Mother’s horror as nurse tapes dummy in mouth of her premature baby boy
A premature baby being treated at scandal-hit Stafford Hospital had a dummy taped to his mouth by a nurse to prevent him crying, it was revealed yesterday.
The incident was described by experts as extremely dangerous – the infant was struggling to breath – and the hospital has apologised to the family.
A nurse has been suspended while police investigate what happened.
Mason Fellows and twin Reece were born 11 weeks premature but were both doing well until Mason contracted the common childhood virus bronchiolitis and was re-admitted earlier this month.
But their mother Sarah was astonished to receive a phone call from a nurse on the children’s ward, informing her that the four-month-old boy, who weighed just 8lb, had been discovered with the dummy strapped to his mouth by surgical tape.
A consultant paediatrician told the Daily Mail that taping a dummy to a baby’s mouth was ‘extremely dangerous’ because of the potential to inhibit breathing.
The scandal comes less than a fortnight before publication of the result of a public inquiry into failings at the notorious hospital – where up to 1,200 patients may have died ‘unnecessarily’ through poor care or neglect.
Miss Fellows, 28, told the Daily Mail yesterday Mason had been heavily congested when the incident happened three nights after he was admitted to the hospital.
He was discharged the following day, but it was another 48 hours before a senior nurse called Miss Fellows to tell her what had happened. ‘I couldn’t believe what I was hearing when she explained what had gone on,’ the mother said.
‘I was tormenting myself at the thought this nurse could have continued looking after Mason despite doing what she did to him. ‘It would be considered cruel to force a dummy into a baby’s mouth at any time, but for a nurse to do it to a baby who was struggling to breathe through his nose was not only cruel but also potentially dangerous.
‘I’m so angry. Mason has a weak respiratory system because he was born premature and he could have suffocated. He may need to go back to hospital. It terrifies me that this nurse could be free to do this again to him or somebody else.’
The suspended nurse is said to have admitted seeing the dummy taped to Mason’s face and failing to remove it, but denies she was responsible for putting it there.
Miss Fellows, herself a trainee nurse, said whoever put the dummy in Mason’s mouth ‘obviously couldn’t be bothered to tend to a crying baby and just shoved the dummy in to try and shut him up’.
‘Even after all the horror stories surrounding Stafford Hospital, I never thought it was possible for something like this to happen.’
Mason was born weighing 2lb 10oz, while Reece was 2lb 5oz. The twins were transferred to the neo-natal unit of Birmingham’s City Hospital, where they remained until Reece was discharged in mid-November. Mason was discharged three weeks later, on December 1.
Then both twins fell ill with bronchiolitis, which causes inflammation in the lungs, and were admitted to Stafford Hospital for the first time.
They were discharged on December 22 but Mason was readmitted on New Year’s Day and was in his own room when a senior nurse made the horrifying discovery. The dummy had been strapped twice on each side to the child’s cheeks.
Dr Peter Sidebotham, a consultant paediatrician at Warwick Medical School who specialises in child protection work, including within hospital A&E departments, said: ‘This carries very serious risks. Babies have the capacity to spit a dummy out, but if they were unable to do that, not only could breathing be compromised, but if they vomited, they could choke to death. ‘It is the last thing a health professional should do.’
Colin Ovington, director of nursing and midwifery at the trust, said: ‘The incident is under investigation by the police and so we are unable to give more information. ‘We cannot emphasise strongly enough that it is exceptional and apologise again to the family.’
Police ‘stretched to capacity’ as they are forced to carry out work of ambulance service nearly every day
Police are being ‘stretched to near capacity’ because they are taking patients to hospital instead of ambulance crews, a national officers’ group warned today.
Steve Williams, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said officers were increasingly having to cover when an ambulance was required after an accident or crime. In some forces, officers are taking patients to hospital nearly every day.
Mr Williams said: ‘We are noticing that the need for police to respond to emergency ambulance calls is no longer an isolated one. ‘This is concerning in a time where resources for the police are stretched to near capacity.
‘Let me be clear – the police will continue to respond to those who need us as soon as possible, and if this means responding when the ambulance service is unable to do so, then we will support our partners and the public eagerly.
‘However, there remains a wider point here for Government and the emergency services in terms of the risk in not addressing the resourcing issue and wider public safety concerns. ‘We would welcome Government’s view as to how they will help us to address the problem.’
The police group leader spoke after concerns were raised about ambulance services in the east of England.
Mr Smith said: ‘We are having to convey to hospital almost daily in Essex at the moment. ‘We are not pointing the finger at paramedics and ambulance crews, they are going through cuts as the police are going through cuts.
‘The paramedics and ambulance staff join to do a job and I feel they, like us, are not able to do the job in the best way they can to serve the public.’
He revealed how he learned of a case about about a pregnant woman who had been assaulted was told she would have to wait four hours for an ambulance. She was taken to hospital in a police car which had to keep stopping so she could vomit because she was in pain.
Mr Smith said: ‘We are trained to give basic life support, we are not paramedics. We can hold the fort until trained professionals turn up.
‘If they’re not turning up and we’ve got seriously injured people we’re not going to let those people down. ‘But police officers have their own job to do and while we are conveying people to hospital we cannot do that job, and if the vehicle is covered in blood then it will be off the road.
‘I want to raise this now and tell people what’s happening so it can be tackled before people have to die.’
British Primary school bans six-year-old boy from wearing Christian band in class for ‘health and safety reasons’
A furious dad has slammed a school after his six-year-old son was banned from wearing a Christian band in class on health and safety grounds.
Peter Thompson’s son Eddie had been wearing the band, decorated with the Christian symbol of a fish, out of sight for six months. But when a teacher spotted Eddie scratching his ankle she noticed the band, covered by his sock, and ordered him to hand it over.
Mr Thompson, 39, is demanding an apology from the head at Estfeld Primary in Tickhill, near Doncaster, and is keeping Eddie at home until the situation is resolved.
He has made a series of complaints and says he believes the school is discriminating against him because he is a Christian, after Eddie was told he could not wear the band at school.
Mr Thompson, from Tickhill, said : ‘I couldn’t believe it when Eddie told me what had happened. He was so upset. ‘He wears the band because he wants to feel that God is always with him. He has had it on for the past six months and makes sure it is covered by his sock, so it’s not on display or posing any kind of risk.
‘No one has said a thing about it for all this time but when one of the teachers spotted it when Eddie had an itchy ankle and was scratching it she took it off him.
‘When I complained about this to the school they were very blunt and said bands like this were banned. I think they’re discriminating against him because he’s a Christian. This is a symbol of his faith.
‘I’m particularly angry and upset at the school because during the summer they were actually selling rubber charity bands to raise money.
‘It doesn’t make sense to me that now they say they are banned yet in the summer they were selling them on school property.
‘I don’t want his education to suffer but I don’t want to send him back at this stage and when he does go back I’m worried about how he will be treated.’
Head teacher Diane Risley said: ‘At Tickhill Estfeld the safety and well being of all pupils is taken extremely seriously and the school has a clear uniform policy in place to help families understand what pupils can and cannot wear whilst at school.
‘Whilst we do not comment on individual cases any parent who has concerns is entitled to raise these with us directly.’
Mr Thompson, a lorry driver, said Eddie picked out the band himself at a Christian bookshop six months ago. He said: ‘We are telling Eddie that he’s now off school because of the weather. He keeps praying for snow.’
Mr Thompson, who regularly attends Bentley Baptist Church in Doncaster with his son, believes the school are discriminating against Eddie because he is a Christian. He said: ‘We are a Christian family and Eddie’s band was a reflection of this.’
The news follows a recent victory by airline worker Nadia Eweida who won a court battle after being banned from wearing a Christian cross while working at a check-in counter. Her case was upheld by the European Court of Human Rights who ruled that she was allowed to wear it as an expression of her faith.
Asthma: This junk science just takes your breath away
The claim that the smoking ban has reduced asthma rates is a case study in using ‘research’ to justify coercive policy
Earlier this week, the journal Pediatrics published a study which claimed that childhood asthma rates fell after the English smoking ban was introduced in 2007. But a closer examination suggests the claims have been puffed up – not that the media seemed to mind.
The study concludes: ‘The implementation of smoke-free legislation in England was associated with an immediate 8.9 per cent reduction in hospitalisations for asthma along with a decrease of 3.4 per cent per year.’
A quick look at the personnel involved should immediately arouse suspicion. The lead author is listed as Christopher Millett, an Australian social scientist who has worked in ‘obesity prevention’ and assists Stanton Glantz’s campaign to get smoking out of the movies. Glantz himself – founder of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights and a veteran campaigner for smoking bans – is a co-author. The study should be seen as another entry in Glantz’s unenviable canon of junk science, and as a case study in the media’s role in creating panics and distorting policy.
The ups and downs of asthma
First, it is necessary to understand a few things about asthma. Although many people intuitively believe that there is a close relationship between smoking and asthma, this is not borne out by empirical evidence. As the British Medical Journal (BMJ) noted in 2005: ‘A broad consensus exists that in most Western countries the prevalence of asthma increased over the last four decades of the twentieth century.’ This huge rise in asthma rates is totally inconsistent with the belief that smoking causes or exacerbates asthma, since we all know smoking rates declined sharply over the same period.
Asthma rates go up and down quite inexplicably. After rising at an astonishing rate for years, there was a large drop in childhood asthma cases in the UK from the early 1990s until 2001, since when rates have stayed fairly flat.
The reasons for this are not known, as the BMJ article notes: ‘While theories abound, we must admit that neither the rise nor the recent flattening or fall in the prevalence of asthma can be explained on the basis of current knowledge. Any single explanation would need to account for both the rise and fall of the prevalence of asthma. A substantial change in prevalence would require a large change in an important risk factor to which a large proportion of the population was exposed. Various explanations have been proposed to explain trends and geographical variations in asthma, including air pollution, tobacco smoke, aeroallergens, diet, and infections in early life, but none has been shown by epidemiological studies to fit the above requirements.’
A quick survey of other countries highlights the confusion. In Canada, the number of children with asthma rose in the 1990s, but the number of childhood asthma attacks fell. Childhood admissions for asthma in Australia fell in the 1990s, but rose in the 2000s, at a time when smoking bans were introduced. Adult admissions continued to fall, however. In America, rates of asthma – including childhood asthma – have been flat or rising slightly since 2001. And in the Netherlands, there was a huge increase in childhood asthma prevalence in the 1980s and 1990s which ended around 1995. As authorities have noted, ‘there has been no satisfactory explanation for this observation’.
Smoking and asthma
What does any of this tell us? Not much, except that it’s futile to predict whether rates of asthma will rise or fall in the future since the causes of the condition are not well understood. Asthma rates vary enormously between countries and fluctuate greatly over time, and no one really knows why. It also shows that if smoking (let alone passive smoking) has any impact, it is not big enough to show up in aggregate data. However, as we shall see, Glantz’s new study relies on the conceit that asthma rates can be forecast with precision and that the effect of passive smoking can be identified and isolated in the aggregate data.
Although there is no link between smoking and asthma rates at the population level, some epidemiological studies have found a correlation between childhood asthma prevalence and smoking households, just as there is a correlation between asthma prevalence and income. (Perhaps tellingly, there is also a link between smoking and income; income may therefore be the third variable.)
But, as the organisation Statistics Canada notes, ‘there was no difference in the rate of past-year asthma attacks between those in smoking and non-smoking households’. Between 1994/1995 and 2000/2001, in smoking households, the prevalence of asthma among children increased, but past-year attacks among those with asthma decreased. Curiously, only children in non-smoking households experienced an increase in the prevalence of wheezing or whistling in the chest. The presence of other allergenic factors in the home (pets, for instance), which was not assessed in the Canadian survey, may be related to the increase in asthma-like symptoms among children in non-smoking households.
Step one: the dubious study
So what about Britain in recent years? After dropping off in the 1990s, asthma rates have varied only slightly from year to year since 2000 and there has been neither a rise nor a decline in the medium-term. (The failure to reduce asthma cases is a source of frustration for Asthma UK.)
The graph below shows hospital admissions for asthma among 0- to 14-year-olds in England (the group studied by Glantz and his team). It shows that the smoking ban had no effect on rates of asthma among this group. The data come from HES England and covers all National Health Service (NHS) hospitals in England. Note that these are financial years, but the smoking ban began in July (2007). The graph shows 12 years’ data, whereas the Pediatrics study shows only 8.5 years.
Between 2000/01 and 2006/07, the average number of childhood hospital admissions for asthma each year was 23,747. Between 2007/08 and 2011/12, the average number of admissions each year was 23,851. In other words, the rate remained essentially the same before and after the smoking ban. Evidence from London below (red line) shows much the same picture for adults; there are similar statistics for England as a whole and north-west England in particular.
Whichever dataset you use, it is apparent that the rate of hospital admissions for asthma was higher in 2006/07 than in any other year in the series, albeit only slightly. This is crucial for Glantz and Millett’s hypothesis because it allows them to portray the rate as rising before the ban. No such claim can legitimately be made on the basis of a one-year peak. The data show several other peaks, for example in 2001/02 and 2008/09, which did not represent the start of a long-term rise.
Given such variability, predicting the number of hospital admissions for asthma even one year in advance is a mug’s game. Nevertheless, having asserted that numbers were on the rise, the authors of the Paediatrics study use a model – in other words, make a post-hoc quasi-prediction – to suggest that the rate would have continued to rise had the ban not been introduced.
Finally, having observed that the rate did not rise in reality, they conclude that the ban resulted in there being 6,802 fewer hospital admissions for asthma than there otherwise would have been. Note that their methodology means that it is not necessary for the rate to decline at all after the ban for them to claim the smoking ban reduced asthma cases. It is only necessary for the number of admissions in Glantz’s hypothetical parallel universe to be higher than the rate recorded by the NHS.
This is sheer junk science, using a trick that has been used before for similar purposes. It’s a ‘heads-I-win, tails-you-lose’ fiddle. The only way the authors’ hypothesis could be disproved was if asthma admission rates happened to soar up at an exceptional pace straight after the ban. Even that would probably not silence them since they would only say that, had it not been for the ban, the situation would have been still worse.
More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)
British minister blocks moves to ease immigration rules
The Home Secretary has blocked a proposal by the Treasury to help the economy by relaxing immigration rules, it has emerged.
Sources said Theresa May has been fighting against moves by her Cabinet colleagues to give more visas to highly-skilled people.
A number of senior ministers, including George Osborne, the Chancellor, and Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, believe letting in more well-qualified foreign workers could help boost the economy.
However, Mrs May has been standing up to her colleagues amid fears that watering down the rules would stop the Coalition meeting its targets on cutting immigration.
She warned in a speech before Christmas mass immigration can push up house prices, forces people onto benefits, and suppresses wages for the low-paid.
The Home Secretary is in charge of enforcing a promise made by David Cameron at the last election to reduce net migration to the tens, not hundreds of thousands.
Over the last year, the Prime Minister has come under pressure from within the Coalition and business groups to scrap that target.
One senior ministerial source said the target should be abandoned because it is harming the economy and would be “virtually impossible to achieve” anyway. The sources described the targets as “a bit absurd” and counter-productive at a time when Britain needs all the help it can get to return to growth.
In November, John Cridland, the director-general of the CBI, was one of the first public figures to call for the policy to be changed.
He said the immigration of students and business people were not so much a concern of the public.
“I don’t think this will ever be resolved until the government changes the target.”
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has also warned that limiting access to Britain for students and business people is harming the City of London.
On a visit to India, he said last year, he said the public does not want to highly-skilled people.
“A tough immigration policy would have said that you can’t come here unless you have a visible means of support and are not going to be a burden on the National Health Service or housing system,” he said.
“People understand that… what they don’t understand is excluding talented people.”
On the same trip, Mr Johnson also called for ministers to “shift the debate on student visas away from numerical targets and squarely onto policy based on promoting jobs and growth in the UK”.
The Government has since tweaked the rules to allow foreign PhD students to stay in the UK for a year after their studies.
However, Mrs May has been standing firm on the key targets amid wider worries that loosening the rules could threaten national security.
A letter leaked to The Daily Telegraph earlier this year showed the Home Secretary’s office issued Downing Street with a warning against relaxing the rules for Chinese tourists.
Her private secretary wrote in a letter to Number 10 that this could lead to a rise in organised crime and bring more asylum seekers to Britain.
Immigrant who lured underage schoolgirls to house for sex can’t be deported from Britain because he is a member of ‘persecuted African tribe’
An immigrant who was locked up for four years after he had unprotected sex with a 13-year-old girl cannot be deported because he is member of a ‘persecuted’ African tribe, it was disclosed today.
Jumaa Kater Saleh, 24, who arrived in the UK in November 2004 hidden in a lorry, was convicted of two charges of sexual activity with a female under 16 in May 2008.
After serving his sentence, Saleh was recommended for deportation and detained under the 2007 Borders Act pending moves to send him back to Sudan because of the seriousness of his criminal offences.
But deputy High Court judge Philip Mott QC, speaking at the High Court, said Saleh had not been deported because it had been established that he was a member of the Zaghawa tribe, which was subject to widespread persecution and it was ‘not possible’ to return him to Sudan.
The details of Saleh’s case were disclosed during a court hearing in which he attempted to claim damages for unlawful detention during the Government’s failed bid to send him back to Sudan.
Judge Mott rejected his application and ruled there was no evidence of him being held unlawfully or unreasonably and said his case failed ‘on all grounds’.
The judge ruled that the refusal to release him earlier on bail pending a final decision on whether or not he could be deported was reasonable, given the nature of his offences.
He said: ‘It was deliberate, targeted abuse of a young and vulnerable girl. ‘The risk that the claimant, in his early 20s, would commit a further sexual offence if released on a precarious basis at risk of return to Sudan had to be considered as substantial.’
The judge rejected submissions that Saleh, now of Leicester, could have been released because bail conditions and the requirements of him being on the Sex Offenders’ Register would have provided safeguards.
The judge ruled: ‘The experience of the criminal courts is that these have a very limited ability to prevent or deter re-offending.’
Saleh was one of a group of five immigrants convicted of luring schoolgirls to a house for sex, two of whom were aged 13 and one 14, and unprotected intercourse took place.
Saleh was convicted of two charges of sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl, and he was sentenced on the basis that they were planned offences and he knew the girl’s age.
The trial judge had remarked that all three girls were “clearly disturbed and vulnerable, far from mature for their years and had been targeted by the group”.
After smuggling his way into the country, Saleh’s application for asylum was initially refused in January 2005 because he was a minor, he was granted discretionary leave to remain in the country until his 18th birthday in October 2006.
Later he applied for permission to stay in the country longer. But in May 2007 he was arrested and charged with the sex offences.
Lovelock realizes that Greenies are ENEMIES of the environment
James Lovelock has written a letter of objection regarding a windfarm development in Devon (see link below for the whole thing). This bit strikes me as important.
“I am an environmentalist and founder member ofthe Greens but I bow my head in shame at the thought that our original good intentions should have been so misunderstood and misapplied. We never intended a fundamentalist Green movement that rejected all energy sources other than renewable, nor did we expect the Greens to cast aside our priceless ecological heritage because of their failure to understand that the needs of the Earth are not separable from human needs. We need take care that the spinning windmills do not become like the statues on Easter Island, monuments of a failed civilisation.”
As Phillip Bratby puts it, there are strong shades of Patrick Moore’s regrets over the monster he created in Greenpeace. One might add that another parallel would be Mark Lynas’s regrets over his anti-GMO activism.
I’ve said it before, but the damage done by environmentalists to the environment is beyond estimation.
More antisemitism from the British Left
A Liberal Democrat MP faces expulsion from the party for saying ‘the Jews’ had not learned from the murder of six million in the Holocaust, in their treatment of the Palestinian people.
David Ward, MP for Bradford East, wrote on his own website that he was ‘saddened’ that they ‘could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians…on a daily basis.’
He defended his comments in interviews saying they were a ‘just a statement of fact and said ‘it appears that the suffering by the Jews has not transformed their views on how others should be treated.’
His remarks were made ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day on Sunday, although Mr Ward who said he had attended events to remember its victims and had visited Auschwitz twice.
He has been summoned to a meeting with party whips on Monday, but today insisted he did stood by the statement and its timing and claimed it was ‘regrettable’ he had been reprimanded.
Mr Ward wrote yesterday: ‘Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.’
A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: ‘This is a matter we take extremely seriously. The Liberal Democrats deeply regret and condemn the statement issued by David Ward and his use of language which is unacceptable.’
Holocaust Memorial Day marks the 68th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, where more than one million people, mostly Jews, were killed – many shot, starved or victims of the gas chambers. Homosexuals, political dissidents and the handicapped were also victims.
The MP, who said he had attended a Holocaust memorial event in Bradford yesterday which was ‘extremely moving’ said he hoped the chief whip would respect his views.
In an interview yesterday he said: ‘What better day to raise the issue of learning from one of the worst examples of inhumanity.’ He told The Commentator website: ‘It appears that the suffering by the Jews has not transformed their views on how others should be treated.’
On his website, Mr Ward said he had ‘signed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day’ and describes Auschwitz as ‘the Nazi concentration and extermination camp which is the site of the largest mass murder in history.’
Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: ‘I am deeply saddened that at this sombre time, when we remember those who were murdered by the Nazis, Mr Ward has deliberately abused the memory of the Holocaust causing deep pain and offence – these comments are sickening and unacceptable and have no place in British politics.’
Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: ‘We are outraged and shocked at these offensive comments about Jewish victims of the Holocaust and the suggestion that Jews should have learned a lesson from the experience.
‘For an MP to have made such comments on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day is even more distasteful, and we welcome the fact that the Liberal Democrats have sought to disassociate the party from David Ward’s comments.’
Tory MP Robert Halfon said his comments were ‘a tragic trivialisation of real evil.’ He said ‘It should be remembered that Israel withdrew from Gaza completely and yet has faced a barrage of 7000+ missiles from Hamas and been the victim of hundreds of terrorist suicide bombers and been attacked by all its neighbours in 1948, 1967 and 1973.’
Mr Ward has previously described Israel as an ‘apartheid regime.
British teachers may face dismissal under human rights laws if they refuse to promote gay marriage in schools
Teachers could lose their jobs if they express views that they oppose gay marriage, it has been revealed. It is feared that they could be sacked for refusing to promote same sex weddings despite reassurances from Education Secretary Michael Gove.
A senior source in Mr Gove’s department said that the ultimate decision over whether teachers could lose their jobs would be down to the European Court of Human Rights rather than the Government.
News of the Mr Gove’s fears come as the Coalition prepares to publish a bill legalising same sex marriage today.
Opponents to the proposed law say that those who take a stand over the issue could face the sack under law.
In a report compiled by the Coalition for Marriage campaign group, human rights lawyer Aidan O’Neill QC said that schools may have the right to sack staff who refuse to promote gay marriage in class, according to the Daily Telegraph.
But legal advice given to Equalities Minister Maria Miller suggested that staff would not be forced to act against their beliefs.
A Department for Education spokesman told the Daily Telegraph: ‘Schools will not acquire a power to dismiss teachers who refuse to teach views about gay marriage which are against their conscience.’
But a DfE source added: ‘These (decisions) are all under the control of nine guys in Strasbourg, it is just fundamentally uncertain and Britain isn’t in control of this.’
Mr Gove is said to be fully in favour of the gay marriage bill but is also said to oppose teachers being forced to endorse it.
He is expected to tell schools and councils that the Government will oppose attempts to discipline teachers for their views.
David Cameron has fast tracked the bill which could allow gay marriage from as early as next year.
It would see exemptions for the Churches of England and Wales, and other faiths, to opt out if passed.
Ministers have insisted they will ensure no discrimination claims can be brought against faith groups which choose to opt out. It is understood the 2010 Equality Act will be amended to do this.
The Church of England will get a ‘quadruple lock’ of measures to prevent legal challenges, under which it will be illegal to allow same-sex weddings on CofE property.