Surgeon jailed for negligence & nurse found guilty of mis-conduct

Yesterday David Sellu, a consultant surgeon, was jailed for 2 and a half years for manslaughter after he failed to act quickly enough to examine and operate on a patient he had diagnosed with a rupture in his bowel. The judge said that the surgeon should have prescribed antibiotics and looked at abdominal scans earlier. Although there was a chance that the patient would die even if he had received treatment, the risks were increased by the delay in action.

Elizabeth Joslin, a lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: ‘David Sellu’s care fell far below the expected standard, with terrible consequences. Prosecution of doctors for gross negligence manslaughter is rare and the threshold for criminal prosecution is high, but this doctor’s actions were not mistakes or errors of judgment, but negligence so serious that he has now been convicted of a criminal offence.

You can read more about the case in the Guardian here

I thought it was quite interesting that also in the news this week, Janice Harry, chief nurse at Stafford Hospital between 1998 and 2006, was given a 5 year caution, but was still found fit to practice for her part in the Mid-Staffs scandal.

A Nursing and Midwifery Council panel heard that during some night shifts, a single nurse was looking after 17 patients on a ward. It said Mrs Harry should have been focused on staffing levels but she was distracted by ‘training, targets and other matters‘.

The panel told her ‘you had effectively closed your mind to your direct operational responsibilities and had limited yourself to the strategic role. You had the professional responsibility for every nurse in the Trust….you had in the past placed patients at risk of harm.

You can read more about the case here

I think that both these cases show how important it is that doctors and nurses should always put the patient first, and I think it is a good thing that there are stricter controls in place now to ensure that bad practice does not happen in the future. However, it has made me realise just how big a responsibility medicine is, and I will have to make sure that I am always focussed on the patient first and not distracted by other things like targets. I also think it shows how important it is for everyone involved in caring for a patient to work as a team, and to report anything that falls below standard.

The White Queen

Right now, I’m busy revising for my History A/S level on Tuesday. I’ve been studying Britain from 1483 – 1529, about Richard III and the War of the Roses. I really enjoyed reading Philippa Gregory’s novel, The White Queen, which was about Edward IV’s wife, Elizabeth Woodville. The BBC have just started advertising a new 10-part series based on her series of novels, The Cousins’ War, coming soon. You can read more about it here. I can’t wait to watch it but it’s a shame that it wasn’t on earlier!

image from http://jeremyironsno1fan.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/the-white-queen-poster.jpg?w=460

Winter Viruses

I came across this  BBC programme about winter viruses and how to beat them. It’s on BBC iplayer until Thursday 7th Feb, so try and watch it if you missed it earlier….

Every winter, millions of us come down with colds, flu and stomach problems caused by viruses like Norovirus – the highly contagious vomiting bug which has swept the country this year. It has closed hundreds of hospital wards and infected well over a million people. Flu figures are also higher than last year and are still climbing, plus we have seen high cases of a little known but extremely nasty respiratory virus called RSV which affects babies and young children.                          

flu-virus.jpgSo why does winter makes us ill? And what can we do to protect ourselves against these normally routine illnesses that have the potential to turn lethal and cost the economy billions of pounds every year?

Professor Alice Roberts and Dr Michael Mosley report from a pop up studio close to many of London’s leading hospitals and medical research institutions on the latest virus outbreaks across the country. With the help of leading virologists, they will be finding out what viruses do to our bodies, explaining what viruses are, examining how they spread and advising what we can do to stay fit and healthy for the rest of the winter.” – BBC