Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The haphazard care offered by Britain's NHS can kill

Below is just the beginning of a HUGE BBC report on the avoidable death of a Downs syndrome little boy.  It is some tribute to Britain's legal system that the death was taken very seriously and extensively  investigated.

When I saw that the doctor convicted of "manslaughter by negligence" was of Nigerian Muslim origins, I thought I knew the beginning and ending of the story.  I was wrong.  Doctors of African ancestry are often pushed through medical school on the basis of the color of their skin rather than how much they have learnt. But there was no sign of that in the case of this doctor.

It is certainly true that she was part of a system that gave the boy insufficient care but the system was in chaos on the day.  Even the computers weren't working and key staff were simply missing, just not there in the ward.  And the doctor who was there had been given the job with no warning and had never been trained to work in that ward.  Understaffed is hardly the word for it.  It was a caricature of a medical service.  In the circumstance the doctor was run off her feet and could not be expected to think of everything and do everything.

Her conviction was indeed a sham and a coverup.  There was only one defendant who should have been in the dock -- the NHS.  The NHS simply has neither the money nor the staff to provide even a safe service, let alone a curative one.  With most illnesses people do after a while get better of their own accord and that is the only reason for a majority of the successful discharges from NHS hospitals. 

The whole idea of the NHS is faulty.  Governments are not fit to run hospitals.  In the case of the NHS there is a vast  bureaucracy that never has a shortage of clerks and administrators --  while the service has a gross shortage of doctors and nurses.  Firing the bureaucrats would instantly free up enough money to hire the most desperately needed medical staff.

I can't help comparing what I read about the NHS with the care that I receive in the private hospital I go to. In that hospital there are always plenty of nurses around and a call button gets a 5 minute response. I am rarely admitted for anything too serious but I still get my BP taken every hour during the day and am given all sorts of small attentions. And any scans I might need are done and interpreted within an hour of my arrival. Anything that might help me is done promptly.

So why the difference?  I have private health insurance.  And that is not unusual in Australia,  Where only 7% of Britons have private health insurance, 40% of Australians do -- which shows a high level of affordability.  I am not remotely unique in being able to receive hospital care of the highest international standard

Given the differences I have just outlined, I cannot see any case for such a thing as a government hospital to exist.  All that is needed to provide for the poor is for the government to foot the bill for their private care

When a junior doctor was convicted of manslaughter and
struck off the medical register for her role in the death of
six-year-old Jack Adcock, shockwaves reverberated
through the medical profession.

Many doctors have argued that Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba was
unfairly punished for mistakes she made while working in
an overstretched and under-resourced NHS - and on
Monday the Court of Appeal ruled she should not have
been struck off.

With access to full trial transcripts, witness statements
and internal hospital inquiries, Panorama talks to
Dr Bawa-Garba and to the parents of Jack Adcock
in order to tell the story in detail.

Jack Adcock wasn’t himself when he returned from school.

He later started vomiting and had diarrhoea, which continued through the night.

In the morning Jack was taken to the GP by his mother, Nicola, and referred directly to Leicester Royal Infirmary’s children’s assessment unit (CAU).

Less than 12 hours later he was dead.

“Losing a child is the most horrendous thing ever. But to lose a child in the way we lost Jack – we should never have lost him,” Mrs Adcock says.

Trainee doctor Hadiza Bawa-Garba arrived at work expecting to be on the general paediatrics ward - the ward she’d been on all week.

She had only recently returned to work after having her first baby. Before her 13 months’ maternity leave, she had been working in community paediatrics, treating children with chronic illnesses and behavioural problems.

But when medical staff gathered to discuss the day’s work, they were told someone was needed to cover the CAU – the doctor supposed to be doing it was on a course. And Dr Bawa-Garba volunteered to step in.

She also carried the bleep – which alerts the doctor that a patient needs seeing urgently on the wards or in the Accident and Emergency unit, across four floors of the busy Leicester Royal Infirmary – and was required to respond to calls from midwives, other doctors or parents.

Soon after Dr Bawa-Garba took over, the bleep went off – a child down in the accident and emergency unit, several floors below, needed urgent attention and she missed the rest of the morning handover.

Back in the CAU, Dr Bawa-Garba was asked to see Jack Adcock by the nurse in charge, Sister Theresa Taylor, who was worried he had looked very sick when he had been admitted.

She was the only staff nurse that day. Because of staff shortages, two of the three CAU nurses were from an agency and not allowed to perform many nursing procedures.

“Jack was really lethargic, very sleepy. He wasn’t really very with it,” says Mrs Adcock. She told medical staff he had been up all night with diarrhoea and sickness.

The boy’s hands and feet were cold and had a blue-grey tinge. He also had a cough.

“I knew that I had to get a line in him quickly to get some bloods and also give him some fluids to rehydrate him,” says Dr Bawa-Garba. He didn’t flinch when she put his cannula in.

Because of a pre-existing heart condition, Jack had been taking enalapril – a drug to control his blood pressure and help pump blood around his body – twice a day.

But Dr Bawa-Garba says she didn’t want him to have the enalapril, because he was dehydrated and it might have made his blood pressure drop too much.

Because of this, she says, she left it off his drug chart.

She then asked for an X-ray to check Jack’s chest. Blood was taken – some was sent down to the labs, while a quicker test was done to measure his blood acidity and lactate levels – the latter being a measure of how much oxygen is reaching the tissues. The tests revealed his blood was too acidic.

“A normal pH is 7.34 – but Jack’s was seven and his lactate was also very high. A normal is about two and his was 11, so I knew then he was very unwell,” Dr Bawa-Garba says. She gave him a large boost of fluid – a bolus – to resuscitate him.

Her working diagnosis was gastroenteritis and dehydration.

But she didn’t consider that Jack might have had a more serious condition. It was a mistake she regrets to this day.

Jack had been admitted under the care of Dr Stephen O’Riordan, the consultant who was supposed to be in charge that day – but he hadn’t realised he was on call and had double-booked himself with teaching commitments in Warwick and hadn’t arrived at work.

Another consultant based elsewhere in the hospital had said she was available to help and cover him if needed – although she had her own duties.

After an hour of being on fluids to rehydrate him, Jack seemed to be responding well.

“He was a little more alert and we thought he was getting better,” Mrs Adcock says.

Dr Bawa-Garba thought that too.

One of the less experienced doctors in the unit had been unable to do Jack’s next blood tests. They had tried but couldn’t get blood, so Dr Bawa-Garba went to do it herself.

This time, when Dr Bawa-Garba went to take blood from his finger, Jack resisted, pulling away.

“That kind of response, to me, said that he was responding to the bolus,” she says. “Also, the result I got showed that the pH had gone from seven to 7.24. In my mind I’m thinking this is going the right way.”

However, not enough blood had been taken to get another lactate measurement.

Dr Bawa-Garba looked for Jack’s blood results from the lab. She had fast-tracked them an hour-and-a-half earlier. But when she went to view them on the computer system, it had gone down.

The whole hospital was affected. This meant not only that blood test results were delayed, but also that the alert system designed to flag up abnormal results on computer screens was out of action.

She asked one of the doctors in her team to chase up the results for her patients, and took on some of that doctor’s tasks.

Those tests would have indicated that Jack may have had kidney failure and that he needed antibiotics.


Mayor Under Fire for ‘Confederate Memorial Day’ Proclamation

The mayor of one Florida community is now the focus of attacks after he signed a proclamation to add his community to those that celebrate Confederate Memorial Day.

On Tuesday, Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn signed the proclamation, which was requested by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, according to WINK, based in Fort Meyers, Florida.  Florida marks the day as a paid holiday for state employees, as do Mississippi and Alabama.

The proclamation designates April 26 as “a time in which to honor the memories of those who sacrificed their lives in the War Between States.”

Guinn, who is white, was immediately criticized by Council President Mary Sue Rich, who is black, for honoring the Confederacy.

“I’m not proud of you doing a Confederacy proclamation standing up here in front of all these people in the city of Ocala. That turns my stomach. I don’t think you deserve to be the mayor of Ocala. I hope somebody runs against you,” she said.

“When people say you are a member of the Ku Klux Klan, I’m beginning to believe them,” she added, referencing Guinn’s inclusion on a 2015 list of politicians that the hackivist group Anonymous said were Klan members. Guinn has long denied the assertion, Anonymous never provided proof.

Guinn was so stung by the comments he held a news conference the next day to forcefully deny the accusation.

“I am not — repeat, not — in the KKK,” Guinn said, according to WFTY.  “I never have been. I never will be, and I despise and hate everything that organization stands for.”

Although his action came at a time when many states and communities are re-evaluating symbols and celebrations linked to the Confederacy, Guinn also noted that he had issued similar proclamations in the past with no complaints.

Echoes of the fuss reached The Washington Post, which interviewed Guinn. During the interview, he called the resolution “simply a memorial for Confederate soldiers who were veterans.”

Guinn told the Post that in terms of the Civil War and slavery, “It was about more than just slavery.”

The Post report on Guinn then noted that he offered “an assertion that has been debunked by many historians.”

Guinn noted that a local group asked for the proclamation, which meant he either offended someone by signing it or offending someone else by not signing it.

“That’s the problem with our country. We worry about offending people too much. I haven’t done anything wrong by doing this proclamation, and I stand by it,” he said, adding that he and Rich have been at odds since he would not issue a proclamation in February declaring Ocala a “City of Peace,” as part of an effort promoted by the group Ollin Women International.

According to the Post, Guinn maintained that the founder of Ollin Women International, Manal Fakhoury, was a terrorism sympathizer.

According to a March 5 report in the Ocala Star-Banner, Guinn said Fakhoury believes in Sharia law and had demonstrated on behalf of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

On Tuesday night, Nancy Bowden and Judy Delk of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, accepted the proclamation.

“We would just like to thank you for the recognition of our Southern heritage and history and to honor those that so valiantly fought to protect their homeland, their South, our Dixie,” Bowden said, according to the Ocala Star-Banner.


UK: How motorway lights have actually made journeys slower

Traffic lights introduced on motorways have made congestion worse despite Highways England spending £317m on schemes, a government report has revealed.

The report by Highways England showed that a pinch point programme to tackle particularly congested areas of road often resulted in faster rush hour journeys, but slower journeys at other times of the day.

Overall, journey times were slower than before the money was spent to try and ease congestion, improve safety and boost growth in local economies.

Highways England believed the slower overall journey times were mainly caused by the introduction of traffic lights, with 44% of the schemes introducing the new signalling.

The RAC described the findings as "very disappointing".

There were 119 congested areas of road that received a share of the £317m funding, announced in the 2011 Budget.

The report looked at the first-year impact of 54 of the 119 schemes carried out on England's motorways and major A roads. Nearly half of the schemes with an aim to cut journey times failed to achieve that goal.

The report concluded that it must consider the impact of projects "across all 168 hours of the week, not just the 10-30 peak hours".

Future schemes must "better consider how to mitigate the downsides while maintaining the upsides", the document added.

The pinch point programme was established in 2011 to relieve congestion, stimulate growth in local economies and improve safety. Small-scale projects generally costing up to £10 million were chosen, with work often involving changes to junctions, adding traffic lights, widening slip roads and new signage. The programme was largely delivered by Highways England's predecessor, the Highways Agency, and was completed by March 2016.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes told the Press Association: "It's very disappointing that Highways England's work to tackle pinch points on its road network has not been as successful as had been hoped.

"While congestion has been reduced at peak times of the day, unfortunately many schemes have seen increased traffic at off-peak periods, mostly due to traffic lights being introduced.

"Luckily, it seems as though there are some simple steps that can be taken to improve the worst of these new off-peak traffic flow issues, such as changing signals to work part-time instead of full-time.

"It is also important to realise that this work was not just about reducing congestion and that many schemes have seen small reductions in the number of road casualties."

A spokesman for Highways England said: "This report shows that overall, these schemes... were successful at tackling congestion at the busiest times and improving safety.

"This useful insight is helping us develop improved appraisal methods for small-scale schemes, which in turn help us deliver improved benefits to people using our motorways and major A roads.

"Meanwhile, we are considering a range of options to improve journeys by using traffic signals which respond to traffic flows."


Australia: Vegan protests block busy Melbourne intersection, target Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart

Militant vegan protesters have been dragged kicking and screaming from the Melbourne CBD by police in heated scenes.

Melbourne’s busiest intersection has been completely blocked off by vegans conducting a “peaceful” peak-hour protest.

Hundreds of animal activists from all over Victoria gathered at 5.30am outside Flinders St station holding signs and blocking cars and trams from passing through.

Animal rights protesters are slowly being arrested and dragged into police vans after blocking a major Melbourne CBD intersection.

More than 100 activists are chanting “What do we want? Animal liberation — now!” with some sitting on tram tracks near the Flinders-Swanston street intersection.

Protesters are holding signs that say “This is a peaceful protest” and “SOS animal emergency climate emergency”.

One man started jumping up and down before being detained by five police officers.

At the scene, saw protesters sitting in a tight circle in the intersection as police officers physically lifted them and carried them away.

Cops arrested one woman in her 40s and another woman aged in her 70s.

A large crowd cheered as the pair were handcuffed and led into the back of a waiting police van.

More than 10 protesters were lifted from the intersection by Victoria Police’s Public Order Response Team. Others, who were not willing to face arrest for their cause, quietly took their signs and walked away.

Four rental vans, covered with signage for a documentary, were parked at all four corners of the intersection before tow trucks were called in to move them.

As the intersection cleared, protesters moved to Melbourne’s Sea Life Aquarium, where they chained themselves together in front of the doors, blocking entry to parents and children on day one of school holidays.

The protests are part of a wave of action that includes activists blocking the entrance to the MC Herd abattoir in Geelong and chaining themselves to a truck in Pakenham, southeast of Melbourne.

Protests are also being planned for Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart, but the exact locations are closely guarded secrets.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison admonished the animal activists as “un-Australian” on 2GB radio this morning.

“It is shameful, it is un-Australian,” he said. “This is just another form of activism that I think runs against the national interest, and the national interest is being able to farm their own land.”

The PM isn’t the only one frustrated. Commuters were turned away from tram stops and told to find alternative options. Traffic was diverted around the CBD.

One man, with a toddler in a pram, confronted the protesters and called them “absolutely pathetic” for blocking the Melbourne CBD.

Angry tradesmen were also seen yelling at the vegans.

Victorian Liberal MP Tim Smith tweeted that the “militant vegans” should be “arrested or moved on”. Then he blamed the Daniel Andrews-led government for watering down laws “for these types of self-indulgent nutters”.

However, vegans on the ground say their aims are “hard to argue with”.

Paediatric neuropsychology doctor Helen Jeges held a sign above her head at this morning’s protest on Flinders St. It read: “I am a doctor. Vegan: 5 years.”

“We want to open people’s eyes to what they’re really paying for,” Dr Jeges told

She said many Aussies weren’t aware that male chicks were killed in farms because they do not lay eggs.

They are killed via a process known as “quick maceration” — where chicks are dropped into a grinding machine alive. The RSPCA considers this the “more humane” option because chicks are killed within a second.

“A lot of people don’t know that if you buy eggs, male chicks are ground up alive. It’s to raise awareness,” Dr Jeges said.

She said the protests had not been met by hostility, but commuters were frustrated this morning when trying to catch trams through the CBD.

“The response has been really great,” Dr Jeges said. “We don’t expect any antagonism. We represent kindness, equality, nonviolence, and so it’s hard to argue against that.”

The activists are trying to bring attention to the documentary Dominion on the one-year anniversary of the film’s release. It shows footage inside Australia’s abattoirs.

Farmers across NSW and Queensland have also been placed on high alert as a number of groups plan to carry out a series of co-ordinated raids, which they say is “the biggest animal rights direct action the world has ever seen”.

In Goulburn, in the NSW Southern Tablelands, nine people were arrested after chaining themselves to a conveyor and refusing to move on, police say.

“Three women refused to walk from the abattoir and had to be carried to the police vehicle,” a police spokesman said.

This morning, police also broke up a protest at a Queensland abattoir.

About 20 animal rights campaigners descended on the Warwick abattoir and chained themselves to equipment before police were called to remove them.

The Queensland Government is increasing powers to stop animal rights protesters invading farms for protests that are putting stress on farmers already struggling after floods and drought.

New laws are being drafted to allow police and agricultural officers to fine vegan activists whose activities risk the lives of farmers, workers and animals, says Mark Furner, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries.

“Everyone has the right to protest, but nobody has the right to break the law,” Mr Furner said in a statement yesterday.

Queensland farmers deserved respect and needed to be protected, he said.

“Many of our farmers are already under great stress following years of drought and more recently the floods, and we are standing side-by-side with them,” Mr Furner said.



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


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