Surgeons remove wrong part of patient’s lung at scandal-hit hospital
Don’t they look at what’s in front of them?
A major investigation has been launched after surgeons at an under-fire hospital removed the wrong part of a patient’s lung.
The botched operation, which was conducted at Basildon Hospital in Essex, saw surgeons remove the bottom section of the female patient’s lung despite needing to remove the top.
The serious error, known as ‘wrong site surgery’, has been blamed on a mistake in the patient’s medical notes.
The female patient survived the procedure back in December last year 2012 but an investigation has been launched to get to the bottom of how the major blunder occurred.
A hospital source, who refused to be named, said: ‘It appears the medical notes that came with the patient from Broomfield had been filled out incorrectly and showed the wrong area of lung to be operated on.
‘Afterwards Broomfield said that was the wrong area. It appears the mistake was made at Broomfield, but the investigation will have to look at whether this should have been picked up at Basildon.’
Dr Steve Morgan, medical director at Basildon and Thurrock General Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘In December there was an incident of wrong site surgery. External reviews are taking place into that serious incident. ‘No one has been suspended and the nature of the incident is rather complex.’
A spokesman for Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, said: ‘The Trust is aware of this incident and, in line with its internal safety and governance policies, a full investigation is being carried out. ‘It will review its internal clinical procedures after this investigation.’
In November, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) issued two warnings demanding immediate improvement at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Staff also told them that some children waited more than an hour to be seen, despite guidelines saying they should be seen within 15 minutes.
Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is one of five NHS trusts in England that experienced higher than expected death rates between 2010 and 2012.
Speaking about the figures, a spokeswoman for Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘The trust is working hard to improve its mortality ratio performance.
‘While the figures relating to July 2010-June 2012 show the trust’s mortality rates as being higher than expected, the figures are still within expected limits for our demographic.’
She added that the trust reviews all hospital deaths ‘to see if there are any deficiencies in care’.
Grandmother died without family at her side… as hospital called someone else’s next of kin FIVE times
A grandmother died alone and frightened in hospital while staff contacted someone else’s next of kin five times. A bungling nurse had written incorrect details on her medical file and another patient’s daughter was called as Avril Chadwick’s life ebbed away, despite the woman repeatedly explaining there had been a mistake.
Her daughter, Jodie, rang the hospital minutes after Mrs Chadwick had died to check if she could visit but was told she could not come in. No reason was given and it was more than four hours later that staff rang back with the news her mother had died.
The family is considering suing University Hospital in Coventry, which has taken no action against the nurse who mixed up the files. Mother-of-four Miss Chadwick said she was ‘disgusted’ by the hospital’s error.
‘At the time they told us they couldn’t find mum’s notes and that’s why they couldn’t get hold of us,’ she said. ‘Then a few weeks later we had a meeting and that’s when they told us they had called the wrong family. If they had called us in the morning we would have had the chance to say goodbye. We had been up there the whole time because of how ill she was but she died on her own, probably scared.’
Mrs Chadwick, 57, who had six children and 11 grandchildren, had chronic respiratory problems and was admitted in a critical condition to a short-stay unit at the hospital on February 27 last year. While there she developed pneumonia and was moved to a cardiology and respiratory ward.
Her family said they were aware of a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ instruction on her file but claim they thought they would be consulted before this was carried out.
As Mrs Chadwick neared the end of her life on March 1, a nurse alerted Linda Allen, whose next-of-kin details had been mistakenly put on the file. She rushed to the hospital to find that her mother – who was in for a minor procedure – was fit and well.
As the nurse and a colleague continued to call her, she tried explaining she was with her mother who was sitting up in bed and having a cup of tea.
Mrs Allen said of one nurse: ‘I kept telling them mum was fine but she was very rude. What got me so worked up was the fact she kept phoning.’
Meanwhile, Miss Chadwick and her father Thomas, 62, a retired builder, remained at home just three miles from the hospital.
Mr Chadwick, who was married for 41 years and became his wife’s full-time carer when she fell ill, is considering suing the NHS for negligence.
The family was told Mrs Chadwick died at 10.30am while her medical notes say it happened 40 minutes earlier.
Miss Chadwick added: ‘As a family we can’t move on because we can’t trust what we have been told.’
The hospital said the mix-up happened because the two patients were admitted to the same ward on the same day. The wrong details were written in Mrs Chadwick’s paperwork when both women’s files were brought in.
However, the nurse who made the error was not suspended and no disciplinary action will be taken.
Chief nursing officer Mark Radford said: ‘A very simple error led to serious consequences for Mrs Chadwick’s family and led them to feel unnecessary distress at a very difficult time.
‘For this I am sorry. This should never have happened and I will do everything I can to ensure no other family suffers in the same way.’
British children bullied because of their wealthy backgrounds, study finds
British class hatred smoulders on. Not even Britain’s vast political correctness can erase it
Youngsters from affluent backgrounds are being targeted because of their accents, their parents “flashy” houses and cars and their hobbies, according to an anti-bullying charity. Some teenagers even reported trying to change the way they speak to stop being accused of being “posh”.
The poll of almost 2,000 students has revealed that those from wealth families are in a “high risk” category for being bullied.
Some 12 per cent from high-income homes said they had been targeted because of their wealth, with those from the £200,001 plus bracket most likely to say they had been persecuted.
The findings come as leading head teachers warn of a growing “posh prejudice” which is leading to “jealousy and hostility”.
In last week’s Sunday Telegraph, an Oxford University don revealed that admission tutors “crave a Geordie or Scouse accent after a few days interviewing the next generation of Borises and Daves.”
The study polled 1,800 16 to 26 year olds in about 20 state sixth form and further education colleges across the country. Most of those questioned were teenagers.
Seven in 10 respondents reported they experienced bullying before their 18th birthday: sixty per cent for their appearance, 36 per cent for their interests, 11 per cent for their sexuality and 2 per cent because of their wealth.
“Wealth has an impact on susceptibility to bullying,” said Liam Hackett, founder of the anti-bullying organisation Ditch the Label which carried out the survey.
“We found that students from the £200,001 plus household income bracket were more vulnerable to bullying than students from lower income backgrounds.
“Other young people may well be jealous of their backgrounds and lifestyle. There may be noticeable differences that young people from wealthier backgrounds can sometimes exhibit and others can target, such as accents. Differences in their interests, hobbies and lifestyles might be attacked – if their parents drive luxury cars, if they live in a big house, if they go on nice holidays to exotic places, go horse riding or sailing at the weekend, for instance.”
Jon Cross, 20, from Hampshire, who moved from independent school to a state school when he was 12, said he tried to change his accent to fit in. “I experienced a lot of verbal bullying and was targeted because of my voice and the way I pronounced words. I spoke “posh” and felt like I stood out and was called “posh boy”.”
Other pupils at the school tried to force him to behave badly to get him in to trouble.
“They once asked me to call a teacher fat and ask her who ate all the pies and I refused so the bullying got worse,” said Mr Cross, who is now at university. “I would occasionally get pens thrown at me and there were a lot of taunts. I didn’t want to tell a teacher because I felt embarrassed and thought the bullying would get worse. As time went on it became less frequent and eventually ended when I started college.”
One teenager posted on an education website recently that he was being bullied because his dad was a doctor and drove expensive cars.
“I get bullied because I’m “rich”. I live in a small village and my dad owns a GP practice and drives quite “flashy” cars (Audi R8, Range Rover and Mercedes S Class). I don’t want to tell my parents because it’s the only school in this village so my family will need to move somewhere else. My mum and dad love living in the house that were in now. I get called “rich kid” and get pushed around and all that stuff.”
Last week, Frances King, the headmistress of Roedean School, in Sussex, complained of hostility towards independent schools. She said that private schools had received a “bruising time” and that it was “hard working” being on “negative side of public opinion”. She is leaving the £30,000 a year boarding school to head a school in Switzerland.
Anthony Seldon, the master of Wellington College in Berkshire, said last month of “jealousy and hostility” towards private schools, saying positive discrimination in university admissions to favour state school pupils was “the hatred that dare not speak its name”.
“Supplements” can kill
The death of Claire Squires during the London Marathon suggests that using food or drink supplements to improve performance can be as risky as taking steroids
The problem with tragedies waiting to happen is that, eventually, they do happen. For the 30-year-old hairdresser Claire Squires, it was a consuming desire to reach the finishing line, no matter what, in the 2012 London Marathon to raise thousands of pounds for the Samaritans. In the final stretch, she collapsed and died of cardiac failure which, an inquest has heard, was likely to have been brought on by a mixture of extreme exertion and an amphetamine-style supplement, DMAA, which she had put in her water bottle.
DMAA, or “1,3-dimethylamylamine”, may have been subsequently banned, but the market in sports supplements – those associated with body-building in particular – remains vibrant. According to Euromonitor, sales of sports nutrition supplements now exceed £200 million. It is testament to an increasingly toxic quest, especially among young people, for athletic and physical perfection. And they’ll snap up anything that makes that quest more achievable, even though much of it remains largely untested and, on occasion, dangerous. The top sellers include protein powders, bars, gels and capsules, mostly peddled to those who crave impressive pecs. And it’s unnecessarily expensive: a chicken sandwich and a glass of milk provides half the recommended protein intake for the average chap (around 56g, or 45g for women). Most of us eat more protein than we need, anyway.
But more pertinent is the fact that extra protein does not equal extra muscle. In the opinion of the British Nutrition Foundation, high-protein diets are “erroneously associated with fitness training because of the mistaken belief that this leads to greater strength, since muscle itself is protein”.
If that doesn’t persuade you to step away from the rowing machine, then perhaps you should ponder these statistics, collated for a 2011 NHS report, as you pound the treadmill: a US study of 15 protein powders found them to be laced with heavy metals such as cadmium, arsenic, mercury and lead; some dietary supplements marketed as being safer than those containing anabolic steroids (which mimic the effects of testosterone) contain substances associated with liver damage, stroke, kidney failure and pulmonary embolism (blockages in the artery in the lung).
These dangers are exacerbated by the fact that the products are flogged as foods rather than medicines, and that they are increasingly sold over the internet, still a pharmaceutical Wild West. Online pharmacies operating on the fringes of legality tend not to lose sleep over the welfare of faceless customers; the tills can never ring too loudly. So, supplements are aggressively served up on websites alongside aspirational messages such as “Fuel your ambition”. On one, a suggested meal plan for aspiring body-builders contained no fewer than six separate servings of its protein-building products throughout the day.
Behind these issues, though, lies a profound question: what’s it all for? Why do young men feel the need to bulk up and look buff? They are not only heading to the gym to enhance their body image but also to the operating theatre: in 2011, the number of men having abdominoplasty – a tummy tuck – rose by 15 per cent. Even the removal of “man boobs” is growing in popularity: 790 men were thus de-chested in 2011. It cannot be to attract the opposite sex – just as I’ve never met a man who’d choose a size eight waif over a girl with curves, I’ve never met a woman who dreams of being swept up by a man with rippling biceps and a rock-hard chest.
Perhaps we can blame society’s supposed idea of human beauty, reflected back at us from every magazine stand. Thin, airbrushed women with unsettlingly childlike faces jostle for attention alongside thick, oiled torsos topped by gleaming teeth. These are purveyed as images not only of beauty but also of success. This is what successful people look like: they nibble salad, wear Prada, work out, show discipline.
If you are in any doubt about the “beauty = success” equation, then seek out a book called Beauty Pays by Daniel Hamermesh. It’s a guide to the new discipline of pulchronomics, the study of how being better looking leads to being better off. Hamermesh, who gaily describes himself as no Alec Baldwin, finds the equation almost Einsteinian in its incontestability: the beautiful are more likely to find employment, get paid more, and have more attractive and highly educated spouses. Handsome men earn around 13 per cent more than uglier colleagues; prettier women either earn more or have richer husbands.
It is, Hamermesh insists, nothing short of discrimination against the plain, a fact that we silently acknowledge every time we doll up for a job interview.
New Archbishop of Canterbury challenges British PM on homosexual marriage
In his first official day as leader of the Church of England, the Rt Rev Justin Welby is expected to say that marriage should remain “between a man and a woman”.
As MPs prepare for the vote on gay marriage on Tuesday, Bishop Welby will give his first interviews after being officially confirmed in the post at a ceremony in St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
“If asked he will say that marriage is between a man and a woman, and always has been,” a source close to Bishop Welby said, adding that the Archbishop was expecting to be asked for his views and had prepared his response.
Archbishop Welby is due to speak out as Conservative critics of the reforms escalated their protests ahead of the Commons vote.
Ministers were faced with accusations that legalising same-sex marriage would “tear the Tory party apart”, as MPs claimed the proposed protections for churches were inadequate.
A group of 20 Tory constituency chairmen delivered a letter of protest to Downing Street warning the Prime Minister that the reform could cause “significant damage” to Tory election chances in 2015.
Up to 200 of the 303 Tory MPs are expected to rebel or abstain during the vote, leaving Mr Cameron reliant on Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs to pass the measure.
Both Anglican and Catholic leaders made last-ditch efforts to persuade MPs to vote against the same-sex marriage Bill.
The Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Rev Peter Smith, told parishioners during a mass that the Bill is “ridiculous”. He urged them to pray for its defeat and to lobby their MPs.
Archbishop Smith, who is the second most senior Catholic cleric in England and Wales, told The Telegraph: “The definition of marriage as a union of one man and one woman pre-dates both the state and the church and as such neither has the right to change it. The complementarity of the marital relationship is hard-wired into human nature.”
The Most Reverend Bernard Longley, the catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, urged all MPs who were “uncertain, wavering or planning to abstain” to gather their “courage” and vote against the “ill-conceived Bill”.
“This Bill is being rushed through Parliament by the Prime Minister without a mandate and without proper consultation,” he said.
The Church of England has written an eight-page briefing note on the Bill to every MP ahead of the vote. It warns that the legislation has been prepared in “great haste” and will have a “chilling effect” on teachers and public officials who express the view that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
“We doubt the ability of the Government to make the legislation watertight against challenge in the European courts or against a ‘chilling effect’ in public discourse,” it says.
“We retain serious doubts about whether the proffered legal protection for churches and faiths from discrimination claims would prove durable. Too much emphasis, we believe, is being placed on the personal assurances of ministers.”
The Conservative rebels who wrote to Downing Street are calling for the Bill to be delayed until after the next election in 2015 to allow the party and the public “more time” to debate such a radical social change.
“As long-standing members of the Conservative Party we want to support the party to victory, as we have done in every past election,” they wrote.
“Resignations from the party are beginning to multiply and we fear that, if enacted, this Bill will lead to significant damage to the Conservative Party in the run up to the 2015 election.”
Ed Costelloe, who resigned as chairman of Somerton and Frome Conservative Association over the gay marriage proposals last month, said grassroots Tories were “shocked” by the way the reforms were being rushed through Parliament. “We worked hard locally to convince people to support Conservatives but this was not part of the platform,” he said.
Tim Loughton, the former children’s minister, expressed fears that teachers and faith groups would be forced in the European Court to accept gay marriage “against their will”. The Government’s proposed “quadruple lock” of legal protections for the Church of England was “nonsense” that would not “hold up” in courts, Mr Loughton told Sky News.
However, Ed Vaizey, the culture minister, insisted that the discussions over the policy remained “good natured”. “I’ve got a view, some of my constituents have a different view, some of my fellow MPs have a different view, but I don’t think it’s tearing the Tory party apart,” Mr Vaizey said.
A Downing Street source said there was “no pressure” on Tory MPs to support the Bill and that there would be “no consequences” for those who voted against the reforms. “Obviously, the Prime Minister is a strong advocate of it and that hasn’t changed,” the source said. The Prime Minister is “always open” to talking to colleagues but would not be actively seeking to win over critics.
Cats and foxes: A moral story from the inimitable Boris Johnson
Not sure I agree with the moral but it is a good story. The moral I would draw is that we should not jump to conclusions
One evening not long ago the cat came back in and he was looking pretty washed up. One eye was closed. His leg was gashed. He had internal injuries that were making it more and more difficult for him to move. Finally he sprawled on a chair, in an odd shape, and it was clear that he had been in a serious fight. As his breathing grew fainter, I realised that our cat might die. Then I was seized by a cold and murderous fury. I knew who had done this, and I wanted to pay them back.
You should know that I have not always been one of nature’s cat enthusiasts. Like many other human beings, I have tended to think there is something blank and unknowable about the cat personality. It’s all one to a cat – having their tummy tickled or biting the head off a budgie. It’s that Hannibal the Cannibal equanimity. They lack affect, or whatever psychologists call it.
When other members of the family have begged for a cat, I have resisted on the grounds that they eat malodorous fishy food and are capable of some dubious smells themselves. As usual, I lost the battle, and we got a rather sweet tortoiseshell kitten – and then she contracted some awful glandular disease, and died. The grief in the house was so immense and operatic that it was very difficult to resist the next one.
This cat was different. He grew without difficulty from a bouncy ginger kitten into a sizeable ginger tomcat. He had a confident and assertive personality. He had pronounced favourites, and I was not among them. He would launch himself on to the laps of those he loved, and would lounge there purring and throbbing like an old bus. Me – well, he would actually wait for me in ambush as I went up the stairs, and scratch me through the banisters. I waged a campaign to kick the cat out of the house. I drew attention to unhygienic aspects of his lifestyle. I was not successful, and with some bitterness I accepted that cat and I were fated not to get on.
Then, one day, I came back to find no one else at home. I crashed out on the sofa, and to my amazement the cat came in, and he didn’t try to bite me. He sprawled on my chest and purred away. Perhaps I am easily flattered, but I began to see the point of the cat, and to understand that mysterious fondness that grips the human race. I began (secretly) to share the worries about where he was at night, and whether it was cold, and when some skanky drunk woman allowed her dog to attack him, I was ready to call the cops and have the brute put down.
But this evening it was clear that something far worse had happened. It wasn’t just the apparently missing eye, and the twisted ear, and the horrible pink cut. There was a rank smell on his fur. It was the smell of his assailant, no question. I could see them in my mind’s eye, as I saw them every night: padding insolently across the road in search of someone’s rubbish. It was those damn foxes that had attacked our cat, and I was going to sort them out. It was those cruel and cynical canids – and my mind spooled feverishly to fox horror stories: the poor babies gnawed in the crib, the couple who came down to find the decapitated head of their moggie.
Well, they had messed with the wrong cat owner this time. I started to plan the massacre. I knew where they lived, the mangy vermin. We would stalk them in the scrub by the canal, me with the .22 airgun, and another family member with the death-dealing .177. I didn’t care what the neighbours said. In fact, I might invite the rest of Islington to form a footpack, so that we could smoke the foxes out of their foul holes and blow them to kingdom come. Or perhaps we could all get up in pink coats and chase them with hounds and fixed-wheel bicycles. Stuff the RSPCA.
I fell asleep dreaming of vendetta. And just as well, because in the morning, the cat seemed to have staged a remarkable recovery. He had risen from his chair, and was demanding his noisome food. I decided to postpone the slaughter, and then I began to wonder.
My instinct tells me that foxes are everywhere, and that they are more numerous and bolder than ever before. But the deeper I dug into fox-on-cat violence, the more doubtful I became. Foxes go for vulnerable critters. They might go for your toes if you were lying in a stupor, but only because they failed to grasp that your toes were attached to a large and potentially violent human being. They might go (once in a blue moon) for a baby, but only because a baby is defenceless.
Would they really go for a fit adult tomcat – and one with a history of unprovoked aggression towards his much-bitten owner? I started to wonder if my initial reaction – so clear, so certain – had been completely wrong. What if the canal had given him that smell? What if he had got into a fight with another tom, in a dispute over who had the right to urinate over the buddleia? What if he had shown insufficient finesse in approaching some good-looking girl cat? Perhaps it was that blasted dog again.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I lay the facts of the case before you, and I suggest that the evidence against the fox is by no means conclusive. I am left with the mystery of that first eruption of rage, that chilling certainty as to the authors of the crime. There is a word for that misapprehension. There was something that made me finger the newcomers, the strangers, the ones who weren’t around when I was a kid. There was something that made me want to believe that the culprits were the recent additions to our urban habitat, the ones who make the spooky yowling at night. I think the word for that anti-fox feeling is prejudice. Or am I wrong?
British Catholics going down the Muslim road
Being quick to take offence over mere symbols. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, apparently. Maybe they are on to something
Coffee and sandwich chain Pret A Manger has withdrawn its ‘Virgin Mary’ brand of crisps after a flurry of religious complaints.
The coffee-shop made the costly decision to pull the brand after campaigners on the Protect the Pope website pointed out the offensive crisps branding to its members.
Responding to the complaints, the religious website says Pret a Manger has ‘apologised for any unintentional offence they have caused and have indicted that they will give any unsold crisps to the homeless’.
Keith Beech, a spokesman for Pret, confirmed to the mailonline that CEO Clive Schlee spoke with an organiser of the the Catholic charity group, apologised for any offence, and agreed to withdraw the brand of spicy tomato crisps.
Although he could not put a figure on the number of complaints received, Mr Beech said the launch and subsequent withdrawal of the brand happened all within a week..’
The catholic website was set up in the run up to Pope Benedict’s state visit to the UK in September 2010 ‘as a direct response to the unprecedented level of hostility, ridicule and ill-will from certain public figures, sections of the press and blogs against the Holy Father and the Catholic Church,’ it says on the site.
The comment goes on to question what this incident says about how they defend their faith in the future. ‘We’ve been passive for too long in the face of mockery of our faith and discrimination against us as Catholics. We can change things!’