Girl, 4, falls into life-threatening diabetic coma after misdiagnosed with minor infection at NHS walk-in centre
Nurses are good at many things but setting up medical centres reliant on nurses is asking for trouble — JR
A four-year-old girl was left fighting for her life hours after medics at an NHS walk-in centre sent her home claiming she was suffering from a minor infection.
In fact Codylily Parkin was suffering from a diabetic attack and had to be placed in a medically induced coma in an intensive care unit after her brain swelled dangerously.
Her shocked parents say her life was saved by a quick-thinking emergency paramedic and hospital doctors at Rotherham General Hospital and Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Mrs Parkin said: ‘We could have lost our daughter that day due to the utter incompetence of the staff at that walk-in centre. We’re so lucky not to be in that situation.
‘Codylily had displayed a classic array of symptoms that should have been spotted but they weren’t and that could have proved a fatal mistake.
‘Two nurses have been suspended and I’m told that they won’t return to work until they have received extra training, but that’s not really enough in my eyes.’
Just a few hours before her collapse Codylily was taken by her dad parents to an NHS Wallk-in Centre in Rotherham town centre suffering from breathing difficulties, an insatiable thirst and whitening of her tongue. Four days earlier her GP had diagnosed vaginal thrush.
Medics at the walk-in centre then diagnosed Codylily with oral thrush and she was sent back to the family home in Rotherham.
Later the same day on September 15th, the little girl began suffering from confusion and vomiting and an emergency paramedic was called.
As soon as the paramedic arrived he said Codylily was slipping into a diabetic coma and she was rushed to hospital suffering from severe diabetic ketoacidosis. She was placed in an induced coma before being transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital ten miles away.
She returned to Rotherham Hospital two days later and was allowed home on September 20th. Codylily now faces a lifetime of insulin dependence because of the diabetes.
Mrs Parkin paid: ‘The paramedic said straight away ‘She’s slipping into a diabetic coma’. We need to get her to hospital. We weren’t even aware she was diabetic but we were distraught.
‘I’ve been told to take it further because there have been a number of inquests carried out as a result of people being sent home with and incorrect diagnosis, and I intend to. We’re so lucky not to be in that situation.
‘Throughout her treatment doctors were talking about our treatment at the Walk-in Centre.’
Care UK, who operate the centre have apologised.In a statement Sheila Roberts, from the company , said: ‘We have apologised to Codylily’s family for the distress caused to them and acknowledged that care in this particular case fell below the normal high standards expected at the walk-in centre.
‘We have conducted a full review of the circumstances surrounding Codylily’s attendance at the Rotherham walk-in centre. ‘This review was triggered by the notification of Codylily’s admission to hospital and both nurses involved were immediately suspended from duty, which is normal practice for us when a clinical investigation takes place.
‘The investigation included an internal audit of both nurses’ clinical performance, reviewing the consultation and written statements from the nurses involved.
In May Rotherham Coroner Nicola Mundy said the centre missed an opportunity to save the life of 12 month old Lewis Mullins, from Maltby, Rotherham, who was suffering from chicken pox and breathing difficulties. He was sent home and died from complications.
In June staff at the centre were criticised by Sheffield coroner Chris Dorries over the death of superfit kick boxer Mark Mason,36, from St Helens. He had been unable to eat or drink for a week, had diarrhoea, could not walk unaided and went in unable to breathe. He was not referred to hospital and was found dead the next day from swine flu.
After both cases the centre claimed it was improving training and communications.
Girl, 10, dies following epileptic fit in her sleep after doctors ‘missed opportunities’ to diagnose her
A ten-year-old girl died following an epileptic fit in her sleep, after doctors ‘missed opportunities’ to diagnose her with the condition, an inquest heard.
Dena Hale was found cold and unresponsive by her mother Debbie on the morning of March 3, 2011. Despite her frantic father performing CPR and the efforts of paramedics who attended the family home in Normanton, West Yorkshire, Dena was pronounced dead at nearby Pinderfields Hospital that morning.
The Wakefield inquest heard that Dena had been to her GP surgery with slurred speech and pins and needles in August 2009 – where she was seen by a locum doctor.
The locum doctor had written in her notes that he thought she had been dehydrated, adding ‘refer to specialist’ – but this referral never happened, something which coroner David Hinchliff called a ‘missed opportunity” to diagnose her.
Her regular GP at the Newland surgery, Dr Ram Prasad Gupta, was also unable to understand a memo the locum had written on Dena’s notes – ‘CSOS’ – which another doctor had to translate as ‘See in an emergency’.
Speaking through their representative Mr Oliver Longstaff, Dena’s mother and father Stephen asked the GP why the locum’s notes had not been followed up.
Mr Longstaff asked Dr Gupta: ‘From his notes, do you believe the locum should do the referral or you?’ To which the GP answered: ‘He should.’
Mr Longstaff asked: ‘So if there was a suggestion that there should be a referral that was never followed up? And if he doesn’t then the suggestion just gets lost in the system?’ Dr Gupta said: ‘Yes.’
But coroner Hinchliff also noted that Dena had been seen by a specialist after visiting the A&E in January 2010 when her parents said she had suffered a fit – but even after this she had not been diagnosed with epilepsy or put on any medication.
He noted that she had been given a wake EEG electroencephalogram), which is used to pick up electrical activity in the brain, but not a sleep EEG. And when she was reviewed in a surgery a year later, it was found that she had not had any more episodes.
Prof Judith Cross, an expert witness, said she thought Dena could have been suffering from Benign Epilepsy with Centrotemporal Spikes, which occurs in children after the age of five and usually stops when they reach 14, and presents itself with pins and needles and trouble speaking, and in the majority occurs in sleep.
Asked by the coroner whether the GP should have referred Dena to a specialist after she visited in August 2009, Prof Cross said yes, but she also agreed with the statement that GPs were not specialists and could not be expected to know every symptom of every condition.
A post-mortem examination found teeth marks on Dena’s lip and tongue, which pathologist Dr Mudher Al-Adnani noted was consistent with an epileptic fit, but added that there are few other signs after someone has suffered a fit.
Recording a verdict of death by natural causes caused by sudden and unexplained death in epilepsy, Coroner Hinchliff said: ‘I’m very conscious that Dena has showed symptoms of likely neurological problems in the form of epilepsy.
‘She was seen by her GP on more than one occasion I think that there were indications there that would have been appropriate for her to be referred to the appropriate clinicians with expertise both in paediatrics and epilepsy for her to have been reviewed and followed up.
‘Had that been the case then based on the fact that there were at least two events that were suggestive of some epileptic activity some diagnosis could have been made.
‘As part of that a sleep EEG should have been performed. Whether that would have been diagnostically helpful can only be guessed. I’m troubled by the records of the GP, in particular when the locum doctor has made reference to a referral that did not happen. I would regard that as a missed opportunity.’
But he added: ‘Bearing in mind even if Dena had had the review and even if she had been prescribed medication it wouldn’t necessarily have meant that should would have been saved. ‘The medication and treatment helps to alleviate the symptoms, it doesn’t cure them.’
A statement issued on behalf of the family added: ‘Further questions now arise as to the impact of the ‘missed opportunities’ and whether Dena would still be alive if appropriate action had been taken.’
Switalskis Solicitors also confirmed that the family will be pursuing a claim for medical negligence in respect of the treatment received by Dena concerning her undiagnosed epileptic condition.
Heading towards a society where soldiers are too scared to fight, teachers too timorous to teach, and police officers too cowed to tackle crime and disorder
Seven British soldiers serving in Afghanistan are facing a murder charge for shooting and killing a Taliban insurgent following a fire fight. The details of what happened are sketchy and the case is sub judice, but on the face of it, it seems odd to prosecute soldiers for killing insurgents when that is precisely what we sent them to Afghanistan to do.
The UK newspapers these days are filled with such oddities.
A 52-year-old female deputy head, confronted by a six-year-old who sat on the floor and refused to go into class, picked him up under his arms and dragged him in. She was dismissed.
So too was a 59-year-old male teacher who reacted to a pupil throwing a milkshake over him by aggressively pinning the unruly boy’s arms by his side, and forcibly pushing him into his chair.
The police, too, are in trouble for doing their job. At an unruly demonstration in London a few months ago, one officer shoved a man who had been told to move. The man (who turned out to be an alcoholic) fell to the ground, cracked his head on the pavement, and later died. The officer was dismissed from the force and put on trial for manslaughter (the jury acquitted him).
This week there was a report of another officer being dismissed after 12 years of service. He had arrested a youth with a long record of troublemaking, brought him to the station, and ordered him to turn out his pockets. When he refused to do so, the officer pushed his arm up behind his back and forced him over the desk.
Reading this last case put me in mind of the 1982 essay on ‘broken windows’ policing by Wilson and Kelling. What everybody knows about this essay is its recommendation of ‘zero tolerance’ – stamp down on the small infractions and you’ll stop the big ones from developing. What is less often remembered is the authors’ crucial insight about the traditional role of the police.
Policing, they say, used to be more about maintaining order than solving crimes. Police officers traditionally enjoyed discretion to nip trouble in the bud. A ‘clip round the ear’ was often more effective than a formal arrest and charge. But any copper who tries that nowadays will lose his or her job and quite probably end up in court.
Our problem is that big state bureaucracies – the army, schools, police – find it difficult coping with individual initiative or making room for commonsense. My favourite sociologist, Max Weber, recognised this when he distinguished ‘formal’ from ‘substantive’ rationality. Bureaucracies, he warned, are driven by formal rules. This leads to an emphasis on box-ticking, even while the substantive purpose for which they were set up goes unrealised.
Weber thought we can do little about this, for the only alternative to dull, bureaucratic conformity is dilettantism. But sometimes we need people to turn a blind eye, to fudge the strict interpretation of rules, to seek out the grey areas. Otherwise, we’re going to end up with soldiers too scared to fight, teachers too timorous to teach, and police officers too cowed to tackle crime and disorder.
Christian’s salary cut because he criticised gay marriage on Facebook: Punishment over ‘homophobic’ comments could cost him £60,000
A Christian housing manager had his salary slashed after allegedly being ‘entrapped’ by a lesbian colleague into criticising gay marriage on his private Facebook page, a court heard yesterday.
Adrian Smith, 55, had posted a link to an article about plans for civil partnership ceremonies in churches with his own comment: ‘An equality too far.’
After a lesbian colleague asked if that meant he didn’t approve, he posted that he could not understand ‘why people who have no faith and don’t believe in Christ would want to get hitched in church’.
Another colleague complained that the comment was offensive, despite having not seen the post, and Mr Smith was disciplined and had his post downgraded and his salary cut by £14,000.
Yesterday the married father-of-one launched a court battle to overturn the decision and win back lost earnings. They stand at nearly £4,000 for the past 18 months, according to his legal team.
However, his future lost earnings which he could seek to recoup should he fail to overturn his demotion are likely to be at least £60,000.
It is the latest in a series of claims by Christians that they have been discriminated against for expressing their beliefs at work.
Mr Smith, of Tottington, near Bury, who attends an evangelical church in Bolton and preaches part-time, posted a link on his Facebook page to an article about gay ‘marriage’ on the BBC website in February last year. Under the headline ‘Gay church marriages get go-ahead’, Mr Smith had posted: ‘An equality too far.’
The hearing was told that of Mr Smith’s 200 Facebook friends, more than 40 worked with him at the Trafford Housing Trust. On his profile he gave his occupation as housing manager at the trust, which runs Trafford council’s housing stock. Later that day, a lesbian colleague with whom he was friends on Facebook, Julia Stavordale, 56, responded: ‘Does that mean you don’t approve?’
A day later, Mr Smith responded: ‘No, not really. I don’t understand why people who have no faith and don’t believe in Christ would want to get hitched in church. The Bible is quite specific that marriage is for men and women.
‘If the State wants to offer civil marriages to the same sex then that is up to the State; but the State shouldn’t impose its rules on places of faith and conscience.’
Later that week another colleague, Stephen Lynch, who was not friends with Mr Smith on Facebook, complained about the post, despite not having seen it.
The trust’s ‘equality and diversity lead’, Helen Malone, referred it to ‘service leads, neighbourhoods’ Debbie Gorman. Mr Smith was suspended on full pay from his £35,000-a-year post while an investigation began. Miss Stavordale backed the complaint, saying the trust should ‘throw the book at him’ and he was ‘blatantly homophobic’.
The following month, Mr Smith was found guilty of gross misconduct by ‘assistant director, customers’ Mike Corfield for a breach of trust disciplinary policies. Because he gave his job as a housing manager on his Facebook profile, his comments could be construed as representing trust policy.
He was told he faced dismissal, but because of his eight years’ ‘loyal service’ he was instead demoted to money support adviser on just £21,396-a-year.
That reduction was to be phased in over 12 months but, although Mr Smith’s appeal was rejected, that period was doubled to 24 months.
Yesterday Mr Smith came to court with his claim for breach of contract and loss of earnings up to his planned retirement date of 2017 – likely to be as much as £60,000.
Mrs Gorman, Mr Corfield and Mr Barrow – each of whom swore oaths on the Bible – all stood by the decision to demote him at the hearing before the High Court sitting at Manchester Civil Justice Centre.
Hugh Tomlinson, QC, representing Mr Smith, said that in response to his ‘uncontroversial comment’ Mrs Gorman launched a ‘Leveson-style inquiry’.
He suggested Miss Stavordale’s questioning of Mr Smith’s views on Facebook were an attempt to ‘entrap’ him’. He argued that Mr Smith’s comments were clearly his personal views and he told Mrs Gorman: ‘The whole thing is a huge and extraordinary over-reaction.’
Last night Miss Stavordale, 56, who no longer works for the trust and was not called to give evidence, told the Daily Mail that she had not tried to entrap Mrs Smith.
Mr Lynch, who is understood to live with a male partner, was not at home. Mr Smith is being supported by the Christian Institute. The case is due to finish today.
Christian B&B owners who refused bed to gay couple ordered to pay £3,000 in compensation
A devout Christian bed and breakfast owner who refused a bed to a gay couple was today ordered to pay them more than £3000 in compensation.
Michael Black, 64, and his partner John Morgan, 59, began a legal battle soon after they were told they could not sleep together at the £75-a-night Swiss Bed and Breakfast in Cookham, Berkshire in March 2010.
Owner Susanne Wilkinson told a court she was serious about her Christian beliefs and had also stopped unmarried heterosexual couples from sharing a double bed.
Christian B&B couple Susanne and Michael Wilkinson who were at court earlier this week because they wouldn’t let a gay couple stay in a double bed in their B&B
But a judge at Reading County Court ordered her to pay £3,600 in damages for discriminating directly against the couple, who have been together for eight years.
Michael and John’s claim, funded by pressure group Liberty, was made under the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 and argued that it was unlawful for a person providing services to the public to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation.
After the ruling Mrs Wilkinson, who lives with husband Mike, said: ‘Naturally, my husband and I are disappointed to have lost the case and to have been ordered to pay £3,600 in damages for injury to feelings. ‘We have the option to appeal and we will give that serious consideration.
‘We believe a person should be free to act upon their sincere beliefs about marriage under their own roof without living in fear of the law. ‘Equality laws have gone too far when they start to intrude into a family home.
‘People’s beliefs about marriage are coming under increasing attack and I am concerned about people’s freedom to speak and act upon these beliefs. ‘I am a Christian, not just on a Sunday in church, but in every area of my life – as Jesus expects from his followers.
‘That’s all I was trying to do and I think it’s quite wrong to punish me for that especially after enduring over two years of vile abuse and threats. ‘We find this a strange justice in a society that aspires to be increasingly tolerant.’
Mrs Wilkinson’s legal costs were paid by The Christian Institute, a national charity that endeavours to protect the civil liberty of Christians.
Spokesperson Mike Judge said: ‘Mrs Wilkinson’s B&B is a business but it’s also a family home. ‘The law should be more flexible in allowing people to live according to their own values under the own roof. ‘A bit more balance is needed rather than allowing one set of rights to automatically suppress another.’
In 2008 civil partners Martin Hall and Steven Paddy launched a county court claim against Peter and Hazelmary Bull, the owners of the Chymorvah Private Hotel in Cornwall.
They won £3,600 in damages because their human rights were breached by the guesthouse’s refusal to give them a double room, but the case is now going to appeal at the Supreme Court.
British PM accused of ‘making up’ policy as Government ‘chaos’ over energy continues
David Cameron has been accused of causing ‘chaos’ over energy policy after ministers appeared to row back from his announcement that firms would be forced to switch customers on to the cheapest tariffs.
Labour said the Government’s energy policy was a “shambles,” amid claims that the Prime Minister’s announcement had taken ministers and officials from the Department for Energy by surprise.
The Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, delivered a speech at the CBI this morning in which he made no mention of Mr Cameron’s plan and instead said that the Government would tackle rising prices by promoting competition within the market.
Forced to respond to an urgent question in the House of Commons to explain the confusion, John Hayes, the Energy Minister, said that forcing firms to switch customers to a lower rate was one of a “number of options being considered” by the Government ahead of the Energy Bill, which will be unveiled next month
His words appear to row back from Mr Cameron’s announcement at Prime Minister’s Question Time, in which he promised: “I can announce that we will be legislating so that energy companies have to give the lowest tariff to their customers.”
As well as Mr Davey, the energy industry is said to have been unaware of the plan in advance, and experts immediately warned that it could cause further suffering from consumers, as companies withdrew competitive rates and offered a single tariff.
Asked if he was knew about Mr Cameron’s announcement before it was made, Mr Hayes said: “The Prime Minister comes to this House weekly to be scrutinised by this House.
“Does he give me advance of every question? Does he get notice of every question? The answer is of course, no.
“I think the Prime Minister was completely clear. We will use the Energy Bill to get people lower tariffs and of course there are different options to be considered in that process. “But those options will be discussed with the industry, they will be discussed with consumer groups and more than all of that they will be effective in a way that only this Government and, I’m bound to say, that this minister, is well known for.”
Caroline Flint, the shadow energy secretary, said that Mr Cameron had been “making up policy as he goes along,” claiming that the confusion resembled a scene from the BBC satire, The Thick of It.
She told the Commons: “Yesterday the Prime Minister threw energy policy into confusion, caused chaos in the energy industry and I think I have to say it left his own ministers at a loss over what Government energy policy actually is.”
“Now it appears energy companies will not be forced to put all customers on cheaper tariffs after all.”
“We all mis-speak from time to time and the Prime Minister was under a lot of pressure yesterday. “But for the Government to spend a day pretending to have a policy they have no intention of implementing is no way to run the country. It is like something out of The Thick of It.”
Labour claimed that Mr Davey, a Liberal Democrat, had failed to answer the urgent question, and had left it to Mr Hayes, because he was unwilling to defend Mr Cameron.
In his speech at the CBI, the Liberal Democrat minister said that prices would come down because of increased competition in the market, with suppliers given incentives to boost supply levels.
He did not mention forcing suppliers to offer their cheapest rates, instead saying: “Our reforms will stabilise consumer prices. With the increased diversity in the energy mix they herald and the long-term contracts for suppliers, we will shift decisively away from the current situation where volatile global gas prices determine the market electricity price.
“So our reforms are good news for consumers, including for business consumers. They are long overdue.”
His lack of acknowledgement of the Prime Minister’s plain appeared to confirm rumours that the Liberal Democrats had not been consulted about his proposal.
Ironically, also in his speech, Mr Davey had addressed reports that he had clashed with George Osborne, the Chancellor, over subsidies for green technology, promising business leaders that both sides were now signed up to energy reforms which are due to be put before the Commons next month.
He said: “Believe me when I say that no one would be happier to see the politics taken out of energy policy. “What could make life easier for the Energy and Climate Change Secretary than political consensus?
“So I hear your message … and I can say with confidence that the Coalition is united behind these energy market reforms.”
The main energy suppliers were also unaware of Mr Cameron’s announcement, while U-Switch, the price comparison watchdog, warned that it would lead companies to stop special deals and offer only one rate.
A chain reaction that would fix Britain’s failing schools
The pace of reform must be stepped up to tackle mediocrity in our education system. David Cameron could not have put it more clearly in his conference speech last week: Britain has reached its hour of reckoning, when we either do or decline. He promised to slay the three modern “giants” holding this country back – the debt strangling our economy, welfare dependency, and the educational mediocrity that prevents so many young people from flourishing. Of these challenges, none is more important to the fulfilment of our common potential than sorting out the chronic weakness that affects England’s schools.
Consider these facts: in 40 per cent of schools teaching is no better than satisfactory, and 6,000 schools provide only a satisfactory level of education. Earlier this year Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector of schools and an outstanding headteacher in his day, confirmed what everyone knew – that “satisfactory” in education is anything but. It is now clear that the problems run much deeper than we thought. So what can this Government do about it?
The first piece of good news is that the academy programme is working. According to both the National Audit Office and the London School of Economics, failing schools that have been turned into academies under new sponsors are performing better than those that did not. So the expansion of the academies programme will help raise standards, as will the influence of innovative new free schools. But ultimately this policy was designed to turn round a few hundred schools, not for helping the thousands of schools that now need to improve.
Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, needs more ways to raise standards, so he should take advantage of an even more effective form of educational organisation that has emerged over the past 10 years – federations or chains of academies. Chains are charitable groups of schools with a single educational vision, bound together legally, financially and operationally. They work by spreading the benefits of a successful approach to schooling: a “no excuses” culture, strong leadership, high expectations and robust discipline.
The emerging evidence suggests that, on average, their standards are even higher than single academies because they provide exactly the kind of opportunities for collaboration, within a competitive marketplace, that schools need to flourish. Chains show that a proper market in state schooling is at last starting to develop.
Academy chains have many different roots. Some of the original academy sponsors like the United Learning Trust have come from the independent sector and are now running several academies. I am currently working with Wellington College to create a chain, and academy chains based around successful state schools or colleges can now be found across the country: the Kemnal Academies Trust on the South Coast, the Harris Federation in London, and the Barnfield Federation in Luton. Others, such as ARK Schools, were started by philanthropists.
We need to harness the power of these academy chains to deal with what the Prime Minister has called the “hidden crisis” of coasting schools. That means encouraging the creation and growth of chains – by part-funding their expansion and giving the best chains more influence by making them centres of teacher training – as well as giving them opportunities to innovate, such as by paying their governing bodies. It means explicitly using them to sort out failure. If turning a weak school into a stand-alone academy fails to improve results, then that school should be handed over to a successful chain. We also need to create a network of local school commissioners who, under the direction of central government, will intervene in the thousands of underperforming schools and turn them over to an academy sponsor or successful chain.
These changes can take us a long way, but the scale of the challenge is so big that even dramatically increasing the number and size of academy chains may not be enough. This is where the private sector should be asked to contribute. If turning a school into an academy and then handing it on to a chain haven’t been enough to break the cycle of underachievement, the governing body should be obliged to appoint an external provider to run it. The school and its assets would stay in the charitable sector, but they would be able to access the expertise of private providers who would be paid by results. Any objections to the private sector trying where the state and voluntary sectors have failed should be dismissed for what they are – ideological prejudice. There are countless examples of the private sector delivering excellent services to citizens across the public sector, from the NHS to special educational needs provision. Mainstream schooling should be no different.
The consequences I am proposing for underperforming schools are robust; they will not be universally popular. But as Sir Michael Wilshaw has said: “We have tolerated mediocrity for too long… Without radical change now, we will see more social and economic division in this country.” There is no time to waste. Creating a world-class education system means calling on the best chains, independent schools and private providers to raise standards in the weakest schools. It is time to sink or swim.