Pensioner with penicillin allergy dies after being given injection containing the drug ‘because hospital staff didn’t move Post-it note to check medical records’
An 80-year-old patient died in hospital days after he was given a drug to which he was allergic. John Dudding, of Plymouth, Devon, suffered a severe reaction after being given a penicillin-based injection at Derriford Hospital in the city – and died one week before his daughter’s wedding
Now she is suing the hospital for clinical negligence, claiming the penicillin allergy was clearly labelled on her father’s medical chart – but could not be seen because there was a Post-it note in the way.
Kim Tremaine, 54, said her father was also wearing a red wrist band to warn he had allergies – but claimed nobody rolled up his pyjama sleeve to check.
Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Derriford Hospital, has admitted the ‘serious drug error’.
Mrs Tremaine said: ‘In my opinion Derriford Hospital killed my father and did very little to save him. My dad didn’t go in there ill enough to die. The care he received was appalling, disgraceful.’
Mr Dudding died in February last year and his daughter said the drugs blunder happened three days after he was admitted having suffered a fall at home. An inquest is set to be held by a local coroner.
A Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust spokesman said: ‘We let Mr Dudding down in terms of the care we provided because there was a serious drug error and we apologise sincerely for this. ‘We don’t know how, or if this drug error contributed to Mr Dudding’s death. That is for the inquest to determine.’
The 1,100-bed hospital in March reported five ‘never events’ since November which all related to treatment or surgery to the wrong part of the body. ‘Never events’ are defined as serious and mostly-preventable incidents which should not occur.
Almost 50,000 people pass through the hospital’s entrance weekly – and it has more than 900 beds.
Patients in hospitals are not being put first, healthcare professionals say
Patients in hospitals are not being put first, three quarters of health professionals believe, according to a damning report which warns that the NHS has lost its purpose.
The study, by influential think tank the Kings Fund, paints a devastating picture of a health service culture in which the needs of the sick come second to management targets and ministers’ priorities.
It says NHS reforms which were introduced last month have increased the risks to patients – and the likelihood that a scandal like that at Mid Staffordshire Hospital is repeated.
The report, based on a survey of more than 900 healthcare professionals which was undertaken before the head of the NHS, Sir David Nicholson, announced plans to retire, found little confidence among frontline staff and managers about those in charge of the service.
Just one per cent of those polled thought the leadership of the NHS was very good, with 13 per cent rating it as good – compared with 40 per cent who said it was poor or very poor.
The report found that 73 per cent of those surveyed said quality of care is not given enough priority in the NHS, and warns that those in charge of the health service need to ensure patients are put first.
It says: “In future those leading the NHS at the national level must demonstrate that caring and compassion are core values within the service. This means setting clear national goals for improving quality and safety, and supporting staff to deliver them … The actions and behaviours of NHS leaders must be consistent with these values and goals. “
The report warns that a plethora of new NHS organisations set up last month when the health service was restructured has increased the risks to patients.
“One of the challenges to be addressed is that senior leadership in the NHS has become more fragmented as a result of the Government’s NHS reforms,” it says.
“Unless these organisations demonstrate an uncommon commitment and ability to work together, there is a real risk of NHS staff receiving mixed messages, with a lack of clarity and direction on what really matters. In this scenario, a repetition of the failures that occurred at Mid Staffordshire is more likely.”
The report says the health service now needs to “rediscover its purpose” and learn from other countries, with high-performing health care organisations with effective leadership and a culture that puts patients’ needs first.
It calls on health service leaders to develop a culture that promotes openness and honestly, and encourages staff to raise concerns about quality and safety without fear of retribution.
While 40 per cent of those polled said time and resources were the biggest barrier to good patient care, more than one quarter said the culture of the NHS stood in the way, with half of senior managers identifying this as the greatest obstacle.
In the report, Prof Chris Ham, the think tank’s chief executive, and Nicola Hartley, director of leadership development, say that “nothing less than a transformation of systems, leadership and culture” is needed throughout the health service, to prevent a repeat of the Mid Staffordshire scandal, where up to 1,200 people died amid appalling failings in care.
Ms Hartley said: “It’s the responsibility of all NHS organisations and professionals to make care patient-centred – to put patients’ needs above those of the organisation, team or profession. Our survey suggests that we have a long road to travel to achieve this.
“We know that most NHS staff are intrinsically motivated to help people who are at their most vulnerable. It is a failure of leadership if those staff consistently face barriers to treating patients and their families well.”
Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary said: “The quality of care needs to be a priority for the NHS but it is clear after Mid Staffs that we need a change of culture to make that happen.”
“The introduction of a new Chief Inspector of Hospitals will mean that every patient will be treated in a hospital judged on the quality of its care and the experience of its patients.”
British Employers warned against giving jobs to more qualified students
Maybe they should just roll dice to select whom they employ. That would be “fair”
Top companies should ignore unpaid internships and degree classifications during the recruitment process to create a “level playing field” for applicants from poor backgrounds, a Government-backed report has recommended.
Employers should attempt to boost social mobility by ensuring that all barriers to good jobs are “eliminated”, it was claimed.
The study found that large numbers of public and private sector organisations were “unintentionally” using tactics that acted against the interests of people from disadvantaged families.
It criticised employers who looked “favourably” upon students who gained experience through unpaid internships, suggesting that sons and daughters of well-connected parents were far more likely to take advantage.
This follows controversy over an auction run by fee-paying Westminster School of exclusive work experience placements for its students.
MPs have written to companies – including Coutts Bank and Fabergé – asking them to withdraw their internships from the auction amid fears it is “explicitly favouring privilege”.
But the latest study – by the Association of Graduate Recruiters and Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services – found that employers may also be discriminating against disadvantaged applicants by selecting staff based on their degree classification and university.
Figures show students from poor backgrounds are less likely to go onto the very top universities.
Criticism has also been made of the existing degree classification system – in which students with firsts and upper-seconds are prioritised – amid claims it is too crude and fails to assess students’ wider abilities.
The report describes a number of barriers to social mobility, including “employers making decisions on the basis of a graduate’s choice of university or educational achievements and experience gained through unpaid internships being looked on favourably”.
It adds: “We would like to see employers acknowledge these barriers, and eradicate them.
“We did find a number of companies leading the way in this area, providing best practice examples to other organisations.
“For instance, some companies do not stipulate degree classifications and instead use clear descriptors for their entry requirements whilst others use anonymous application forms in assessment centres.”
David Willetts, the Universities Minister, has previously warned that graduate employers are “fishing in an unduly narrow pool” of talent, which risks discriminating against students from less prestigious institutions.
Backing the latest report, he said: “We want to make the most of the great wealth of graduate talent we have in the UK.”
Grandmother won’t make Double Gloucester for cheese-rolling event after ‘heavy-handed threats’ from British police
Police have been criticised after banning an elderly grandmother from making a giant Double Gloucester wheel for an annual cheese rolling event.
The event started in the early 1800s and sees competitors chasing the massive 1ft diameter cheese down the 200-yard Cooper’s Hill near Brockworth, Gloucestershire, as they race to reach the bottom first.
Farmer Diana Smart, 86, has been making her handmade cheese for the downhill run for a quarter of a century and it is something, she said, that brought her ‘such joy’.
This year, however, Mrs Smart, who has provided the large piece of cheese since 1988, has now been warned off doing so after a visit by police.
Three officers visited her farm and told her not to donate five 8lb wheels of her cheese in a bid to prevent the “dangerous” event.
Mrs Smart said the “heavy handed” police visited her home last week and told in a “threatening” manner she would be responsible for any injuries caused – and so has pulled out.
“They threatened me, saying I would be wholly responsible if anyone got injured,” she said. “I’m 86, I don’t have the will or the cash to fight any lawsuits. It’s crazy.”
It is the first time in its 200-year history that police have banned a cheesemaker providing the cheese – leaving organisers outraged by the polices warnings.
A spokesperson said: “It’s outrageous. Completely unbelievable. You cannot stop someone selling cheese. If they try and stop us we will use something else”
It has been found, however, following health and safety fears, 2009 was the last official cheese rolling event but unofficially the event is still held every year – without proper medical cover or insurance.
A Gloucestershire police spokesman said: “Advice has been given to all those who have participated in any planning of an unofficial cheese rolling event. We feel it is important that those who could be constituted as organisers of the event, are aware of the responsibilities that come with it so that they can make an informed decision about their participation.”
Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, slammed the police for threatening Mrs Smart.
He said: “Taxpayers will be appalled that the valuable time of three police officers was wasted trying to scare an elderly lady into withdrawing her involvement in a centuries-old tradition.
“People expect the police to be keeping us safe and solving crime, not badgering innocent old ladies.
“Anyone participating in the cheese-rolling needs to take personal responsibility for themselves and the idea that Diana Smart should be liable for any injuries is frankly ludicrous.”
Useless British police again
If you “offend” someone they will be after you — but stolen property does not matter to them
When Dean Parnell realised his iPad had been snatched from a table in a busy city centre bar, he was determined to get it back.
Within an hour, the quick-thinking solicitor had traced the £750 Apple tablet computer to four possible addresses ten miles away thanks to an in-built tracking application.
But despite repeatedly asking police to recover the device, he was told they were too busy to attend.
So he travelled from Birmingham to the village of Water Orton in Warwickshire to recover the iPad himself.
Last night, Mr Parnell, 45, condemned West Midlands Police for failing to help him. He said: ‘I went to the police station. I was able to demonstrate that an apparent crime was taking place and I was turned away.
‘I guess I am more angry about the way I had been treated at the police station than I was about an opportunist who had pocketed my iPad.’
The drama began on Friday last week when Mr Parnell realised the 32GB retina display iPad had been taken from a table in a bar.
Staff at a nearby Apple store showed him how to use the inbuilt tracking system and quickly pinpointed it to a train heading out of Birmingham.
Mr Parnell, from Northamptonshire, said: ‘The train stopped at Water Orton and the iPad began moving slowly as if someone was walking to a car park, then it began moving quickly.
‘I called the police and they said someone would be along shortly but no one turned up. I then rang them again and they said someone would ring me back, but they didn’t.’
At a local police station he was told nobody was available until the following day – even when he said there was a greater chance of ‘an incident’ without assistance from officers.
Four more calls to West Midlands Police proved fruitless – and during the final attempt he was told it was now Warwickshire Police’s problem because he was now within their jurisdiction.
Mr Parnell then had to ‘go through the whole story again’ and was told a patrol car would be there within the hour. It didn’t arrive, and when he called back, he was told the nearest car was still 30 miles away.
The commercial litigation partner eventually got the device back when he knocked at one of the four doors pinpointed by the GPS tracking application and recognised the stunned householder as a fellow patron of the bar he had been to.
The suspect returned the tablet computer – claiming he had found it and was planning to hand it in to Apple the following day. Police later gave him a ‘stern warning’.
Mr Parnell, who has now received an apology from police, said: ‘The whole event took some four hours from beginning to end. Had it not been for my persistence, my iPad would have ended up as another statistic. ‘I appreciate the police may have been busy but it was their total lack of interest that was what really bothered me.’
Superintendent Danny Long, of Birmingham West and Central Police, said the ‘standard of service’ fell short and that officers should have been dispatched quickly.
An investigation had found that a crime had not been committed, he said. Warwickshire Police declined to comment.
BBC goofs over the Woolwich killing
With minutes to go before the BBC News at Six I was told by a senior Whitehall source that the incident was being treated as a suspected terrorist incident and being taken very seriously indeed. This information changed the news from a crime story to something of more significance. The police had, I was told, described the attackers as being “of Muslim appearance” and shouting “Allahu Akbar”. On air I directly quoted a senior Whitehall source saying that the police had used that description.
That phrase “of Muslim appearance” clearly offended some who demanded to know what it could possibly mean. Others were concerned that it was a racist generalisation.
The constipated language used by police seems to be the problem here. To police a woman is a “female person”. But they tripped themselves up with this as there is plainly no such thing as a Muslim appearance. There are all sorts of Muslims.
But the BBC guy should have picked it up. Why didn’t he? I suspect that both the police and the BBC were trying to avoid saying the obvious: “Of African appearance”. In the service of political correctness they made ninnies out of themselves.
Whitehall is the London street where most government offices are located. It is therefore a metonym for “The government”.
Woolwich is an area of London with extensive military connections
More attempted censorship over the Woolwich murder
It turns out that ITV’s video of the comments made by one of the murderers in the Woolwich atrocity yesterday was censored. Not, you might imagine, to remove graphic images of bloody violence, but for a different reason.
If you watch the broadcast version of the ITV video, you can see that a voiceover has been put over the beginning of the tape. The killer is speaking, but we can’t hear what he is saying.
The censored words are, “There are many, many ayah throughout the Koran [referring to religious verses] that says we must fight them as they fight us, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
In other words, this is further evidence that the killer used the Koran to justify his actions. Why do you think that people didn’t want us to hear that?