Anguish of couple who lost IVF twins after death of son, 16, because of medical failings
After losing their only son Josh at the age of 16, Ian and Nikki Singleton were desperate to build a family again. They went through 13 bouts of IVF before Mrs Singleton became pregnant again – this time with twins.
But an inquest yesterday heard how the birth turned to tragedy following a string of medical failings.
Mrs Singleton was rushed to hospital suffering from severe stomach pain just 30 weeks into her pregnancy.
After being transferred to another hospital and enduring an agonising wait to be treated her baby boy Reuben was stillborn and his twin sister Esme died the following day.
The hearing found medics had failed to spot Mrs Singleton, 49, had suffered a rupture to her uterus when she arrived at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital near Cardiff in July 2009.
Her condition worsened as she waited two hours for a Caesarean section that resulted in Reuben being stillborn and Esme showing no signs of life.
After 22 minutes of resuscitation Esme began breathing again but she had suffered such severe brain damage that the Singletons – who lost their son Josh to a brain haemorrhage – agreed to turn off her life support machine the next day.
Aberdare Coroner’s Court heard midwives had ignored the warning signs of Mrs Singleton’s condition despite the fact she was in severe pain.
Consultant gynaecologist Hatel Tejura said the lack of uterine activity and a foetal heartbeat should have sent alarm bells ringing then.
The inquest was being held into the death of Esme only because there are no inquests into the deaths of stillborn children.
It heard that when Mrs Singleton arrived at the Royal Glamorgan a midwife could only detect one heartbeat instead of the two there should have been. But at this point at 12.40pm medics believed she was in premature labour and had not diagnosed a ruptured uterus.
There was then a two hour delay before a Caesarean section was performed in which time Esme is believed to have suffered severe brain damage.
Glamorgan coroner Louise Hunt recorded a narrative verdict saying: ‘Esme was well at 12.40pm – it is most likely there was a critical event then with things changing radically but not being appreciated by the medical staff. They have acknowledged that today.
‘Because it was not appreciated that she was in serious difficulties there was a considerable delay in doing a Caesarean section. Esme was not delivered for two hours – more than enough for the damage to have been done. ‘She died from brain damage caused by the rupture which went undiagnosed in labour resulting in delay in the delivery.’
The inquest heard the local Cwm Taff Health Board had accepted failing in their standard of care and offered its apologies to the Singletons who were living near Cardiff at the time.
After the hearing Mrs Singleton, who now lives in Swindon, Wiltshire said: ‘This happened three years ago but the pain is still there and will never, ever go away.’ Her husband, 50, said: ‘We feel that Esme’s death was a mixture of incompetence, negligence and a cavalier attitude.’
The couple are pursuing a legal case against the hospital for negligence.
Three-year-old girl died because hospital doctors failed to give her ‘basic medical care’, says coroner
A coroner accused staff at a top London hospital of ‘gross failure’ today, following the death of a three-year-old girl in a paediatrics intensive care unit.
Isla Taylor was admitted to St George’s Hospital in south London in June 2011 to undergo surgery to repair her trachea, but died five days later from brain damage caused by hypotension after days of low blood pressure which medics failed to spot.
Westminster coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox today said Isla’s death was ‘avoidable’ and that staff in the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) failed to give Isla ‘basic medical care’ that would have brought her low blood pressure under control and saved her life.
Delivering a narrative verdict Dr Wilcox said: ‘The blood pressure was unacceptably low. Maintenance of blood pressure, in my view, is basic medical care wherever you are.
‘It was a gross failure on the part of the PICU staff not to do something effective to manage it. It was unacceptably low for hour after hour on June 25 and 26. They should have appreciated that it was low, their lack of appreciation in my view is a gross failure.’ She added: ‘I have found that the test of neglect has in this narrow area on behalf of paediatric intensive care unit staff has been met.’
Expert witness Dr Andrew Durward, a consultant in paediatric intensive care at London’s Evelina children’s hospital, said Isla’s doctors had been ‘blinkered’ into accepting low blood pressure because of her complex medical history. He said: ‘The complexity of this patient almost blinkered the response in terms of accepting the low numbers of blood pressure. It is a basic failure of medical care.
‘This patient had a blood pressure of 40 for days and that is unusual. I’ve never in my life seen anyone with a blood pressure so low for so long in my 14 years as a consultant. You can treat it so easily.’
Isla, from Twickenham in west London, was born six weeks premature and had repeatedly contracted chest infections because of problems with her lungs. she was admitted to the hospital on June 23 for elective surgery on her airways.
But she was the victim of a catalogue of errors which began when doctors inserted a breathing tube into her mouth rather than her nose causing problems when she was sedated.
The tube was later moved to the wrong part of her lung when vital information about her medical history was not handed over to new doctors taking over her care, Westminster Coroner’s Court heard.
Dr Caroline Davison, a consultant paediatric anaesthetist in intensive care, said other doctors at the hospital had ‘failed’ to tell her not to move Isla’s breathing tube during the shift hand-over.
She said: ‘I think anything about an airway that hasn’t been handed over would have been a serious failure. It is not an ordinary failure, it is more than an ordinary failure. Bolt and door it should have been handed over.’
Echoing this concern, Dr Wilcox said: ‘The failure of the anaesthetist to specifically hand over to PICU the reason why the ET tube inserted at 14cm there was a gross failure in care and this was a failure in basic medical care. It is something that was critical.’
Dr Wilcox also found that antibiotics should have been given to Isla earlier, and again branded the omission a ‘really serious failure’ given Isla’s propensity to contracting chest infections.
After three days in hospital Isla’s condition deteriorated rapidly on June 26, her blood pressure could barely be detected and she had to be resuscitated.
A CT scan taken the following morning showed severe brain injuries which ‘shocked’ doctors treating the patient. Isla died at 2.30pm the next day, on June 28.
Isla’s parents Stephen Taylor and Nicola Roberts, who broke down in tears as they heard the verdict read out, paid tribute to their ‘energetic little girl’ in a statement read out in court.
They said: ‘Isla was a very energetic little girl, she absolutely loved life. ‘She had dropped all daytime naps and there was no sign of any problems other than stated and her chest infections was something the surgery was hopefully going to help.’
Robust new procedures to change the way patients such as Isla are treated have been put in place at St George’s, the court heard.
Dr Frances Elmslie, a consultant clinical geneticist at St George’s who oversaw the changes, said today that medics have to discuss the positioning of a patient’s tube if there is a possibility they will go into intensive care, and that the level of sedation has been reduced. She said: ‘I feel happy that the process is now robust.’
British birth rate has soared to one of highest in Europe thanks to increase in migrants
Migrants have helped push Britain’s birth rate up to one of the highest levels in Europe.
Women here are now likely to have an average of just under two children – a level exceeded only in two of the other 27 European Union countries.
A decade ago, before large-scale immigration had a major impact on birth rates, Britain was firmly in the middle of the European table.
Since then, high fertility levels among migrants and a rapid rise in birth rates among women born here have helped push up the population faster than almost everywhere else in Europe. Only women in France, with a birth rate just ahead of ours at 2.03, and Ireland, at 2.07, have more children.
Just over 723,000 babies were born in England and Wales in 2010, up from fewer than 600,000 in 2000. The average number of children each woman is likely to have has gone up from 1.64.
The main reason for the increase was immigration, with many migrants of child-bearing age, and with many from cultures where larger families are more common.
The rising birth rate is also partially attributed to those born here in the 1960s and 70s having children later because they have been focusing on careers.
Having children has for many also been delayed by the need for a couple to maintain two incomes to cover mortgage and other costs.
Other European countries where birthrates have fallen have accepted fewer numbers of migrants than Britain and have not so far shown the same resurgence in baby numbers among women who in recent years have been delaying childbirth.
France has had higher birth rates than Britain since the 1990s and its fertility levels are also pushed upwards by the arrival of high numbers of immigrants.
Most recent figures show British birthrates have remained steady since 2010.
The Office for National Statistics said this may be because of ‘Government policy and the economic climate indirectly influencing individuals’ decisions around childbearing and therefore affecting the number of births.’
However it added: ‘The combined effect of multiple government policies and the changing economic climate does not have a clear impact on fertility in a particular direction.’
High birth rates in Britain are generally reckoned to be responsible for around 30 per cent of population increase.
The growing population, especially in the south, has made England the most crowded country in Europe, except for tiny Malta.
The false rape claims never stop in Britain
Any tendency to take the word of a “victim” in the absence or corroborating evidence is very foolish indeed
A 20-year-old woman who falsely claimed she was raped by three men older than her because she regretted having sex with them has been jailed for two years.
Rosie Dodd, of Nottingham, claimed the men, who were aged 21, 23 and 25, assaulted her at a home in Clifton, Nottinghamshire, in the early hours of a Saturday in June.
The trio were arrested after Dodd claimed they had all raped her after she met them on a night out in the city – and they spent a total of nearly 50 hours in police custody before being released on bail.
The men maintained Dodd had willingly had sex with them – and police became suspicious after carrying out further enquiries, challenging Dodd about her account.
But Dodd then admitted she had made up the rape claims because she regretted having consensual sex with the trio, Nottingham Crown Court was told today.
Detective Constable Gina Farrell led the investigation for Nottinghamshire Police and slammed Dodd after the hearing for never showing ‘an ounce of remorse’ for what she put the men through.
She said: ‘We take every report of rape and sexual assault extremely seriously, just as we did in this case. But it soon became apparent that there were inconsistencies with Dodd’s account. ‘The three men accused of rape were quite badly affected by the damaging accusations and Dodd has never shown an ounce of remorse for what she put them through.’
DC Farrell added that time the force’s specially-trained officers spent with Dodds could have been given to someone who ‘really needed our help’.
Detective Inspector Stephen Waldram, head of the force’s rape investigation team, stated after the hearing that there was ‘no justification’ for Dodd’s lies and anyone doing the same ‘will be exposed’. ‘There is no justification for lying about something so serious and incredibly damaging and police actively investigate a false claim just as thoroughly as a genuine one to ensure innocent people are not convicted for something they didn’t do’
He said: ‘People lie that they’ve been raped for a multitude of reasons – like having regrets about having sex with a person, or as a way of getting back at someone.
‘There is no justification for lying about something so serious and incredibly damaging and police actively investigate a false claim just as thoroughly as a genuine one to ensure innocent people are not convicted for something they didn’t do.
‘It’s important to stress that anyone who contacts us to say they have been assaulted will be treated with the sensitivity and respect they deserve.’
Dodds was jailed for two years after previously pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice.
Reward for whiners? In Britain, domestic violence will now include mental torment too
Men who bully their partners by verbally abusing them, taking control of their finances or isolating them from friends and family are guilty of domestic violence and could be prosecuted, ministers will say tomorrow.
In a dramatic shake-up, details of which have been leaked to the Mail, the definition of domestic abuse is to be widened to encompass a wide range of coercive or threatening behaviour.
At the moment, domestic abuse is generally taken to refer to acts of physical violence. But police and prosecutors will be expected to use the new definition when identifying and monitoring cases, meaning men who abuse partners in a ‘controlling’ fashion could face charges too.
It will also be applied to those under 18 for the first time as concerns grow that increasing numbers of teenage girls are the victims of abusive relationships.
There has never been a specific criminal offence of domestic violence. Instead, ministers agreed a definition in 2004 that refers to ‘incidents of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse’. The Government is concerned that the police and other agencies are not applying this broadly enough.
The Centre for Social Justice, a think-tank set up by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, has led calls for ‘coercive control’ to be included in official definitions of domestic abuse, and wants to see prosecutions even if no physical harm has been caused.
The new definition will not be written into law, however, as the CSJ has proposed. Instead it will be broadened to define domestic violence as ‘any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality’.
A source said: ‘This isn’t about people having a row and shouting. It’s about people’s whole lives being controlled, whether that’s not being allowed a bank account, access to a phone or to leave the house.’
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Home Secretary Theresa May will say this can encompass ‘psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional’ control. Mrs May has described domestic violence as ‘a particularly dreadful form of abuse’.
Domestic abuse prosecutions more than doubled from 35,000 in 2005 to 74,000 in 2010, and the conviction rate increased from 46 per cent to 72 per cent
The definition will include so-called ‘honour’ attacks, female genital mutilation and forced marriage, and make it clear that victims are not confined to one gender. According to recent Home Office statistics, 7 per cent of women and 5 per cent of men reported that they had experienced domestic violence.
Whitehall sources insisted the law would not change as a result of the reform, but said police and prosecutors would use the new definition. ‘Even though non-statutory, the change is supposed to influence public-sector bodies,’ one said.
‘You wouldn’t be prosecuted for coercive control, just as you wouldn’t be prosecuted for domestic violence, because neither of them are criminal offences. But if coercive control amounted to harassment, then you could be prosecuted for that.
Prosecutions for domestic abuse in Britain more than doubled from 35,000 in 2005 to 74,000 in 2010, and the conviction rate increased from 46 per cent to 72 per cent.
Last year, according to the Home Office, there were more than one million female victims of domestic abuse in England and Wales, with domestic violence accounting for 18 per cent of all violent incidents.
Diana Barran, of the charity Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse, said extreme levels of control, rather than physical violence, were probably the most common precursor to domestic killings.
‘People are completely controlled in all their daily activities, prevented from taking medication, prevented from seeing friends, controlled in what they wear, who they talk to, literally on every single level.’
English adults ‘put off education for life’ after failing 11-plus exam
What is not mentioned below is that many who failed SHOULD have been put off further education. There has to come a time when some realize that they are not going to benefit from more education and it may be better to learn that at age 11 rather than after one has done a “soft” degree that gains you nothing but debts
Almost a third of adults have been left permanently scarred by the experience of failing grammar school entrance exams at the age of 11, according to new research.
Figures show that 30 per cent of people were put off education and training well into middle-age following a poor result in the 11-plus, it was revealed.
Some adults claimed that low scores in entrance tests acted as an “albatross around their neck” for more than 40 years because of the shame of being branded a failure at the end of primary education.
The disclosure – in a survey of more than 1,000 adults aged 50 and over – comes amid continuing controversy over academic selection in the state education system.
Most grammar schools across England were converted into mixed-ability comprehensives in the 60s and 70s, although 164 remain across the country.
Existing grammars are still hugely popular among parents and some gain as many as 10 applications for every place.
But the scramble to secure grammar school admissions has led to claims that children are being put under too much pressure at a young age.
Previous studies have shown that more than half of children are given private tutoring for 11-plus exams and some parents start preparing sons and daughters from the age of five.
But new research by Love to Learn, a website offering online courses for adults aged 50-plus, found that the legacy of grammar school entrance exams still had a powerful impact on people 40 years on.
Of those who failed the 11-plus, 36 per cent said they still “lacked the confidence” to undertake further education and training courses, while 13 per cent insisted the experience “put them off learning for life”.
Some 45 per cent of adults with poor 11-plus results said they still carried “negative feelings with them into their fifties, sixties and beyond”, it was revealed.
Gill Jackson, the website’s director, said over-50s had “greater freedom and financial security and they are eager to learn new things which appeal to them”.
“For many though, learning stopped as soon as they left school due to the lack of ongoing opportunities, the need to start earning money or because they were getting married or wanted to start a family,” she said.
Children of older mothers do better
Probably because those who have children early tend to be a bit dim to start with — and dimness is hereditary
The British study said children born to women over 40 benefited from improved health and language development up to the age of five. It also found increasing maternal age was associated with children having fewer hospital admissions and accidents, a higher likelihood of having their immunisations by the time they were nine months old and fewer social and emotional difficulties.
Older mothers tend to be more educated, have higher incomes and be married – all factors associated with greater child wellbeing, said the study from University College London’s Institute of Child Health, which looked at data covering more than 78,000 children, and was published in the British Medical Journal.
In Australia, 4 per cent of the almost 300,000 women who gave birth in 2009 were aged 40-plus. Gino Pecoraro, a spokesman for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said older mothers tended to be more established, educated, mature and financially settled, helping with language development and the potentially improved supervision of children.
“At least, for a change, the headlines are pointing out something good about being older as it is usually all so dismal,” said Hannah Dahlen, the associate professor of midwifery at the University of Western Sydney and national spokeswoman for the Australian College of Midwives.
Ms Dahlen gave birth to her daughter a few weeks before her 40th birthday.
“It is well known that this phenomenon exists with children born to older mothers but most of the association is due to higher education and social advantage,” she said.
“The higher educated a mother in particular is the more financially stable she is and the more likely you will see children with better linguistic skills.”