£6.7 Million Compensation for NHS Medical Mistakes

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2014 » 7 » £6.7 Million Compensation for NHS Medical Mistakes£6.7 Million Compensation for NHS Medical MistakesA 12-year-old boy is to receive medical negligence compensation after errors by hospital staff left him with serious brain injuries.On a morning in September 2006, the child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was taken to St Mary’s Hospital in Portsmouth with stomach pains.Staff at the hospital failed to spot that the child, who was aged four at the time, was displaying signs of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia.As a result, he did not get the required treatment on time and he suffered a cardiac arrest, which led to him experiencing significant brain damage and serious disabilities.The boy’s family therefore took legal action against Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, the organisation that runs St Mary’s Hospital.A medical negligence compensation settlement in the amount of £6.7 million has now been agreed. This compensation will be used to fund the child’s extensive and long-term care needs, such as round-the-clock assistance and specialist technology to enable him to communicate.The boy will receive £3.2 million compensation in a lump sum up front, while he will be paid £265,000 compensation every year until he is 18. The compensation payments will then rise to £305,000 per annum for the rest of his life.Hospital Trust ApologisesPortsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has issued a formal apology to the boy and his family for the medical mistakes that were made at St Mary’s Hospital eight years ago. A spokesperson for the hospital confirmed that since liability was resolved in 2012, each party has been working together to agree a suitable compensation package.This was designed with the intention of both compensating the boy and his parents and providing them with adequate financial security for the future.The spokesperson said, “The Trust can confirm that a medical negligence compensation settlement has been reached in this case and that this has been approved by the Court. The Trust wishes them well.”Doctors ‘Should Have Listened’Speaking after the compensation settlement was agreed, the boy’s parents said that doctors should have listened to the concerns they had raised about the condition of their son.In a statement, they insisted that if this had been done, this “tragic” event “would have been easily avoided”. The parents have therefore urged other mothers and fathers to trust their instincts if their child is not well.”If you believe that something is wrong, then insist that action is taken by the doctors,” they commented. “Nothing will ever make up for the life that has been taken away from him.”The boy’s parents said their son’s life has been “completely ruined”, as his condition means he will miss out on a whole host of experiences. For instance, they stated that he will never be able to play on a beach, kick a football around with his friends, or attend his school prom.The parents went on to note that their son and his “enormous daily battle” have proved to be a source of inspiration to everybody that knows or has met him.”This is an absolute tragedy caused by medical mistakes that should never have happened,” they added.By Francesca WitneyOr Call freephone 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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HIV drug used to reverse effects of virus that causes cervical cancer

A commonly-used HIV drug has been shown to kill off the human papilloma virus (HPV) that leads to cervical cancer in a world-first clinical trial led by The University of Manchester with Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in Nairobi.Drs Ian and Lynne Hampson, from the University’s Institute of Cancer Sciences and Dr Innocent Orora Maranga, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at KNH in Nairobi examined Kenyan women diagnosed with HPV positive early stage cervical cancer who were treated with the antiviral HIV drug lopinavir in Kenya.The study looked at 40 women with both high and low-grade pre-cancerous disease of the cervix and the antiviral drug, normally used orally to treat HIV, was self-applied directly to the cervix as a pessary.The results, due to be presented at two international scientific conferences later this month and next, showed a high proportion of women diagnosed with HPV positive high-grade disease returned to normal following a short course of the new treatment. The findings build on previous peer-reviewed laboratory based research carried out by Drs Hampson and will be submitted to a journal soon.They have been described by an independent leading specialist in gynaecological cancer as very impressive. The 40 women, who were all HPV positive with either high-grade, borderline or low grade disease, were treated with one capsule of the antiviral drug twice a day for 2 weeks.Repeat cervical smears showed a marked improvement within one month of the treatment although after three months, there was a definite response. Out of 23 women initially diagnosed with high-grade disease, 19 (82.6%) had returned to normal and two now had low-grade disease giving an overall positive response in 91.2%.of those treated.Furthermore the 17 women initially diagnosed with borderline or low-grade disease also showed similar improvement. Photographic images of the cervix before and after treatment showed clear regression of the cervical lesions and no adverse reactions were reported.Dr Ian Hampson said: “For an early stage clinical trial the results have exceeded our expectations. We have seen women with high-grade disease revert to a normal healthy cervix within a comparatively short period of time.”We are convinced that further optimization of the dose and treatment period will improve the efficacy still further.”It is our hope that this treatment has the potential to revolutionize the management of this disease most particularly in developing nations such as Kenya.”Cervical cancer is caused by infection with human papilloma virus (HPV) and is more than five times more prevalent in East Africa than the UK. In many developing countries, HPV-related cervical cancer is still one of the most common women’s cancers accounting for approximately 290,000 deaths per year worldwide. The same virus also causes a significant proportion of cancers of the mouth and throat in both men and women and this disease is showing an large increase in developed countries, such as the UK, where it is now more than twice as common as cervical cancer.Dr Lynne Hampson said: “Current HPV Vaccines are prophylactics aimed at preventing the disease rather than curing or treating symptoms. Other than surgery, as yet there is no effective treatment for either HPV infection or the pre-cancerous lesion it causes which is why these results are so exciting.”Further work is needed but it looks as though this might be a potential treatment to stop early stage cervical cancer caused by HPV.”On a global scale HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease. Although in the developed world vaccination programmes against HPV are well underway, these are not effective in women already infected with the virus.The current vaccines do not protect against all types of HPV and they are expensive, which can limit their use in countries with low resources. …

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Warnings may be ineffective at teaching young people about risks

Sep. 9, 2013 — Campaigns to get young people to stop smoking may be more successful by focusing on the positive benefits, such as having more money and better skin, rather than emphasising negative outcomes like increased disease risk, a study from Wellcome Trust researchers suggests.The findings reveal that young people have greater difficulty in learning from bad news to interpret their risk of future events, which might explain why they often do not respond to warnings.We all make decisions based on what we believe may happen in the future as a consequence of our actions. We change our beliefs and choices based on information we gather from the world around us. However, people have a natural tendency to ignore negative information when making decisions, a trait that may be particularly pertinent to young people, who tend to engage in more risky and dangerous behaviour.Researchers at UCL asked volunteers aged between nine and 26 to estimate how likely they think they are to personally experience a range of adverse life events, such as being involved in a car accident or getting lung disease. They then showed the participants the actual statistics for such events and noted how each adjusted his or her beliefs after learning that the risk was higher or lower than their own estimate.The results show that younger participants were less likely to learn from information that shows them that the future is bleaker than expected. In other words, even when they know the risks, they have difficulties using that information if it’s worse than they thought it would be. By contrast, the ability to learn from good news remained stable across all ages.”The findings could help to explain the limited impact of campaigns targeted at young people to highlight the dangers of careless driving, unprotected sex, alcohol and drug abuse, and other risky behaviours,” said leading author, Dr Christina Moutsiana. The authors suggest that reframing information to highlight beneficial outcomes of desired behaviours, such as the positive effect of reduced alcohol consumption on sports performance, rather than the dangers of undesired ones, could have a greater impact.Dr Tali Sharot, the senior author and a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, said: “We think we’re invincible when we’re young, and any parent will tell you that warnings often go unheeded. Our findings show that if you want to get young people to better learn about the risks associated with their choices, you might want to focus on the benefits that a positive change would bring rather than hounding them with horror stories.”The findings might partly explain why displaying health warnings and graphic images of diseased lungs on cigarette packaging has had little effect in reducing the number of teens taking up smoking.Dr John Williams, Head of Neuroscience and Mental Health at the Wellcome Trust, said: “It’s important that we understand how young people interpret risk to make lifestyle choices that will impact on their future health if we are to stem the rise in preventable diseases.”

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Jet lag: Why the body clock is slow to adjust to time changes

Aug. 29, 2013 — New research in mice reveals why the body is so slow to recover from jet lag and identifies a target for the development of drugs that could help us to adjust faster to changes in time zone.With funding from the Wellcome Trust and F. Hoffmann La Roche, researchers at the University of Oxford, University of Notre Dame and F. Hoffmann La Roche have identified a mechanism that limits the ability of the body clock to adjust to changes in patterns of light and dark. And the team show that if you block the activity of this gene in mice, they recover faster from disturbances in their daily light/dark cycle that were designed to simulate jet-lag.Nearly all life on Earth has an internal circadian body clock that keeps us ticking on a 24-hour cycle, synchronising a variety of bodily functions such as sleeping and eating with the cycle of light and dark in a solar day. When we travel to a different time zone our body clock eventually adjusts to the local time. However this can take up to one day for every hour the clock is shifted, resulting in several days of fatigue and discombobulation.In mammals, the circadian clock is controlled by an area of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) which pulls every cell in the body into the same biological rhythm. It receives information from a specialised system in the eyes, separate from the mechanisms we use to ‘see’, which senses the time of day by detecting environmental light, synchronising the clock to local time. Until now, little was known about the molecular mechanisms of how light affects activity in the SCN to ‘tune’ the clock and why it takes so long to adjust when the light cycle changes.To investigate this, the Oxford University team led by Dr Stuart Peirson and Professor Russell Foster, used mice to examine the patterns of gene expression in the SCN following a pulse of light during the hours of darkness. They identified around 100 genes that were switched on in response to light, revealing a sequence of events that act to retune the circadian clock. …

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Chemotherapy before radiotherapy for testicular cancer could reduce long-term side-effects

Aug. 16, 2013 — Giving men with testicular cancer a single dose of chemotherapy alongside radiotherapy could improve the effectiveness of treatment and reduce the risk of long-term side-effects, a new study reports. As many as 96% of men with testicular cancer now survive at least ten years from diagnosis (1), but more advanced forms need to be treated with combination chemotherapy — which can have serious long-term complications. Researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust have therefore been searching for new treatments that would reduce the risk of relapse after initial treatment and so spare as many men as possible from needing combination chemotherapy.The new pilot study, published in the August issue of the Annals of Oncology, tested a new treatment in a pilot study of men with stage IIA and IIB testicular seminoma — where the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the abdomen.The researchers showed that giving chemotherapy drug carboplatin before radiotherapy could reduce relapse rates compared with radiotherapy alone — cutting the numbers of men who would need follow-up treatment. It also allowed radiation doses to be reduced. The study was funded by The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), the Bob Champion Cancer Trust and Cancer Research UK, as well as through the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at The Royal Marsden and the ICR.Researchers gave 51 men with stage IIA and IIB testicular seminoma a single cycle of carboplatin — a low toxicity form of chemotherapy — followed three to four weeks later by radiotherapy. Most of the men were aged below 50, over a range of 18-73 years.Adding carboplatin to patients’ treatment plans allowed doctors to give a lower dose of radiation over a smaller area of the body for most of the men in the study. Some 39 of the men in the study had their prescription of radiation reduced from the standard 35 Grays (Gy) of radiation to 30 Gy, delivered to a smaller area of the abdomen.After an average of 4.5 years of follow-up, there were no relapses of the cancer compared with a relapse risk of 5-11% after radiotherapy alone. The side-effects from treatment were mild and only lasted a short time.Dr Robert Huddart, Team Leader in the Division of Radiation and Imaging at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Consultant at The Royal Marsden, who led the study, said:”The results of this study show great promise. Men who have this stage of testicular seminoma are normally treated with just radiotherapy, or in some countries with intensive combination chemotherapy, where several anticancer drugs are given at once. …

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Dangers to biological diversity from proliferation of global cashmere garment industry

July 24, 2013 — A new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society and Snow Leopard Trust reveals a disturbing link between the cashmere trade and the decay of ecosystems that support some of the planet’s most spectacular yet little-known large mammals.The study finds that as pastoralists expand goat herds to increase profits for the cashmere trade in Western markets, wildlife icons from the Tibetan Plateau to Mongolia suffer — including endangered snow leopard, wild yak, chiru, saiga, Bactrian camel, gazelles, and other remarkable but already endangered species of remote Central Asia. Ecological effects of the growth in goat herds include increasing conflicts with pastoralists, predation by dogs on wildlife, retaliatory killing of snow leopards, and displacement of wildlife away from critical food habitats.The study appears in the August issue of the journal Conservation Biology. Authors include: Joel Berger of WCS and University of Montana, Bayarbaatar Buuveibaatar of WCS Mongolia, and Charudutt Mishra of the Snow Leopard Trust.Goats from this region produce high-quality fibers that, when processed into cashmere, are highly sought by western consumers. With 90 percent of the world’s cashmere emanating from China and Mongolia, the vast highlands and open spaces that once were populated by wild camel and wild yak, Przewalski’s horse, chiru, saiga antelope, Tibetan gazelle, kiang, khulan, and snow leopard are increasingly dominated by domestic goats and other livestock.The study results from fieldwork in India, western China, and Mongolia and builds upon economic data including herder profits, changes in livestock numbers, and the relative abundance of wildlife.”The consequences are dramatic and negative for iconic species that governments have signed legislation to protect, yet the wildlife is continually being squeezed into a no-win situation,” says lead author, Joel Berger, a biologist for the Wildlife Conservation Society and professor at University of Montana. “Herders are doing what we would do — just trying to improve their livelihoods, and who can blame them?”The purpose of the study is to raise awareness among western consumers about the origins of cashmere and its growing impact on wildlife. The authors suggest that the study should serve as the beginning of a dialog among the garment industry, cashmere herders, and conservationists to address and mitigate these impacts.WCS has already begun to help tackle the problem by engaging with the Responsible Ecosystems Sourcing Platform (RESP), a public-private partnership initiative aimed at addressing sustainability issues from the beginning to the end of select supply chains across the fashion, cosmetics and jewelry industries, including cashmere.”In the absence of commitment across global and local scales, the iconic wildlife of the world’s highest mountains and great steppes will cease to persist as they have for millennia. Rather than serving as symbols of success, these species will become victims of fashion,” said Peter Zahler, WCS Deputy Director for Asia Programs.This study was supported by the Snow Leopard Trust, Trust for Mutual Understanding, National Geographic Society, Whitley Fund for Nature, and the British Broadcasting Company Wildlife Fund

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Mental illness linked to early death in people with epilepsy

July 22, 2013 — People with epilepsy are ten times more likely to die early, before their mid-fifties, compared with the general population, according to a 41 year study in Sweden published today in the Lancet and part-funded by the Wellcome Trust.The findings reveal a striking correlation between premature death and mental illness in these patients and people with epilepsy were four times more likely to have received a psychiatric diagnosis in their lifetime compared with the general population.The figures are considerably higher than previously thought and have important implications for epilepsy management.Researchers at the University of Oxford and Karolinska Institutet studied 69,995 people with epilepsy born in Sweden between 1954 and 2009 and followed up over 41 years, between 1969 and 2009. They compared mortality and cause of death information from these patients with 660,869 age- and sex-matched people from the general population. The study also looked at the unaffected siblings of those with epilepsy, in order to rule out the influence of background factors such as genetic risk factors and upbringing.Throughout the course of the study, almost nine per cent (6,155) of people with epilepsy died compared with less than one per cent (4,892) of people from the general population.The most important cause of death in people with epilepsy that was not clearly related to the underlying disease process was death by external causes, such as accident or suicide, accounting for almost 16 per cent of deaths. Three quarters of these deaths were amongst patients who also had a psychiatric diagnosis.Although suicide and deaths from accidents were still relatively rare, the odds of a person with epilepsy committing suicide during the study were four times higher than the general population and there was a strong correlation with mental illness and substance abuse.Dr Seena Fazel, a Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Research Fellow at the University of Oxford and main author of the study, said: “This is the largest report to date to look at psychiatric associations in epilepsy and their contribution to premature mortality. Our finding that three quarters of suicide and accident deaths in epilepsy also had a diagnosis of mental illness strongly identifies this as a high risk population to focus preventative strategies and more intensive treatment.”Improving the identification, monitoring and treatment of psychiatric problems in epilepsy patients could make an important contribution to reducing the risk of premature death that we’re currently seeing in these patients.”The study also reveals that the odds of dying in a non-vehicle accident, such as drug poisoning or drowning, were more than five times higher for people with epilepsy than control populations.”Our findings also highlight general accidents as a major, preventable cause of death in epilepsy patients and suggest that specific warnings, in addition to those already given around driving, should be provided to patients at the time of diagnosis to ensure they are aware of the risks,” added Dr Fazel.Professor Charles Newton from the Wellcome Trust programme at the Kenyan Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and the Department of Psychiatry at Oxford University, said: “Although it is well -recognised that psychiatric and addiction disorders occur in epilepsy, in high income (Western) countries, epilepsy is often managed by neurologists only. The findings from this study would suggest that clinical epilepsy services should review their liaison with psychiatric and addiction services as a priority.”This is the first study to look at the odds of premature death in people with epilepsy compared with their unaffected siblings, revealing that they do not differ significantly from odds of death in epilepsy compared with general population controls. This provides further weight to the evidence that epilepsy as a disease is an independent risk factor for death by any cause.

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