Wednesday, August 06, 2014

A series of multicultural doctors killed a little English boy

Clearly, they just couldn't be bothered to treat him properly

A doctor sent a 19-month-old boy home from hospital three days before he died of dehydration and kidney failure, a tribunal heard today.

Baby Harry Connelly was admitted to Northampton General Hospital suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea on April 28, 2011.

But despite the concerns of his mother Lucy, paediatrician Dr Tasnim Arif failed to weigh Harry, take blood tests or properly assess the baby’s condition before sending them home, it is alleged.

Little Harry was found dead in his cot by his father Raymond three days later in the early hours of May 1, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service heard.

At an inquest in 2012 Coroner Anne Pember catalogued a series of ‘failings’ by doctors and nurses at the hospital and a GP’s out-of-hours service.

Dr Arif is now facing a fitness to practise hearing in Manchester accused of allowing her care of Harry to fall ‘seriously below’ what was expected.

Opening the case, Simon Phillips QC, for the General Medical Council, explained how Harry fell ill at his home on April 23 2011 and was referred to the hospital by the family GP three days later.

The boy was examined by paediatrician Dr Farhana Shamim, who said he was not dehydrated, but recommended that he be given Dioralyte, a rehydration treatment to boost salt and sugar levels.

He was discharged the following morning by Dr Ayevbekpen Omorgie, who said the parents could have a ‘48-hour open access’ to the ward, meaning he would not need a referral to be seen again.

At around 3.30pm on 28 April Harry was brought back to hospital by his mother after his parents felt his condition had deteriorated

Mr Phillips said: ‘The clinical treatment provided by Dr Arif to Harry Connelly on this date is the focus of attention in relation to this fitness to practise hearing.’

It is alleged that the doctor failed to fully record that Harry was still passing blood in his stool, that he had not eaten for five days or that he was lethargic, as Mrs Connelly had told her.

Dr Arif, who was then a fourth-year specialist trainee paediatric registrar, has admitted that she failed to record how often Harry was passing stool and vomiting and did not ask for further clarity on the subject.

The medic also confessed to not comparing his current weight to his weight when he was previously discharged on April 27.

But she denies failing to adequately assess or record a number of clinical features when assessing the baby’s hydration status, including the overall summary of ‘well hydrated’ or ‘not well hydrated’.

Dr Arif is further accused of failing to arrange a longer assessment period, not arranging the duty consultant to review Harry’s clinical status and failing to arrange for blood tests, as the consultant had asked.

The panel heard that Dr Arif did not think Harry was dehydrated before she discharged him at around 5.45pm on the afternoon of 28 April.

The next day Harry’s condition had deteriorated again, to such an extent that his parents described him as ‘lifeless’.

Grandmother Val Faulkner rang the hospital, but was told by a nurse they should take the toddler to their GP or accident and emergency.

After phoning the GP out-of-hours service, the family spoke to Dr Mary McCracken who said they should bring him in to the out-of-hours service as he may be suffering from dehydration.

At the out of hours service, Harry was examined by Dr Aboo Thamby who assessed that he was not dehydrated and did not need to be readmitted.

By 30 April Harry’s parents reported that he was ‘brighter’ but his fingers and toes were very cold.

‘Very sadly Harry Connolly died at home in the early hours of 1 May 2011,’ Mr Phillips said.

He added: ‘The GMC’s position is that Dr Arif should have exercised a greater degree of caution when deciding the appropriate course of action towards Harry Connelly and when discharging him.

‘In regard to the care provided at the time, the GMC’s position is that the standard of care provided by Dr Arif fell seriously below that expected of a registrar.’

It is alleged that the doctor’s actions and omissions amounted to professional misconduct.

Dr Arif spoke only to confirm her name and GMC registration number at today’s hearing, but her representative Andrew Hockton made several factual admissions on her behalf.

If the three-person panel finds against her she could face sanctions including restrictions on her practise, suspension or being struck off the medical register.


Let Boys Be Boys this Summer

Ah, summer. What a great time for boys to read "The Dangerous Book for Boys."

First released in the U.K. in 2006 and the U.S. in 2007, the book is filled with useful information on how to make knots in a rope, build a go-kart or treehouse, create a working bow and arrow, and engineer a proper water bomb.

The book is also filled with stories of famous historical battles, information about dinosaurs, the moon and the Declaration of Independence, and other interesting tidbits, such as how to play marbles and chess, make invisible ink and create spy codes.

The book has sold well in both the U.K. and the U.S. for a variety of reasons - most of all because it celebrates boyhood and couldn't care less about being politically correct. It celebrates the fact that boys, unlike girls, generally like to go out in the mud and play, build things with their own hands and allow nature to unleash their imagination and all five of their senses.

"I think we've come through the period when we said boys and girls were exactly the same, because they're not," author Conn Iggulden told The Associated Press. "Boys and girls have different interests, different ways of learning, and there's no real problem in writing a book that plays to that, and says, let's celebrate it. Let's go for a book that will appeal to boys."

"Hear, hear!" to that.

We have in our population too many males, now in their 20s or 30s, who were not permitted to be boys this way when they were lads.

Such young men were persuaded to shun the ways of their fathers and grandfathers - men who were short on words and long on action, and never fretted over feelings, roughage or good prostate health.

But in the past three decades, the traditional American male has been under attack. He has been called closed-minded, archaic and sexist. Thus, modern boys are pressured to show their feelings.

Today, the landscape is polluted with sensitive "New Age" 20- and 30-year-olds. Touchy-feely fellows with soft voices and caring eyes. Fellows who mist up at bridal showers and clap heartily the first time their sons use the commode for "No. 2."

It's not their fault entirely. Many of them were forbidden to go outside to play, learn, invent and discover. They were held captive inside their homes, where they got fat off of snack foods as they played on computers under the careful watch of adults.

It's not their fault they were given unusual, soft names intended to celebrate their specialness. One is hard-pressed to find a Tom, Mike, Jim or Joe under 40 these days.

It's not their fault some had moms who dressed them up in color-coordinated knickers, suspenders and saddle shoes - and dads afraid to say what every good father must say in such a situation: "No son of mine is going to wear any damn knickers!"

But we can correct these wrongs. We can start by encouraging boys to do boy things as boys have done through summer months ever since boys have existed.

Here's a good start: Let nature unleash their imagination and senses this summer.

When boys are free to catch crayfish, build ramps to jump their bikes and conduct any of dozens of other enjoyable activities outlined in "The Dangerous Book for Boys," they will blossom into fine young men who will not attend bridal or baby showers and will leave it to others to clap when Junior succeeds on the commode.


You May Be Shocked by Who Asked If ‘Social Media Made Us Bigger A**holes?’

Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time,” is certainly no stranger to vigorous skewering of many individuals and groups he disagrees with.

So it may come as a surprise that Maher posed this question on Friday’s episode: “Do you think that the social media made us bigger assholes, or we were bigger assholes and it just exposed us as being that?”

Maher was conversing with Chris Hardwick, host of “@midnight” on Comedy Central, and noted that he believes the Internet has exacerbated political correctness by fostering those who “lay in wait” online to attack those they disagree with and then “pat themselves on the back” for doing so.

Hardwick offered a reasoned response, noting that the Internet is often a bad place for gauging emotion.

He also said that seeking to understand those we disagree online is a best first course before getting into cyber battles.


Political Correctness Gone Rampant: Use These 3 Communications Tips To Survive

It’s an epidemic. The seemingly innocuous statements executives make on the stage or in social media get blown to the sky by outraged listeners, and press and reputation nightmares are born.

For example, Brent Musburger, one of the most widely recognized voices in sports, was raked over the proverbial coals last year for remarking during a close-up shot of Miss Alabama (a friend of the Atlanta team’s quarterback) how quarterbacks seem to “get all the good-looking women.” Mayhem ensued.

Phil Mickelson, golf legend, remarked that he was thinking of moving away from California due the “increasingly heavy tax burden there.”  The comment created a firestorm, as Mickelson is obviously a person of means. (But when Tiger Woods was asked about the remarks he shrugged in empathy, acknowledging that he, himself, had already moved to a lower tax state.)

Forbes contributor Dr. Mark W. Fredrickson pegs the political correctness war as partisanship, writ large: “As the left aggressively pursues its agenda, they are eager to denounce, discredit, hound, harass, vilify, abuse, and make life difficult for anyone who dares to contradict their catechism,” he says.

But is political correctness really so simple? And how far should organizations and executives go in their attempts to never offend?

Sports teams are being renamed to avoid offending Native American tribes. A U.S. university has reclassified its freshman class as “first-year students” to avoid any possibilities of affiliation with gender. Some schools are referring to Easter Eggs as “Springtime spheres” and are eliminating Halloween altogether for fear of the possible suggestion of underlying religious themes.

One of the latest PC frenzies surrounds a recent video “The Best First Date” about a father and his toddler age daughter going on a daddy daughter date. It’s a sweet and touching video to many, but a surprising number of viewers are flaming the segment as disgusting and creepy, and even calling the father a pedophile and abuser (as he sips from a Disney princess mug and enjoys a PB sandwich with his little girl).

Says my friend and frequent collaborator, integrity expert Dr. David Gruder: “What does it say about our society that the media would even suggest that people should think this is creepy? To me it says that people have not learned to recognize the underlying intentions behind behaviors. Their focus is only on whether they think a behavior should be labeled as right or wrong.”

“If there were even an ounce of sexual energy coming from the dad or his little girl in this video I believe virtually anyone who watched would be repulsed, and rightly so,” he continues. “But this is a father embodying fatherly love in a way that’s developmentally appropriate (through play). He is demonstrating for his daughter the loving kindness she should require of those she lets close to her, as healthy parenting.”

“That so many can’t distinguish between intentions that express parenting and those that express perpetration is a painful testament to how emotionally illiterate the ‘political correctness’ movement has become,” Gruder concludes. (As an aside he notes that conservatives are as guilty of PC character bashing as liberals in his estimation and he finds the activity equally reprehensible on either side of the scale.)

In an essay from the Conflict Information Consortium called “Escalation Limiting Language,” author Jennifer Akin points to the ways language and communication can purposely quell a PC conflict or can further inflame it. “A wrong word or a misconstrued meaning in the midst of a conflict is like gasoline on a flame,” she observes.  In the category of “no truer words were ever spoken” she notes “An immense amount of embarrassment and pain could probably be avoided if everyone paused before speaking, heeding the advice to ‘think before we speak’.”

Amen to that statement.

Some behavior is easy to classify as “looking for trouble.” For example, Utah was scandalized about a decade ago by the story of a conservative 41-year-old bank CFO who was emerging after hours in leather pants and a silver Porsche with the license plate “Ecstasy” to throw parties behind the security gates of his palatial residence. The story ended in arrest for methamphetamine possession and child endangerment when a frantic 911 call revealed his 19-year-old girlfriend naked and passed out in his bed during a party in which his 15-year-old daughter was also found passed out in the home.

It was a story that seemed to beg for bad press. Yet some blamed the media for inflaming the situation further, for bad acts such as including the exec’s middle name “Moroni” in coverage (a name that is prominent in Mormon culture and appeared to gratuitously exaggerate the “Jekyll and Hyde” story still more.) The press insisted the inclusion of middle names was standard practice. Regardless, it was a terrible story by anyone’s terms that became a PR nightmare for the organization as well as for the executive himself.

There are some executives, in the way they express themselves, who are clearly looking for fights (just as there are an increasing number of PC vigilantes who are loaded for battle).

We can learn to speak more carefully. In Akin’s essay, she notes that in some cases, all an angry listener is looking for is to feel that they’ve been properly heard.

Author Suzette Elgin (The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense at Work) notes in Akin’s article that offense is in the ear of the hearer, and that we can learn to be more sensitive to what the words we choose may mean to others. For example, some people may be angered to be referred to as “Oriental” instead of “Asian.” Some words are inherently accusatory, such as “spendthrift” and “profligate” instead of merely pointing to the black and white fact of an unbalanced budget.

Elgin also notes that how a message is received by its listener depends on more than semantics. It depends on expression, intonation and body language as well. As an example, how many ways can you interpret the answer to the question “How are you?” when a person responds with “Fine”? That single word could express anything ranging from happiness to boredom to anger, depending on the intonation involved.

“English is a language in which hostilities and abuse are carried primarily by the melodies that go with the words, rather than by the words themselves,” Elgin says.

But no matter how gentile and tactful the speaker, there is no avoiding the fact that in public communications, some listeners will take offense. A few will even be outraged (they’re the folks psychologists jokingly refer to as “pi**ed off waiting to happen”—if you offered them a $20 bill they’d assume you’re implying they’re incapable of paying their own bills.)

Says Gruder, “The attempt to create political correctness rules and to legislate behavior at work and in society is an ineffective attempt at symptom control. It is an unsustainable substitution for properly equipping people with the skills to align what they know with their frame of heart and with the actions they take.”

Well said.

Furthermore, well-meaning people can occasionally trip. For example, the job candidate who blurts out “this place seems like a ghetto,” then realizes that one of the interviewing team is white, one is black, and she has likely offended them both can simply say, “I am sorry.  I made a poor choice of words, and I failed to express what I mean.” Then try the statement again.

In summary, what can business communicators do about the PC vigilantes? We can 1) think before we speak, 2) consciously choose words and manners that encourage alignment instead of escalating a fight, and 3) genuinely listen and hear what our opponents are saying. Beyond these efforts—yes, the battle for political correctness has been taken too far. But why perpetuate the struggle? The better communications answer is perhaps to let up on the PC legislation and to focus our efforts on better emotional maturity and fundamental behavior instead.



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 and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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