Baby given a morphine overdose after being taken to hospital for minor problem:
A baby who developed a rare condition called a hair tourniquet – where a strand of hair wrapped around her toe and cut off the blood supply – was given a morphine overdose upon arriving at hospital.
Olivia Pooley was rushed to Colchester General Hospital after her toe became infected.
Although rare, hair tourniquets are most common in babies because their mothers suffer from post-pregnancy hair loss.
A stray hair that ends up on clothes can then wrap itself around a child’s toe like cheese wire, cutting off the circulation.
Infections can develop as the hair cuts into the flesh as it tightens, potentially leading to amputation.
Although most commonly seen as a ‘toe touniquet’, other appendages such as fingers, ear lobes and male genitalia can also be affected.
Olivia’s parents Daniel and Christine noticed her red, swollen foot when they undressed her for bed one night. Surgeons said they had never experienced such a severe and sore case and had to cut through the skin to break the knot.
As they operated, nurses gave Olivia morphine, to relieve the pain.
But her parents were horrified to discover that staff had given the 11-month-old double the recommended dose of morphine.
It took staff 45 minutes before they realised Olivia had received 4mg of the powerful painkiller, instead of 2mg.
Her father Daniel said: ‘I found out they had given her the dose recommended for a 12-year-old, not a baby. ‘A doctor told us we had been lucky not to lose her.’
Staff then had to perform a lifesaving reversal procedure by injecting drugs directly into a blood vessel.
Mr Pooley, 27, said: ‘Olivia’s breathing started slowing down where her lungs were too relaxed.
‘It was terrifying seeing her out-for-the-count and her all wired up. The worst thing was the lack of information with no-one telling us what was happening to her.’
Olivia, who has scabs and scarring to her foot, made a full recovery after spending a day on children’s ward.
Her parents, who also claim she caught gastroenteritis while at the hospital, have lodged an official complaint. Mr Pooley said: ‘We are absolutely furious.’
Sue Barnett, deputy chief executive at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, said:
‘We sincerely apologise for this incident and we are formally investigating what went wrong. ‘We will be contacting Mr and Mrs Pooley by the end of next week, asking them to take part in that investigation so that we fully understand the issues involved.’
Stop saying degrees are a waste of £50,000 – they’re not
Dismissing a university education as an indulgent way to eat up £50,000 is fashionable but asinine, says David Ellis
During graduation, perhaps even in the ceremony itself, there is an almost perceptible ‘pop’ of the university bubble bursting. Suddenly the only thing that matters is landing a job. Dozens of applications are duly sent out en masse, which tends to be followed by weeks of rejection letters or impolite, frustrating silence. And students are surprised by this – as if a generic letter and a 2:1 entitles the bearer to a job.
The degree isn’t the problem; this approach is.
I worked as a recruitment consultant once, and regularly advertised for graduate positions, which were always tellingly oversubscribed. With my boss, I’d select a handful for interview. Here’s an email I never sent:
‘Thank you for your application. I’m delighted to invite you to interview.
We were extremely impressed by your 2:1 from a red-brick university and though you didn’t mention the company by name, we could tell from your cover letter you were thinking specifically of us. Your apparent knowledge of Microsoft Office and Excel particularly dazzled us too, as these skills are so rarely found.
We’re glad too that you possess excellent creative and communication skills – it wasn’t immediately obvious from your application until we saw the sentence saying so. It really reassured us.
I’d like to sincerely thank you for your eight-page CV detailing your employment to date since your prestigious role as table monitor in primary school. It was most illuminating: that you took the leap to be a barista after summers spent babysitting was a bold and unusual step that is sure to help you thrive as a city consultant.
Thanks again for your application. It was like nothing we’ve ever seen before.’
My point is obvious – but I imagine a few grads are blushing. It’s uncomfortable for me to say so as I’ve made similar mistakes time over, but thinking that changing the name at the start of the cover letter decently tailors it is like heading to Primark for the best cut on a dinner jacket.
Critics of university pounce on unemployed graduates as evidence that a degree does nothing, which seems rather to miss the obvious: even for those with the best qualifications, the market is combatively tough. Too tough, in fact, to bear complacency. Every applicant must do what they can to stand out, and be prepared to put in at least a few years working up from the bottom.
A degree is likely to strengthen a job application but it won’t write your CV, edit your cover letter or charm a potential employer in interview. Dismissing a university education as an indulgent way to eat up £50,000 is fashionable, seemingly easy but, I think, asinine and crass. Anyone contemplating a degree should ignore such criticisms while noting the point: those letters tagged to your name won’t single-handedly realise your dream career.
I don’t blame my rejections on the mediocre law degree I scraped: for most applications, I wouldn’t have been vaguely considered without it, or even eligible to apply. A degree is, in most instances, an absolute prerequisite for the kind of job which offers either valuable experience or a chance for progression, or both.
You can find work without one, of course, but your options will be more limited, and while success stories of those without qualifications are well documented, not everyone is an entrepreneur, a dotcom genius or wants to pursue the kind of career an apprenticeship might serve.
Rightly or wrongly, many major employers emphasise the necessity of a university qualification – apply with a note saying a degree means nothing to you if you like, but I wouldn’t take my chances.
The benefits of university are well documented and needn’t be repeated here. The salient thing for graduates to realise is that whatever academic successes they’ve achieved, there’s either someone with a better record applying for the same position, or someone in HR who is looking for more.
A degree gives you the opportunity to more easily pursue many careers which would otherwise be impenetrable, and that alone is worth the price of admission. Graduates, brace yourselves: the months after leaving university are for figuring out what happens when plans work out, and what happens when they don’t.
Stay at home mothers revolt: British mothers unite with Tory MPs to demand family-friendly tax policy
Stay at home mothers have accused the Government of forcing them to abandon their children and return to work.
The attack comes as David Cameron faces a fresh headache with his own MPs threatening to derail Budget legislation unless he introduces a tax break for married couples.
Pressure group Mothers at Home Matter warned ministers that their policies on childcare and tax are ‘misguided’ and risk the ‘cohesion of society’ by undermining the family.
Spokesman Laura Perrins, who recently confronted Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on his radio phone-in, said: ‘This Budget is a misguided attempt to force mothers to leave their children and return to work.
‘Survey after survey reveals that many women who work full-time would prefer to reduce their hours. Nothing in this Budget helps women to do this.
‘Many children, infants in particular, need the loving care and attention a mother provides.
‘Not only does this Budget ignore this but it is actively putting barriers between a mother and her child. The Coalition are willing to support all care given to a child, other than that given by its mother.’
Former children’s minister Tim Loughton plans to table amendments to the Finance Bill – which puts Budget changes into law – to force Chancellor George Osborne to introduce a tax break for married couples.
Dozens of Tory MPs are set to back the move, piling pressure on the Prime Minister to act.
Last month’s Budget confirmed the Government’s plans to slash child benefit from families with a single earner on £50,000 and axe it altogether for those with one on £60,000.
Those plans discriminate against couples where the mother stays at home with the children – since two earner couples who each earn a little under those thresholds keep on claiming.
Family groups are also angry that the Government is offering childcare subsidies to parents who both work but no equivalent allowance to households with a stay-at-home mother or father.
There are 2.2million households where one member is in full-time work and the other is not earning. 1.2million or 53 per cent of these households contain children.
Mr Cameron has repeatedly promised to introduce transferable tax allowances for married couples by 2015, which would save them around £150 a year.
But Mr Osborne, who is privately cool about the idea, has ignored demands by Tory MPs to bring in the measure now, sparking speculation that couples will have to wait until a few months before the general election before it is introduced.
Seeking to turn the screws, Mrs Perrins last night urged MPs to amend the Finance Bill to force the Government’s hand – a move that is usually frowned upon in Parliament since the Finance Bill contains all the measures outlined in the Budget.
She also took aim at the other measures in the Budget. ‘Universal child benefit was a fair way of recognising the contribution mothers made when they choose to care for their children themselves.
‘The removal of this provision from some families and its replacement with a child-care allowance which only applies to those with external child-care costs is clearly discriminatory.
‘If the Coalition want to be remembered as family-friendly and wish to make Britain a more cohesive society they should start treating the family as a co-dependent team and do away with the legal and economic fiction that parents of children work in an individual and isolated way.’
Mr Loughton said: ‘It is essential we don’t create a two-tier system between stay-at-home mothers and mothers who go out to work.
‘Both are valuable but we must make sure we don’t discriminate between them in the tax system. Mothers at Home Matter have a strong point and the Chancellor needs to sit up and take notice.’
While the Finance Bill cannot be amended when it has its second reading today, Mr Loughton is set to put down amendments demanding a marriage tax allowance at the report stage of the Bill.
The Institute of Fiscal Studies has shown that 70 per cent of the benefit of a marriage tax allowance will go to those in the lower half of the income distribution.
A Treasury spokesman said: ‘The Government remains committed to recognising marriage in the tax and benefit system. We want to show we value commitment and will consider a range of options and make proposals at the appropriate time.’
Policeman who tried to censor local paper for criticising a councillor
A police sergeant has been accused of attempting to censor stories in a local newspaper about a ‘controversial’ town councillor.
Paul Beale challenged the weekly paper over its ‘editorial policy’ after the councillor was upset by a critical article. The officer telephoned the newspaper and later visited its offices where he spoke to an editor about its style of reporting.
Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors, said the incident was a direct consequence of the Leveson Inquiry into Press standards.
He said: ‘It’s outrageous that a police sergeant should think it is part of his role to question the editorial policy of a newspaper. But is not surprising given the attitude of some politicians and police to the Press. Since the Leveson Inquiry, people think it is fair game to try to interfere with legitimate reporting by newspapers.’
The New Milton Advertiser described Tory councillor Goff Beck as ‘controversial’ and revealed he had been accused of making homophobic remarks to an openly gay colleague. It also said he had been reprimanded for bullying a female councillor.
Mr Beale, of Hampshire Police, initially telephoned staff at the newspaper to say Mr Beck, 80, was ‘not happy’ with the article, adding: ‘To be fair, he has got a point.’
Days later he visited the newsroom and said the councillor was dissatisfied that the story had ‘raked over previous stuff’.
Mr Beale told the newspaper he did not want to be made out as a ‘guardian’ to Councillor Beck but added: ‘He feels his credibility as a person of good standing is being undermined.’
But the actions of the police officer were condemned last night.
Conservative MP Conor Burns, a member of the Commons culture select committee, said: ‘It’s not the role of the police to take it upon themselves to question editors of newspapers about any particular line they take in a story. To do so steps way beyond the legitimate role of the police.’
Padraig Reidy, of the freedom of speech campaign group Index on Censorship, said: ‘It’s not the sort of thing that should happen in any democratic country. It’s political policing.’ Mr Satchwell added: ‘Hopefully, before it’s too late, people at the top of politics and policing will wake up to what is happening in what is supposed to be one of the most revered democratic countries in the world.’
The New Milton Advertiser ran the article about Mr Beck, who was also a member of the Hampshire Police and Crime Panel, last October. It didn’t complain about the approach by Mr Beale at the time but a resident subsequently raised the issue with the police.
John Caine, 53, a software engineer from New Milton, has been involved in a dispute with Mr Beck over a planning issue. He said: ‘You don’t expect the police to get involved in what appears in newspapers. It is more akin to a fascist or communist regime.’
Hampshire Police said Mr Beale has since been given ‘suitable advice’ by a senior officer for his ‘poorly judged comments’ and ‘perceived lack of neutrality’. A spokesman for the New Milton Advertiser and Lymington Times said: ‘Clearly the police must be seen to be independent and free from any suggestions of favourable treatment for certain people.’
Mr Beck has since stood down from his role as chairman of New Milton Town Council’s amenities committee. It came after half of the 18-strong Tory council signed a motion in a bid to force him to resign from the authority. They claim his previous behaviour had brought the council into disrepute
Now chief of free information in Britain calls for secret arrests
The row over secret arrests deepened last night as Britain’s data watchdog claimed that naming crime suspects breaches their human rights.
Christopher Graham, the Information Commissioner, said there was no ‘pressing social need’ for the public to be told who was being held by the police.
He warned that identifying suspects risked them being denied a fair trial and would leave them exposed to ‘media intrusion into their private lives’.
His comments have been echoed by senior judges and lawyers, including a barrister at the forefront of the Hacked Off campaign to introduce state regulation of the press.
There are now fresh fears that police will press ahead with a draconian plan, recommended by Lord Justice Leveson in his landmark report, to keep secret the identities of people suspected of serious offences.
Under guidance being drawn up by the Association of Chief Police Officers, revealed by The Mail on Sunday last week, forces across England and Wales would be banned from confirming the names of those they have arrested when talking to journalists.
The guarantee of anonymity has been branded an attack on open justice that could allow criminals to keep offending by preventing victims or witnesses coming forward with evidence.
The Government’s own legal reform advisory body, the Law Commission, has said that reporters should be able to check names with police forces.
But in his strongly worded response, the Information Commissioner has claimed that a policy of identifying all suspects would breach the Data Protection Act, which concerns the handling of personal information, and Labour’s notorious Human Rights Act, long described as a criminals’ charter.
Mr Graham, a former BBC employee who previously ran the Advertising Standards Authority, wrote: ‘The European Court of Human Rights has recognised the state’s positive obligation to protect individuals from media intrusion into their private lives …… due consideration will need to be given to the right of the individual to a fair trial and the right to respect for privacy.
‘It is not clear that there is a pressing social need to divulge the details of those individuals who have been arrested.’
Mr Graham, 62, who is paid £140,000 a year, questioned what the ‘pressing social need’ and ‘public interest’ could be in naming suspects. He added: ‘These judgments must be made in a context where once a name is released it may be impossible to retract it.’
His view has been echoed by the country’s senior judges. And Hugh Tomlinson QC, a leading figure in the Hacked Off campaign, wrote last week that if the name of someone who has been arrested is published, ‘many members of the public will assume that “there is no smoke without fire” and that, if a person is arrested, they must have done something wrong’.
Bill Waddington, chairman of the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association, said: ‘It is important that, unless there are exceptional reasons, an arrested person is not identified by the police to the press.’
The Law Society said: ‘While it is arguable that the police should never be permitted to release the name of a person who has not been charged with an offence, we accept that in many cases there is a legitimate public interest in this information.’