Old man forced to remove his tooth with pair of PLIERS after NHS dentists turned him away
A pensioner who couldn’t get an emergency dentist appointment for over a month was forced to pull out his own tooth with a pair of pliers. Angus Macintyre, 73, was forced to perform the procedure on himself after he was turned away from both NHS and private clinics.
The retired teacher had been in agony for three months but heavy pain killers for arthritis had kept the pain at bay until it eventually it became unbearable.
Last month Angus went to one NHS dental centre and contacted several private clinics in Leominster, Herefordshire, but was told he would have to wait to have the tooth removed. ‘My wife phoned several private dentists but they couldn’t fit us in or told us they weren’t licensed to perform extractions,’ he said.
The former soldier pleaded with staff to extract the molar because he feared blood-thinning drugs he was on could cause complications if it became infected.
Frustrated, Angus resorted to the DIY method and managed to pluck the tooth out in just 30 seconds.
He said: ‘The pain had been containable for a while due to the strong pain killers, but after a while it became too much for the drugs to control. ‘I went to the local NHS centre and was told I didn’t need an appointment after five – but that they didn’t perform extractions after that time either.’
‘I got so fed up that I decided to do it myself with a pair of pliers I bought recently
‘It was just a few moves inwards, then outwards, a few little cracks and clicks and then 30 seconds later it was out.’
And rather than being in excruciating pain after performing the procedure, he claims he felt fantastic: ‘Once the tooth was out I felt like I was floating to the ground on a parachute of euphoria.’
Shortly after Mr Macintyre had pulled the tooth out, he tried to visit the dentist to ensure the wound wasn’t in danger of infection, but he was put off by the waiting time.
‘I went with the tooth and my hole to the clinic just to have it checked over and make sure everything was okay,’ he said. ‘But they told me the wait time was about four hours – so I just left. There have been no problems since, so I must have made a decent job of it.’
MailOnline has approached NHS Herefordshire, who look after some but not all of the NHS emergency dental clinics in the area, for comment.
Nurses fear a Mid Staffordshire crisis on their wards because of chronic under-staffing
Nurses and midwives say their hospital is at risk of becoming the next Mid Staffordshire because chronic short-staffing means they are unable to give patients the care they need.
Almost a half of the 1,500 NHS staff questioned in a snapshot survey on 5 March said they were looking after eight or more patients at the time – a ratio which experts believe increases the risk of patient harm.
Two thirds said they were too run off their feet to give decent care, with most adding that dignity and compassion were being compromised.
Nurses listed 477 examples of care failings, including patients being left in urine and excrement, and pensioners left malnourished because they were not helped with eating their meals.
Several said they were so run off their feet that they had no time to comfort bereaved relatives when their loved one died.
Chillingly, one fifth said care failings in their department put it on a par with Mid Staffordshire trust – the hospital where up to 1,200 died as a result of appalling care on short-staffed A&E wards. And a further 30 per cent said their organisation was at risk of a similar scandal. One nurse said: ‘My ward will end up killing someone. That’s how bad it is and how unsafe.’
The survey of nurses, healthcare workers and midwives was carried out by Unison, the largest union in the NHS.
The union, which is calling for minimum staffing levels on wards to ensure patients do not come to harm, said the survey painted a picture of a Health Service at ‘breaking point’.
Christina McAnea, Unison’s head of health, said: ‘This survey exposes a health service under severe strain, where nurses are struggling to deliver the high levels of care that they set themselves on a daily basis.
‘On this typical day many staff worked through their break and stayed after their shift – but this still did not give them enough time to complete all their tasks.
‘The hidden voice in the survey must surely be that of the patient who is not getting the level of care they are entitled to expect.’
The poll, carried out during on-the-spot surveys in NHS wards up and down the country, found that 62.9 per cent of those questioned said they were so short staffed they don’t get the time they need with patients.
Some 57.9 per cent said wards did not have enough staff to deliver safe, dignified and compassionate care. One nurse said: ‘I felt patients were neglected and it always feels like this lately. Staff on the ward are stressed and getting emotional over the lack of care we are providing, and no support is offered.’
Time constraints were blamed for patients not receiving the care that respondents should have been delivered, including reassuring patients’ fees, explaining treatments and diagnosis.
Others cites missing out on taking patients to the toilet, giving food or drink, helping patients move and writing up full and accurate records. Some said they did not have enough time with dying patents.
As one nurse said: ‘There is no time for compassionate care. The other nurse I was working alongside had to look after 10 patients with complex needs.
‘One died while she was on shift and there was no time allocated to provide support for the family: she had to break bad news, liaise with doctors and attempt to look after nine other patients.’
Another added: ‘Often due to staffing levels, aspects of care would be missed. People would be left soaked in urine or faeces for long periods of time, unsafe short cuts would be taken to speed up your work.’
Many reported bullying by managers to stop them reporting understaffing – even though this was a key contributory factor to excess deaths at the Mid Staffordshire trust between 2005 and 2009. One said: ‘I have for months been raising concerns about urgent referrals to the service and their safety, but have been ignored by management. I have been asked to stop putting incident forms in and been told by the complaints department to be “corporate”.’
Some 29.6 per cent said the situation at their hospital was so bad that it was at risk of a Mid Staffs-style scandal. And, appallingly, another 19.7 per cent felt a similar situation is already happening either across or in isolated parts of their organisation.
The survey revealed that more than 85 per cent wanted to see minimum nurse-to-patient ratios; and three out of five said they often skipped breaks.
‘Every shift I think my registration is on the line,’ said one. Another said: ‘I am fed up working every shift without a break. Not even enough time to go to the toilet. Donkeys have better working conditions.’
Mothers-to-be ‘can safely enjoy two drinks a week without harming their baby’ (and their child may be better behaved than if they abstained)
This is not exactly conclusive data but it suggests that any adverse effect is very small
Pregnant women who enjoy a couple of glasses of wine each week will not harm their baby’s development, claim researchers.
And their study suggests that such mothers-to-be may eventually find that their child is better behaved than if they had abstained from alcohol.
British researchers claim the latest findings should make mothers feel more relaxed about the occasional tipple.
Although official guidance says alcohol is best avoided in pregnancy, previous research shows light drinking does not adversely affect toddler development. The new study of almost 11,000 mothers confirms this finding also holds good for primary-age schoolchildren.
Women can safely drink a 175ml glass of wine, a 50ml glass of spirits or just under a pint of beer each week without damaging their child’s intellectual or behavioural development, the study found.
A team at University College London questioned mothers when their babies were nine months old about their drinking during pregnancy and other aspects of their health and wellbeing.
Visits were also made to the families when the children were seven, says a report in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Tests were carried out to assess their development in maths, reading and spatial skills, and questions were asked about their social and emotional behaviour.
The results showed boys and girls born to mothers who had one or two units of alcohol per week scored slightly higher on some tests than those born to non-drinkers.
They were also likely to have lower scores for behavioural problems than children of mothers who abstained, although adjustment for other factors diminished the differences.
Professor Yvonne Kelly, who led the research team, said: ‘There appears to be no increased risk of negative impacts of light drinking in pregnancy on behavioural or cognitive development in seven-year-old children.
‘While we have followed these children for the first seven years of their lives, further research is needed to detect whether any adverse effects of low levels of alcohol consumption in pregnancy emerge later in childhood.’
Just under 13 per cent of the mothers never drank, while almost 60 per cent chose to abstain while expecting.
Around one in four were light drinkers during pregnancy – consuming a couple of units a week – and 7 per cent drank more in pregnancy.
Heavy drinking in pregnancy is linked to foetal alcohol spectrum disorder in children, which can cause a range of physical, mental and behavioural problems.
The issue of how much is safe to drink during pregnancy has caused controversy in recent years.
In 2007, the Department of Health published guidance saying pregnant women should avoid drinking alcohol altogether, as should those who are trying to conceive. This replaced previous guidance which said it was safe for pregnant women to drink one to two units of alcohol per week. The Government said its update was not based on new research but was to provide consistent advice to all women.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence also advises women to avoid alcohol in the first three months of pregnancy to reduce the risk of miscarriage.
John Thorp, BJOG’s deputy editor-in-chief, said: ‘It remains unclear as to what level of alcohol consumption may have adverse outcomes, so this should not alter current advice.
‘If women are worried about consumption levels, the safest option would be to abstain from drinking during pregnancy.’
Old age ‘is a state of mind’ (?)
That is a rather exaggerated conclsion from the given data. The sample is too small and the method too impressionistic to conclude anything, in fact
Old age is a state of mind as much as the body, according to a study which found that people who have a younger outlook are more healthy in old age.
People who consider themselves to be frail are more likely to abandon activities which can keep them healthy in old age such as taking regular exercise.
But others with a more positive attitude can remain socially active, healthy and enjoy a greater quality of life despite having equal or greater levels of physical weakness, a study found.
Researchers from Exeter University interviewed 29 people aged 66 to 98, who had varying levels of physical health and some of whom lived independently while others were in care homes.
Participants were asked about their experience of ageing and frailty to determine how their attitude could affect their health and quality of life.
Most participants, even those in the worst physical shape, maintained that they were still in good condition, with one commenting: “If people think that they are old and frail, they will act like they are old and frail”.
But in the two people who did consider themselves frail, researchers identified a “cycle of decline” where their outlook had led them to withdraw from socialising and exercise – even though they were physically stronger than some other participants.
Previous studies have shown that elderly people who are physically active and have a rich social life remain healthier and happier in old age.
Krystal Warmoth, a PhD student who led the study, presented her findings at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society last week.
She said: “It is almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“A person’s beliefs about their self could lead to a loss of interest in participating in social and physical activities, poor health, stigmatisation, and reduced quality of life.
“You are as old as you feel and your own views of yourself, or taking on this identity of being frail, is not what you should be doing,” she added. “You should try and keep positive about getting older and not assume you will be frail.”
Mining Coal Is Good, But Burning Coal Is Bad? Struggling to Understand the Left
by DANIEL HANNAN
This isn’t another blog about the Iron Lady. There have been quite enough of those already: we have, so to speak, reached Thatcheration point. Rather, it’s an attempt to get to grips with why so many people react with venomous rage to her name. Some of the abuse, of course, is simply the idiotic teenage posturing that you get on Twitter (I have favorited some examples, to give you a sense of what I mean). But plenty comes from people who, in other contexts, are balanced and considerate.
I have spent three days trying to understand the intensity of their reaction. As far as I can make out, anti-Thatcherites have two main complaints. First, that the Tory leader heartlessly closed coal mines and other heavy industries. Second, that, in increasing the gap between rich and poor, she made Britain more materialistic and selfish.
Let us deal with them in turn. It’s true that the UK, in common with every Western country, was going through a process of deindustrialization in the 1980s. That process had begun at least half a century earlier, and had accelerated through the Sixties and Seventies, when Harold Wilson closed nearly twice as many pits as Margaret Thatcher was to do. Of course, what we mean by ‘closed’ is that the Government discontinued the grants that had kept unprofitable mines in operation. Neither Wilson nor Thatcher prohibited the extraction of coal; they simply stopped obliging everyone else to subsidize it.
Why were the mines and other heavy industries unprofitable? Partly because of lower production costs in developing countries, and partly because of trade union militancy at home.
As in every age and nation, some sectors expanded while others contracted. Just as telephones put stenographers out of work, so there was a shift from heavy industry to services. Such shifts are never easy. Even the men who used their redundancy payments to build successful second careers look back painfully on the transition. I can quite understand why there were strong feelings at the time.
What I find bewildering is why the mine closures are cited now as evidence of Tory wickedness. No one, with the exceptions of the SWP and the BNP, wants to recreate a state-owned coal industry today. Indeed, the people who complain most bitterly about the pit closures are generally those who are most against burning coal.
Ah, you say, but you can’t just have a service-sector economy.
Maybe. But why is building cars for a living more valuable than driving them? Why is making boilers more important than installing them? The expansion of the service sector has improved our lives immeasurably. It has given us better medical care, more convenient shopping hours, wider leisure activities.
Don’t get me wrong, making things is wonderful. We are the eighth largest manufacturing economy on Earth, selling tea to China and vodka to Poland, and exporting more cars than we import for the first time since the early 1970s. And we’re doing it all without subsidy. Despite – or, rather, because of – the removal of state aid, manufacturing output was 7.5 per cent higher when Margaret Thatcher left office than when she entered it. The nostalgia, in other words, is not for making things per se, but for particular industries: coal, shipbuilding, steel.
It is a nostalgia which, I confess, I simply can’t grasp. My grandfather worked in the Clyde shipyards between the wars and, like many of his workmates, died in his sixties. He never wanted that life for his grandson.
What, then, of the second charge, that we became more heartless as our social cohesion loosened? It’s certainly true that the gap between rich and poor widened, but this has been happening all over the industrialized world since the 1960s, for reasons which social scientists dispute. The two most popular explanations, as far as I can understand, are greater social mobility, which drains poor areas of their ablest inhabitants, and the tendency of wealthy people to marry each other – a tendency that followed the large-scale entry of women into the workforce.
I don’t know what the explanation is. What I do know, though, is that the gap between rich and poor widened further under Labour. I know, too, that charitable giving doubled – over and above inflation – during the Thatcher years. By that most empirical of measures, we have become less selfish. Certainly less selfish than the Lady’s trade union adversaries, who never lost their belief that the world owed them a living.
I’ve tried, I really have, to understand the anger, but it eludes me. I know that this blog is followed by many tolerant, reasonable, Labour-voting readers. Maybe one of you chaps could help.
EU uses public cash to back groups that want to stifle Press freedom
Brussels is pumping millions of pounds of public money into groups dedicated to stifling a free Press, it emerged yesterday.
The European Commission is helping to fund groups seeking state-backed regulation of newspapers, including key allies of Hugh Grant’s Hacked Off campaign.
One – called Mediadem – has a mission statement to `reclaim a free and independent media’ and is demanding tougher sanctions than `an apology or correction’.
The EU has spent œ2.3million on the previously unpublicised project.
The commission says it wants to be a `moral compass’ against press misconduct and is seeking new national and Europe-wide regulatory powers against newspapers.
But critics say it is only taking such a stance because of the unfavourable coverage that European institutions get in the Press.
Philip Davies, a Tory member of the Culture Select Committee, said: `Given the scandals in the EU and revelations of its misappropriation of funding, it is no surprise that Europe wants to restrict the free press which can uncover its corruption.
`And it shows up exactly the sort of body that Hacked Off is if it wants to ally itself with these sorts of people.’
A policy brief for Mediadem, co-authored by its lead British researcher, Rachael Craufurd Smith, says it is `simplistic’ to see state influence over the Press as `inherently stifling’.
Mediadem recently produced `recommendations for the UK’ demanding the `imposition of sanctions beyond an apology or correction’ on errant media outlets and the `co-ordination of the journalistic profession at the European level’.
Dr Craufurd Smith, from Edinburgh University, also called for further chilling action against the Press to ensure `that neither the media, nor those individuals who own or work for the media, enjoy an absolute right to freedom of expression’.
The recommendations demand the Press be controlled by the same body and on the same basis as broadcasters, who currently face stricter regulations including statutory `balance’ obligations that do not apply to newspapers.
Dr Craufurd Smith told the Sunday Telegraph that the EU funding may have been prompted by Brussels’ belief that the Press treats it unfairly.
As well as Mediadem, there are at least five other initiatives backed by Brussels to increase its powers over the media. One, MediaAcT, has channelled about œ100,000 of European cash directly to a key Hacked Off ally, the Mediawise campaign group.
Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors, said last night: `It is `strange if the EU is investing in ways to set up bureaucratic interference with the free Press’.
I left my son at four months old to go back to work. 37 years on, he’s still paying the emotional price: One mother’s startling and courageous confession
A couple of days after my first son was born, I remember watching him sleep. His parachute-silk eyelids dropped over his eyes. He was full from his last feed, his breathing scarcely more than a contented whisper. He looked so assuredly at peace with the world.
There was a lump in my throat from the overwhelming love I felt for this new person who I had nurtured and protected inside me for nine months, and was now out in the world.
As each week went by, I felt more and more attached to Zek as we formed an incredibly close bond.
But all that changed when the four-month-long paid maternity leave from my newspaper job came to an end. I loved my work, needed the money, and therefore didn’t feel I had a choice over whether or not to go back.
So I did what every mother at this difficult moment does: I found a good childminder and convinced myself my son would be fine.
Zek. Over the years I have felt the need to prove to him that he is important to me and unconditionally loved.
Over the years Angela has felt the need to prove to Zek (r) that he is important to her and loved
And was he fine? Physically, yes. Emotionally, however, I’m not so sure. In fact, I am convinced that the abrupt break in the bonding process between us had a profound and enduring effect, and may still be having an effect – even though he’s a now a 37-year-old father himself.
I am also convinced that because I never left my younger son, Cato, born four-and-a-half years later in 1980, and was a constant presence throughout his childhood, he is the secure, loving and easy-going man he is today.
I have found myself recalling those difficult, guilt-ridden days as a young working parent as debate rages about George Osborne’s recent budget.
A host of tax allowances that favour working over ‘stay-at-home’ mothers has provoked fury, and I think rightly so.
Forcing mothers back to work when they do not feel their child is ready, is cruel and destructive for all concerned. What has become lost amid the political battle is what it means for a child to have their mother with them, rather than a stand-in who, however loving, can never understand and love them as much.
When my maternity leave was up and I returned to work in February 1976, Zek became clingy and fretful, crying anxiously if I so much as left the room. It didn’t just happen when he was left with the childminder when I went to work; at weekends it was the same when I was only moving from room to room.
As he grew into a toddler, there were tantrums and fits of defiant anger that continued for years.
During his school days, he would stamp around declaring he was ‘rubbish’. Other times he just seemed sad and withdrawn.
Leaving Zek was not, I now see, simply a matter of finding high-quality childcare. He was certainly well looked after – and is still in contact with his childminder.
It was, I realise, a double whammy. Not only did he lose me when I was at work, he also lost me, in a sense, when I was at home. You see, Zek did not have me, the person who had represented fundamental security since his birth, the person he relied on, to help him navigate this big, overwhelming and sometimes frightening new world.
Exhausted from my demanding newspaper job, I often arrived back home drained and frazzled and not up to empathetic parenting.
At this point, my husband Olly was also working long and unpredictable hours in the film business.
At the time, I didn’t know much about the meaning of attachment. But writing about children’s psychological problems and researching for my book A Home For The Heart, I came to understand it is vital for children to feel bonded to the person ultimately responsible for caring for them.
If you don’t, as my personal experience shows, children can suffer for the rest of their lives. I believe it is crucial for a mother or a father, who has been very involved from the beginning, to provide a loving, secure and constant presence while babies navigate that first year.
I started working from home as a freelance writer when Zek was two-and-a-half. I made the difficult decision to sacrifice my job to care for him, with help, at home because I had begun to fear that Zek’s worrying behavioural traits were caused by my lack of time for him.
But even though we began to spend more time together, he remained guarded and, as he became articulate, fiercely critical of me. It was as though the abrupt severing of the bond we had developed so early on continued to be an unconscious force.
He, of course, is unaware of any damage done. But the point about damaged attachment is that it is unconscious
How different all this was with my second son. Cato, who was born four years after Zek, when I was already working from home.
He slotted into a life where I was virtually a constant presence. Yes, we had au pairs or helpers who came in during the day, but I could be around if needed and I broke from work at tea time to be with the boys until they went to bed. If necessary, I worked into the night to meet deadlines.
I believe the attachment Cato had with me – without a sudden break – gave him an entirely different quality of security.
Etched on my memory is a lovely image of him as a baby in his bouncy chair in the garden with me working contentedly alongside him.
He was so at ease, and unlike Zek, not at all worried if I came or went. He was benignly accepting, secure and good natured. I can never recall feeling seriously concerned about him in the way I had with Zek during his childhood. Zek was far more often a worry.
Cato’s deep sense of security enabled him to become independent of me and Olly at his own pace, to develop sociability and the desire to be with other children, and be without me.
He has always been trusting and emotionally open, whereas his brother is far less so, even to this day. Zek has always been cautious and secretive with us. I knew nothing of the relationships he might have had as a young man, and it was only when things were serious between them that he introduced his future wife.
Cato on the other hand wrote ‘I love Emily’ behind the bath when, aged six, he was infatuated with a girl at school.
Since then he has poured out tales of passions, sobbed on my shoulder at big break-ups and is demonstrably loving with his fiancee in front of us.
Most importantly, Cato has always seemed to trust that his world was a happy place and I know deep down that is because I didn’t abandon him to get back to work too early in that precious first year.
So I believe fervently that we must not penalise mothers who want to stay with their children until they judge they are ready to be left.
Thankfully, there is a happy ending to my story with Zek. Over the years I have felt the need to prove to him that he is important to me and unconditionally loved.
As he has grown to adulthood, I have discussed this with him – apologised in fact – for what I believe was a traumatic event for a four-month-old to endure.
He, of course, is unaware of any damage done. But the point about damaged attachment is that it is unconscious. Even now he can suddenly become emotionally unsettled for no apparent reason.
Our relationship has grown much stronger and warmer over recent years.
Then, a couple of years ago when his wife was pregnant he asked if they might rent the first floor of our home because they would like to be near family. We all live together to this day.
Their daughter, Isana, is almost two and I watch my son, so involved with her, so close and loving, and when he said to me the other day how happy he is that she has a warm and affectionate relationship with me, I felt that finally I could relax. Things have come right.
But it has been a long and painful journey, which is why I feel so strongly that the Government must learn to value mothers who stay at home with their children.
The job they do is invaluable. And lasts a lifetime.