Sunday, August 25, 2013
"Diverse" care of the elderly in Britain
Two healthcare assistants who abused elderly female patients on the geriatric ward of a hospital were jailed today.
Akousa Sakyiwaa, 38, was convicted of four counts of ill-treatment and neglect of patients on Beech Ward at Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone, east London, between February and April last year.
Sharmila Gunda, 36, was found guilty of one count of neglect and one count of assault by beating an elderly patient in her care following a trial in June.
Sakyiwaa, of Leytonstone, was jailed for 12 months while Gunda, of Ilford, was given a five month prison sentence at London's Snaresbrook Crown Court.
Fellow healthcare assistant Annette Jackson, 33, of Hounslow, west London, was given a two month suspended sentence and ordered to complete 100 hours unpaid work after being convicted of one count of ill-treatment or neglect.
Delivering his sentence, Judge Timothy Lamb QC said the women's actions had 'damaged patient trust' in the NHS.
Addressing the defendants, Mr Lamb said: 'In short, by your offending you have let down your colleagues, you have damaged patient trust and you have undermined the quality of care for the elderly and vulnerable at Whipps Cross.'
The three women were charged following a Metropolitan Police inquiry into the hospital after a student nurse acted as a whistleblower.
The women would physically and verbally abuse patients, often telling them to shut up, as well as handling them in a rough and aggressive manner, police said.
Sakyiwaa, of Leytonstone, Jackson, of Hounslow; and Gunda, of Ilford, were responsible for looking after elderly female patients with various physical and mental conditions including dementia.
June Evans, who is wheelchair bound, was the only patient still alive or well enough to come to court to give evidence against them. The other patients are too ill or suffer from dementia.
In a statement read to the court, she said: 'Since the incident that took place last year I have completely lost trust in the health service. 'I lost faith in my GP, the ambulance service and hospitals in general.'
Ms Evans discharged herself from the hospital following the assault and was in a state of distress when she had to return to Whipps Cross for further treatment. 'I wanted to die,' she said. 'I thought why couldn't I have a heart attack and end it.'
Sakyiwaa was found guilty of holding a bed sheet over 87-year-old Joan Massett’s head and telling her she was dead.
She pushed Ms Massett’s breasts in another incident and forcefully twisted her mouth which was both 'demeaning and completely unnecessary'.
Sakyiwaa shouted at 88-year-old patient Elizabeth Toussaint to force her to sit in a chair and slapped Louise Hodges, 92, after cleaning her, the hearing was told.
Jackson was found guilty of one count of neglecting patient Barbara Jones, while Gunda was found guilty of one charge of neglect and one charge of assault by beating June Evans.
Jurors heard the healthcare assistants were arrested after a student nurse Lucy Brown whistleblew on them following a placement on the ward last Spring.
John McNally, prosecuting, said: 'The conduct complained of simply had no place on any ward. It cannot be justified.'
Snaresbrook Crown Court heard 92-year-old Lily Oliver was admitted to the ward on March 27, 2012, suffering from septic arthritis in her left knee.
Mr McNally told jurors: 'She was bed bound and extremely frail and it is the expert’s professional opinion that she suffered from dementia and wasn’t able to make her own decisions.
'During the time she was on Beech Ward she was under the care of Akousa Sakyiwaa. 'Lucy Brown described Akousa Sakyiwaa as being extremely rough with Lily Oliver.
'In the course of one encounter Lucy Brown noted that when Miss Oliver’s bandages were removed Miss Oliver said ‘mind my leg.’
'After that Akousa Sakyiwaa grabbed her left knee with both her hands and pushed it towards Lucy Brown.
'This caused her to scream in pain and turn pale before falling silent. That, we say, is what constitutes ill treatment for that count.'
Opening the case, Mr McNally said: 'The prosecution case is they variously ill treated patients either by positive actions towards them or by failing to look after them when they should have.
'The defendants worked on a geriatric ward and were trusted to provide the most basic tasks.
'There is little doubt some of these would have been unpleasant and that elderly and demented patients could be obstructive.
'However, this factor only serves to highlight the vulnerability of these patients and outline the fact that providing care professionally was the responsibility of each defendant.
'An entitlement for proper care should not be a matter of chance given at the whim of the carer.'
The court heard the ward has since closed down following a Metropolitan Police investigation into alleged abuse.
Barts Health NHS trust, which runs the hospital, apologised to patients following the verdicts and stressed it had a 'zero tolerance approach' to any form of neglect or ill-treatment.
In a statement, the trust said: 'We apologise unreservedly to the patients of Beech Ward and their families for the indefensible failings in their treatment during their time in our care.
'There can be no place under any circumstances for such behaviour in our trust or in the wider NHS.'
It added that following an internal disciplinary investigation all three women had their contracts of employment terminated. It added: 'We take a zero tolerance approach to any form of neglect or ill-treatment of our patients and applaud the student nurses who showed courage and integrity in raising the alarm.
'It is the duty of every member of staff to report such behaviour and we will actively encourage and support this through our whistleblowing policy which is made clear to all staff on day one of their employment with the Trust, with ongoing reminders to existing staff during regular statutory and mandatory training.
'Moreover, we will take action against any member of staff who turns a blind eye, or fails to take immediate and appropriate action, if they witness any form of abuse or negligence.'
Barts Health NHS Trust was issued with three formal warnings last week after inspectors found 'unsafe' conditions at Whipps Cross including filthy maternity wards and water placed out of the reach of elderly patients.
The trust had 'failed to protect the safety and welfare of patients' and must now make 'urgent improvements' following unannounced inspections in May and June, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said.
Following the sentencing, Detective Sergeant Tammy Dempsey, from the Met's Community Safety Unit in Waltham Forest, said: 'These three women had a responsibility for the welfare of those who were under their care.
'The public and families of these elderly patients have a right to expect that they will be treated with respect and looked after in an appropriate manner.
'Gunda, Jackson and Sakyiwaa let everyone down and it's right that they have been found guilty at court.
'I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who had the courage to come forward and report these offences and give their evidence in court.'
Black racist murders Australian sportsman
THE teenagers charged over the murder of Melbourne man Chris Lane will be isolated from one another and other inmates in an Oklahoma jail as long as they are there.
District Attorney Jason Hicks said yesterday that it could be months or longer before the three - James Edwards, 15, Chancey Luna, 16, and Michael Jones, 17 - would face trial. It was too early to say whether they would be tried separately or together. Their next hearings are in October.
It comes as Edwards, who has been charged with first-degree murder, posted racist tweets saying he hated white people in the months before the shooting.
Edwards posted statements on his Twitter feed including a comment on April 29 where he tweeted "90% of white ppl are nasty. #HATE THEM".
Edwards also weighed when George Zimmerman was acquitted over the death of Trayvon Martin.
"Ayeee I knocced out 5 woods since Zimmerman court!:) lol sh*t ima keep sleepin sh*t! #ayeeee."
"Woods" is derogatory slang for white people. The feed also contains tweets glorifying violence, guns and gangs.
More commentary here
ANOTHER SENSELESS MURDER YOU’RE NOT HEARING ABOUT
A young white male was walking to his car on a city street late at night on August 12 when he was confronted by a trio of black individuals. They shot him dead. Police have arrested three people and charged them with first degree murder. But some in the victim’s family can’t understand why the shooting is being called a failed robbery when they say the evidence suggests something possibly more sinister: a hate crime.
David Santucci, 27, had just started his new job as a nurse. According to his family, “he was an awesome guy…he wanted to be a missionary…he wanted to help people.”
The murder happened in Memphis, TN less than two weeks ago. Santucci was killed by a single 9mm shot through his heart. To its credit, the Memphis police department apprehended the suspects in less than fifteen minutes. Various reports say that all three suspects made statements that implicated them in Santucci’s murder. And they’re calling it a robbery gone wrong.
Miguel De Diago is one family member who doubts this killing was a failed robbery. He’s the the brother-in-law of David Santucci and told TheBlaze some stuff just doesn’t add up.
The first and foremost question in De Diago’s mind: If this was a robbery, why did his brother-in-law still have his wallet, car keys, and cell phone? Nothing was taken from him. And witnesses confirm that.
Since the killing, Miguel has worked tirelessly to track down the good Samaritans who rushed to the aid of his brother-in-law as he lay bleeding on the sidewalk. He managed to track down the first three to get to David’s side, Taneshia, Sharae and Brittany. Arriving first on the scene, Sharae tried to apply pressure to the wound in order to stop the bleeding. Brittany searched through David’s phone and tried to call a family member, and Taneshia held David Santucci’s hand and led them all in prayer.
In addition to the fact that Santucci was still in possession of his phone and wallet, Miguel says witnesses told police that the car drove past David, stopped and backed up. One of the suspects (Mario Patterson) got out of the car and walked toward Santucci, fired a shot and ran back to the car, jumping into the driver’s seat and speeding off. Miguel also says the police told him that the 9mm shell casing was found 10 feet from the body — an indication to him that the shooter was not at close range as would typically happen with a robbery.
Miguel told TheBlaze that he tracked the alleged shooter, Patterson through his Facebook account — an account now deleted. He said the page had numerous photos of Trayvon Martin, and he wondered if it’s possible the shooting was a revenge killing for the Zimmerman verdict.
So why call it a robbery? Miguel wonders if the killing is being labeled as such because of the neighborhood’s proximity to Beale Street, the biggest tourist attraction in downtown Memphis. (Elvis Presley’s family home of Graceland is a bit outside of town.) If Beale Street becomes riddled with crime and killings with no explanation, Memphis tourism could suffer considerably.
How to Survive as a Jew in antisemitic Sweden
Shut up and fade into the woodwork. 1930's Germany all over again
On April 26 of this year, I was on a train with my five-year-old son Charlie. We were on our way to spend shabbat with friends in the city. You see, our town, significant in the history of Swedish Jewry, shut its synagogue in the late 90s. All that remains now is a plaque stating that there was once Jewish life here, while we are left with an hour-long train ride every weekend to attend services.
My son was wearing his kippah as we got on the train. He loves his kippah. He is not yet old enough to know the dangers entailed in wearing it, for this is a fact from which I have tried to protect him. But April 26 would change all that.
There was a gentleman sitting in our reserved seat. An Arab, maybe fifty years old, listening to music. Apologizing for the inconvenience, I asked him politely for our seat. He got up, inspected my son, and then leaned over me, saying: You people always take what you want. You need to learn.
He then walked straight into my son, causing him to fall over, and took the seat behind us.
We sat. Hiding my trembling hands from my son’s sight, I picked up Shabbes for Kids and started to review the week’s Torah portion with him. We hadn’t progressed as far as a page before the man stood up and screamed: Quiet! I don’t want to hear that! You take what you want and never think of others! Shut up!
He stamped his feet, grunting and glaring at my son. Fighting tears of rage, I assured Charlie that the man was just grumpy and tried to turned the episode into a game, one that required us to remain super quiet for as long as possible. I even managed to coax a conspiratorial smile out of him.
But even this failed to appease our tormentor, who spent the rest of the trip repeatedly kicking the back of my son’s seat. At one point I glanced around our compartment: there were four other people there, four adults witnessing a single mother and her five-year-old child being attacked by a grown man. They did nothing. I tried forcing them to meet my gaze; but they just turned away, put on their headphones, stared at their screens, ignored what was happening in front of them.
I did not summon the railway police. I did not scream back at the man. I know better. I know that the only way to survive as a Jew in my country is not to be seen as one. Not to be exposed but to shut up and fade into the woodwork. I’ve known this for quite some time. Unfortunately, my son knows it now, too.
In your fascinating and informative article you mention that ritual slaughter, kosher as well as hallal, is under threat in Europe. Well, in Sweden kosher butchering was outlawed in 1937 and has been illegal ever since. The threat is not a threat but a reality—for me as, on a much graver scale, it had been for my grandparents, forced into hiding in a Sweden silently collaborating with the Nazis throughout the world war. The next threat on the horizon is a ban on even importing kosher products, compelling me and many of my friends to smuggle kosher meat from Israel on our return trips from that land.
By contrast, halal slaughter is not banned in Sweden. My government, when asked about the disparity, replies that the methods of slaughter in Judaism are uniquely barbaric.
“Barbaric” is also what I was called just this past June. As a political adviser to a Swedish party, I was debating the anti-circumcision bill that had just been proposed by another, right-wing party in our parliament, and things got heated. The bill called for a general ban on all circumcision unless medically prescribed, and it enjoyed much bipartisan support. During the debate, I outed myself as a Jew, only to be informed that what “we” were doing to our children was inhumane and barbaric, and should be summarily outlawed. I did my best to maintain my composure, but ended up crying in the courtyard—not for the first time, or for the last.
In your essay you mention that Jewish religious and cultural activities in Western Europe are everywhere on the rise. This, too, is not my reality. What I see is that the Holocaust wing at the Jewish Museum is crowded with visitors, while the synagogues are empty. I see cute Woody Allen-ish activities being promoted, and actual Jewish life being banned. The dead, suffering Jew is glorified; the healthy, active Jew is vilified.
There are 20,000 Jews in Sweden, a country of close to nine million. As for Muslim immigrants and their children, they, as you point out in your article, amount to 10 percent or more of the population: perhaps as many as a million people, fifty times the number of Jews. Still, I would not say that demography is the only threat to Jewish life in Western Europe, and maybe not even the biggest one. What frightens me most is that my government is proscribing Jewish life. Yes, by outlawing circumcision, banning kosher slaughter, and telling us forthrightly that the only way to avoid being harassed in the streets is to distance ourselves from Israel, they are reinventing the conditions of the Eastern Europe past that brought our community to this country in the first place. This is what is driving us out: one by one, bill by bill.
In the “Comments” section following your essay, I noticed a debate among readers over the perceived harshness of your article. I am writing to you because I do not believe it was harsh enough. I value Jewish thought, but I crave Jewish action. More than I need eloquent eulogies, I need people—the same people who so passionately debate our future in Mosaic and elsewhere—to help me fight.
We in Sweden are still here, but we are feeling lonely and forgotten. We want a strong Jewish community in the Diaspora. We want to live. We are fighting every day against the pressure to turn us into plaques on the wall of former synagogues or into exhibits in guilt-wallowing museums. We need the help of our kinsmen.
My son no longer wears his kippah in public. Now he does what the men at my shul have done for years. He carries it in his pocket, donning it only when we are safely within the iron gates. Guarded and hidden from the world.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.