Month: April 2014

Protect yourself from skin cancer this summer

As the nights grow longer and the sun makes its long-awaited appearance, thousands of Britons will be flocking to the beach en masse. But as well as long evenings spent in beer gardens, the sun also brings with it a serious threat of skin cancer if we don’t take precautions.

Skin cancer statistics

Skin cancer, known as melanoma, is the third most common cancer among people aged 15 to 39. In 2011, 13,348 people in the UK were diagnosed with malignant melanoma skin cancer.

Additionally, malignant melanoma is almost twice as common in young women (up to age 34) as in young men, but more men are known to die from it.

How to prevent skin cancer

The easiest way to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer is to ensure that you protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays:

• Try to stay out of the sun at the hottest times of day; usually from 11am-3pm.
• If you do find yourself exposed to the sun, use high-factor sun cream liberally.
• Avoid sunbeds; everyone wants a healthy golden glow in summer, but it’s much healthier to use one of the many fake tan products on the market than to expose yourself to harmful UV rays.

Skin Cancer Diagnosis

88.2% of people suffering from skin cancer survive, but failure to correctly diagnose a melanoma can have devastating consequences. Treatable melanomas can rapidly metastasize (meaning to spread to other areas of the body) and become life threatening if not analysed.

Conversely, harmless moles can sometimes be incorrectly diagnosed; leading to unnecessary biopsies and even chemotherapy.

If you feel that you have suffered needlessly, or that you face advanced stage melanoma because of a failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis, and you would like expert advice, contact the Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email medicalnegligence@hampsonhughes.com

Mistreatment in Care-Homes

The BBC has carried out an undercover investigation into the mistreatment of elderly residents in care-homes in England.

Care-home shortcomings

Filming took place at two separate care homes in the south of England. One of the care-homes was Old Deanery – a care-home in Essex with space for 93 full time residents.

Whistle-blowers first raised questions over standards at Old Deanery in 2012. A subsequent enquiry, led by Essex County Council and the Care Quality Commission (CQC), highlighted “woefully inadequate” staffing levels, with residents waiting for prolonged periods for assistance.

Admissions to Old Deanery were frozen for three months while improvements were carried out. After this time, an undercover reporter took a job at the care-home. The reporter secretly filmed as residents’ cries for help went unanswered, and as call bells were unplugged by staff.

The home was again inspected by the CQC, and was again given the green-light.

The BBC also investigated Oban House, South London. Here, the BBC filmed Yvonne Grant, 92, as she called for a nurse 321 times and asked to use the lavatory 45 times – all in a timeframe of just over an hour.

How the Hampson Hughes team can help you

If you have experienced neglect or mistreatment in a care-home, or if you have a loved one who has been mistreated, Hampson Hughes Solicitors is here to provide you with the support and guidance that you deserve.

Remember, your positive actions can help to prevent future neglect in care-homes.
For further information, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

Source: The Times, Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Newcastle factory pay out after employee suffers horrific head injuries

A Newcastle-based manufacturing company has been fined £10,000 after a worker suffered horrific head injuries when he became trapped in a machine.

What happened?

Desmond Salkeld, 65, was investigating a fault on a hot wire cutting machine when his head became trapped in the moving machinery.

Mr Salkeld was rushed to hospital after sustaining major injuries; including a hole in the bridge of his nose, shattered eye sockets, and a bleed on the brain. Surgeons were forced to take bone from the right hand side of his skull in order to reconstruct his face during a nine-hour operation.

Despite planning to return to work, Mr Salkeld has had to retire as he still suffers from blurred vision and is unlikely to ever fully recover from his injuries.

What was the outcome?

An investigation into the incident found that, not only had the machine’s fixed safety guard been removed but it also hadn’t been isolated from its power source.

Springvale EPS Ltd has now been fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £1,244.40 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

After the case, HSE Inspector Sal Brecken said:

“Mr Salkeld’s horrific injuries should not and need not have happened.
This incident was easily preventable had Springvale EPS Ltd
adequately assessed the risks of this particular
maintenance activity, developed safe working
procedures and informed their employees.”

If you have been affected by an accident at work, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

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Trust’s failures lead to patient’s death

Mid Staffordshire NHS foundation trust has been fined a significant amount and ordered to pay over £27,000 in damages over what the Judge described as the wholly avoidable and tragic death of a vulnerable patient.

What Happened?

Gillian Astbury, 66, a Type 1 diabetic died in 2007 after staff at Stafford hospital failed to give her the insulin she required to stay alive.

Despite Ms. Astbury’s ward undergoing as many as eight shift changes and 11 drugs rounds per day, the court heard that staff on the ward didn’t follow – and sometimes didn’t even look at – her medical notes, clearly stating her need for insulin, regular blood tests and a special diet.

What was the result?

Staffordshire NHS foundation trust was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £27,049 costs.

Peter Galsworthy, HSE Head of Operations in the West Midlands, said:

“Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust failed to implement a
proper handover system, or to oversee the proper completion
of nursing records and the monitoring of care plans.
In doing so they put Gillian Astbury at risk. 

The Trust’s systems were simply not robust enough to ensure
that staff consistently followed principles of good
communication and record keeping. Gillian’s
death was entirely preventable. She
just needed to be given insulin.”

If you have been affected by medical negligence, and you would like expert advice, contact the Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email medicalnegligence@hampsonhughes.com

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Unauthorised Restraint Technique – Care Home Patient Death

A patient at a Nottinghamshire mental health hospital died after being restrained by a member of staff – the member of staff is said to have used an unauthorised restraint technique.

What happened?

In a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Nottingham Crown Court heard that Derek Lovegrove, 38, died of a cardiac arrest after being restrained by a member of staff at Castlebeck Care (Teesdale) Ltd care home.

The Court heard that on the night of his death, Mr Lovegrove – who was classed as a high risk patient due to his tendency towards violence – had made a grab for two members of staff in a corridor.

The care workers successfully calmed Mr Lovegrove, and returned him to his room. Once inside the room, Mr Lovegrove pulled one of the workers to the floor. The worker restrained the patient by lying on top of him.

A co-worker entered the room and tried to return Mr Lovegrove to his feet. The workers realised that the man was not responding, and dialled 999.

What was the outcome?

Paramedics pronounced Mr Lovegrove dead at the scene.

Following an investigation into the death, HSE discovered that the level of care afforded to Mr Lovegrove at the care home was not in keeping with his best interests.

Sufficient restraint techniques had been in place, but following a recommendation from the Healthcare Commission , the care home had opted to switch to a conflict-avoidance technique.

Staff had noted that, in the case of Mr Lovegrove, the updated methods were inferior.

HSE Principal Inspector Frank Lomas commented:

“There was a failure to implement specific recommendations relating to
the management of Mr Lovegrove’s behaviour made in a report by
Maybo in September 2005, and a failure to implement
requirements and recommendations made by the
Healthcare Commission following a
visit in February 2006.

“The support worker should not have been left alone with Mr Lovegrove.
If another member of staff had been observing as required by
the care plan, it would have been less likely that
events would have unfolded in the way they did.
Consequently this would have reduced the
risk to Mr Lovegrove and staff.”

Castlebeck Care (Teesdale) Ltd was found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The company was fined £100,000

Source: View Article

MJLD Zumbathon 2014 raised £6,411.48 for CHIC’s

We are delighted to announce that the Merseyside Junior Lawyers Division charity Zumbathon (Sunday 27th April), sponsored by Hampson Hughes Solicitors has helped to raise an outstanding £6411.48 for CHIC’s Children’s Cancer Trust. Individual sponsorship, cake sales and raffles all helped towards raising this fantastic amount of money!

This year, the MJLD chose CHIC’s as their official charity partner and the Zumbathon was the last in a long list of events put on to raise funds for the charity Organised by Hampson Hughes’ trainee solicitor Kesiena Ovien, the Zumbathon was attended by over 110 people and 21 instructors got the room dancing across the afternoon!

Even Harvey and Archie, our mascots, made an appearance at the Zumbathon – joined by CHIC’s mascot!

Thousands of patients die of dehydration and poor NHS care

The NHS has released the results of a self-commissioned report into its own care standards. The figures suggest that over 1,000 patients die each month as a result of dehydration and substandard care.

The researchers say that deaths as a result of acute kidney injury, which causes a loss of kidney function and can develop very quickly, could be prevented by simple courtesies such as ensuring patients are well hydrated. According to the report, acute kidney injury costs the health service more than £1billion every year.

The report’s co-author Prof Donal O’Donoghue, Consultant Renal Physician at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“We know that at least a thousand people a month are dying
in hospital from acute kidney injury due to poor care.

These deaths are avoidable. This is completely unacceptable and we can’t
allow it to continue. Good basic care would save these lives and save
millions of pounds for the NHS. Doctors and nurses need to make
elementary checks to prevent acute kidney injury. In general,
people who are having surgery shouldn’t be asked to
go without water for longer than two hours.”

The report comes less than a year after the NHS watchdog NICE was forced to issue guidelines on giving patients water, after it found that 42,000 deaths a year could be avoided if staff ensured that patients had enough to drink.

A spokesman for NHS England said:

“We have taken steps to ensure the NHS puts in place coherent
long-term plans to reduce avoidable deaths in our hospitals,
and to improve the way data is used in decision making.

Health research based on real-life evidence like this is vitally important
for NHS commissioners in choosing where to target their resources,
and we thank Insight Health Economics and NHS Improving
Quality for carrying it out.”

If you have been affected by medical negligence, and you would like expert advice, contact the Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email medicalnegligence@hampsonhughes.com

Breakthrough Breast Cancer Drug – Too Expensive for NHS?

The National Institute for Healthcare Excellence (NICE) has warned that a new breast cancer drug, which extends women’s lives by up to six months, could be blocked from entering into routine NHS usage if the price-tag is deemed non-cost effective.

Produced by Roche, trastuzumab emtansine (also known as Kadcyla) can cost up to £90k per patient. An estimated 1500 patients will be eligible for the treatment, meaning that the true cost of the drug to the NHS could be around £135m per year.

Jayson Dallas, general manager of Roche, said:

“Roche is extremely disappointed that Nice has failed to
safeguard the interests of patients with this
advanced stage of aggressive disease.”

The guidance from NICE is now up for public consultation. If the drug is adopted, patients wishing to be considered for the drug will have to apply to the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) through their local NHS service.

NHS Payout – Patient Awake in Theatre

A female nurse from Burnley has won damages after waking from a general anaesthetic in theatre.

She has suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of regaining consciousness – with her eyes taped shut and tubes down her throat – as hospital staff prepared to operate.

What Happened?

Alexandra Bythell was scheduled to have her appendix removed in September 2010.

Mrs Bythell recalls receiving a general anaesthetic on the day of the surgery, but then reports waking up in the operating theatre moments before her surgery began.

Due to the paralysing effect of the anaesthetic, Mrs Bythell was unable to call out. She then remembers hearing a request for morphine to be administered, at which point she fell asleep.

Hospital Apology

Following a critical incident report, Burnley General Hospital has admitted human error – the investigation found that the vaporiser responsible for regulating the anaesthetic was empty.

Mrs Bythell received a letter of apology from the anaesthetist. The NHS Trust as also admitted that Mrs Bythell had experienced “anaesthetic awareness”.

Sarah Sharples, Mrs Bythell’s lawyer, commented:

“What happened to Alexandra is totally unacceptable. She woke up paralysed, thinking
that she was actually in theatre and thinking that she was about to die.

She was left distraught over what had happened and why she had
effectively woken up. The experience has had a massive
affect on Alexandra psychologically.

It is crucial that the NHS Trust learns from this mistake and ensures that it
cannot happen again. This was not a faulty machine. This was a simple
avoidable human error and it is crucial that systems
are introduced to stop this happening again.”

If you have been affected by medical negligence, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email medicalnegligence@hampsonhughes.com

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