Girl, 4, dies from ‘meningitis’ after being sent home by doctors who said she just had a virus
A four-year-old girl has died from suspected meningitis after being sent home by a hospital children’s ward.
Now an investigation is under way to discover why Morgan Phelan was discharged when she had a high temperature and was suffering from a rash all over her body.
Gemma Phelan’s daughter, Morgan, was seen in A&E at Sutton Coldfield’s Good Hope Hospital in the West Midlands shortly after 7pm on Thursday, January 17 and admitted at 11.30pm. But she was discharged just over an hour later at 12.47am the following day, diagnosed with a viral infection.
The four-year-old, from Kingstanding, Birmingham, remained poorly on Friday but went downhill again on Saturday afternoon before being rushed by ambulance to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where she was declared dead around 5pm.
Her distraught mother said Morgan had been suffering from a high temperature and had a rash all over her body, but she had been reassured that all she had was a severe lung infection.
Mrs Phelan reacted with anger when she discovered that the children’s ward, Harvey Ward, at Good Hope had since been closed due to a ‘lack of appropriately qualified staff’. She fears that had it been closed earlier Morgan may still be alive today.
‘I believe she was discharged because they didn’t have enough staff to look after her,’ Mrs Phelan said.
‘The last time I saw my little girl as normal was on Thursday morning when I took her to school. ‘When she came home from school I knew she wasn’t very well and at 6.30pm I rang the ambulance. ‘At 7.20pm she was seen by the nurses and she was admitted to the ward at 11.38pm but just over an hour later she was examined and discharged as we were told she was “fine to go home”.
‘On Friday she was not eating or drinking but we were told unless her temperature came back there was nothing to worry about. To me it didn’t look right.’ Although she briefly appeared to rally on Saturday she then went downhill rapidly. She died later that afternoon.
‘I kept checking her temperature and encouraging her to come downstairs,’ said Mrs Phelan, who has another child, two-year-old Kian, with husband Ryan.
‘On Saturday she seemed a bit better and she had a couple of sips of pop. I bought her sweets from the shop and went to make her stew but when I went back and saw her, her eyes were like glass.
‘I called an ambulance and when they came they put her on the floor. I was told to sort out an overnight bag. On the heartbeat machine she was flatlining at first but then it picked up her heartbeat. ‘They took her to the Children’s Hospital but she was declared dead at 5.10pm.
‘When I read the Harvey Ward has been closed that sent me so angry and I started shaking. The hospital said it would only affect one or two children but how many has it affected? ‘Had the Harvey Ward shut before or had they not discharged her at 1am she might still be here. I believe had they given her penicillin she would be alive today.
‘I have been told there will be an inquest in six months and we may find out more in three months.’
Mrs Phelan also received a letter from the hospital which referred to Morgan as a boy and “he”, which upset her further.
Sue Moore, managing director for Good Hope Hospital, said: ‘This is a tragic case and we would like to send our sincerest condolences to the family of Morgan Phelan during this very difficult time.’
We take the care and safety of all of our patients very seriously and we are currently undertaking an investigation into Morgan’s sad death which will be shared with the family.
‘Unfortunately, due to patient confidentiality, we cannot comment on any individual patient’s treatment.
‘We have arranged to meet with the family so we can discuss and address their concerns fully.
‘Our decision to close Harvey ward has been taken following the advice of clinicians and is in response to ensuring safe staffing levels within specialist paediatric nursing.’
Mother died after doctors ignored X-ray showing lung cancer for THREE years
A mother who died from lung cancer could have been saved had doctors treated her three years earlier, her family have claimed.
Linda Renshaw, 61, had a chest X-ray at the Royal Blackburn Hospital in 2008 which showed the early signs of cancer. But nothing was followed up and she died in May 2011 after the disease spread to her brain.
Before she died, the mother-of-three launched a medical negligence legal battle, claiming she could have been saved had she received the appropriate care.
She told her family she had instructed solicitors because ‘she didn’t want it to happen to anyone else’.
The couple’s case is one of 45 against the trust launched by solicitors Manchester-based solicitors Pannone in the last five years – 27 of which are still active.
Last week the Government announced an independent inquiry after the trust recorded higher than expected mortality rates for two successive years.
It is one of five trusts nationally to be investigated and was 13 per cent above expectations.
Mrs Renshaw, who also had three step-children, had the initial chest X-ray at the Royal Blackburn Hospital after she suffered a heart attack in July 2008.
Her husband Arthur, 71, claims that four days later, a doctor spotted the tumour and a note was sent to the ward she had been on to follow it up.
He said: ‘They are supposed to have computer systems where the information was passed to the GP, but it wasn’t logged.’
In 2010, Mrs Renshaw, who worked as a cleaner and lunch time assistant, went to her GP and was told she was having seizures. After initially being treated for sinus problems, she was sent to hospital for another X-ray.
Mr Renshaw, of West Bradford, Lancashire, said: ‘The following day a doctor came and said to her: “I’m sorry to inform you that you have advanced lung cancer and it has spread to your brain”.
‘We told him Linda had had an X-ray in 2008 and he said “yes, when you had that X-ray the doctor spotted the early signs but nothing was followed up”. ‘He gave her five months to live. I was numb, but Linda was full of hope that she would beat the cancer.’
He added that his wife was so determined to fight the cancer that she turned to alternative medicine, spending £500 a month on treatments.
Now he says East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust had admitted neglect and causation of death.
He said: ‘Linda instructed the solicitor because she didn’t want it to happen to anyone else.
He said: ‘She made me promise to see it through to the end so that it didn’t happen to another family. “Nothing can bring her back but she wanted me to fight for justice.
‘I got called to a meeting with the clinical director. They said “we failed you wife”. They have admitted neglect and causation of death.
He claims an independent consultant said Mrs Renshaw could have been cured, saying: ‘It’s devastating. I will never get over it. We were looking forward to retiring.’
Mrs Renshaw was buried in her mother of the bride outfit she had planned to wear for her daughter Tracy’s wedding in July.
Marged Berry, of Pannone Solicitors, said there had been a failure to follow up on a chest X-ray which clearly showed early cancerous changes in summer 2008.
But Mrs Renshaw was not actually diagnosed until early 2011, by which time the cancer was terminal.
She said: ‘We are disturbed by the number of cases that we see. Arthur Renshaw’s case is an example of that. It’s such a simple error that could have meant that Mrs Renshaw survived.
‘The trust has admitted breach of duty of care and conceded Mrs Renshaw would have lived, had she received the right treatment.
‘The inquiry is welcomed because it will lead to a rethink of policies and procedures and better patient care.
‘Although we have a substantial number of cases against East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, we can’t draw any conclusions. We have to wait for the inquiry.’
Lynn Wissett, deputy chief executive for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘The trust has met with Mr Renshaw and a detailed investigation into his concerns was undertaken.
‘We would again offer our sincere condolences to Mr Renshaw. The matter is now subject to litigation and the trust and the National Health Service Litigation Authority are working with Mr Renshaw’s legal representatives.’
Ofsted: ‘significant minority’ of British schools wasting pupil premium
Millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money set aside to boost standards among poor pupils is being wasted chasing targets and employing ineffective teaching assistants, according to Ofsted.
The watchdog warned that a “significant minority” of schools were still failing to spend the Coalition’s flagship pupil premium funding properly.
In a report, inspectors said that the cash – worth £2.5 billion per year by 2014/15 – was being used by many schools to narrow the gap between pupils from rich and poor families.
Some heads used it to employ more good teachers, stage booster classes in the three-Rs, target parents who are failing to keep children in line and even pay for lap-tops to enable deprived pupils to work at home.
But the study warned that too many schools were failing to prove that money was properly spent on programmes to improve results among poor children.
The worst schools often:
* Spent the money “indiscriminately” on employing more classroom assistants with little impact on standards;
* Focused on pupils on the cusp of hitting Government targets – gaining five C grades at GCSE – without going “beyond these expectations”, meaning bright pupils from working-class homes underachieved;
* Compared the performance of poor pupils to other disadvantaged children – rather than national standards for all pupils – resulting in schools “lowering expectations” for the target group;
* Failed to monitor the impact of schemes and did not have a clear audit trail to prove cash was well spent.
The report – based on inspections of 70 primaries and secondaries in England – also said some Government funded invested in summer classes for disadvantaged children would be better spent on helping them catch up in English and maths if they are behind when they start secondary school.
The conclusions follow a more comprehensive report into the pupil premium published by Ofsted in the autumn.
Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector, said it was clear that “more schools are now taking their responsibilities seriously when it comes to using the pupil premium money and our inspectors have found evidence of some very good practice in their recent visits”.
But he added: “Some schools still lack good enough systems for tracking the spending of the additional funding or for evaluating the effectiveness of measures they have put in place in terms of improving outcomes.
“We will continue to take an active interest in this issue in the coming months. Where we find funding isn’t being spent effectively on improving outcomes for disadvantaged pupils, we will be clear in our criticism.
“It is vital that schools get this right. Every child who leaves school without the right qualifications faces a far more difficult path to fulfilling their potential and finding employment.”
The pupil premium – repeatedly championed by the Liberal Democrats – has been seen as one of the Coalition’s most high-profile education reforms.
Schools currently receive £600 for each pupil eligible for free school meals. Ofsted found it was worth up to £134,323 in primary schools visited by inspectors and £296,501 in state secondaries.
David Laws, the Lib Dem Schools Minister, said: “If we are to build a fairer society, we have to make sure children can succeed at school whatever their background.
“The pupil premium is a significant amount of money going into schools up and down the country. It is vital that schools use it effectively.
“I am delighted with the good practice shown by many schools, as recognised by Ofsted in their report. But there is still a lot more that can be achieved.”
Red tape holding back clinical trials
A system of overbearing regulation is preventing researchers from running clinical trials which could lead to new treatments for diseases like cancer, leading experts claim.
The amount of red tape needed to test new drugs on patient volunteers is still holding back trials despite efforts by ministers to streamline the system, researchers say.
Regulations put in place by the European Union which are designed to protect patients may actually be delaying the development of treatments which could cure them.
Even after being given ethical approval for example, a trial must be signed off by a host of managers at every single site where it is taking place, which can include dozens of hospitals and clinics across Europe.
The director of a leading research institute told the Telegraph: “There is a lot of regulation around clinical trials which many people involved in them say is impairing their ability to do as many trials as they would like to do.
“A lot of people in the field would say there is too much overbearing regulation which is not actually protecting patients at all and is hampering our ability to undertake as many trials as possible.”
Judith Bliss, deputy head of clinical studies at the Institute of Cancer Research, said the additional paperwork also added to the cost of trials because more staff are needed to meet the requirements.
She said: “Because the level of paperwork you have to have now ahead of trials is so much more detailed than it was historically, the resources you need have really increased.
“There are less trials being funded because individual trials cost more, and there are very good research questions out there but the trials can not be funded.”
The regulatory burden means trials of well-established drugs to treat different diseases – for example the use of the diabetes drug Metformin for cancer patients – are treated as “high risk” despite a wealth of evidence showing the therapy is safe, she said.
“Nobody wants trials to be run badly or on the cheap,” she said. “Everyone wants to do safe trials but also wants results to be out as quickly as possible to inform the future treatment of patients.”
Prof Peter Johnson, chief clinician of Cancer Research UK said progress had been made in recent years but more work is needed to make the trial process less cumbersome.
He said: “Research has been heavily burdened by regulation, most of which does not contribute to the safety of participants or the quality of information you get from the trial.
“Things never change as fast as you would like them to but it is fair to say the government has taken this seriously and are working to streamline the set-up and conduct of clinical trials.”
The rioters Britain can’t kick out: 18 months after mayhem that shocked Britain, just 15 out of 200 convicted foreigners have been deported
Only 15 of the hundreds of foreigners who took part in the riots of 2011 have been deported, the Mail can reveal.
Ministers had promised to get tough after violence and mayhem tore apart English cities, but the vast majority of overseas nationals who joined in the destruction are still here.
A combination of EU law and human rights rules is thought to be blocking efforts to deport them and could lead to large numbers being granted the right to stay.
While officials have managed to kick out 15 of the rioters, another 31 have been told they can remain in the country despite their crimes.
More than 200 foreign criminals were convicted for their part in the riots in which shops were plundered, businesses set ablaze and hundreds of millions of pounds of damage done.
Among the offences they carried out were burglary, robbery, theft, criminal damage and disorder. If the remaining cases follow the same pattern – of one rioter kicked out for every two who remain – it would mean more than 130 ending up staying in Britain.
Many remain behind bars at a cost to tax-payers of tens of thousands of pounds a week – but more than 80 are at large having been released. And three convicted foreign rioters have been ‘lost’ by the UK Border Agency after failing to comply with bail conditions.
Ministers had pledged to take tough action to kick out foreign criminals as quickly as possible after the riots in August 2011 which began in Tottenham, north London and spread across the country into several nights of carnage.
Home Office minister Damian Green said at the time: ‘We strongly believe that foreign national lawbreakers should be removed from the UK at the earliest opportunity.
‘We also have the power to cancel visas of foreign nationals found guilty of criminal activity, and this is something we will be looking to do when these cases arise.’
In the following months, it emerged that non-UK nationals played a central role in the mayhem. Figures from the courts showed one in seven of all convicted rioters was from overseas.
The Ministry of Justice released a list showing 44 nationalities of convicted rioters, including those from Afghanistan, Cuba, Ethiopia and Samoa.
The largest group was Jamaicans, followed by Somali and Polish offenders. Other rioters came from Colombia, Iraq, the Congo, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.
The true number of foreign nationals may be even higher as 4 per cent of those taken into remand during the riots refused to tell police their nationality.
The UKBA has set up a special unit, known as Operation Lancaster, to track down and remove foreigners involved in ‘serious criminality’.
But figures released after a request under the Freedom of Information Act show their record to date is lamentably poor.
Of the 201 cases passed to UKBA, only 15 have been kicked out. Some 28 have been given permission to stay because they ‘do not meet deportation criteria’.
Three others have been allowed to remain after legal appeals. A total of 63 are still in prison, or in immigration detention awaiting deportation.
The fact that they are still behind bars suggests officials are more confident of eventually removing them.
Another 53 are at large but classed as ‘still being considered for deportation’. There are 31 who have been given temporary admission while their cases are considered.
The three who have absconded have not been named and officials refused to reveal any further details. Five others are still waiting to be sentenced.
EU rules prevent officials even trying to deport any European nationals sentenced to less than two years in prison.
Non-EU nationals do not qualify for automatic deportation unless they were jailed for at least 12 months.
Peter Cuthbertson, director of the think-tank the Centre for Crime Prevention, said: ‘The average rioter in 2011 had already committed 15 offences, so the public have a right to expect them to be punished properly. They will be appalled by these figures, which show just how important it is to fix our human rights laws.’
Last night, immigration minister Mark Harper said: ‘Many of those convicted of involvement in last summer’s riots are still behind bars – that’s where they belong.
‘We are pursuing deportation in scores of cases and wherever possible, when they have paid their debt to society, we will remove them from the UK.’
Traffickers smuggle 4,000 illegals into Britain for £50 million
A gang that made millions of pounds smuggling immigrants in at a rate of ten a day has been broken up.
Thousands of migrants from Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran paid the people traffickers up to £13,500 each for passage into the UK.
Some 3,800 migrants were smuggled into Britain over 12 months, hidden in lorries on cross-Channel ferries. It is estimated that the gang may have made more than £50million.
Details of the vast profits emerged after the conspiracy was smashed last week by police and immigration officials on both sides of the Channel.
Officials in the UK Border Agency made 20 arrests across the country last Wednesday in one of the biggest ever operations to target people-smuggling gangs.
Two hundred officers raided 35 addresses, including locations in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Coventry.
Forty other raids took place in France and Belgium.
French officials said that they had dealt a ‘body blow’ to illegal immigration by smashing the ‘vast network’.
Officers were deployed on France’s border with Belgium and at migrant camps near Dunkirk to identify the smugglers. Ten individuals were arrested in Belgium, including two suspected ringleaders.
French police said migrants would be put into lorries parked on motorways in Belgium, to board cross-Channel ferries at Calais and Dunkirk. Earlier this month, four children were discovered who were suffering from hypothermia having been stowed away in a refrigerated lorry.
Aged betwewen nine and 16, they were found huddled together in sub-zero temperatures in a trailer full of soft cheese in Dunkirk.
The Slovak vehicle, which was stopped before it boarded a Dover ferry, was heading for Milton Keynes – another seven hours away.
UKBA estimated the fee at £2,000 to £6,000. However, French police said that the price per person as high as 16,000 euros – some £13,500.
The migrants smuggled by the gang were Kurds, an ethnic group found in several states in Asia.
Chris Foster, from UKBA’s criminal and financial investigation team said: ‘We believe we have successfully disrupted a significant organised network.’
Homosexual marriage measure ‘not enough’
Six in 10 gay people say the British government’s plans would not create ‘equal marriage …
The Government’s gay marriage proposals do not go far enough, according to a poll of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
But in a survey, six out of 10 gay people said the Government’s plans would not create “equal marriage”, and that equality would only be achieved when churches, synagogues and mosques are required to carry out same-sex weddings.
Nearly two-thirds (62%) believed Prime Minister David Cameron was trying to extend marriage to LGBT people to make the Tories look more compassionate rather than because of his convictions.
The poll – which questioned more than 500 LGBT people – was commissioned by the Coalition for Marriage – an alliance of groups and individuals opposed to attempts to redefine marriage. The organisation’s campaign director Colin Hart described the results as a “wake-up call to the Government”.
He said: “These poll results should be a real eye opener for David Cameron. They show that the PM’s motives are not trusted. Just 15% of LGBT people believe his claims that he is making the change out of conviction.
“They also show that Mr Cameron’s plans to force this Bill through Parliament with little or no debate is not supported even by those who back the change, because they fear this might do more harm than good.
Lazy Britain uncovered: How FOUR MILLION adults have never worked in their lives
Nearly four million British adults have never had any form of paid work in their lives – more people than the population of Wales.
Figures show the scale of the problem facing British welfare system, which has been criticised for allowing jobless people to be better off than those in work.
More than a quarter of those who have never earned a living are aged between 25 to 64, and 205,000 over 65s had never worked before becoming pensioners.
The number of British people who have never worked in their lives was 3.9 million But the worst affected group are young people, with more than a third aged between 18 and 24 having never done paid work.
More than one million 16 and 17-year-olds have left education and not found employment, or are still studying but have never had a Saturday job.
The Office for National Statistics figures, which include disabled people who cannot work, show London is the city worst affected by lifelong joblessness, with 737,000 in the capital having never worked.
Birmingham has the next highest number of adults who have never seen a payday, at 144,000.
But most of the top ten workless locations are in the North of the country. Glasgow and Edinburgh have a combined total of 96,000 people who have never been wage-earners, while Leeds has 72,000.
Manchester has 71,000 who have never been in work and Liverpool has 52,000. Bradford is next with 50,000, then Sheffield on 46,000, Tower Hamlets has 42,000 and Cardiff 41,000.
TaxPayers’ Alliance boss Matthew Sinclair told The Sun: ‘These are truly shocking figures which underline the importance of reforming the welfare system in order to make work pay once and for all.
‘Leaving millions to languish on benefits for life is not fair on those individuals or taxpayers.
‘But the Government also has a duty to create an environment in which it is easier for businesses to take people on, which means less red tape and lower taxes.’
Earlier this year it was revealed that Britain had one of the worst workless rates in Europe, with joblessness particularly affecting single mothers in the UK.
Preachers of hate who spread their violent word on British TV channels
Muslim fundamentalists have used British television channels to preach in favour of violent crime and killing “apostates”.
The communications watchdog, Ofcom, has made a series of rulings against channels which allowed “inflammatory” material to be broadcast in breach of rules which forbid extreme opinions gaining a platform on British television.
The cases, disclosed today, include examples of an imam telling viewers that those who disrespect the prophet Mohammed should be killed, and another broadcaster saying homosexuals should be beaten and tortured.
The stations were found to have committed serious breaches of the broadcasting code by allowing the extreme opinions to be aired unchallenged.
Last night experts warned that the extent and seriousness of the broadcasting breaches raises questions over whether extreme Muslim speakers who were previously confined to small audiences in mosques are able to reach thousands more people by broadcasting intolerant teachings on television.
Although the channels have tiny audiences compared to the mainstream, they are targeted at Muslim communities, including people of Pakistani background, with some of the content being broadcast in Urdu and other languages.
The cases identified by Ofcom include:
* An Islamic scholar who told viewers: “It is your duty … to kill those who insult Prophet Mohammed.”
* A preacher banned from coming to Britain who used the channel – which he co-owns – to say anyone who left Islam should be put to death.
* A phone-in presenter who advocated “eliminating” anyone who disrespected Mohammed.
In some cases the channels had also breached a rule which states that they must keep recordings of all their output, raising the possibility that other inflammatory material has been broadcast but cannot be traced.
With the exception of one radio broadcaster, the channels ruled against by Ofcom are broadcast on the satellite provider Sky. It has no legal responsibility for what is broadcast on the channels it carries. It is up to the stations themselves to make sure they meet Ofcom’s standards and they can be fined or taken off the air if they do not.
The disclosure of the rulings by the broadcasting regulator comes despite a report in 2010 which warned that extremist material was being broadcast.
Tala Rajab, the researcher who wrote the report for Quilliam, the anti-extremist think-tank, said the fresh findings by Ofcom raised serious questions over the regulation of broadcast material.
“Some of these recent incidents have been quite shocking,” he said.
“If this had happened in a mosque the police would be right in pursuing a criminal investigation. But because they are being broadcast on television channels for some reason there seems to be little appetite for looking into these extreme messages.
“If these kind of comments were made against black people, for example, you can imagine a channel being shut down overnight, particularly if they had incited violence against a minority.”
The 2010 report found that the Islam Channel, Britain’s largest Islamic broadcaster, had continued to ignore Ofcom rules about impartiality and allowed controversial viewpoints to be aired despite a fine and other sanctions being imposed. It is not among the subjects of the five Ofcom rulings disclosed today.
In December a Leeds radio station, Radio Asian Fever, was fined £4,000 for breaching broadcasting rules in programmes involving a presenter called “Sister Ruby Ramadan”. She told listeners that homosexuals should be beaten and tortured.
“If there are two such persons among you, that do this evil, the shameful act, what do you have to do? Torture them; punish them; beat them and give them mental torture,” said the presenter.
Jabbar Karim, the station’s managing director, said: “We are very embarrassed. This was a one-off incident which will never be repeated.”
Takbeer TV, based in Nottingham, has been found in breach of the code twice in 18 months for programmes which denigrated the minority Ahmadi Muslim sect. Founded in the 19th century its followers are considered by some mainstream Muslims to be misguided or even heretical.
Contributors to the most recent programmes investigated by Ofcom said Ahmadis had a “disease” and “monstrous” intentions.
Ofcom said Takbeer TV had subjected the sect’s followers to “abusive treatment” and that they would now consider an appropriate sanction such as a fine.
An Ofcom spokesman said: “The majority of Islamic channels comply with our rules. However, where we identify issues through our monitoring or complaints we investigate fully and take firm enforcement action.”
He said it was Ofcom’s duty to regulate licence holders rather than the responsibility of carriers such as Sky. However, carriers are free to decide which channels they offer, he added.
A Sky spokesman said: “Sky operates an open and regulated platform. This means any broadcaster with an appropriate Ofcom licence is free to seek distribution over the satellite platform.”
There are 14 Muslim TV free-to-air channels in Britain but their audiences are not measured by BARB, the source of viewing figures.