Sick nurse lost baby after hospital ignored her fears and sent her home in agony
A heavily pregnant nurse lost her baby when she went to hospital with an agonising infection – but was sent home with painkillers.
Lekha James says she knew she had a urinary tract infection but a doctor and midwives refused to listen. Instead of giving her antibiotics that could have dealt with the problem, they prescribed the painkiller cocodamol.
Three days later the 34-year-old nurse was rushed back with life-threatening septicaemia and medical staff could not find a heartbeat for her baby son. He was stillborn after labour was induced.
Last night Mrs James and her husband Santhosh Mathew condemned St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester, which has admitted negligence in failing to diagnose and treat the infection that led to the death of baby Aidan.
An investigation has also exposed a ‘staff attitude problem’ and inadequate clinical assessment.
Mrs James, who lives with her husband in Manchester with their daughter Tia, six, and new baby son Aiden, said she ‘instinctively’ knew something was wrong when she went to hospital with pain in her stomach, abdomen and hips.
‘I thought that I had a urinary tract infection but no one was listening to me,’ she said. ‘I did not want to leave the hospital but I felt I was not being given a choice.
‘When I returned to the hospital a second time, I was seriously ill and I now know that I almost died because the infection had become so severe.
‘We then discovered that our baby’s heart had stopped beating as a consequence of the infection.’
Mrs James, a cardiac nurse at the Manchester Royal Infirmary – adjacent to St Mary’s – added: ‘As a nurse myself, I would never ignore what a patient tells me.
‘I knew I had a urinary tract infection but they weren’t listening, talking over us as if we were illiterate people.
‘I wasn’t happy to be sent home and the pain was so bad I needed a wheelchair. It was only when I was semi-conscious in labour I realised what had happened – it has been incredibly stressful and sad.
‘We had been trying for a baby for some time when I became pregnant, and our precious baby son was much longed for. ‘We now have another son, who we have called Aiden, but nothing can replace our baby who died.’
Mrs James, who is also a qualified midwife, hopes others will be prevented from going through the same trouble they experienced in March last year.
‘We will never fully get over our loss, but we are desperate to try to ensure that lessons are learned from our case so that hopefully we can prevent other parents from going through the same ordeal,’ she said.
Her husband, a catering supervisor who also works at the Royal Infirmary, added: ‘I don’t know how I managed to control myself when the doctor told me our baby had died. ‘We cannot describe the pain we have been through, we just want to make sure this never happens to anyone else.’
The couple are now pursuing a claim for compensation against the NHS foundation trust that runs St Mary’s and have also submitted a formal complaint to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Their solicitor Beth Reay, who is pursuing the legal claim for the couple, said health staff had made ‘catastrophic failures’ that led to the baby’s death.
The care team, including an agency doctor, failed to spot that the infection posed a significant risk to the unborn child, which was almost full-term, she said. ‘There appeared to be a culture amongst staff that allowed them to ignore some quite basic clinical factors which has led to the death of their son,’ she added.
‘A urinary tract infection is not uncommon for women to get, especially in the later stages of pregnancy. Warning signs were there but further tests on Lekha were not carried out before she was discharged.’
The solicitor said the trust had accepted that a course of antibiotics would have avoided the death of the baby and had written a letter of apology.
‘While I am pleased to secure this admission of negligence, Mr and Mrs James need assurances that every possible step will be taken to ensure no other parents have to live through the same distressing ordeal,’ she added.
Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has launched an internal investigation into the complaint surrounding the treatment at St Mary’s and has published a 17-page report.
However, Mrs James and her husband claim they were not told about its release.
The report states there were ‘staff attitude problems’ as well as ‘inadequate clinical assessment by the doctor, highlighting learning needs’.
‘Staff need to be aware of how their behaviour is perceived by patients,’ it adds. ‘Lack of thought was given to the quality of care and patient experience.’
A trust spokesman said: ‘Unfortunately as this is an ongoing legal case we are unable to confirm any details.’
My diabetic wife waited so long for a drink in hospital I had to ring police to get her one… 4 days later she was dead
A frantic husband called police after his diabetic wife phoned him from hospital because she desperately needed a sugary drink.
Bridget Callan, 62, had repeatedly pressed her emergency button in the early hours to summon a nurse.
She was concerned that her blood sugar levels were falling dangerously low and feared she would lose consciousness.
When no nurse arrived she called her husband, Paul, at home. He immediately telephoned the ward at Tameside Hospital in Greater Manchester and spoke to a nurse. But after a further 20 minutes a distraught Mrs Callan phoned him back and said a nurse still had not come to offer her a drink.
In desperation Mr Callan telephoned the police to ask for their help but the switchboard operator directed him back to the hospital.
Eventually Mrs Callan was given a sugary drink which was necessary to prevent her becoming hypoglycaemic, a diabetic condition caused by low blood sugars that can induce a coma and even cause death.
Tragically, the great-grandmother died four days later in August last year from chronic heart failure and lung disease, as well as contracting the superbug C.difficile in the hospital.
Last night her husband condemned Tameside Hospital for failing to provide basic life-sustaining drinks for a seriously ill patient.
Mr Callan, 54, said: ‘What happened to Bridget in Tameside was terrifying. She rang me around 4am and said she had low blood sugar. She needed Lucozade. ‘She said she had been pressing the buzzer for more than 20 minutes, but no one was coming.
‘She asked me to ring the landline so I called the ward and spoke to a nurse who said, “Leave it with me”.
‘But 20 minutes later my wife rang back saying still no one had seen her. I tried to call the ward back but the landline was engaged and I couldn’t get hold of anyone. ‘I didn’t know what to do. I was so worried I rang the police.
‘Eventually, my wife rang back and said someone had been to give her a drink. The next day the matron on the ward said I shouldn’t have rung the police – but what would have happened if Bridget hadn’t been able to call me for help? She would have been in a coma.’
Tameside Hospital has been at the centre of dozens of complaints over standards and is one 14 hospitals identified as needing an in-depth inspection because of its higher than average death rates.
Mr Callan is one of more than 100 relatives and former patients who recently met inspectors.
He has made an official complaint to the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) about his wife’s treatment. He said: ‘I think the hospital management need a kick up the backside. I can’t forget how Bridget was treated.’
Last night a spokesman for Tameside Hospital said: ‘We are sorry that Mr Callan was not reassured following conversations with the PALS team and the consultant overseeing his late wife’s care.
‘We are happy to look into his continuing concerns and would urge him to contact us via the complaints co-ordinator.’
The case echoes that of diabetic Kane Gorny who died of dehydration at a London teaching hospital after he phoned police from his bed because he was so thirsty.
An inquest heard police arrived at his bedside only to be sent away by nurses who said he was confused.
Recording a narrative verdict, Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe said: ‘Kane Gorny died as a result of dehydration contributed to by neglect.’
Tim Yeo: humans may not be to blame for global warming
Humans may not be responsible for global warming, according to Tim Yeo, the MP who oversees British government policy on climate change.
The chairman of the Commons Energy and Climate Change committee said he accepts the earth’s temperature is increasing but said “natural phases” may be to blame.
Such a suggestion sits at odds with the scientific consensus. One recent survey of 12,000 academic papers on climate change found 97 per cent agree human activities are causing the planet to warm.
Mr Yeo, an environment minister under John Major, is one of the Conservative Party’s strongest advocates of radical action to cut carbon emissions. His comments are significant as he was one of the first senior figures to urge the party to take the issue of environmental change seriously.
He insisted such action is “prudent” given the threat climate change poses to living standards worldwide. But, he said, human action is merely a “possible cause”.
Asked on Tuesday night whether it was better to take action to mitigate the effects of climate change than to prevent it in the first place, he said: “The first thing to say is it does not represent any threat to the survival of the planet. None at all. The planet has survived much bigger changes than any climate change that is happening now.
He went on: “Although I think the evidence that the climate is changing is now overwhelming, the causes are not absolutely clear. There could be natural causes, natural phases that are taking place.”
“But there is at least a risk that the increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is a possible cause. We’ve just gone through the 400 parts per million [a measure of the atmospheric concentration of CO2] this year. I think a prudent policy would say if we can do things about that which are no-regrets polices like being efficient in the use of energy, looking at none-fossil fuel sources, I think that’s prudent to do so.”
Mr Yeo has previously spoken with great certainty about the science of climate change. He said in 2009: “A significant number of core Conservative voters – mostly among older people – are reluctant to accept the evidence. I don’t think they [doubting Tory MPs] will be a significant influence in the next parliament and will gradually diminish in the population.
“The dying gasps of the deniers will be put to bed. In five years time, no one will argue about a man-made contribution to climate change.”
Mr Yeo, who was speaking to an audience of energy industry representatives and diplomats at the Westminster Russia Forum, renewed his call for the Government to build a third runway at Heathrow. He said waiting for Sir Howard Davies’ report on aviation capacity which is due after the next election was a “ludicrous response to a clear national need.”
He said without better air links to east Asia, Europe risks becoming a “sort of third world backwater quite quickly.”
Asked about the comments this afternoon, Mr Yeo said: “It is possible there are natural causes as well, but my view has always been that – for twenty years – I have thought the scientific evidence has been very convincing. The strong probability is that it is man-made causes contributing to greenhouse gas concentrations.”
Britain’s families face more green tax pain as power stations carry on polluting: £300 a year bill for renewable energy by 2020
Britain’s power stations are still pumping out increasing amounts of greenhouse gases while families face a rise in taxes designed to cut emissions.
The escalation in pollution levels comes as the average household is being forced to contribute £112 in green taxes each year.
By the end of the decade, families will have to pay almost £300 a year to fund renewable energy, such as wind and nuclear, as well as insulating older homes. Both policies are being heavily promoted by the Government in a bid to cut the nation’s carbon dioxide gas emissions in order to meet stringent international targets.
But last year, the levels of the gas pumped out by Britain’s energy companies increased by 4 per cent compared to 2011, as the amount of coal burnt for power leapt up by a quarter. For each unit of energy, coal produces double the amount of carbon dioxide than gas or oil.
The UK is one of only four European countries that have increased pollution from power production, with only Malta doing worse. The other 23 EU nations managed to reduce emissions from power companies.
Carbon dioxide accounts for more than 80 per cent of Britain’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
With 40 per cent of emissions coming from the energy sector and only 15 per cent produced by households, critics say targeting families while increasing output from power stations is pointless.
Dr Lee Moroney of the Renewable Energy Foundation, which publishes energy data, said: ‘It is unreasonable that hard-pressed householders are being made to fund increasingly expensive and diverse energy policies which these latest figures show are clearly not working.’
The latest estimated emission figures were produced by Eurostat, the European Commission’s statistical arm, which found that across the EU, carbon dioxide output for energy use had gone down by 2.1 per cent.
A Eurostat spokesman said: ‘At the moment, the global price for hard coal is down and we see in the UK a huge increase in its use – 27 per cent compared to the previous year – while gas and oil use has fallen.’
Since 1990, there has been an overall decrease in UK carbon dioxide emissions of around 19 per cent.
In 2011, Britain delivered the biggest emissions cuts in the EU, reducing total greenhouse gas output by 40 million tons, a fall of 7 per cent.
Earlier this week, Energy Secretary Ed Davey said he will push for the EU to adopt the most stringent green targets in the world.
He said he would seek a legally binding target to cut collective greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 50 per cent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.
A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: ‘Cheaper coal relative to gas has resulted in a short-term increase in the amount of carbon emissions from UK power stations.
The amount of coal generation is expected to decline rapidly by 2020 as a result of our move to a low carbon economy.
‘Global gas prices have primarily been pushing up household energy bills – not green subsidies.
‘Investing in home-grown alternatives is the only sure-fire way of insulating our economy and bill-payers from international energy price volatility.
‘Our household energy-efficiency policies are more than offsetting the costs of clean energy investment. By 2020 the average household bill will be £166 lower than it would be if we were doing nothing.’
The BBC and its bias towards pro-immigration lobby: Report accuses ‘left-wing Corporation of downplaying violence by Islamists’
The BBC gives too much weight to pro-immigration voices and ‘almost totally ignores’ the negative social impact of multiculturalism, a new study has claimed.
The corporation suffers from left wing ‘groupthink’ that prevents its journalists from challenging institutional bias and results in pro-immigration ‘propaganda’, according to the research published yesterday.
It was also accused of ‘downplaying’ violence by Islamists while being happy to criticise Christianity and report on the activities of other violent extremists.
The report, by independent think-tank The New Culture Forum, looked at coverage by BBC news and current affairs programmes since 1997.
It comes as the BBC undertakes an ‘impartiality review’ by former ITV and Sky executive Stuart Prebble to see whether it gives ‘due weight’ to a full range of opinion on controversial topics, such as immigration.
The study’s author, Ed West, concluded: ‘In its coverage of the topic of immigration, the BBC has given overwhelmingly greater weight to pro-migration voices, even though they represent a minority – even elitist – viewpoint.
‘And in its coverage of the economic arguments for and against immigration, it has devoted somewhat more space to pro-migration voices.
‘In terms of the social costs, the BBC has almost totally ignored certain areas. The more awkward a subject is for polite society to deal with, the less coverage the BBC gives it.’
He added: ‘It would be no exaggeration to say that a foreigner who subscribed only to the BBC might visit this country and be blissfully unaware of many of the social problems associated with immigration.’
According to the study, it is ‘common practice’ for the BBC to give a platform to multiple pro-immigration spokesmen with no dissenting voices.
Mr West said: ‘Between 1997 and 2013, of the hundreds of immigration news reports that I have personally watched, listened to and read, in literally just a handful have anti-immigration voices not been outnumbered.’
The report was particularly scathing about a BBC Online article on ‘Migrant Myths’ published in 2002.
The article said the idea of the ‘scrounging, bogus asylum seeker’ was a ‘misconception’, while opponents of mass immigration were guilty of ‘racism, political opportunism, misinformation, media mischief-making and sheer cowardice’ as well as genuine concern.
Mr West said: ‘However laudable its intentions may be, a feature like this – which presents only one side of the argument – is propaganda.’
He said BBC bias was often unintentional or provoked by ‘basic decency’ and a desire to protect the underdog.
But he said by focussing on personalised, emotive cases of asylum seekers and immigration success stories, the BBC failed to cover the views of ‘working class natives’ or to ask awkward questions about the difficulties of integration.
Damagingly, in the wake of the Woolwich killing last week, the study accused the BBC of failing to report accurately on violence by Islamic fundamentalists.
It said: ‘In contrast to violence perpetrated by white-skinned extremists, the BBC tends to downplay any violent activity on the part of extremists.’
It added: ‘The BBC feels uncomfortable tackling Islamic extremism or aggression by minorities; it feels more at ease to see Muslims as victims of racism or Islamophobia.’
In 2010, the BBC’s then director general Mark Thompson accepted the corporation had once been guilty of a ‘massive’ Left-wing bias and admitted its coverage of immigration and Europe had been ‘weak’.
He said: ‘The BBC doesn’t always get it right. I think there are some areas, immigration, business and Europe where the BBC has historically been rather weak and rather nervous about letting that entire debate happen.
In 2007, a BBC Trust report into the BBC’s impartiality found the corporation had self-censored subjects it found unpalatable.
The BBC said coverage of immigration is ‘impartial and balanced’, but Trustees are carrying out a review to see if ‘due weight’ is given to a range of opinions on hot topics.
Machete attack horror: Muslim outrage in Lancashire
MACHETE wielding thugs have left two men with ‘serious injuries’ after attacking them in an Accrington barber’s shop.
The two victims had been inside the shop in Ormerod Street when four masked men carrying machetes and knives forced their way inside.
Detectives investigating the incident said the gang attacked the pair before forcing them into the street.
The thugs also attacked a parked car during the incident at midnight on Saturday.
Police said they were alerted to the incident after witnesses called an ambulance.
The victims both suffered deep wounds and had to be taken to hospital by paramedics.
One of the men, a 23-year-old man from Accrington sustained a serious head injury while, the other a 24-year-old man also from Accrington suffered a serious cut to his arm, police said.
Both men are being treated at the Royal Blackburn Hospital and their condition was yesterday described as ‘serious but not life threatening’.
Detectives investigating the incident are now urging anyone who witnessed the incident to come forward.
DI Claire Holbrook, of Eastern division’s public protect unit, said: “We are treating this incident extremely seriously.
“Despite the offenders wearing facial coverings we will endeavour to bring these extremely violent offenders to justice.
“I urge anyone with information about the attack to come forward and contact police.”
Extra police patrols have been launched in the area to try reassure residents. Police said they were looking for a gang of Asian [i.e. Pakistani] men in connection with the attack.
What if homophobia is also “natural”?
Most people I have talked to express an instinctive distaste for homosexuality — JR
If you’re like me, sometimes you are unlucky enough to watch an episode of Question Time that doesn’t feature Nigel Farage or David Starkey, and is therefore a festival of liberal banality. Last week’s programme, broadcast from Belfast, was one such: the only enlivening moment came when Ian Paisley (Jr) struggled to get beyond his remarks, made in 2007, that homosexuality “repulsed him”.
As I watched Paisley wriggle in his straitjacket of shame, I began to feel a tad uncomfortable. Because I, too, am a tiny bit homophobic. That is to say: when I see gay men kissing, I get a brief twinge of ewww – until my better liberal self takes over.
Before you beat me to death with rainbow flags, let me explain. I have homosexual friends (yes, this sounds like “I’m not a racist, but…”). One of my oldest friends is, indeed, a post-op transsexual. And I love my friends (platonically); I am therefore happy for them to have whatever kind of consenting adult sex they wish, and to marry with similar freedom.
I make this judgment not because I’m incredibly nice, but because I have a brain, and I’ve realised that homosexuality is genetic. Instinctive. It’s something people are born with. “Hating” gays for “being gay” is therefore like hating penguins for being flightless. Ludicrous.
Moreover, it’s quite probable that gayness extends some benefit to our species, as it is so persistent over time – and so common in virtually all species. Gibbons, for instance, like threesomes. Antelopes are prone to transvestism. Ducks are fond of lesbian orgies. American bison are bi-curious. Weasels are just completely kinkyboots. All this is true.
But if gayness is natural, why do I feel that brief, reflexive twinge of disgust when I see gay men kissing? Some would argue that I have been conditioned by society into accepting the norm of straightness, and my repulsion is therefore mere bigotry.
But what if it isn’t? What if homophobia is also “natural”?
Evolutionary psychologists have debated this point, and it is at least arguable that homophobia is unconscious – and inherited. And it’s not hard to see why such a reflex might have evolved: before the era of the test tube baby and artificial insemination, parents who happily tolerated gayness in their kids would be smiling on the extinction of their genes. Not good.
All of which presents us with a liberal paradox. If we’re going to extend equal right to homosexuals, because homosexuality is perfectly natural, we also need to extend equal rights to homophobes, for exactly the same reason. How we celebrate this rich diversity is a difficult issue, though. Perhaps both sides could have marches on their special days, through different parts of the same town? Ian Paisley Junior could help organise.