between low, normal and high risk.
‘The current arbitrary threshold was decided by cost but now statins are off patent (and much cheaper) it may be appropriate to see if there are benefits for more people – the threshold is a bit too high,’ he added.
Realism about disability incorrect
Former health minister Edwina Currie was forced to defend herself against accusations she patronised Italian Paralympians by describing them as “gorgeous even in wheelchairs”.
Her comment, posted on Twitter, drew condemnation from other users of the website, but Currie insisted she was paying the entire Italian team a compliment.
In response to criticism of her post, she said: “Why shouldn’t we pay people who look good the compliment of saying so? That’s real equality, innit?”
One reply, from @mbisace. described the comment as “singularly the most offensive thing I have seen on Twitter”.
Another, from @jfraseruk, who is disabled, said “even in wheelchairs? wow – talk about insensitive”.