Horrified mother forced to alert midwives that her newborn baby girl wasn’t breathing after they failed to notice umbilical cord wrapped around her neck
A hospital has admitted it was to blame for the death of a baby after a horrified mother was forced to point out to midwives that her baby wasn’t breathing because the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck.
Gemma Peters, 26, was left in agony following a horrific labour at Russells Hall hospital in Dudley, West Midlands, where midwives failed to act despite her baby’s head being stuck in the birth canal for 90 minutes.
And when baby Brook was finally delivered, nurses placed her straight onto her mother’s chest – where terrified Miss Peters had to beg nurses to help when she noticed her newborn wasn’t breathing as the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck.
Medics then whisked her first born away to be resuscitated – but her daughter suffered huge brain damage.
Her parents Miss Peters and Liam Greenfield, 30, from Dudley, West Midlands, were advised that nothing more could be done and the devastating decision was taken to switch off life support three days after she was born, on July 14, 2011.
This week, the hospital has admitted full liability for the errors and delays which lead to Brook’s death.
Miss Peters said: ‘I had a healthy pregnancy and for everything to go so badly wrong at the end has been very difficult to cope with.
‘I went through a long, painful labour and was totally exhausted. i was terrified but the midwife was totally disinterested in me.
‘The midwives told me my baby’s head was crowning and to keep pushing, but I did and nothing was happening.
‘I had never had a baby before but I pushed for more than an hour and a half and I instinctively knew something wasn’t right – I was really scared.
‘This was my first labour and, like most first time mums, I put my complete trust in the midwives who I thought knew best.
‘When we found out the extent of Brook’s injuries, we were devastated.
‘At one point the midwife admitted that she couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat any more but just passed it off, saying it was probably because my pelvic bone was blocking the sound of the heartbeat.
‘I had to trust her so I tried not to worry. I had been in labour for hours and was exhausted.
‘She didn’t try to reassure me, or tell me what to do – my mum, Debbie, who is a care support worker at the same hospital, and Liam, helped me get comfortable. ‘They were the ones reminding me to breathe and telling me it would be ok, while the midwife just stood there.
‘When I finally gave birth, I was so relieved I had finally managed to deliver my baby.
‘I was so excited when they handed her over to me straight away, but when I looked at her I could tell straight away that she wasn’t breathing. I felt sick, my emotions were all over the place.
‘I could see the cord knotted around her neck – it looked like it had been strangling her. I started screaming: “She’s not breathing”, and suddenly someone came and took her off me. ‘All the midwives went with Brook, and I was left alone, terrified of what was happening.
‘Liam went to try and find out what was going on, and my mum looked after me and helped clean me up, because there was no-one else there to do it.
‘When we found out the extent of Brook’s injuries, we were devastated. She was our first child, and we were so excited about becoming parents.
‘Agreeing to have her life support switched off was the hardest thing I have ever done.
‘After it was clear that Brook had substantial brain damage, the midwives all avoided us. No-one came to see if we were alright, or look after us.’
Miss Peters, who now has an eight-month-old daughter with partner Liam, an engineer, says she hopes that maternity services have since been improved so no other mother has the same experience.
She added: ‘I am so angry about what happened. This was my first labour and, like most first time mums, I put my complete trust in the midwives who I thought knew best. ‘Their mistakes led to us being robbed of our beautiful baby girl and although the hospital has apologised, nothing can turn back the clock.
‘If I could give advice to any other expectant mum, it would be to make sure the midwife regularly checks your baby’s heartbeat during labour and insist on a second opinion if necessary because things can go wrong at the last minute. ‘I wish I’d had someone there to tell me this.
‘My daughter Millie is now eight months old, and it breaks my heart she will never know her big sister.
‘I just want to make sure this doesn’t happen ever again – no-one deserves to go through what I did.
‘I can only hope that the Trust has improved maternity services so that no other family has to go through the heartache that we have.’
Medical law experts have criticised the midwives’ ‘wait and see’ attitude that lead to Brook’s death.
Lawyers from Irwin Mitchell law firm instructed by the couple found that midwives at Russells Hall Hospital failed to correctly monitor Brook’s heart rate or call a doctor for help when no heart beat could be found.
Following legal action, the Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has admitted full liability for the errors which led to Brook’s death.
Jenna Harris from Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, who specialises in birth claims, said: ‘This is a tragic case and Gemma and Liam understandably remain completely devastated by the death of their first child.
‘The trust has admitted that the care Gemma received from their midwives fell well short of acceptable standards. They agreed with our medical expert’s view that, as the birth was taking longer than expected and attempts to listen to the baby’s heart were unsuccessful, the midwives should have called for urgent medical help.
‘Had they done so it would have become apparent that Brook was in distress, earlier delivery would have resulted and on balance Brook would have survived.
‘Although the trust has now admitted liability they need to now reassure patients that the problems identified have been acted upon and that the midwives concerned have been retrained so that no other parents suffer such unnecessary tragedy.’
Paula Clark, Chief Executive of the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘We would like to offer our most sincere condolences to Gemma Peters on the sad loss of her baby, Brook, at three days old. ‘We have received a claim which is now in the hands of the Trust’s legal team. Unfortunately we are unable to comment further.’
Dementia sufferers ‘abandoned’, says Health boss
Doctors are refusing to test for dementia because they think it is pointless while no “cure” is available, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says.
Mr Hunt claims that a combination of ignorance among health workers over the symptoms and a “grim fatalism” regarding the incurable brain condition is leaving hundreds of thousands of patients undiagnosed.
Writing for the Telegraph, Mr Hunt says that society should be “ashamed”, and blames GPs for “wild variations” in diagnosis rates in different regions. Figures released by the Alzheimer’s Society today show that in some areas seven in 10 sufferers go unrecognised, leaving them to struggle on without medical help.
“As with cancer in the past, too many health and care professionals are not aware of the symptoms,” Mr Hunt writes on telegraph.co.uk.
“Some even believe that without effective cure there’s no point putting people through the anxiety of a memory test – even though drugs can help stave off the condition for several years. It is this grim fatalism that we need to shake off. Not just within our health service but across society as a whole.” Mr Hunt wants doctors to do more to spot the early signs of the condition.
Experts said that early diagnosis would improve care for patients, and that health workers needed to see dementia as their “core business” rather than something they simply passed on to mental health services. Some GPs believe the NHS should first concentrate on improving the treatment of those for whom the condition is more advanced.
The study by the Alzheimer’s Society found diagnosis rates ranging from 75.5 per cent in Belfast to just 31.6 per cent in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Throughout the nation, fewer than one in two sufferers has received a formal diagnosis, although the average has risen from 42 to 46 per cent since 2011.
Some 428,000 of the estimated 800,000 people with dementia have not been recognised as having the condition.
The Health Secretary says: “It can be a total nightmare getting a diagnosis – and the result is that, shockingly, only 46 per cent of all dementia cases are identified.
“Yet with access to the right drugs and support for a partner, someone can live happily and healthily at home for much longer. We should be ashamed that we deny this to so many people in today’s NHS.” He compares the situation to that regarding cancer in the past, when the word “would strike fear and dread”.
“Before the 1970s, treatment was rudimentary, prognosis was bleak and the stigma attached to the condition was rife. Today, a similar cloud hangs over dementia,” he writes. Action is needed, he claims, to show “that dementia, like cancer, is a word and not a sentence”.
Jeremy Hughes, the chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said that the low diagnosis rate went “against best clinical practice”.
He said: “It is preventing people with dementia from accessing the support, benefits and the medical treatments that can help them live well with the condition.”
Dominic Batty, 84, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, nine years ago.
His wife Jill said: “We were lucky to get an early diagnosis. Dominic is a retired dentist and, being medically trained, he was the first person to become worried about his memory.
“Once we had the diagnosis, we contacted the Alzheimer’s Society and received lots of help and information. Having an early diagnosis meant we had time to get the support we need.”
Prof Emma Reynish, a dementia specialist and member of the British Geriatric Society, said: “An early formal diagnosis can improve the quality of life of individual dementia sufferers and their caregivers”.
It could also lead to better hospital care, she pointed out. She said that at least 20 per cent of general hospital inpatients suffered dementia, only half of them diagnosed.
“It is unacceptable that acute hospital care is not fully aligned to detecting and managing dementia effectively,” she said.
“Cultural changes” were needed, including hospital staff regarding dementia as a “core business rather than the responsibility of mental health services”, Dr Reynish added.
Dr Alec Turnbull, a GP in Wigan with a specialist interest in dementia, said: “A diagnosis means you can plan for the future better. “You can have an open dialogue with your family about what’s going to be better: moving closer to family or staying in your own community. “That’s easier at an early stage of the disease.
“At the moment we are relying on people coming in and saying, ‘I’m worried about my memory’. But that’s not happening very much.”
Some GPs believe that Mr Hunt’s focus on diagnosis rates is misplaced.
Dr Iona Heath, a former president of the Royal College of GPs, said that she was reminded of a campaign over depression in the 1980s.
“We were told that we were missing all these cases and causing intolerable suffering,” she said.
“Then a fantastic piece of research showed that the people we were ‘missing’ were those with relatively mild depression, who tended to recover of their own accord.”
She added: “It is people with unmistakable dementia who really need more investment and support.
“What Mr Hunt is proposing is in the interests of companies that want to sell drugs, and of politicians who want to be seen to be doing something.”
Dr Martin Brunet, a Surrey GP, said that it was “blatantly untrue” that today’s dementia drugs could stave off the condition for years.
“They improve cognitive function a bit, and the consensus is they turn the clock back by about six months,” he said.
Telling people with early stage dementia might do more harm than good, he said.
“We need to consider in every individual whether the diagnosis is going to be helpful for them,” Dr Brunet added.
“Often it will be, but in some cases when it is very early it won’t be useful, because they don’t need any drugs or have any care needs.”
Finding “earlier and earlier” cases was not helpful if the care did not exist to support them, he said.
Call for overhaul of maths study in Britain as it’s revealed just one in five pupils take subject after 16 – compared with 90% in Germany
There have been calls for an overhaul of maths education in England after it emerged just one in five pupils continue with the subject beyond GCSE level.
A study has revealed just one in five students in England go on to study maths after the age of 16, in contrast to countries like Germany and Hong Kong, where more than 90 per cent of pupils continue with the subject.
In Singapore, New Zealand and the U.S., over 65 per cent of students persevere with maths.
The Nuffield Foundation, which carried out the research, wants to see a new maths qualification introduced in England for those pupils who do not wish to study the subject at AS or A-level.
The new qualification should focus on mathematical fluency and statistics according to the study, which looked at maths education in seven countries.
It suggests that some students should be given an extra year to prepare for their maths GCSE to ensure they have a good grasp of the subject.
And it says that encouraging teenagers to study a wide range of subjects may be a better way to increase take-up of maths than making it compulsory.
The report argues that New Zealand and Singapore have high levels of pupils taking advanced maths, which is equivalent to AS-level, but it is not compulsory. Instead, both countries allow students to take a choice of subjects, but require these to cover a range of disciplines. For example, in Singapore a student studying arts and humanities must also choose a maths or science option.
The report also found that the evidence from Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore indicates that the strongest incentive for students to continue studying maths is because they need to do so for higher education or employment.
It also says that universities and employers should ask students planning to study subjects such as teaching and nursing to continue taking maths beyond GCSE.
Report author Professor Jeremy Hodgen said: ‘Our study shows the importance of a consensual approach to policy development and implementation.
‘Higher education and employers will need to be involved in the development of a new qualification if they are to value it and to make it an entry requirement.
‘Schools and colleges may need to be incentivised to offer the new qualification to students, as well as to ensure that existing advanced qualifications maintain their levels of participation.’
Anti-oxidants are BAD for you
Scientists at The University of Manchester have made a surprising finding after studying how tadpoles re-grow their tails which could have big implications for research into human healing and regeneration.
It is generally appreciated that frogs and salamanders have remarkable regenerative capacities, in contrast to mammals, including humans. For example, if a tadpole loses its tail a new one will regenerate within a week. For several years Professor Enrique Amaya and his team at The Healing Foundation Centre in the Faculty of Life Sciences have been trying to better understand the regeneration process, in the hope of eventually using this information to find new therapies that will improve the ability of humans to heal and regenerate better.
In an earlier study, Professor Amaya’s group identified which genes were activated during tail regeneration. Unexpectedly, that study showed that several genes that are involved in metabolism are activated, in particular those that are linked to the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) — chemically reactive molecules containing oxygen. What was unusually about those findings is that ROS are commonly believed to be harmful to cells.
Professor Amaya and his group decided to follow up on this unexpected result and their new findings will be published in the next issue of Nature Cell Biology.
To examine ROS during tail regeneration, they measured the level of H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide, a common reactive oxygen species in cells) using a fluorescent molecule that changes light emission properties in the presence of H2O2. Using this advanced form of imaging, Professor Amaya and his group were able to show that a marked increase in H2O2 occurs following tail amputation and interestingly, they showed that the H2O2 levels remained elevated during the entire tail regeneration process, which lasts several days.
Talking about the research Professor Amaya says: “We were very surprised to find these high levels of ROS during tail regeneration. Traditionally, ROS have been thought to have a negative impact on cells. But in this case they seemed to be having a positive impact on tail re-growth.”
To assess how vital the presence of ROS are in the regeneration process, Professor Amaya’s team limited ROS production using two methods. The first was by using chemicals, including an antioxidant, and the second was by removing a gene responsible for ROS production. In both cases the regeneration process was inhibited and the tadpole tail did not grow back.
Professor Amaya says: “When we decreased ROS levels, tissue growth and regeneration failed to occur. Our research suggests that ROS are essential to initiate and sustain the regeneration response. We also found that ROS production is essential to activate Wnt signalling, which has been implicated in essentially every studied regeneration system, including those found in humans. It was also striking that our study showed that antioxidants had such a negative impact on tissue regrowth, as we are often told that antioxidants should be beneficial to health.”
The publication of Professor Amaya’s study comes just days after a paper from the Nobel Prize winner and co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, James Watson, who has suggested antioxidants could be harmful to people in the later stages of cancer.
Professor Amaya comments: “It’s very interesting that two papers suggesting that antioxidants may not always be beneficial have been published recently. Our findings and those of others are leading to a reversal in our thinking about the relative beneficial versus harmful effects that oxidants and antioxidants may have on human health, and indeed that oxidants, such as ROS, may play some important beneficial roles in healing and regeneration.”
The next step for the team at the Healing Foundation Centre will be to study ROS and their role in the healing and regenerative processes more closely. With a better understanding,
Professor Amaya and his team hope to apply their findings to human health to identify whether manipulating ROS levels in the body could improve our ability to heal and regenerate tissues better. Thus these findings have very important implications in regenerative medicine.
Labour party leader needs bolder answers over the European Union and immigration
While, in normal circumstances, the EU may be as inflammatory as mashed potato, immigration is anything but. Soundings this week by the think tank British Future ranked it as the greatest cause of social division in Britain, in a verdict consistent with what voters have told pollsters and politicians for years. With the imminent arrival of Bulgarian and Romanian incomers entitled to work here, the debates over Europe and immigration are about to collide, and the fallout will be toxic.
Fears of mass immigration, when travel restrictions on the two newest EU member states are lifted next January, have been heightened by warnings of housing problems from Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary. The PM’s reluctance to speculate on the numbers expected has been exploited by Ukip, which supplied its own estimate of 350,000 to 400,000.
Wild exaggeration as that may be, Ukip has seized on a potential vote-winner. Private polling suggests that any party successfully linking EU withdrawal and immigration could potentially appeal to 80 per cent of the electorate, leaving Mr Cameron in double trouble. Take Europe first. The Netherlands speech, which may boast the longest gestation period in oratorical history, signifies his reluctance to be the PM who takes Britain out of Europe. The paradox is that by playing a long game, Mr Cameron will make exit more likely.
Sources close to Angela Merkel’s administration are adamant that the four EU pillars of freedom – goods, capital, services and movement – are “sacrosanct”. Should we prove obdurate on any one, then Germany will, with regret but no demur, let Britain go.
One senior figure says that the Merkel government is increasingly alarmed by Mr Cameron’s tactics. “We are worried that things will get out of hand,” this source tells me. “We agree with Miliband; we’re fearful Cameron could sleepwalk out.” Leading Labour strategists calculate that, even if the Tories win in 2015, he is “a seven-year PM” likely to bequeath the referendum to a more Eurosceptic successor (the choice is ample), who would lead Britain out of the EU.
Nor are Mr Cameron’s delaying tactics likely to repel the Ukip advance, pacify his hardliners or satisfy Fresh Start, a Tory faction which sounds like a January detox and which, in the way of crash diets, will be doomed in its bid to rid Britain of the excess weight of EU treaties. As Douglas Alexander wrote recently, the Europe speech “reveals more about the PM’s weakness at home than his agenda abroad”.
On migration, the Tories are also ensnared. The aim of bringing net migration to below 100,000 is misconceived and – irrespective of how few Bulgarians turn up – scare stories are already rife. Yet in the face of Tory disarray, Labour seems oddly silent, even allowing for some powerful interventions from Mr Alexander and Labour’s big beasts, such as Lords Kinnock and Mandelson. Mr Miliband, for example, contrived to get through his speech to the Fabians on Saturday without a single mention of the EU.
Asked by a delegate from Brussels to explain this omission, he offered a stout defence of Britain in Europe, echoing his speech last year to the CBI. None the less, One Nationism, Mr Miliband’s Fabian topic and defining creed, is susceptible to tipping into an insular doctrine in which Britons appear to have some privileged monopoly on universal values such as decency and kindness.
While Mr Miliband, the son of refugees, would never intend his new brand to be so construed, Labour’s sudden reverence for tradition demands the constant caveat that what was good for Disraeli’s Britain has little relevance in a globalised world and a Europe where, as one senior Labour figure says, reform is “perfectly possible without using the politics of blackmail”. That is the settled view within a party that, contrary to rumour, is not full of Eurosceptics. Though many Labour figures want a referendum, the issue is consent, not exit.
Mr Miliband should profit from that relative consensus to drum home, from now to the election, that any exit from Europe would be outweighed by a catastrophic slump in influence and a fall in trade with a market that accounts for half our exports. Those cities dependent on the motor industry would become as desolate as Detroit, as carmakers disappeared, and the City would be recast as a mausoleum to a lost financial services industry.
Stridency is vital to Labour, not least because the EU debate risks being further poisoned by the migration question. The Opposition still bears the scars of its decision to open our borders to Polish workers because Tony Blair insisted that a seven-year transition period was unfair – a move that helped ordain Labour’s defeat in 2010. Mr Miliband has conceded that his party got it wrong and promised measures ranging from curbs on agencies recruiting cheap foreign labour to an emphasis on English teaching.
He knows that tackling the housing shortage, low pay and integration is a better answer to resentment over immigration than a numbers game – not least because Labour’s polling reflects public dissatisfaction with Tory immigration policies. A much-needed report to be published tomorrow by the Institute for Public Policy Research on the principles that should underpin a fair and democratic immigration policy is likely to be welcomed by many across the political spectrum.
It will not, however, stop those Labour figures who counsel increased toughness. Mr Miliband, who has not yet ruled out a migration cap, may believe he can sit back while the Tories indulge in internecine war. An electorate spooked by Europe and enraged by immigration is unlikely to accord him the luxury of time.
Don’t mention (that we won) the war: British government ‘doesn’t want to upset Germans during First World War centenary events’
To adapt one of the most famous lines in British TV comedy: ‘Don’t mention that we won the war’.
The Government is said to be against a series of celebratory events for commemorations from next year to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War – in order to avoid upsetting Germany.
War author Sebastian Faulks said the tone of events must be ‘modest, inclusive and reverential of others’ – while a source on the planning team said ministers are keen ‘not to upset the Germans’.
‘Celebration is completely the wrong note, certainly for 2014, although it might be more relevant in 2018,’ Mr Faulks, who wrote the 1993 First World War novel Birdsong, told The Sunday Times.
‘A degree of humility is needed, initially particularly, as this was an avoidable calamity.’
Other committee members believe the Government should commemorate at least one battle to show why Britain went to war – instead of highlighting the slaughter of a war that cost 16million lives.
Respected First World War historian Professor Sir Hew Strachan said the events should be a mixture of victory celebrations and commemorations of lost lives.
He told The Sunday Times: ‘Germany has almost as great a sense of guilt about this war as it does about the Second World War.
‘Therefore we don’t put ourselves in the wrong in German eyes by opposing German imperialism, by opposing the Kaiser’s regime.’
German leaders are scheduled to attend many ceremonies with the Allies – including memorial events to mark the declaration of war in August 2014 and the Battle of Gallipoli in 2015.
The Battle of the Somme will be marked in July 2016 and Passchendaele in 2017, reported The Sunday Times. The events will end with the Armistice Day centenary in November 2018.
Meanwhile the British Commission for Military History wants Andrew Murrison, who is handling the centenary events for Prime Minister David Cameron, to include the Battle of Amiens.
A spokesman for the group of military historians said the junior defence minister should consider the August 1918 battle, which marked the end of the Western Front stalemate.
The BBC has insisted that it will mark the occasion with ‘a wide range of programming’ and it ‘will not be politically correct coverage’.
Mr Murrison would not comment on whether the Government is worried about upsetting the Germans.
“Blackadder” preserves the right of Britons to be insulting: Ministers agree to amend laws after campaign led by Rowan Atkinson
Ministers agreed to scrap a law outlawing ‘insulting words or behaviour’ last night after a campaign led by comedian Rowan Atkinson.
Home Secretary Theresa May announced a dramatic U-turn yesterday saying the government would ditch the contentious words from the Public Order Act amid fears that they are strangling free speech.
The Blackadder and Mr Bean star led a coalition of campaign groups complaining that the legislation has been abused by over-zealous police and prosecutors to arrest Christian preachers, critics of Scientology, gay rights campaigners and even students making jokes.
The government caved in yesterday after suffering a humiliating defeat in the House of Lords before Christmas.
Mrs May told the Commons that the word ‘insulting’ would be removed from Section 5 of the Public Order Act, as part of the Crime and Courts Bill.
She told MPs: ‘Looking at past cases, the Director of Public Prosecutions could not identify any where the behaviour leading to a conviction could not be described as “abusive” as well as “insulting”.
‘He has stated that the word “insulting” could safely be removed without the risk of undermining the ability of the CPS to bring prosecutions.
‘We will issue guidance to the police on the range of powers that remain available to them to deploy in the kind of situations I described, but the word “insulting” shall be removed from Section 5.’
The climbdown was welcomed by civil liberties campaigners. Tory MP David Davis said: ‘I welcome this sensible decision by the Home Secretary. The only effect of this law was to chill public debate and depress freedom of speech.’
Reform Section 5 campaign director Simon Calvert said he was “very pleased” by the Government’s statement, adding: ‘This is a victory for free speech. People of all shades of opinion have suffered at the hands of Section 5.’
Nick Pickles, director of civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: ‘It should not be the police’s role to intervene when someone feels they have been insulted and the Home Secretary and her Coalition colleagues should be applauded for accepting this important change.’
Comedian Rowan Atkinson blamed the law, introduced in 1986, for creating an ‘outrage industry’ and a society of an ‘extraordinarily authoritarian and controlling nature’.
The Daily Mail has repeatedly highlighted the most egregious abuses of the old law.
A sixteen-year-old boy was arrested under the legislation for peacefully holding a placard that read ‘Scientology is a dangerous cult’, on the grounds that it might insult followers of the religious movement.
In 2005, an Oxford student was arrested for saying to a policeman: ‘Excuse me, do you realise your horse is gay?’.
Thames Valley Police said the arrest had taken place because he had made ‘homophobic comments that were deemed offensive to people passing by’.
Gay rights campaigners from the group Outrage! were also arrested under the Act when they protested against supporters of the Islamist fundamentalist group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, which was calling for the killing of gays, Jews and unchaste women.
In a victory for the Mail, the Bill also contains a commitment to shake-up Britain’s lopsided extradition laws.
The legislation says there will be a so-called ‘forum bar ‘which means more suspects are likely to face trial in the UK – rather than be packed off to America.
A hearing will take place before a judge to examine the details of any offence which the Americans want to end in extradition.
If prosecution is possible in both the UK and abroad, the courts will have the power to bar prosecution overseas. This will be done of it is ‘in the interests of justice’.
Supporters believe that – if the ‘forum bar’ had already been in place – Asperger’s sufferer Gary McKinnon could have been spared his decade-long fight against extradition. He was only saved, in October last year, after the Mail’s lengthy Affront to British Justice campaign.