‘I’m dying’: Harrowing screams of a mother, 33, filmed by her family after doctors missed cancer THIRTY TIMES
Arrogant NHS doctors could not be got to listen. Sometimes it’s only a death that makes them sit up
A mother of four died after doctors missed 30 chances to diagnose her cervical cancer – at one point claiming her agony was caused by anxiety.
Jeannine Harvey, 33, was left so ravaged by pain that she was unable to get out of bed without help. But despite consultations with her GP and doctors at three hospitals, her cervical cancer was repeatedly misdiagnosed as a potential torn ligament, protruding discs, sarcoma and ‘nerve pain’.
At one point, Miss Harvey’s sister became so desperate for her sibling to be treated, she got down on her knees to beg doctors to admit her.
By the time medics realised the accountancy student – whose youngest child is only two – was suffering from advanced uterine cancer of the cervix, it was too late. She died at a hospice in July – eight months after a blood test first raised concerns.
Marie Donovan, 34, from West Heath, Birmingham, said her sister’s treatment was ‘like something out of the Dark Ages’. ‘My beautiful sister was in agony, she was crippled with pain, but no one listened to her,’ she added.
Miss Harvey’s children – Paul, 16, Jack, 12, Frankie, five, and Ella, two – are being cared for by the father of the youngest two children, who was separated from their mother.
Miss Harvey, from Rowley Regis, West Midlands, first complained of pain in her left leg and abdomen in December 2011. An ultrasound scan – conducted after the blood test for ovarian cancer came back ‘elevated’ – revealed a mass 4cm wide in her pelvic area.
But a laparoscopy six weeks later at City Hospital, Birmingham, appeared to show the mass had vanished, and she was sent back to her GP for physiotherapy.
Days later and still in pain, she was taken to A&E at Sandwell Hospital where doctors diagnosed a possible torn ligament.
An MRI scan in March led to a new diagnosis of protruding discs, with doctors claiming anxiety was the main source of her pain.
Mrs Donovan claims that when her sister was finally admitted to the Medical Assessment Unit at City Hospital on April 18 she was in such a poor state that a nurse assumed she was a cancer patient.
Days later, Miss Harvey was misdiagnosed again, this time with sarcoma – a type of cancer that develops in connective tissues. A routine biopsy at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital prior to starting chemotherapy found squamous cell tissue, which could only have originated in the cervix.
By the time her treatment began, the tumour – now 8cm – had become infected and shattered her pelvic bone. She was admitted to a hospice on July 13 and died ten days later.
Mrs Donovan said: ‘I want to find out why they missed so many opportunities to diagnose my sister, whose tortuous death was entirely preventable.’
A spokesman for Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital NHS Trust said that it has carried out an investigation. A date for the inquest is yet to be set.
Why are hospitals ignoring a drug that can stop patients bleeding to death?
Because it is not “approved” for surgical use and getting it passed by the bureaucrats would cost many millions, which no-one wants to spend
One of the greatest risks of surgery is blood loss. There is a cheap drug which dramatically reduces the risk of haemorrhaging, but experts say it’s being ignored by British doctors, putting the thousands of patients who have an op every year in unnecessary danger.
The medicine, called tranexamic acid, is sold over the counter under the brand names Cyklo-F and Femstrual to help women affected by heavy periods.
But research has shown injections of the drug can also reduce bleeding and the need for blood transfusions during surgery — and it can also help stop victims of traffic accidents and other serious injuries from bleeding to death, with no serious side-effects.
It’s even used by the British and U.S. military, but experts such as Ian Roberts, professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, say our operating theatres and accident and emergency departments are lagging behind on this key development.
‘We have known this drug reduces bleeding in surgery for over a decade now,’ says Prof Roberts. ‘There is research which shows it reduces the need for blood transfusions by about a third in all types of operations. But it is still not being widely used.’
Tranexamic acid works by helping the blood to clot — it stops fibrinolysis, a natural process that breaks down blood clots in the body. When there is a risk of excessive bleeding, tranexamic acid can be a lifesaver.
An injectable form of the drug is made by Pfizer for use in some conditions associated with excessive bleeding such as prostate surgery and tooth extractions in people with haemophilia. But what baffles the experts is why it isn’t given routinely in surgery. In June 2010, a large international trial run in 40 countries including the UK and involving 20,000 patients found that the drug could be used successfully to save the lives of trauma victims — badly injured patients with serious bleeding, for example from road accidents or stabbings.
The trial, widely known as the CRASH-2 trial, published in the Lancet, showed the drug could lower the risk of trauma victims bleeding to death by up to 30 per cent.
Since the trial, the drug has been introduced on to the battlefield by the military to help save the lives of badly injured soldiers. But according to Tim Coats, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Leicester, it is still not being widely used in NHS hospitals to save the lives of civilians.
He says: ‘Hospitals are stocking it but they are not using it.’ In 2011, fewer than one in ten trauma patients who were bleeding heavily were given the drugs, adds Professor Coats, who estimates that in the UK the drug could save the lives of 150 victims of serious injury annually.
In addition, an extensive review of research published in the BMJ this year found that the drug could also reduce the risk of bleeding in patients having any type of surgery, including common operations such as hip replacements.
The review, which included 129 trials covering more than 10,000 patients, found it reduced the need for blood transfusions in surgical patients by one third.
‘In some types of common surgery the risk of haemorrhage is quite high — for example, hip replacement patients have a high chance of needing a blood transfusion,’ says Professor Roberts. ‘If I were a surgical patient I would want to have tranexamic acid because it reduces the risk of haemorrhage so you’re less likely to need a blood transfusion, which can itself have complications.’
While every effort is made to make blood transfusions safe, Professor Roberts points out they can still have adverse effects including serious allergic reactions (such as breathlessness and vomiting) to substances in the blood, heart failure from fluid overload, an abnormal immune response resulting in shortness of breath, fever and sometimes shock, and infections from contaminated blood.
Using tranexamic acid routinely in surgery would help avoid these risks, says Professor Roberts. ‘All patients undergoing surgery should be offered this drug. Using it could also save the NHS about £25 million annually.’
The problem is tranexamic acid is not licensed for use in trauma patients or for most types of surgery, meaning it has to be used ‘off-label’ — without a licence — in these areas.
In addition, it is out of patent, so extending its use to trauma victims and all patients having surgery would not be sufficiently profitable for the drugs industry, says Professor Roberts.
‘Getting a drug licensed for a condition is a decision that can only be taken by the companies that make it. They are unlikely to do this because they will not make much money from it.
‘Being out of patent means that anyone can make this drug, so there’s less money to be made. There’s not a huge financial incentive to market it.
‘Everyone knows it’s effective in trauma patients and you would think it would be offered to all surgical patients, but the system doesn’t work like that.
‘I find it quite shocking that it takes so long to get something into practice, at the cost of tens of thousands of lives worldwide. Moreover, while tranexamic acid is being used off-label in some areas, many surgeons are unaware of its benefits,’ he adds. ‘This drug is safer than a blood transfusion.’
Mike Murphy, professor of blood transfusion medicine at the University of Oxford, said he too was ‘absolutely convinced’ the drug should be used in surgery.
In June, Professor Roberts wrote to the then Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, pointing out the benefits of tranexamic acid and urging him to take action.
‘Mr Lansley replied that he had asked the government watchdog, NICE, to make tranexamic acid the first drug to be assessed under a new programme looking at unlicensed uses of drugs.
How to encourage students’ misbehaviour: British Teacher who grabbed a pupil, 16, after he threw a banana milkshake over him was correctly fired, tribunal rules
A teacher who manhandled a student after the teenager hurled a banana milkshake at him along with a torrent of abuse has lost his claim for unfair dismissal.
Robert Cox, 59, was sacked by governors at Bemrose School in Derby after he was caught on CCTV aggressively pinning the 16-year-old’s arms to his sides in March 2011.
Mr Cox claimed he’d been unfairly dismissed, but a Nottingham employment tribunal upheld the school’s decision, claiming the teacher’s reaction to the milkshake-throwing was over-the-top.
‘The witness statements from Mr Cox’s colleagues indicated that his behaviour had been inappropriate and excessive,’ the tribunal chairman said. He added that it was ‘reasonable’ for governors to believe he had ‘escalated the situation’.
Headteacher Jo Ward said the school was thrilled the tribunal agreed Mr Cox’s actions amounted to gross misconduct. ‘We had no option but to dismiss him,’ she said.
‘Two different ruling panels of governors at Bemrose School, whose members included parents and trade union members, were unanimous in their belief that Mr Cox’s actions went far beyond restraining the pupil.
‘Mr Cox was observed on CCTV pushing the pupil down into the chair repeatedly with excessive force – enough force to move a large dining room table and chairs several feet.’
But the IT teacher, who claimed he tried to commit suicide after losing his job, said he wanted the decision reviewed and was considering a further appeal. He said: ‘It was impossible to walk away from a situation where someone was threatening to throw a chair and it would have been negligent to ignore it.
‘There were plenty of witnesses to what happened and for some reason they weren’t called but I want to speak to them. ‘I think this judgment sends out a message to pupils that they can do what they want to get a teacher sacked and this leaves staff in a very vulnerable position.
‘The school has completely ignored the Government’s guidelines, which start with the premise that a teacher should be supported in these circumstances.’
During the unfair dismissal case, the teacher told the tribunal that he had feared the boy was going to throw a chair at him. After he let the teenager go, the pupil did pick up a chair and threw it, although not at Mr Cox.
Neither the boy or his parents complained to the school, but the governors decided the man had to go.
At a tribunal hearing in Nottingham last month, Mr Cox said he had now been left ‘unemployable’ and has twice attempted suicide. He also said he feared youngsters’ behaviour was getting ‘out of control’.
Married Mr Cox’s 13-year teaching career has been ended by the episode. He said during the hearing: ‘It has had a huge impact on me. I can’t get another job now and our financial situation is dire, to say the least.
‘In all other public buildings you see posters saying abusive language and behaviour will not be tolerated. That is not the case at Bemrose. Senior management at Bemrose don’t support staff in general at all.’
Today, Mrs Ward said every teacher employed at her school was trained in techniques aimed at defusing situations of conflict. She said: ‘Mr Cox had every right to feel aggrieved by having milkshake thrown at him but, instead of putting this training into action, defusing the situation and reporting the incident, CCTV footage shows he adopted a confrontational approach prior to the incident and allowed his anger to govern his actions.
‘We are determined to uphold the highest standards of behaviour and in no way condone the pupil’s behaviour towards teaching staff. ‘The pupil involved was excluded for four days and a clear message was sent to other children at the school that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated.’
The commotion occurred last March in the school canteen when some boys were ‘acting up’ in front of another teacher. Mr Cox told one of them, a year 11 pupil, to sit down, at which point the teenager launched into a tirade of verbal abuse and then threw his banana milkshake over him.
‘Soviet-style’ wind farm subsidies to face the axe in Britain
“Soviet-style” green subsidies for wind farms must be scrapped because turbines are blighting local communities, the new Environment Secretary said on Tuesday.
Owen Paterson, who took on the role last month, said wind developers should “stand on their own two feet” instead of asking for money from the state.
He said green technologies such as wind farms might actually have a worse impact than climate change, because they are causing “public insurrection”.
“There are significant impacts on the rural economy and the rural environment, all of which probably weren’t intended when these things were thought up,” he told an event at the Conservative Party conference. “It is not very green to be blighting the economy in one area.”
Mr Paterson said he would write to the Department of Energy with his view on ending green subsidies as part of a Government review of support for renewable energy.
“If you start having subsidies you end up with a Soviet-style system, where politicians make decisions that might actually be better made by the market,” he added.
Mr Paterson said he believes humans are contributing to climate change but “some of the steps we are taking might actually cause more damage than the original problems itself”.
His comments came as Greg Barker, the climate change minister, promised that the Government was dealing with the “never-ending gravy train of green subsidies” to bring down energy bills.
The Conservative minister insisted the party was “not abandoning its green pledges” or “scaling back” its commitment to tackling climate change.
But he acknowledged the green industry needed to “tighten their belts, do more for less and make subsidies go further” to get a better deal for the taxpayer. Mr Barker promised that the Coalition would “cut subsidy where we can and put value for money at the heart of our policies”.
The Government is facing mounting criticism for sending out mixed messages on energy policy and climate change. Some companies are concerned after David Cameron appointed two ministers who are critical of wind farms, cut subsidies for renewable energy and unveiled a tax break for the gas industry.
The insulation industry also claims that the Coalition’s decision to end grants for green home improvements will lead to 16,000 job losses before a new regime comes in next year.
Seven power firms this week threatened to leave Britain over fears they will not get enough Government support to invest in low-carbon technologies like nuclear and wind farms.
After weeks of division on green issues, Conservative sources said there is a new push within the party to “get back on the same page”.
Conservatives are split between pro-green modernisers, those worried about the cost of subsidies and back-bench MPs angry about the blight of wind farms in their constituencies.
The senior source said there would be a drive re-invent the Conservatives’ green agenda as a pro-business policy that will help boost growth and create jobs.
The Department of Energy is led by Ed Davey, a Liberal Democrat, who won a battle against George Osborne to stop deep cuts to green subsidies this year. In return, the Chancellor introduced tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, including new measures to help controversial “shale” extraction.
On Tuesday night, Mr Paterson described shale gas as a “God-given” windfall that would help Britain solve its energy problems.
British homeowners win right to use lethal force on burglars: ‘Disproportionate levels of violence’ backed
The long campaign to give householders the right to use maximum force against burglars will end in victory today. Chris Grayling will announce he is changing the law to allow people to use ‘disproportionate’ levels of violence to protect themselves and their families.
The Justice Secretary said it would ‘dispel doubts once and for all’ over the right to fight back against intruders. The new rules could, in some cases, allow for lethal force.
The move is designed to remove the threat of a burglary victim being arrested – let alone charged – if they use violence to drive the intruder away or stop them from advancing through their home.
Currently, householders are entitled to use only ‘reasonable’ force.
The change satisfies the demands of MPs and campaigners since Norfolk farmer Tony Martin was jailed for shooting dead a burglar in 1999. The call for action gathered momentum after the murder of financier John Monckton, who died from stab wounds in his Chelsea home in 2004.
Last month a judge warned that burglars who break into country homes can expect to be shot at by their victims if they are licensed gun holders.
There have been a string of changes to the law in recent years – including one made by Kenneth Clarke last year. But ministers have always stopped short of delivering on the right to use ‘disproportionate force’.
The decision by Mr Grayling to try to change the law as soon as possible sets down a marker that he intends to be a tough Justice Secretary.
It will mean someone who is confronted by a burglar and has reason to fear for their safety, or their family’s safety and in the heat of the moment uses force that later seems ‘disproportionate’ will not be guilty of an offence. This could include the use of lethal force. Only force which is ‘grossly’ disproportionate will not be permitted.
Mr Grayling said: ‘Being confronted by an intruder in your home is terrifying, and the public should be in no doubt that the law is on their side. That is why I am strengthening the current law. ‘Householders who act instinctively and honestly in self-defence are crime victims and should be treated that way. ‘We need to dispel doubts in this area once and for all, and I am very pleased to be delivering on the pledge that we made in Opposition.’
The demands for change began when Mr Martin was imprisoned for killing one burglar and wounding another who entered his Norfolk farm.
More recent cases suggest prosecutors and judges have been giving greater weight to the legal right of householders to use ‘reasonable force’ to defend themselves.
Last month Judge Michael Pert QC spoke out after a lawyer demanded leniency for a criminal who, he said, had been hit with a shotgun by Andy Ferrie at his home near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, in ‘a form of summary justice’.
The judge replied: ‘If you burgle a house in the country where the householder owns a legally held shotgun, that is the chance you take. You cannot come to court and ask for a lighter sentence because of it.’
Mr Grayling’s move follows changes made by his predecessor Ken Clarke, which removed a legal requirement for householders to retreat.
Guidance for police has also been changed to encourage fewer arrests of those defending their home.
Mr Grayling will also introduce measures to make sure every community sentence contains a proper punishment.
They include a requirement to include a punitive element in every community order, a power to impose location monitoring and the removal of the £5,000 cap on compensation in the magistrates courts
Mr Grayling said: ‘We inherited a weak, “soft-option” programme from Labour, which saw offenders working only minimal hours or simply not completing their sentences. ‘Yes, we should rehabilitate. But criminals also need to receive a proper punishment.
£11,000 for a policewoman’s hurt feelings: Yard must pay for taking away her sniffer dog when she fell pregnant
“Discrimination” gone mad
A policewoman who had her favourite sniffer dog taken away when she became pregnant has won more than £11,000 from Scotland Yard.
PC Katherine Keohane was so distressed after being told that one of her two dogs was to be taken that she broke down on the train home, prompting a member of the public to call police to report a crying pregnant policewoman.
She sued the Met at an employment tribunal after her dog, Nunki Pippin, was allocated to another officer when she became pregnant for the second time in less than 18 months.
PC Keohane, who still works for the Met, was awarded £9,000 for ‘injury to feelings’ and a further £2,584 for loss of overtime as a result of the decision.
She said the reallocation of Nunki Pippin would ‘greatly affect’ her role as a drugs dog-handler and would adversely affect her promotion prospects and her chances of paid overtime.
PC Keohane joined the Met’s dog support unit as a narcotics dog-handler in 2005. She was allocated a ‘proactive’ dog – one used to detect illegal drugs, firearms and cash, and to carry out searches – called Borg Warf. In 2008 she was also allocated Nunki Pippin, a ‘passive’ dog able to detect the presence of drugs by sniffing someone. Both dogs lived at home with her.
In April 2009 PC Keohane, who is married to a dog handler, told her boss she was pregnant with her first child, due that September. She was allowed to keep her two dogs during her pregnancy and maternity leave.
She returned to work part-time in February 2010. By this time the Met had changed its policy so that part-time officers would not normally be allowed to keep two dogs, but PC Keohane was still allowed to keep both of hers.
In October 2010 she told her bosses she was pregnant again and was informed that Nunki Pippin would be allocated to another handler because of a shortage of passive dogs.
Giving their reasons, her bosses noted this was ‘the second occasion within 17 months’ she had given notice of pregnancy. The reasons also referred to the dog’s inactivity for nine months due to her first pregnancy.
In October 2011, Nunki Pippin became available again and PC Keohane, who was still on maternity leave, asked if the dog could be returned to her. After being asked when she intended to return to work, her request was turned down and the dog was reallocated to another officer.
PC Keohane brought tribunal claims of, among other things, direct pregnancy and maternity discrimination.
The tribunal at Watford found in her favour on those claims, saying it was influenced by the references to her pregnancy during the decision-making process and the apparent pressure she had been put under to return to work after her second child was born.
Tribunal chairman Judge Michael Southam said the reallocation of Nunki Pippin risked affecting PC Keohane’s status as a dual dog handler and her career prospects, and meant she lost the opportunity to earn overtime on her return to work.
Different rules for Muslims in Britain
I noted yesterday where a stupid British teen got sent to jail for comments no more offensive than what the Muslim below said
A 20-year-old man who posted a vile Facebook message saying ‘all soldiers should die and go to hell’ just two days after six British soldiers were killed in Afghanistan has today avoided jail.
Azhar Ahmed, of Ravensthorpe, West Yorkshire, admitted posting the message – and was charged after the mother of one of the soldiers read the comments and was so upset she called police.
The remarks were also called ‘derogatory, disrespectful and inflammatory’ by a district judge at Huddersfield Magistrates’ Court who found him guilty of sending a grossly offensive communication….
He was given a two-year community order with 240 hours of community service and ordered to pay £300 in costs at today’s hearing.