Tag Archives: NHS

Woman has child taken from her womb by social services

hns Telegraph: A pregnant woman has had her baby forcibly removed by caesarean section by social workers. Essex social services obtained a High Court order against the woman that allowed her to be forcibly sedated and her child to be taken from her womb.

The council said it was acting in the best interests of the woman, an Italian who was in Britain on a work trip, because she had suffered a mental breakdown.

The baby girl, now 15 months old, is still in the care of social services, who are refusing to give her back to the mother, even though she claims to have   made a full recovery.

The case has developed into an international legal row, with lawyers for the   woman describing it as “unprecedented”. They claim that even if the council had been acting in the woman’s best interests, officials should have consulted her family beforehand and also involved Italian social services, who would be better-placed to look after the child.

Brendan Fleming, the woman’s British lawyer, told The Sunday Telegraph: “I have never heard of anything like this in all my 40 years in the job.” “I can understand if someone is very ill that they may not be able to consent   to a medical procedure, but a forced caesarean is unprecedented.

If there were concerns about the care of this child by an Italian mother, then the better plan would have been for the authorities here to have notified social services in Italy and for the child to have been taken back there.”

The case, reported by Christopher Booker in his column   in The Sunday Telegraph today, raises fresh questions about the extent of social workers’ powers.

It will be raised in Parliament this week by John Hemming, a Liberal Democrat MP. He chairs the Public Family Law Reform Coordinating Campaign, which wants reform and greater openness in court proceedings involving family matters.

He said: “I have seen a number of cases of abuses of people’s rights in the family courts, but this has to be one of the more extreme.” “It involves the Court of Protection authorising a caesarean section without the person concerned being made aware of what was proposed. I worry about the way these decisions about a person’s mental capacity are being taken without any apparent concern as to the effect on the individual being affected.”

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is an Italian national who come to Britain in July last year to attend a training course with an   airline at Stansted Airport in Essex.

She suffered a panic attack, which her relations believe was due to her  failure to take regular medication for an existing bipolar condition. She called the police, who became concerned for her well-being and took her to  a hospital, which she then realised was a psychiatric facility.

She has told her lawyers that when she said she wanted to return to her hotel, she was restrained and sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Meanwhile, Essex social services obtained a High Court order in August 2012  for the birth “to be enforced by way of caesarean section”, according to legal documents seen by this newspaper.

The woman, who says she was kept in the dark about the proceedings, says that after five weeks in the ward she was forcibly sedated. When she woke up she was told that the child had been delivered by C-section and taken into care. 

In February, the mother, who had gone back to Italy, returned to Britain to request the return of her daughter at a hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Her lawyers say that she had since resumed taking her medication, and that the judge formed a favourable opinion of her. But he ruled that the child should be placed for adoption because of the risk that she might suffer a relapse. 

The cause has also been raised before a judge in the High Court in Rome, which has questioned why British care proceedings had been applied to the child of an Italian citizen “habitually resident” in Italy.

The Italian judge accepted, though, that the British courts had jurisdiction over the woman, who was deemed to have had no “capacity” to instruct lawyers.

Lawyers for the woman are demanding to know why Essex social services appear not have contacted next of kin in Italy to consult them on the case.  They are also upset that social workers insisted on placing the child in care   in Britain, when there had been an offer from a family friend in America to   look after her.

Last night an expert on social care proceedings, who asked not to be named   because she was not fully acquainted with the details of the case, described   it as “highly unusual”.  She said the council would first have to find “that she was basically unfit to make any decision herself” and then shown there was an acute risk to the mother if a natural birth was attempted.

An Essex county council spokesman said the local authority would not comment on ongoing cases involving vulnerable people and children.

h/t Paula

DCG

The future for children under Obamacare?

Now sick babies go on death pathway

DailyMail: Sick children are being discharged from NHS hospitals to die at home or in hospices on controversial ‘death pathways’. Until now, end of life regime the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) was thought to have involved only elderly and terminally-ill adults. But the Mail can reveal the practice of withdrawing food and fluid by tube is being used on young patients as well as severely disabled newborn babies.

One doctor has admitted starving and dehydrating ten babies to death in the neonatal unit of one hospital alone. Writing in a leading medical journal, the physician revealed the process can take an average of ten days during which a  baby becomes ‘smaller and shrunken’.

The LCP – on which 130,000 elderly and terminally-ill adult patients die each year – is now the subject of an independent inquiry ordered by ministers. The investigation, which will include child patients, will look at whether cash payments to hospitals to hit death pathway targets have influenced doctors’ decisions.

Medical critics of the LCP insist it is impossible to say when a patient will die and as a result the LCP death becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. They say it is a form of euthanasia, used to clear hospital beds and save the NHS money.

The use of end of life care methods on disabled newborn babies was revealed in the doctors’ bible, the British Medical Journal. 

Earlier this month, an un-named doctor wrote of the agony of watching the protracted deaths of babies. The doctor described one case of a baby born with ‘a lengthy list of unexpected congenital anomalies’, whose parents agreed to put it on the pathway.

The doctor wrote: ‘They wish for their child to die quickly once the feeding and fluids are stopped. They wish for pneumonia. They wish for no suffering. They wish for no visible changes to their precious baby. Their wishes, however, are not consistent with my experience. Survival is often much longer than most physicians think; reflecting on my previous patients, the median time from withdrawal of hydration to death was ten days. Parents and care teams are unprepared for the sometimes severe changes that they will witness in the child’s physical appearance as severe dehydration ensues.’

The use of end of life care methods on disabled newborn babies was revealed in the doctors’ bible, the British Medical Journal. ‘I know, as they cannot, the unique horror of witnessing a child become smaller and shrunken, as the only route out of a life that has become excruciating to the patient or to the parents who love their baby.’ According to the BMJ article, the doctor involved had presided over ten such deaths in just one hospital neonatal unit.

In a response to the article, Dr Laura de Rooy, a consultant neonatologist at St. George’s Hospital NHS Trust in London writing on the BMJ website, said: ‘It is a huge supposition to think they do not feel hunger or thirst.’

The LCP for children has been developed in the North West, where the LCP itself was pioneered in the 1990s. It involves the discharge to home or to a hospice of children who are given a document detailing their ‘end of life’ care.

One seen by the Mail, called ‘Liverpool Pathway for the Dying Child’ is issued by the Royal Liverpool Children’s NHS Trust in conjunction with the flagship children’s hospital Alder Hey. It includes tick boxes, filled out by hospital doctors, on medicines, nutrients and fluids to be stopped.  

The LCP was devised by the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute in Liverpool for care of dying adult patients more than a decade ago. It has since been developed, with paediatric staff at Alder Hey Hospital, to cover children. Parents have to agree to their child going on the death pathway, often being told by doctors it is in the child’s ‘best interests’ because their survival is ‘futile’.

Bernadette Lloyd, a hospice paediatric nurse, has written to the Cabinet Office and the Department of Health to criticise the use of death pathways for children. She said: ‘The parents feel coerced, at a very traumatic time, into agreeing that this is correct for their child whom they are told by doctors has only has a few days to live. It is very difficult to predict death. I have seen a “reasonable” number of children recover after being taken off the pathway. ‘I have also seen children die in terrible thirst because fluids are withdrawn from them until they die.

I witnessed a 14 year-old boy with cancer die with his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth when doctors refused to give him liquids by tube. His death was agonising for him, and for us nurses to watch. This is euthanasia by the backdoor.’

Alder Hey confirmed that children and babies are discharged for LCP end of life care ‘after all possible reversible causes for the patient’s condition are considered’. ‘There is a care pathway to enable a dying child to be supported by the local medical and nursing teams in the community, in line with the wishes of the child patients, where appropriate, and always their parents or carers.’ Alder Hey said children were not put on the LCP within the hospital itself.

Teresa Lynch, of protest group Medical Ethics Alliance, said: ‘There are big questions to be answered about how our sick children are dying.’

A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘End of life care for children must meet the highest professional and clinical standards, and the specific needs of children at the end of their life. ‘Staff must always communicate with the patient and the patient’s family, and involve them in all aspects of decision making.’

I certainly hope children here in America are not going to be subject to this “pathway” once Obamacare is implemented. Heartbreaking.

DCG

13 year old girls given contraceptive implants without parents’ knowledge

What could go wrong?

Telegraph:  The procedure was carried out in Southampton, Hants, as part of a government initiative to drive down teenage pregnancies.  As many as nine secondary schools in the city are thought to have been involved.

But it has caused a backlash from parents who weren’t aware that their daughters had been fitted with the device, which sits under the skin.  It is currently unknown exactly how many youngsters have taken part in the scheme.  Parents say they have been forced to inspect their child’s arm for any sign of the implant.

Health chiefs have defended sexual health services going into schools, saying teenage pregnancies had dropped by 22 per cent as a result.

But campaigners from the Family Education Trust say the implant fuels the flames of promiscuity by giving girls licence to have underage sex.  Norman Wells, director of the trust, has urged health chiefs to look at ways of discouraging sexual activity amongst children in the first place.  He said: “Schemes like these inevitably lead to boys putting pressure on girls to have sex.  They can now tell their girlfriends: ‘You can get the school clinic to give you an implant, so you don’t have to worry about getting pregnant’.”

Parents send their children to school to receive a good education, not to be undermined by health workers who give their children contraceptives behind their backs.

One mother, whose 13-year-old daughter was given the implant, has called the scheme “morally wrong”.  She claimed the school had gone ahead without consulting their family doctor.  The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said the pupils had to simply fill out a questionnaire about their medical history.  They then underwent a consultation with health experts before receiving the contraceptive but there was a lack of follow-up appointments.  She said: “I feel really angry about this.  I agree that teaching teenagers about sexual health and contraception is very important but this is a step too far. To perform a minor surgical procedure on school grounds, without parents knowing is morally wrong.”

Health chiefs have defended the scheme, insisting letters were sent to all parents at participating schools in 2009 when the service was launched.  It was then left to individual schools to inform parents of all future students joining, either by letter or in the prospectus.  They also say reports are showing that teenage pregnancies have dropped by 22 per cent since sexual health services went in to schools.

A spokeswoman for Solent NHS Trust and NHS Southampton said: “We are committed to ensuring local young people are able to access clinically appropriate sexual health support.  This helps them to avoid unwanted pregnancies and protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections.”

What could go wrong here?  This: A 13-year-old girl who had a contraceptive implant fitted at school without her mother’s knowledge said she wanted the procedure because she “felt like having sex”.

The teenager is one of 33 schoolgirls who have been fitted with the device in Southampton, Hants, as part of a controversial government initiative to drive down teenage pregnancies.  Now she has broken her silence to defend her actions, saying she believes she acted responsibly by taking measures to stop herself getting pregnant.

And her mother insisted she was “proud” of her daughter, although she claimed performing a minor surgical procedure at school without parental consent was “morally wrong”. 

“I think it has really helped me because if I am with my boyfriend and we feel like having sex, I have the peace of mind knowing that I am OKAt the time I didn’t want to tell my mum because there are some things you don’t want to talk to your parents about.  But I am glad I have told her now. I’d rather tell her I’ve had an implant than tell her I was pregnant.  But I think there should be the option to have full confidentiality because some children just can’t speak to their parents.”

Her mother said she was proud her daughter has taken responsibility to protect herself.  But she is now demanding an apology from health bosses at the Solent NHS Trust and a review of the service in schools.  She said: “I believe they have neglected my daughter by not making sure she had a follow-up appointment.  I want an apology. I know I may not be able to stop this surgical procedure being carried out on school grounds altogether.”

This is disturbing on many levels.  A 13 year old girl is not mature enough to make informed decisions about her medical care.  And she certainly isn’t emotionally mature to deal with the consequences.  How can she be afraid to speak with her mom yet “mature” enough to participate in the most intimate act of sexual intercourse?

Wait for Obamacare folks and the mandate Skippy wants for access to birth control.  And be sure to check your young girls’ arms.

DCG