Doctor ‘mixed up’ boy who died

Doctor admits ‘mix up’ after six-year-old Jack Adcock dies in hospital

Jack Adcock’s mother described him as a “tough little cookie”

A doctor has admitted “mixing up” a six-year-old boy with another patient and said she did not recognise his “grossly abnormal” blood results.

Jack Adcock, from Glen Parva, who had Down’s syndrome, died after being admitted to Leicester Royal Infirmary on 18 February 2011.

Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba told an inquest she had stopped staff who were treating Jack because she mistakenly believed he had a “don’t resuscitate” order.

He later died of pneumonia.

’12 hours without break’

Giving evidence on the inquest at Leicester Town Hall, Dr Bawa-Garba told the coroner, Catherine Mason, she must have checked Jack’s identity before stopping resuscitation.

She said: “I must have checked the face before stopping. But I have been working for 12 hours without a break.”

She added once she realised her mistake she returned to Jack and tried to continue treating him.

The inquest, which began on Monday, also heard Dr Bawa-Garba had recently returned to work after 13 months of maternity leave.

She told the coroner that in that point she had become “deskilled within the management and treatment of concern” and had did not recognise Jack was in shock.

She said she also didn’t recognise his “grossly abnormal” blood results.

Previously, Jack’s mother Nicky had told the hearing “there has been no urgency” when Jack was admitted with breathing difficulties.

She had said there has been never a “don’t resuscitate order” given to Jack, whom she described as a “tough little cookie”.

The inquest continues.

Fat gene ‘linked with skin cancer’

Fat gene ‘linked with skin cancer’

This research links sections of the “fat gene” with obesity

A gene previously shown to be associated with obesity will even increase the chance of a dangerous sort of skin cancer, say researchers writing in Nature Genetics.

Analysis of information from 73,000 people, led by the University of Leeds, found a particular element of the “fat gene” was linked to malignant melanoma.

It is the 1st time the gene have been linked with a particular disease independently of weight.

The results suggest a much broader role for the gene than originally thought.

Malignant melanoma is the fifth commonest cancer inside the UK with about 12,800 new cases and about 2,200 deaths every year.

An international team analysed genetic data from the tumours of 13,000 malignant melanoma patients and 60,000 unaffected individuals.

They found that people with particular variations in a stretch of DNA inside the “fat gene” or FTO gene, called intron 8, may be at greater risk of developing melanoma.

New targets

Previous research linking the FTO gene with obesity found that variants in a piece called intron 1 are linked with being overweight and overeating.

Several other diseases was associated with the gene but additionally to having a high body mass index.

This is the primary time that researchers have found a link between the FTO gene and a disease which isn’t associated with obesity and BMI.

It opens up a brand new direction in work gazing how the gene functions as previously the focal point was on its effects on weight gain and factors consisting of regulating appetite.

Study author, Dr Mark Iles, a senior research fellow on the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine, said: “Here’s the 1st time to our knowledge that this major obesity gene, already associated with multiple illnesses, have been associated with melanoma.

“This raises the question whether future research will reveal that the gene has a task in much more diseases?”

He added: “When scientists have tried to comprehend how the FTO gene behaves, thus far they’ve only examined its role in metabolism and appetite.

“But it’s now clear we do not know enough about what this intriguing gene does.”

Dr Julie Sharp, Cancer Research UK’s senior science information manager, said: “These are fascinating early findings that, if confirmed in further research, could potentially provide new targets for the construction of gear to regard melanoma.

“Advances in understanding more in regards to the molecules driving skin cancer have already enabled us to develop important new skin cancer drugs so that you can make a genuine difference for patients.”

She added tips on how to prevent melanoma was to bypass damage resulting from an excessive amount of sun exposure and sunbeds.

“Getting a painful sunburn only once every two years can triple the danger of melanoma.”

UK rejects meningitis B vaccine

UK rejects meningitis B vaccine

Tilly Lockey lost her hands after contracting meningitis B

The only vaccine to offer protection to against a perilous type of meningitis shouldn’t be introduced within the UK, the body that advises governments on immunisation says.

About 1,870 people contract meningitis B per annum and one in 10 dies.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said the vaccine was not cost-effective at any price and should not yet be adopted by the NHS.

Meningitis charities have been campaigning for it to be introduced.

It is mostly children under five who are at risk from the bacterial infection, which leads to inflammations of the brain and spinal cord.

Of those who survive a meningitis B infection, one in four is left with life altering after-effects such as brain damage or limb loss.

There are vaccines against other forms of meningitis, but the jab developed by Novartis is the only one thought to protect against meningitis B.

It is thought to be effective against 73% of the different strains of the disease.

It was licensed for use in Europe in January 2013, however, no country has yet adopted the vaccine so there is limited evidence on how it would affect the number of cases.

The JCVI said: “On the basis of the available evidence, routine infant or toddler immunisation using Bexsero is highly unlikely to be not pricey at any vaccine price based on the accepted threshold for cost effectiveness used in the UK and could not be recommended.”

‘Difficult situation’

Prof David Salisbury, the director of immunisation at the Department of Health, said: “This is a very difficult situation where we have a new vaccine against meningitis B but we lack important evidence.

“We need to know how well it will protect, how long it will protect and if it will stop the bacteria from spreading from person to person.

“We need to work with the scientific community and the manufacturer to find ways to resolve these uncertainties so that we can come to a clear answer.”

The UK introduced a vaccine against another form of the disease, meningitis C, in 1999. There used to be around 1,000 cases a year, but now the disease affects only a handful of people.

Mother speaks of horror of meningitis

Tilly Lockey, from County Durham, had meningitis B. Her mum Sarah supports the introduction of a vaccine after her family’s experience.

She told the BBC: “She was just suddenly crying out for me `mummy, mummy, mummy’ to being blue grey mottled skin, to just going unconscious and me thinking I’m her mam I just want to look after her, I’m supposed to guard her and there’s nothing, nothing I can do to save her on the moment.

“All I could do was pass her over to the hospital and hope to god they would save my little girl.”

‘Vital vaccine’

Chris Head, the head of the Meningitis Research Foundation, said: “Today’s news is a severe blow for everyone campaigning against this dreadful disease. We know every delay costs lives and leaves many more with life-long disabilities.

“The UK’s child mortality rates are amongst the highest in Europe. We simply cannot afford to let this licensed vaccine hang in limbo any longer.

“There is a tiny window of opportunity over the holiday season to encourage a change of heart and we are urging our members and supporters to lobby their MPs while we submit yet more, potent arguments to the JCVI on why this vaccine is vital.”

Sue Davie, the chief executive of the Meningitis Trust and Meningitis UK, said: “Here’s extremely disappointing news after all our supporters and our hard work over decades to introduce a vaccine.

“We understand the committee’s concerns about impact and cost, but we believe this vaccine is safe and we know it would save lives. The more we delay the more lives are being lost.”

NHS competition rules to be changed

NHS competition rules to be changed

Concerns has been voiced concerning the impact of the recent rules

The government has agreed to re-write controversial rules on contracting out within the NHS in England.

The regulations were published three weeks ago to produce guidance on how the NHS reforms may be implemented.

But critics had argued they might open up many more services to competition from private companies and will disrupt services for patients.

Health Minister Norman Lamb told MPs the wording of the regulations had “inadvertently created confusion”.

He said there can be no privatisation of the NHS and that competition was just a means to improving services not an result in itself.

The regulations were drawn up as previous guidance at the issue was set to be rendered obsolete since it applied to organisations that were being scrapped on 1 April.

But when they were laid before parliament concerns were voiced that they broke previous assurances from ministers concerning the extent to which competition was going for use.

‘Utter chaos’

Last week greater than 1,000 doctors have written to the Daily Telegraph claiming the legislation makes “virtually the whole lot” of the NHS open to non-public firms.

Then over the weekend the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges said it might probably cause “dangerous” fragmentation of health services.

Labour had also managed to secure a debate at the issue within the Lords. It was resulting from occur later within the month.

Mr Lamb acknowledged the worries, but said it was an issue of the regulations being badly drafted in place of an intention to ramp up using competition.

He added: “I even have listened to people’s concerns and my department is acting quickly to enhance the drafting in order that there may well be without doubt that the regulations go no further than the former set of principles and rules inherited from the former Labour government.”

But shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said the changingof the regulations represented a “humiliating retreat”.

“In under four weeks’ time new GP commissioners take control and yet today there’s complete confusion concerning the job they’re being asked to do.

“Coalition policy on competition inside the NHS is in utter chaos.”

Breath test ‘spots stomach cancer’

Stomach cancer ‘spotted by breath test’

Earlier diagnosis and treatment could save more lives

A quick and straightforward breath test can diagnose stomach cancer, study findings reveal.

Scientists from Israel and China found the test was 90% accurate at detecting and distinguishing cancers from other stomach complaints in 130 patients.

The British Journal of Cancer says the test could revolutionise and accelerate the way in which this cancer is diagnosed.

About 7,000 UK people develop stomach cancer every year and most have a complicated stage of the disease.

Two-fifths of patients survive for no less than a year, but just a fifth are still alive after five years, despite treatment.

Currently doctors diagnose stomach cancer by taking a biopsy of the tummy lining using a probe and a versatile camera passed via mouth and down the gullet.

The new test looks for chemical profiles in exhaled breath which are unique to patients with stomach cancer.

Volatile organic compounds

Cancer appears to offer off a signature smell of volatile organic compounds that may be detected using the appropriate technical medical kit – and even perhaps dogs.

The science behind the test itself isn’t very new – many researchers was engaged on the potential for breath tests for a couple of cancers, including lung.

But the work by Prof Hossam Haick, of the Israel Institute of Technology, suggests it’s a great way to identify stomach cancer.

In the study, 37 of the patients had stomach cancer, 32 had stomach ulcers and 61 had other stomach complaints.

As well as accurately distinguishing between these conditions 90% of the time, the breath test could tell the variation between early and late-stage stomach cancers.

The team at the moment are running a much bigger study in additional patients to validate their test.

Kate Law, director of clinical research at Cancer Research UK, said: “The result of this latest study are promising – although large scale trials will now be had to confirm these findings.

“Just one in five individuals are ready to have surgery as element of their treatment as most stomach cancers are diagnosed at stages which are too advanced for surgery. Any test which can help diagnose stomach cancers earlier would make a difference to patients’ long-term survival.”

Accused nurse ‘could be intense’

Ex-Stafford Hospital chief nurse admits being ‘intense’ with staff

A former chief nurse at Stafford Hospital has admitted she can be “intense” with staff.

At a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) disciplinary hearing, Janice Harry denied bullying colleagues.

Mrs Harry described herself as “firm but fair” but said her sometimes “very straightforward” manner might be misinterpreted as aggressive.

She denies a chain of charges, including misconduct, dating from 1998 to 2006.

“Sometimes i will be able to be very straightforward and often it’d be read as aggressive nevertheless it is just not intentional,” she told the tribunal.

Mrs Harry faces charges concerning alleged failures to guarantee adequate nursing staffing levels and appropriate standards of record-keeping, hygiene and cleanliness, administration of medicine, provision of nutrition and fluids and patient dignity.

She has also denied allegations of bullying staff who raised issues of her – allegedly making a “stressful and unsightly” atmosphere which discouraged staff from reporting problems.

Denied shouting

Mrs Harry was asked to touch upon a claim that the “favourite expression” she used when discussing patients who were dying was to invite the nursing sisters whether there has been “anybody going to heaven in respect of the provision of the bed.”

“i’m really not sure I used those exact words, nevertheless it was a query that was asked,” Mrs Harry told the panel.

Mrs Harry insisted that despite her title she was not the road manager for any of the hospital’s ward nurses and she or he instead oversaw clinical standards around the NHS trust.

She has also denied shouting at staff.

Mrs Harry was employed by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and its predecessor, Mid Staffordshire General Hospitals NHS Trust, from 1998 to 2006.

From 1998, she was director of nursing and quality assurance at Stafford Hospital and in 2002 was appointed director of clinical standards and chief nurse in addition to director of infection prevention and control.

She denies misconduct.

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