Policeman who had his leg amputated after waiting 13 hours to be seen in A&E to receive £600,000 compensation
An award-winning police officer is in line for a £600,000 compensation payout after doctors delayed his treatment for so long they were forced to amputate his leg.
Dennis Stewart, 52, who was undergoing treatment for a rare form of nasal cancer, was left waiting for 13 hours in A&E when he was rushed into hospital with a blood clot in his left leg.
Doctors at Nottingham City Hospital originally dismissed the pain as cramp on December 30, 2010. But he was rushed back to the same hospital the following day after waking up in the middle of the night in agonising pain.
Despite discovering tell-tale signs of a dangerous clot, Mr Stewart was forced to wait for over half a day for an ambulance to transfer him to Queen’s Medical Centre – just four miles away.
Because of the delay, specialists were unable to save his limb despite an operation – putting to an end his 20-year career as a policeman.
He is now in line to receive a £600,000 compensation payout after Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust admitted that the delay in his treatment was unacceptable.
The former PC, from Nottingham, said: ‘I waited far too long to see a doctor and I’ve paid my price. ‘I don’t want to criticise any doctors or nurses. They work hard – it’s the system which doesn’t work.
‘On the day it happened I woke up in the middle of the night with such searing pain in my leg that I called a friend and got them to take me to Nottingham City Hospital. ‘I was there by 3.30am. Eventually they told me a specialist would have to come from another hospital to see my leg.
‘The, at about 1pm, a nurse said she would get an ambulance for me to transfer me to the Queen’s Medical Centre. ‘But it wasn’t until around 5pm that they eventually brought the ambulance – I was in agony.
‘They rushed me into theatre once I got there – but I had lost all feeling and movement in my toes by then. ‘After the operation, when I first looked at my leg they told me I might be shocked.
‘I’ve seen murders and suicides as a policeman and when I looked down and it did not look like a leg. ‘They amputated the next day – I was devastated.’
It later emerged that the blood clot had formed while Mr Stewart was undergoing treatment for a rare form of nasal cancer which had developed behind his left eye.
During his 21-year career he was twice commended for persuading a suicidal man not to throw himself off a multi-storey car park and for stopping thieves during a post-office raid.
In 2011, Mr Stewart was presented with a lifetime achievement award after returning to work following the amputation.
Mr Stewart’s lawyer said that the ‘tragic’ situation could have been easily avoided if the right procedures had been in place
His solicitors have told him to expect a total payment of up to £617,000 after the Trust admitted partial liability.
Mr Stewart added: ‘Firstly I want to get a new leg, the money is for my quality of life; I need to make that as good as possible.
‘I don’t mind the cancer, but it would have been a lot easier to deal with if I had my leg. ‘I miss my salsa dancing, I miss my karate. Now I want to get a bungalow I can walk around easier and go and see the world.
‘I just want the NHS to sort it out and make sure it never happens again.’
James Bell, a clinical negligence lawyer representing Mr Stewart, said: ‘Dennis’ tragic situation is one that could have been so easily avoided were the right procedures in place. ‘He should never have lost his leg.
‘This case is not about bashing the NHS, but ensuring that Dennis receives justice and is able to enjoy the best quality of life.’
Dr Stephen Fowlie, medical director at Nottingham University Hospitals, yesterday apologised for the error. He said: ‘We are very sorry Mr Stewart’s treatment was delayed, with such distressing consequences. ‘We hope to reach a final settlement as soon as possible.’
Overstretched A&Es turning away ambulances: ‘Diversions’ to other hospitals happened 357 times over the past year
Overstretched hospitals had to close their A&E departments to ambulances hundreds of times last year as the crisis in the NHS deepens. Ambulances were turned away and sent to other hospitals no fewer than 357 times in 2012/13 – up almost a quarter on the previous year.
The alarming figures, uncovered by Labour, show that on average over the past year, one casualty department had to close its doors every single day.
Extra delays can increase the risk that patients inside could deteriorate before medical help is received.
The most recent example was on Bank Holiday Monday, when the Royal Liverpool Hospital had to divert patients to Fazakerley Hospital and Whiston Hospital for periods during both the morning and afternoon. Even when it reopened, ambulances had to queue and patients faced long delays.
The figures come amid growing concerns over emergency and out-of-hours care.
Last week the Daily Mail revealed that 50 beds a week have closed in NHS hospitals since the election – piling extra pressure on A&E departments.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt last week blamed GPs for the overcrowding in England’s casualty wards – saying it was too hard to get an appointment to see them, meaning many have no choice but to turn up at A&E.
In addition, more than nine in 10 GPs opted out of responsibility for their patients out of hours in 2004 despite taking advantage of a huge pay rise as part of a botched contract.
Replacement out of hours services proved inadequate in many areas – meaning patients have to go to casualty.
Andy Burnham, Labour’s health spokesman, demanded a moratorium on the closure of casualty units across the country in light of the latest alarming figures.
‘A&Es across the country are in crisis and the pressure shows no sign of abating,’ he said.
‘Today we have yet more evidence that the situation has deteriorated significantly on this Government’s watch, with ambulance diverts up by a quarter in the last year.
‘This is a crisis of their own making. Instead of casting round for others to blame, David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt need to accept responsibility and develop an urgent plan to relieve the pressure.’
Labour obtained the figures on A&E ‘diverts’ from the House of Commons Library. These diverts are where a department has to temporarily close because they lack the physical space or staff capacity to deal with any additional patients.
In 2011/12 there were 287 such occasions when hospitals reached capacity and were unable to cope with new ambulances. A year later this had risen by 24 per cent to 357.
Over recent weeks, hospitals in London have been forced to turn ambulances away.
They include Queens, Newham and King George’s hospitals in east London, Whipps Cross and Northwick Park hospitals in north London, and the Princess Royal and Lewisham hospitals in south London.
The diversions occurred either when the ambulance was on the journey to hospital or in some cases after they have arrived. This wastes time for patients with emergency conditions before they can receive emergency care.
Now Liverpool has been added to the list.
John Heyworth, president of the College of Emergency Medicine, the body which represents A&E doctors, said: ‘The emergency department is the point in the system where the pressures of ever increasing demand and finite hospital capacity collide.
‘This leads to crowding in emergency departments and ambulance diversions. This is frustrating for our patients and difficult for clinicians to provide the prompt high quality care our patients expect and deserve.
‘Urgent action is both required and overdue to provide an emergency care system responsive to our patients’ needs.’
Labour is today holding an ‘emergency A&E summit’ to hear directly from staff about the pressures they face on a day-to-day basis.
Mr Burnham called on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to suspend all ongoing A&E closure proposals pending a personal review of the latest evdience.
‘The facts on the ground are changing fast and call into question the wisdom and safety of closing so many A&Es across England,’ he said.
‘If convincing evidence can be produced to show lives can be saved by closing A&Es, Labour will not oppose them.
‘But, as the pressure builds, the case is changing and the Health Secretary must err on the side of caution. The onus is on him to produce convincing evidence or drop these plans.’
He added: ‘Labour will present practical proposals to the Health Secretary which could help staff at the front line.
‘David Cameron and his Health Secretary have been caught out looking for scapegoats rather than finding solutions. They must cut the spin and get a grip without delay.’
When a divert is put in place, ambulances are told to take people elsewhere, although life-threatening cases are still accepted at the original hospital.
Official Department of Health guidance say they should only happen in exceptional circumstances.
‘Diversion of patients as a result of lack of physical or staff capacity to deal with attendances or admissions should be an action of last resort,’ it says.
Last night a government spokesman said: ‘The NHS is currently meeting the 4hr A&E waiting time target.
‘However, we know that over the past few years A&E has been put under increasing pressure because of rising demand.
‘That is why this government is looking at how we address the long term problems facing A&E, something the Labour Party failed to do while they were in office.’
Two in three British pupils fear university costs: They worry about living expenses and not being able to earn while studying
Two-thirds of children are worried about the cost of going to university even though they think it will help them ‘get on in life’, a new survey has revealed.
They are concerned about living expenses and not being able to earn while they study while those from middle-class backgrounds are most troubled by £9,000-a-year tuition fees.
The Ipsos MORI poll for the Sutton Trust surveyed 2,595 11 to 16-year-olds.
It classified them as being in families of high, medium or low affluence based on questions about their households.
It found that students from the least affluent families (23 per cent) were more likely to cite cost as the biggest consideration when deciding whether to go onto higher education than their richer counterparts (14 per cent).
However, middle-class youngsters – who miss out on means tested maintenance grants – are most affected by tuition fees (30 per cent) when worrying about all the costs.
This compared to 28 per cent of rich students and 26 per cent of poorer ones who agreed that fees were the ‘biggest concern’.
Overall, 65 per cent of students surveyed were worried about university finances – 28 per cent cited tuition fees; 19 per cent, the cost of living and 18 per cent, not earning while studying.
Only seven per cent said they were not troubled by the cost of going to university.
Thirty eight per cent of young people said they were ‘very likely’ to go to university and 43 per cent ‘fairly likely’.
A higher proportion of black and minority ethnic students (49 per cent) said they were likely to go to university than white students (35 per cent).
Of those who were unlikely to go into higher education, 57 per cent cited financial considerations and 49 per cent said they would prefer to do something more practical.
However 86 per cent said going to university was important in ‘helping people do well and get on in life’, with 43 per cent rating it ‘very important’.
Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust and the Education Endowment Foundation, said: ‘It is clear from this poll that many young people remain worried about the cost of higher education.
‘Graduates face debts of over £40,000 with the higher fees and many will be paying for their university studies into their fifties.
‘We are urging the Government to means test university fees, as used to be the case, so that those from low and middle income families pay less for tuition.’
Means-testing ended in 2006 when variable fees of up to £3,000-a-year were introduced.
Those with household incomes below £42,611 can currently apply for means-tested maintenance grants.
Michael MacNeil, head of higher education at the University and College Union (UCU), said: ‘We need our brightest young people aspiring to university and the courses best suited to their talents. Worryingly the biggest barrier is the increased cost of a degree.
‘Ministers need to move on from looking at how to squeeze more money out of students and look at the damage the increased cost of going to university is already having.’
Analysis: Losing the ‘right to reside test’ could cost the UK economy up to £2bn a year, as EU says it ‘discriminates against migrants’
The row over benefits centres on two of the most explosive issues in British politics: welfare and immigration.
In 1994, the then Tory government introduced a so-called ‘habitual residence’ test to limit the number of state hand-outs available to migrants.
It stated that, in order to qualify for means-tested support, a person must have a job, be self-employed, a student, actively seeking work or have enough funds to support themselves.
This test, which was applied to UK nationals, was considered by Brussels to comply with EU rules on free movement.
The controversy centres on a second rule, called the ‘right to reside test’, introduced by Labour in 2004 to prevent benefit tourism when the EU expanded to eastern Europe in 2004.
It states that the economically inactive, who are neither in work nor seeking work, must be self-sufficient if they want to live in the UK. They are banned from receiving income support, income-related employment and support allowance, income-related jobseekers allowance, pension credit, housing benefit and child benefit.
The EU says the rules are discriminatory and therefore illegal because British citizens automatically pass the right to reside test.
The cost to the UK taxpayer of lifting the controls is hard to quantify as it depends how many jobless migrants will move here specifically to claim benefits. However, ministers consider the worst case scenario to be £2billion. Even if no new migrants arrive, the bill for lifting restrictions on those already here will be £155million a year.
The political ramifications of the EU’s decision to drag Britain to court could be huge.
If Strasbourg judges find against the British Government, it will be stripping Westminster of the right to control both our borders and access to the welfare state, encroaching into areas that are historically supposed to be off-limits.
Unelected officials will be trampling over the express wishes of our elected politicians and more of Britain’s sovereignty will be lost.
The verdict is due to be delivered in 2015. This could have a huge impact on the General Election campaign. The Tories will have a stark choice: promise to defy the EU, which has the power to fine us £225million a year until we comply, or risk seeing more votes haemorrhage away to UKIP.
Britain’s coldest spring for half a century!
For those still donning jumpers and switching on the central heating, it will hardly come as surprise news. The spring of 2013 has officially been the coldest for more than 50 years.
Following a harsh winter, March, April and May have all been chillier than normal.
The average spring temperature has been almost two degrees lower than average at just 6C (43F), the Met Office says. That makes it the coldest spring since 1962 and the fifth coldest on record.
However, the last day of spring today will buck that trend, as parts of Britain could enjoy their hottest day of the year so far.
‘Today is going to be pretty warm, with many places seeing temperatures in excess of 20C (68F), particularly in the south,’ said Met Office forecaster Dan Williams.
‘There is even a chance we may see the warmest day of the year, with the potential for temperatures to reach 23C (73.5F) in London.
This spring bucked a recent trend that saw eight of the past ten warmer than the 7.7C (46F) long-term average.
An exceptionally chilly March – the second coldest on record – was followed by a slightly cooler than normal April and May.
Although May has been wetter than average – and saw snow as far south as Devon – spring as a whole was drier than normal, with 8 per cent less rain. But it was not as dry as the springs of 2010 and 2011, which contributed to drought fears in early 2012 – only for floods later in the year.
The Met Office said cold air being drawn to the UK from the Arctic and northern Europe was mostly to blame for the chilly spring.
“Multicultural” Britain is a different place
Ricardo Miles, 21, Daniel Ikumelo, 23, and Adebola Alimi, 22, cycled through the streets of Hackney, east London, armed with a gun searching for enemies in a gangland feud.
When an unmarked police car pulled up alongside the trio, Miles turned and fired the .45 revolver at the officers. Fortunately the bullet hit the ground in front of the vehicle.
The gang members, including Adebola Alimi (pictured) were cycling through the streets of Hackney, east London, when the incident took place
Miles then tried to fire again, but the weapon jammed and he pointed it threateningly at officers as they sped off. They abandoned their bikes and threw away the weapon before fleeing over a footbridge on January 10 last year.
Miles, from Enfield, Ikumelo, from Islington and Alimi, from Hackney, are facing years behind bars after they were convicted of possessing a colt calibre revolver with the intent to endanger life, possessing ammunition and possessing a knife after a trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court. They were remanded in custody ahead of sentence on July 5.
All three had denied involvement, claiming they were not at the scene of the shooting.
The court heard the trio, members of Hackney’s Certified Southwold Road gang, had been looking for rivals from the Gilpin Square gang.
PC Richard Gilbert spotted the group acting suspiciously at around 11.30pm and approached them in the unmarked police care with another officer in the passenger seat.
‘They were all fiddling with their waists, and I assumed they were going to drop something, or hide something, which is often the case,’ he said.
‘As they were doing that the male in the white produced a handgun and fired a shot towards us into the ground. There was a loud bang, a flash and then sparks just in front of the car where we were.
‘I put the vehicle in reverse and tried to put some distance between us and the males in question. The male in white continued to point the gun towards us over his shoulder as they cycled away.’
Jurors were played CCTV of the three males firing at the car from only metres away in Mandeville Street, Homerton before fleeing over a footbridge towards Hackney Marshes.
They also dropped a knife at the scene, less than half a mile from the Olympic Park, the court heard.
Prosecutor Julian Jones said: ‘These defendants were riding out into the Gilpin Square territory with the intention to endanger the lives of rival gang members.’
They were arrested in May 2012 after a long police investigation.
Jurors were read Blackberry phone messages between the defendants in the days after the incident saying they were ‘on the run’ because of ‘madness’. The messages mentioned someone taking ‘a burst at the feds’, slang for shooting at police officers.
There was another message sent a day after the incident from Ikumelo, to Miles, the shooter, saying ‘if you have a picture of the whistle (gun) delete them all now.’
In 2010 Miles and Ikumelo were given suspended sentences for affray after two fighting dogs were let loose in a train carriage packed with commuters at Stamford Hill station following a fight between rival gangs.
Detective Inspector Neil Bradburn, from Trident North East Shootings Team, said: ‘Today’s result is the culmination of a great deal of hard work by Trident which has lead to the conviction of three dangerous offenders.
‘More than 1,000 London gang members are now either locked up or subject to legal restrictions as a result of activity by the Met’s Trident Gang Crime Command.
‘This investigation clearly demonstrates that tackling gang-related violence remains a key priority for The Met and we will continue to target and convict those who choose to carry weapons and cause harm in London’s communities.’
Shoplifters and burglars get the right to work in schools and care homes in Britain
Burglars, shoplifters and violent thugs will be free to work in schools, care homes and hospitals under rules which come into force today.
Thousands of criminals will have their records in effect wiped clean after as little as two years – meaning they will be hidden from prospective employers.
The changes to the criminal records regime follows a human rights ruling in January.
Details about which criminals will be affected by the ruling emerged last night.
Under existing rules anyone wanting to work with children or vulnerable adults must disclose any previous convictions or cautions – which stay on their records indefinitely.
But the Court of Appeal judgment said that requiring some minor offences to be disclosed was a breach of an individual’s right to a private and family life.
Yesterday the Home Office announced which offences would be expunged and which would remain on people’s records when they face an enhanced criminal records check.
Anyone with a conviction or caution for burglary, shoplifting or common assault will see it removed after a set period of time – as long as they were not jailed for the offence or committed any further crimes.
Adult offenders will see convictions cleared after 11 years, and cautions after six years.
Young offenders will have no visible conviction record after five and a half years, and no caution record after two years.
All serious sexual and violent crimes and all terrorism offences will remain on records indefinitely.
Critics said the rules were a ‘slap in the face for victims’ and would allow potentially serious offenders to get into sensitive jobs.
Peter Cuthbertson, chief executive of the Centre for Crime Prevention think-tank, said: ‘Treating burglary as a minor offence is a callous insult to victims. Many people who are burgled lose treasured gifts and never feel safe again in their own homes.
‘Already many victims see burglars avoiding prison and receiving community sentences that don’t protect the public. To let those burglars have their criminal records wiped clean would be another slap in the face for victims.
‘If the Government wants to make this scheme workable and fair, they should ensure burglary always means a prison sentence so that no burglars will benefit.’
The changes to the Disclosure and Barring Service – which has replaced the Criminal Records Bureau – come into force today.
The appeal judges found in favour of a woman blocked from taking a job in a care home eight years after she was handed a police caution for theft from a shop in Sheffield.
The Master of the Rolls, Lord Dyson, said the decision to bar her from the job had breached her human rights under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.
The verdict also included the case of a 17-year-old who failed to get a job at a sports club because he had to disclose a police warning he had received for theft when he was 11.
The judgment was condemned at the time for eroding the ability of politicians to ‘protect the vulnerable’.
Ministers have been given permission to appeal the judgment to the Supreme Court, and the case is likely to be heard in July.
The rules are being changed despite the appeal because of fears of legal action and demands for compensation. It is also feared that the original judgment raises much wider questions about the entire criminal records regime and when it can be used.
Civil liberties and privacy groups have backed the changes.
Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said: ‘This is a victory for common sense and a long overdue change to a system that was ruining people’s lives.’
A government spokesman said: ‘This new system of checks strikes a balance between ensuring children and vulnerable groups are protected and making sure minor offences from the past do not make it difficult for people to get on with their chosen career.’
Scottish Olympic cyclist abused by Scottish nationalists
Olympic legend Sir Chris Hoy has been subjected to offensive abuse from nationalist campaigners after he raised concerns about Scottish independence.
The Scottish cycling hero was branded a ‘bigoted anti-Scot’, a ‘t*****’, a ‘creep’ and an ‘imbecile’ by the online army of so-called ‘CyberNats’.
The disgraceful remarks have sparked fury, with a UK minister calling on Alex Salmond to take action amid fears of ‘lasting damage to damage Scotland’s reputation’.
Sir Chris has won legions of fans across the globe with his passion and professionalism on the track. But Britain’s greatest ever Olympian became an enemy for the CyberNats after he warned that Scottish athletes will find it harder to challenge on the world stage if the country becomes independent.
Last night, Scotland Office Minister David Mundell said: ‘The negative and personal tone of the attacks on Sir Chris is shameful and casts the referendum debate in a poor light.
‘I believe it would be helpful if the First Minister and the Scottish Government were explicit in their condemnation of those trying to shout down the views of Sir Chris and others. The debate on our future must be open to all.’
A lot of Scottish nationalism does seem to be anti-English hatred. Some wars of long ago have not been forgotten