Gravely ill toddler died after 70-minute wait at a GP surgery: I begged for help FIVE times but was ignored, says father
British bureaucracy has no time for dying children
A seriously ill toddler died after a 70-minute wait in a GP’s surgery despite desperate pleas for her to be seen immediately by a doctor, her grief-stricken parents said yesterday.
Lucie Linforth was taken to her local practice after developing a severe cough and fever but was behind a queue of 20 patients.
Her father begged the receptionist five times to call a doctor as the 23-month-old began struggling to breathe and her lips turned blue, but his pleas fell on deaf ears.
By the time she was finally taken in to see a nurse in a ‘minor illness’ room, Lucie had stopped breathing. A GP rushed to help and spent 45 minutes frantically trying to revive her before she was taken to Bedford Hospital where she was pronounced dead. A post-mortem examination failed to establish the cause of Lucie’s death on October 5. Further tests are being done.
Her mother, Angie Collins, 40, said: ‘Every day I don’t know how I get out of bed. Nothing will ever hurt me more than this. She was so full of life and I feel really angry that there was an hour and ten minutes where nothing was done. I feel they took away her lifeline.
‘She was a healthy, vibrant, lively character, full of fight and her life was just chucked away that morning. ‘If people had just opened their eyes they would have seen just how poorly she was.’
Her partner, Eric Linforth, 33, added: ‘After about 20 minutes waiting at the surgery she got worse, her lips were blue, she was really hot and she was having trouble breathing. I went up about four or five times asking to be seen.
‘Finally, I went up and said they had to call an ambulance because she had got so bad. They took her into the nurse’s room but by that point her heart had stopped beating.’
The couple have launched a campaign called ‘Lucie’s Legacy’ to change the system in waiting rooms so that vulnerable children, whose condition can deteriorate rapidly, are always given priority. At present there are no formal rules on how GPs should prioritise patients.
Miss Collins, of Marston Moretaine, near Bedford, added: ‘I want to get Lucie’s story out there and try and stop it happening again.’ Lucie fell ill on the night of October 4. Her father took her to Marston Surgery the following morning while her mother waited at home with the toddler’s twin, Jake, and sister Holly, three.
Mr Linforth, an electrician, arrived at 8.45am. When it opened 15 minutes later the receptionist told him there were already 20 people on the waiting list. He claimed the receptionist refused to even look at his daughter and insisted he wait his turn as he repeatedly went up to ask for urgent help.
When he became agitated he said the woman pointed to a sign warning any patients who became abusive would not be seen at all.
Lucie was taken in to see a nurse at 10.10am and a doctor was called when it became clear her heart had stopped. An emergency team also tried to resuscitate her at hospital.
Bedfordshire Police have begun an investigation, although the death is not being treated as suspicious. An inquest has been opened and adjourned.
Dr Fiona Sim, medical director of NHS Bedfordshire and Luton, said: ‘This is a tragic death and our thoughts are with the family. ‘There is an ongoing coroner’s inquiry and we are providing every assistance as well as working with the practice to carry out an internal investigation.’
“Care” Pathway condemned by senior doctors as ‘medical treatment that hastens death’
A group of senior doctors yesterday condemned the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway as a medical treatment that hastens the death of patients.
They said that it is a treatment because sedative drugs are used to deprive patients of consciousness once they have been signed up to the Pathway.
And they said the withdrawal of tubes providing fluids from the great majority of patients on the Pathway ‘self-evidently’ speeds dying.
The mainly Roman Catholic doctors declared: ‘Even patients with terminal cancer and a poor prognosis may survive months or more if not put on the Liverpool Care Pathway.’
The statement opens up a major division in the medical profession over the Pathway, introduced to hospitals eight years ago with the aim of easing the passing of the dying and sparing them pain and unnecessary and invasive treatment. Nearly a third of all the patients who die in hospitals now die on the Pathway.
However there has been increasing criticism of the system from medical experts who believe it is being used to kill patients who are not dying and may be employed to get rid of difficult patients or free hospital beds.
Last month a ‘consensus statement’ was issued in support of the Pathway on behalf of professional bodies and charities including the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Physicians, the National Council for Palliative Care, pressure groups including Age UK and the Alzheimer’s Society, and the nursing union the Royal College of Nursing.
Yesterday’s statement questioned the claims of the professional bodies and said: ‘We have a number of serious reservations and questions about the working of the Liverpool Care Pathway.’
The statement was put out on behalf of Professor Patrick Pullicino, a senior hospital consultant who opened an argument over the Pathway with a seriously critical speech in the summer, and four other doctors.
They are Dr Philip Howard, from the ethical committee of the Catholic Union; Dr Robert Hardie of the Catholic Medical Association, Dr Tony Cole of the Medical Ethics Alliance, and Dr Mary Knowles of First Do No Harm. Two senior Catholic nurses also signed the statement.
They said that picking a patient who is about to die is a prediction rather than a medical diagnosis which in practice is ‘often in serious error.’ The statement added that wrong diagnosis could result in wrongful death.
The doctors said the claim that the Liverpool Care Pathway is not a treatment is wrong because of the used of sedatives such as morphine, midazolam and glycopyrrolate.
‘The Liverpool Care Pathway is more than a framework. It is a pathway that takes the patient in the direction of the outcome presumed by the diagnosis of impending death,’ the statement said.
‘The pathway leads to a suspension of evidence-based practice and the normal doctor-patient relationship.’
Citing evidence from a survey of the operation of the pathway produced by the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute and the Royal College of Physicians, they said that 84 per cent of patients on the Pathway are denied fluids by tube and the average time it takes a patient on the Pathway to die is 29 hours.
The same survey, they said, showed that 28 per cent of senior healthcare professionals do not endorse the LCP.
The group of doctors also criticised last month’s ‘consensus statement’ by professional bodies for failing to mention the relief of symptoms. ‘We think this is a serious omission. The question of consent is not mentioned either,’ they said.
‘Patients should not be deprived on consciousness, but receive such treatment that is aimed at relieving all their symptoms including thirst,’ the statement said. ‘Nothing should be done which intentionally hastens death.’
BBC covered up pedophilia among its staff
A typically Leftist lack of moral anchors
The BBC was yesterday plunged into its ‘worst crisis in 50 years’ after damning emails revealed the full extent of its cover-up over the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Newsnight editor Peter Rippon stood down from his role after it emerged that the corporation had repeatedly ‘misled’ the public over why it axed an exposé showing that the DJ was a prolific sexual predator.
A bombshell Panorama investigation to be screened tonight alleges that Mr Rippon was under huge pressure from his bosses to drop the Newsnight investigation into Savile in late 2011, shortly after the star’s death.
This was despite him being warned by journalists that doing so would cause ‘substantial damage to the BBC’s reputation’ and lead to allegations of a ‘cover-up’.
BBC director-general George Entwistle – at the time the head of BBC Vision – was also warned that he might have to change his Christmas TV schedule if the Newsnight investigation was broadcast, because it could undermine glowing tribute programmes to Savile that had already been planned for the festive period.
Veteran BBC journalist John Simpson tells Panorama: ‘This is the worst crisis that I can remember in my nearly 50 years at the BBC.
‘I don’t think the BBC has handled it terribly well. It’s better to just come out right at the start and say we’re going to open everything up and then we’re going to show everybody everything.
‘All we have as an organisation is the trust of the people that watch us and listen to us and if we don’t have that, if we start to lose that, that’s very dangerous.’
Officially, the BBC will wait for the outcome of an internal inquiry into why the Savile investigation was dropped before any decisions are confirmed about Mr Rippon’s future.
But last night it emerged that he agreed yesterday to step down from his role with immediate effect, and is unlikely to return to Newsnight. At the moment he has technically ‘stepped aside’ and it is likely he will take time off for some weeks before returning to the BBC in a different role.
Panorama’s extraordinary revelations will be broadcast tonight, less than 24 hours before Mr Entwistle faces a grilling by MPs over the scandal. MPs are also considering calling his predecessor, Mark Thompson, to give evidence.
Panorama tells how after Savile died aged 84 in October last year, Newsnight spent six weeks investigating allegations that the Top Of The Pops presenter abused pupils from Duncroft school in Surrey at the height of his fame in the 1970s. BBC journalists spoke to women who claimed they had been abused or had knowledge of abuse at the school, which shut in 1980.
The Newsnight reporters who led the investigation told Panorama that Mr Rippon had initially been enthusiastic about the programme, praising as ‘excellent’ their discovery that in 2007 the police had investigated allegations of child sex by Savile.
But Newsnight reporter Liz MacKean said Mr Rippon suddenly went cold on the story, a switch she was convinced was because of pressure from above him at the BBC.
A few days later the BBC’s head of news, Helen Boaden, told Mr Entwistle – who was at that time head of BBC Vision – about the Newsnight investigation and warned that if it went ahead it might affect the Christmas TV schedules.
Newsnight producer Meirion Jones, who was leading the Savile investigation, told Mr Rippon that the BBC would be accused of a ‘cover-up’ if they dropped the story, leading to ‘substantial damage’ to the BBC’s reputation.
But after the Crown Prosecution Service told Newsnight that the reason it did not prosecute Savile in 2007 was because of lack of evidence, Mr Rippon decided to pull the investigation, explaining he did not think the story was ‘strong enough’.
The Newsnight journalists were furious because the story was never meant to be about the police investigation, but about Savile’s abuse.
Miss MacKean said: ‘The story we were investigating was very clear-cut. It was about Jimmy Savile being a paedophile and using his status as a charity fundraiser and television presenter to get access to places where there were vulnerable teenage girls he could abuse.’
She told Panorama that she has also been extremely unhappy about subsequent repeated ‘misleading’ statements by the BBC about their reasons for dropping the programme.
Savile was labelled ‘one of the most prolific sex offenders of all time’ last week after police revealed he may have abused up to 200 victims.
Detectives are preparing to arrest the star’s suspected accomplices as part of the investigation, and plan to question surviving celebrities and former BBC staff linked to him.
Those who face questioning may include paedophile pop star Gary Glitter, real name Paul Gadd, who is accused of raping a girl of 13 in Savile’s BBC dressing room.
Separate and less serious allegations concern comedian Freddie Starr. Starr, 69, yesterday again angrily denied claims he groped a 14-year-old girl after a Savile TV show.
The BBC has announced two inquiries, one into its culture and practices, and another probing why Newsnight dropped its film.
Mr Entwistle, Miss Boaden and Mr Rippon last night declined to comment on the Panorama programme.
British Scout Association to clamp down on the use of nicknames ‘because it encourages bullying’
He is the Chief Scout, helping to promote the benefits of the great outdoors to teenagers across Britain. But Bear Grylls will now fall foul of new guidelines from the Scout Association, which has banned all nicknames in a bid to reduce bullying among its young members.
The organisation founded by Lord ‘B-P’ Baden-Powell believes that giving children nicknames could encourage taunting and bullying.
Training sessions are being offered to new and current leaders, who have also been warned not to use the shortening technique amongst themselves.
It is particularly concerned about the use of nicknames which focus on an individual’s physical characteristics – such as their hair colour, height or weight. So traditional nicknames such as ‘ginger’, ‘lanky’ and ‘tubby’ would be likely to be frowned upon, the Daily Telegraph has reported.
The association’s chief ‘safeguarding’ officer Sam Marks drew up the plans. He told Scouting Magazine: ‘Bullying can advance gradually and can start with something as simple as a nickname.
‘Research and experience all highlight that name calling – whether it be nicknames or harmless taunting – is often the largest form of bullying. ‘Many nicknames come from someone’s appearance to something they’ve done.
‘We don’t have a black and white list of approved nicknames. ‘If someone is called Frederick and you call them Freddie then there is no problem with that.
‘But you need to ask why that person has a nickname – if it is because they have red hair or are fat or they have a funny face, or because they did something funny and it stuck with them? They might be quite embarrassed by that.’
Mr Marks continued: ‘It is in response to industry standards – all the anti-bullying work mentions name calling and teasing as the main form of bullying.
‘Nicknames may be slightly different but again the research suggests that often a simple nickname can lead on to further name calling and teasing and that is why there has to be caution.
‘It is about getting the adults to think about their behaviour and how they are role models, because what they do, the children may do. ‘If adults don’t use nicknames then the children are less likely to do so.’
TV adventurer Bear Grylls, who gained his nickname from his sister when he was just one-week-old, took over as the youngest chief scout ever in 2009, aged just 34.
At the time he explained why he took on the role: ‘In short, because I love adventure and I love hanging out with good friends. ‘For me this is what Scouting is about.’
The founder of the movement himself was an advocote of nicknames, gaining a number throughout his life but most famously BP – not only his own initials but those of the scouting motto ‘be prepared’.
He also had a caravan and a car nicknamed Eccles and Jam Roll.
Will Declining Arctic Ice Make UK Winters Colder?
There have been various claims recently that the shrinking of Arctic ice could be acting to make our winters colder and snowier. The arguments usually centre around changing jet streams and atmospheric blocking patterns.
We looked at one such claim last month, which had failed to explain that the same blocking patterns, that their models theorised about, had been found back in the 1960’s and had, according to scientists such as HH Lamb, been caused by expanding Arctic ice!
The BBC also reported earlier in the year about another study by Jiping Liu of the Georgia Institute of Technology, which made similar claims.
Forecasts of terrible winters, of course, are not new. In October last year, we were confidently told by the Daily Mail and others that we were in for another freezing winter. In the event the UK ended up having a pretty mild one!
The claims seem to centre around the fact that cold, snowy winters have become more prevalent, both in the UK as well as the US and Europe, in the last few years since the deterioration of ice cover in 2007. A whole 5 years! Are they seriously making assumptions and projections around such a short span of time?
Still, giving them the benefit of the doubt, how do recent UK winters compare to earlier ones, particularly the 1960’s and 70’s, when the Arctic was becoming colder and ice expanding?
Clearly, recent cold winters are nothing unusual, when compared with earlier decades. What was unusual was the run of mild winters during the 1990’s and early 2000’s. It is also worth noting that the variability from one year to the next, which has been seen recently, is not unusual in the slightest. The record cold winter of 1962/63 was sandwiched between two mild winters. Similarly with 1978/79 and other years. There is nothing weird about it, it’s just weather.
Figure 2 takes the analysis back to 1911. While recent winters have not been as mild, on the whole, as those of 1995-2005, they have not been unusual in comparison with earlier ones.
Indeed, over the last century, the most remarkable thing about our winter climate is that so little has actually changed.