Awake Sedation for Brain Surgery May Shorten Hospital Stay

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Post by kenobewan » Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:03 am

Purple Wiggle 'happy' after heart surgery

The Wiggles have jetted off to the US for their North American tour, leaving behind Purple Wiggle Jeff Fatt, who is recovering from emergency heart surgery in Sydney.

Fatt, 57, has been forced to take a short break from touring after being diagnosed with arrhythmia, a condition where the heart beats irregularly.

The Wiggle was fitted with a pacemaker during the surgery at Sydney's Mater hospital on Friday night after reportedly feeling unwell for several weeks.

Wiggles publicist Kayley Harris said Fatt was discharged from hospital on Saturday after a successful operation.

"He's fine, he's quite happy and good. All went well," she told AAP.

Harris said Fatt now planned to take a month off work before joining the Wiggles on tour.

"We hope he will be able to rejoin the US tour if he's got the all-clear from his doctor," she said.

The Wiggles are set to tour the US and Canada in July and August with their Big Birthday Tour 2011.

The group, who celebrate their 20th birthday this year, will play their first show in Tampa, Florida, on Sunday afternoon local time.

In a statement on the group's Facebook page, The Wiggles announced that Fatt was "expected to make a quick and full recovery".

"We wish Jeff a speedy recovery, and look forward to his return back on stage to get some much deserved rest by sleeping on the job like he normally does!" it said.

The news prompted an avalanche of get-well messages from devoted fans around the world, with the group's Facebook statement attracting 483 comments since the news was posted on Friday.

"Get better, Jeff, and don't come back too soon. We want Jeff to be "wiggling" for a long time!!" said Bette Ann Clemons on the social networking site.

"Oh no!!!! Prayers for a speedy recovery for you, Jeff!! We love you and my 2.5 year old is really looking forward to seeing you in Oakland, CA in August," said Adrienne Armstrong.

Harris said Wiggles understudy Brad Carroll would take Fatt's place for the next month.

"(Carroll's) been with the cast for a long, long time. He's usually one of our dancers onstage. He has filled in for the other guys before and he'll be filling in for Jeff."

Fatt was one of the original members of the children's entertainment group when it formed in 1991.

The Wiggles have grown to become a global phenomenon, having sold more than 23 million DVDs and seven million CDs worldwide. ... 1gxzn.html

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Post by kenobewan » Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:41 am

Private hospitals excised from wait fix

THE Gillard government has dumped Kevin Rudd's, guarantee of private hospital care for patients facing long waits for elective surgery in the public system.

Despite latest trends showing public hospital elective surgery rates nationally are failing to keep pace with demand, the federal government has agreed with the state and territory governments on a public hospital-based plan aimed at delivering 100 per cent on-time surgery within five years.

The Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, disclosed yesterday the federal government had agreed in health reform negotiations with the states and territories to drop the private hospital backup proposal, on the advice of a clinical panel.

Ms Roxon said the new approach set a higher target than the original benchmark, which proposed 95 per cent of elective surgery cases should be performed within agreed deadlines.

''States believe this is even a harder target to reach but think it is a more sensible way to implement it over time.''

Ms Roxon has also agreed to a plan for more ambitious targets for treatment times in emergency departments.

These will require that by 2015 90 per cent of patients can leave emergency within four hours, with no exceptions, in contrast to the original proposal, which did allow for exceptions.

This was recognised as ''ambitious, given the current proportion of patients leaving the emergency department within four hours is currently between 55 and 71 per cent'', Ms Roxon said.

She confirmed this and other outstanding issues of disagreement with the states on the health reform agenda had been settled without the need for another meeting of the Council of Australian Governments, whose meeting scheduled for next week has since been called off.

A private hospitals spokesman, Michael Roff, told the Herald the state government bureaucracies were never keen on a private hospital role, even though private hospitals now account for more than 60 per cent of elective surgery.

''It was very clear that any suggestion of using the private sector was too hard, '' Mr Roff, the chief executive of the Australian Private Hospitals Association, said.

The Opposition's health spokesman, Peter Dutton, asked last night if waiting time targets were ''facing the scalpel''.

''This minister has been a complete failure in health,'' he said.

In March last year, the then Prime Minister, Mr Rudd, said that if a patient's local public hospitals could not provide the elective surgery ''then the Local Hospital Network will find that person a bed at another hospital within the Network - or with a private hospital if one can't easily be found''.

Ms Roxon denied the change was a backdown. ''I am not pretending to anyone this is not a change.''

Latest statistics show that, after a brief fall in waiting times after the Rudd Government's $600 million elective surgery ''blitz'' in 2008, waiting times have begun to rise. ... 1h2kd.html

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Post by kenobewan » Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:16 am

State denies hospital plan finalised

THE fate of the Gillard government's reforms to cut hospital waiting times has been thrown into uncertainty with the NSW Health Minister, Jillian Skinner, saying the state governments have not finalised the federal proposals for change.

Ms Skinner expressed surprise at comments by the federal Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, suggesting the health reforms would include dropping the plan for private hospital care for elective surgery patients facing long waits in public hospitals.

Given the strains on public hospitals, if there were spare capacity in private hospitals, ''I reserve the right to provide the benefit of surgery in the private sector'', Ms Skinner said.

Advertisement: Story continues below Some of the elective and emergency waiting time issues had been discussed and agreed to by the expert clinical panel appointed by all governments to advise on the matter.

''But it is certainly not something the states have signed up to,'' Ms Skinner said.

Ms Skinner said the target of 100 per cent of surgery patients getting operations within appropriate clinical times was desirable but would be difficult to attain given the recent estimate that there might be 30,000 people awaiting surgery who had not been been accounted for because of concealment by the previous government.

The federal opposition spokesman on health, Peter Dutton, called on Ms Roxon to release the expert panel's report. A spokesman for Ms Roxon said the release of the report was a matter for the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to decide.

But Mr Dutton said, given the Prime Minister had now cancelled the COAG meeting set for Friday July 15 and had not set another date, Ms Roxon should release the expert report now.

"Just as Kevin Rudd's promises in health fell apart and were never implemented, things are falling apart under Julia Gillard,'' Mr Dutton said.

The proposed revamp of the waiting time targets disclosed by Ms Roxon this week would not improve outcomes and could distort care priorities to the disadvantage of patients, a hospital efficiency expert, Paul Tridgell, said.

Dr Tridgell, who advises hospitals and governments, said that aiming for 100 per cent of elective surgery patients to be treated within set deadlines reduced the flexibility clinicians needed to set priorities.

This might mean that a patient with a minor condition whose treatment deadline was about to expire got treatment ahead of a patient with a more serious illness - a scenario that had occurred in Britain as a result of similar schemes.

Dr Tridgell said the same sort of issues could also distort priorities in emergency departments. Another possible consequence was that hospitals would designate nearby areas for ''admitted'' patients to get around the four-hour requirement applying to emergency departments.

It was also questionable to give so much emphasis to performance targets for elective surgery and emergency departments when these two areas accounted together for only about 20 per cent of total public hospital activity. ... 1h4wo.html

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Post by kenobewan » Sat Jul 09, 2011 7:03 am

Roxon hit for backflip on health

THE opposition has accused Health Minister Nicola Roxon of surrendering to the states on health reform by handing over control of the new body being created to identify poor performances by public hospitals.

Legislative amendments tabled this week substantially alter the design of the proposed National Health Performance Authority, which was a key part of the $12 billion health reform deal sealed by Julia Gillard and state premiers in February.

According to the original legislation tabled in March, the authority was to be an independent body answering to the commonwealth and its job was to collect and publish information about hospitals to allow inadequacies to be identified.

However, the amendments tabled in parliament this week significantly shift the balance of control over the body from the commonwealth to the states, a move the opposition has attacked as evidence that Labor's much-promoted health reform process is a sham.

"Change has been forced on this hapless minister," the opposition health spokesman, Peter Dutton, told parliament.

"The scope of the authority's reporting will be changed totally by these amendments," Mr Dutton said.

After Ms Roxon produced her initial reform legislation in March, West Australian Premier Colin Barnett, backed by his Victorian counterpart Ted Baillieu, said it did not properly reflect the Council of Australian Governments agreement signed a month earlier.

Last month, Ms Roxon clinched a fresh deal with the states, including giving the new authority's reports to state health ministers before their release.

The amendments tabled on Tuesday formalise the concession but add several others, including diluting Ms Roxon's power over the authority by giving states greater control through COAG.

And while the initial plan was for Ms Roxon to be able to hire and fire the chief executive officer of the authority, this will now be within the hands of the authority itself, giving states a greater say through COAG.

On Thursday, Ms Roxon defended her concession, saying it had been made clear that states managed hospitals.

Providing states with the reports of poor hospital performance would allow them to take corrective action as quickly as possible, she said.

"We believe that that only enhances how our reforms can deliver improvements to health services," she added. ... 6091023097

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Post by kenobewan » Sun Jul 10, 2011 6:49 am

Hospitals full of flu babies

STRONGER flu strains, including swine flu, have caused a 30 per cent increase in the number of babies admitted to hospital with bronchiolitis over the past two years.

Doctors predict the figures will be worse this year with cold weather biting early and the number of upper respiratory infections up generally.

Bronchiolitis is inflammation of the bronchioles, the smallest air passages of the lungs. It is caused by a virus and leads to coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, usually in children under two.

Sydney Children's Hospital figures show a 30 per cent increase in bronchiolitis admissions between 2008 and 2010, with numbers from the first five months of 2011 suggesting there will be even more cases this year.

Hospital admissions for upper respiratory tract infections increased by 13 per cent over the same period.

A NSW Health spokeswoman said that there was "a suggestion of a slightly higher increase this year in these respiratory illnesses among adults and children".

"When combined with what we are hearing from the laboratories we can certainly say that influenza has arrived along with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection which is the main cause of bronchiolitis in infants," the spokeswoman said.

The Children's Hospital at Westmead has recorded a 16 per cent increase in infants presenting with the illness.

The head of general medicine at the Children's Hospital at Westmead, Dr Ken Peacock, said reasons for the rise in bronchiolitis cases were the severity of viral infections this season, the impact of the swine flu pandemic from two seasons ago and the fact more babies were being born.

There were 725 presentations of bronchiolitis at the hospital in 2010, compared to 665 in 2009 and 622 in 2008.

"The best way to avoid the condition is to keep small babies and children under one year with other health problems away from anyone that has cold-like symptoms," Dr Peacock said.

The hospital is hoping to receive more funding for nasal high-flow oxygen therapy machines, which can help patients recover much faster than the older, more cumbersome units.

The hospital has nine machines, each costing $3285 to set up, but needs another 10.

Jacinta Hickry, a six-week-old baby from Strathfield, was admitted to hospital with bronchiolitis and had to wait two days before she was able to be treated on the oxygen therapy machine.

After 48 hours on the machine, she was well enough to be discharged.

The head of respiratory medicine at Sydney Children's Hospital, Professor Adam Jaffe, said if a child develops a fever, has problems breathing or loses their appetite for a reasonable period of time, medical advice should be sought. ... 6091503264

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Post by kenobewan » Mon Jul 11, 2011 6:56 am

Kenny 'regrets' hospital confusion

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he regrets confusion his comments on Roscommon County Hospital may have caused, but warned Fine Gael's previous commitments on the hospital's services were "no longer tenable".

Mr Kenny has come under pressure after a recording taken on the election trail last February reveals him promising to maintain emergency department services at Roscommon County Hospital.

In the recording, Mr Kenny vows to “protect and defend” the hospital and encourages people to vote for local Fine Gael candidates Frank Feighan and Denis Naughten.

In a statement today, Mr Kenny today admitted he had made repeated a "publicly known commitment, made in good faith by Fine Gael, on the retention of services at Roscommon County Hospital".

"Since then, the independent health regulator HIQA has advised that the provision of accident and emergency services at Roscommon and other smaller hospitals is not safe. The Government cannot ignore this expert advice and, consequently this element of Fine Gael's commitment is no longer tenable," he said.

"I regret any confusion that may have arisen from my comments yesterday. It was never my intention to mislead anyone on this matter."

The recording, made by a Sunday Business Post reporter, has proved highly embarrassing for Mr Kenny who insisted on Friday that there would be no reversal of the decision to close the hospital’s emergency department.

Addressing supporters in Roscommon town, Mr Kenny is heard saying on the recording: “I have defended the nurses and the doctors and the workers and the people of Roscommon over the years about this hospital and will do so again.”

He goes on to say: “Deputy Denis Naughten has pointed out that if the intention is to close the accident and emergency unit in Roscommon County Hospital for 12 hours a day, that will create unprecendent pressure on an over-stressed Portiuncula Hospital. We are committed to maintaining the services at Roscommon County Hospital.”

Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams the Taoiseach's explanation for the failure to keep A&E services at the hospital was "not good enough".

"The Taoiseach should do the decent thing – that means keeping his promise," he said. “Full accident and emergency services should be restored to Roscommon.”

Roscommon's emergency department will close tomorrow and will be replaced with an urgent care centre which will be doctor-led. In four weeks time an out-of-hours GP-led service will be provided.

Mr Kenny said the Government would proceed with its plans to reform of the health service andsaid it would prove its commitment to the future of smaller hospitals, including Roscommon. ... tml?via=mr

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Post by kenobewan » Tue Jul 12, 2011 6:38 am

Hospitals counting cost of doc shortage

Last-minute bureaucratic hitches were preventing some badly-needed junior doctors from taking up posts in emergency departments (EDs) today, the Irish Association of Emergency Medicine (IAEM) has reported.

IAEM President Fergal Hickey said while it was too early at this stage to gauge the fall-out nationally from the junior doctor shortage, the Association would be carrying out a fact-finding survey of EDs later this week.

However, he told that one doctor was due to arrive for work at his department in Sligo Hospital today from Eastern Europe but could not travel due to a last-minute visa issue, having previously been cleared to work here.

He said in another case, a doctor also cleared to work in his department was awaiting a sign-off on their documentation by the Medical Council.

Mr Hickey said he had heard of similar last-minute hitches in other hospitals around the country trying to fill junior doctor posts.

The HSE said earlier today that while there weredoctor shortages, the overall impact on services was unlikely to be significant.

Junior doctors will continue to be recruited in the coming weeks, many from abroad, and the HSE says it is putting contingency plans in place to deal with vacancies on the ground.

Around 150 posts are said to be vacant as recruitment is continuing.

Meanwhile, the the emergency department at Roscommon Hospital ended its 24-hour service today and was replaced by a 12-hour urgent care unit.

Protests against the closure have taken place in Roscommon, in addition to protests in Mallow against the planned downscaling of the local hospital emergency department service later this year.

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Post by kenobewan » Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:45 am

Roscommon hospital figures disputed

The Department of Health has denied that Minister James Reilly used misleading figures about mortality rates at Roscommon hospital to support the decision to downgrade the hospital's accident and emergency unit.

The Roscommon Hospital Action Committee today said it had obtained figures which showed an overall mortality rate of between 3.5 per cent and 6 per cent at the hospital over the last three years.

The committee said this was significantly lower than what Dr Reilly last week told the Dáil. The Minister said that cardiac patients attending Roscommon hospital (at 21.3 per cent) had four times the mortality rate of those admitted to Galway University Hospital (at 5.8 per cent).

The accident and emergency department at Roscommon hospital closed at 8am yesterday and was replaced with a minor injuries unit for adults only. Emergency cases are being moved on to hospitals in Galway, Sligo and Mayo.

Committee chairman John McDermott said figures from the Hospital In-Patient Enquiry (Hipe) system, compiled for the HSE by the Economic and Social Research Institute over the last three years, showed the mortality rate was in line with other hospitals.

He said that Senator John Crown, a hospital consultant, had verified the figures and was happy that “at worst” Roscommon hospital had the same coronary death rate as Galway hospital.

“It brings into question the research on which Dr Reilly is basing the whole hospital reconfiguration programme on,” Mr McDermott said.

A spokesman for Dr Reilly said the cardiac mortality rate at Roscommon hospital was utterly separate from the decision to close the accident and emergency unit, which had been taken in advance of the figures being compiled.

The decision was based on two reports by the Health Information and Quality Authority, one from 2009 and one from April of this year, he said.

He said the figures being quoted by the Roscommon Hospital Action Committee did not compare like with like.

He said the Department of Health had analysed Hipe data from Roscommon hospital over the last three years and that the numbers quoted by Dr Reilly related to samples of 100 people presenting with heart attacks. They showed that 21.3 per cent of these patients died at Roscommon compared to 5.8 per cent in Galway. The numbers quoted by the committee looked at overall mortality rates.

The spokesman said outcomes for patients were proven to be better at higher volume hospitals. ... ing37.html

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Post by kenobewan » Thu Jul 14, 2011 7:03 am

Anger as nurse bitten, stabbed and punched

NURSES are calling for the removal of cutlery and crockery in emergency departments after a colleague was attacked by a patient with a butter knife.

The state government is under pressure to urgently upgrade security in all hospital emergency departments, including allocating dedicated guards.

Nurses at Blacktown Hospital will go on strike for two hours tomorrow after their colleague Edith Castro was stabbed by a 39-year-old patient with a butter knife while she worked at a computer in the emergency ward on Tuesday at 4.30am.

A second nurse intervened and managed to take the knife from the man, who had been in hospital since Sunday and was allegedly an alcoholic suffering kidney failure.

The woman was allegedly stabbed in the arm, back and breast, and was also repeatedly bitten and punched.

"Another nurse was pulling him off me and I was really bleeding from the arm. I didn't even know until later on when I saw the knife," the nurse said.

"We need to be better protected, especially in the emergency department."

It was the second attack on a nurse at Blacktown Hospital in the past 12 months, with another female nurse bashed by a patient last October.

It also comes less than six months after the murder of nurse Bob Fenwick at Orange's Bloomfield mental health hospital in January.

Blacktown Hospital staff are traumatised and have demanded a security guard be placed in the emergency department immediately.

NSW Nurses' Association general-secretary Brett Holmes said at the very minimum all nurses working in emergency wards should carry personal alarms and a security guard should be placed at high-risk departments.

"Our members are saying that they are at risk there. It is not just in metropolitan areas, we've seen cases on the North Coast where security has been removed and there has been a rise in the number of incidents," he said.

The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine's NSW chairman Dr Richard Paoloni said the government had been warned.

"When you have staff treating patients one on one in poor visible areas, then attacks like this are going to be more frequent," he said.

"Personal duress alarms are under-recognised but you also need staff to be there to respond. The level of staff is significant because the less staff there is the less they can look out for each other."

Health Minister Jillian Skinner refused to comment on security but has asked her department to provide a review at Blacktown Hospital.

Police charged the patient in the Blacktown attack with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and recklessly causing grievous bodily harm. ... 6094204670

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Post by kenobewan » Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:12 am

Nurses to protest over NSW stabbing

Nurses at a western Sydney hospital where one of their colleagues was stabbed with a butter knife will walk off the job on Friday.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner on Thursday announced that a security guard would be stationed at the hospital's emergency department from 10pm until 6am (AEST), beginning on Thursday night but this was not enough to avert the strike.

"Nurses feel like this was completely unacceptable for it to even happen in the first place," said NSW Nurses Association (NSWNA) general secretary Brett Holmes.

Advertisement: Story continues below Mr Holmes said nurses wanted a 24-hour security guard in the emergency department, improved training in aggression management and all dangerous items such as cutlery and crockery to be removed.

"There is no indication that our members are ready for a compromise over their security," he said.

Ms Skinner said the guard would remain at the hospital on night shifts until the completion of a review into safety.

The review will examine the use of cutlery, the training of staff and the availability and use of duress buttons.

The nurse was working in the emergency ward at 4.30am (AEST) on Tuesday when a male patient allegedly punched her in the face and stabbed her in her arm, back and breast.

A second nurse intervened and her injured colleague was treated for cuts and puncture wounds, none of which was considered life-threatening.

Ms Skinner visited the nurse on Thursday to offer support and say "how sorry we were about the incident".

"She has numerous small bruises across her body, some stab wounds that are fairly superficial but nevertheless worrying, and I understand that one of her ribs is cracked," Ms Skinner told reporters.

"She's in a bit of discomfort but more than anything else I think she needs trauma counselling. I've made sure that that's available for her."

Opposition health spokesman Andrew McDonald has also called on the O'Farrell government to provide 24-hour security and review the safeguards at other hospitals.

"The health minister must also immediately ensure security arrangements are appropriate at all other hospitals and emergency departments around the state," Dr McDonald said in a statement on Friday.

Blacktown Hospital will operate on skeleton nursing staff from 12.30pm until 2.30pm (AEST) on Friday.

"During this time contingency arrangements are being planned to ensure patient care is not affected," the hospital's general manager Dominic Dawson said in a statement on Thursday.

"We are sorry that one of our colleagues was hurt by one of the very people she was there to help.

"This sort of thing affects everyone at the hospital."

Ms Skinner said she believed the nurse would return to work eventually.

"I believe she's a very dedicated nurse," the minister said.

"I have no doubt that she would want to return to nursing at that hospital." ... 1hfb1.html

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Post by kenobewan » Sat Jul 16, 2011 6:43 am

NSW cancer hubs to improve patient care

A $30 million chain of cancer research hubs are being set up in NSW to help improve patient care.

The seven hubs have been designed to bring together the best minds in cancer research with doctors and nurses in an attempt to improve treatment for patients.

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner announced plans for the so-called translational cancer research centres, the first of their kind in Australia.

"This program is about getting doctors and specialists, who are treating cancer patients every day, working closely with our cutting-edge researchers and translating the latest possible evidence into positive results for patients," she said.

"Researchers in turn will be able to hear first-hand from doctors and nurses about the issues needing to be addressed to improve outcomes at the treatment table."

The University of Sydney and University of NSW will each head two of the centres.

The University of Sydney will also head up a new unit at Sydney's North Shore Hospital focusing on personalising treatments for cancer patients and childhood cancer research.

Cancer Institute NSW chief executive Professor David Currow said the opening of the centres marked an "exciting time to be working in cancer research".

"Think of what can be achieved by getting our best and brightest medical and research minds working together," he said.

"We know that it can take some time for scientific breakthroughs to be taken up into routine practice across the health system.

"This program will speed this process up, helping us to save even more lives."

Details about the new centres came as the NSW government announced the head of the Children's Medical Research Institute Professor Roger Reddel had been named outstanding cancer researcher of the year.

Prof Reddel was honoured in the NSW Premier's Awards for Outstanding Cancer Research for his work on how cancer cells grow. ... tient-care

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Post by kenobewan » Sun Jul 17, 2011 7:00 am

Woman who died after hospital poisoning had been recovering, say family

Detectives investigating three deaths at a Greater Manchester hospital are interviewing 11 patients who survived the effects of tampered medication, in a bid for clues.

One of the victims was named as Tracey Elizabeth Arden, 44, a mother of two and grandmother from Stockport, who was suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Ms Arden was admitted to Stepping Hill hospital on the morning of 7th July, suffering from an infection connected with the MS.

By the time her elderly parents June and Keith visited her the same afternoon, the former secretary was already recovering well, with "the colour coming back to her cheeks," her brother Gary said.

Two hours later, Ms Arden was dead. Her family was told that the cause was a lung and chest infection. But it was not until a week later - after they had planned her funeral, which was due tomorrow - that police told them that her death was being treated as suspicious.

She is one of three victims now known to have died after their saline drips were injected with insulin, the others being a 71-year-old man, understood to have been terminally ill and a 84-year-old man whose illness has not been disclosed.

Police were called in to the hospital on Tuesday after an experienced nurse reported a higher than normal number of patients on her ward with unexplained low blood sugar levels.

They found 36 saline ampules contaminated with insulin, which were kept in a store room which served at least two wards, and uncovered 3 deaths of patients who had been given contaminated medication.

Ms Arden, a former secretary, who was diagnosed with MS at the age of 32, had died five days earlier while the two male victims died last week.

Now detectives are interviewing 11 patients who survived the attempted poisoning in a bid for clues, and are questioning up to 60 staff at the hospital, who could have had access to the batch of saline.

Police are also examining other recent deaths to see if any are connected to the case, whle any new deaths with relevant symptoms will now be passed to the Coroner.

Last night Ms Arden's family said they were struggling to come to terms with the news, having already grieved following her very sudden death.

The mother of two, and grandmother, had been in and out of hospital since her diagnosis with MS 12 years earlier, Mr Arden said. Although prone to infections, she had previously recovered from them, and was looking well when her elderly parents visited her on the ward, just hours before she died.

Her brother Gary said: "When they left she looked like she was recovering well - the colour was coming back to her cheeks." Within less than two hours, they received a call from the hospital warning that she had taken a turn for their worse. By the time they did the half a mile trip back to the hospital, she was dead. The family was told the cause was a lung and chest infection related to her multiple sclerosis.

"We accepted that as a family that her time had come and that was the cause," he said.

The family planned her funeral. Last Wednesday night, they were told to put it on hold.

Mr Arden said: "As a family we had got over the initial shock of her dying ... and moved into the practical mode, making the arrangements for the funeral. Then to be told this came as a complete shock."

He said his sister had a "very severe form" of MS which was diagnosed when she had just turned 32 and she had been in and out of hospitals and care homes ever since.

"Before that (her illness) she was an everyday, young, fun-loving, smiling, hard-working mother-of-two," he said.

"Even through all of that illness she always had a smile and joke when I went to see her," he said.

The case has echoes to that of Beverley Allitt, a nurse who used insulin to kill four children at Grantham and Kevesten hospital in Lincolnshire between 1991 and 1993.

However, detectives have not ruled out the possibility that an outsider could be involved, since insulin can be obtained on prescription and via the internet.

Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney said it would be "extremely difficult" to establish a link between the contaminated saline and the deaths.

It is not clear whether the motives are those of someone with a grudge or someone who belives they are helping the terminally and seriously ill.

Dr Chris Burke, chief executive of the Stockport NHS trust said the hospital had replaced all ampoules of saline, and increased security protecting medicines.

Patients at the hospital have expressed fears that a rogue health worker is to blame.

Clifford Monks, 84, receiving treatment for a stroke, said: "It sounds like another Beverley Allitt. It can only be malicious - someone who has got a grudge against the hospital or someone who is insane and sick themselves." ... amily.html

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Post by kenobewan » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:26 am

Doctors want action to curb patient violence in hospitals

DOCTORS have called for urgent action to address an ''epidemic of violence'' in Victorian hospitals - but slammed a government proposal for armed guards, saying they would put staff and patients at serious risk.

In a submission to a parliamentary inquiry, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) said violence was at an unacceptable level - and rising - in overcrowded emergency departments.

Hundreds of incidents involving aggressive patients or their families are reported in public hospitals every week, mostly on weekends and overnight, but it is widely acknowledged that they are underreported.

Advertisement: Story continues below AMA Victoria vice-president Stephen Parnis said every emergency doctor would have stories of violence, including in some cases being punched, kicked, scratched and threatened with knives or furniture.

''Personally I remember a case where a patient looked at my name badge and said, 'I know who you are, I'm going to find out where you live and kill your wife and children'. I'll never forget that,'' Dr Parnis said.

The AMA said Victorian doctors were facing ''an epidemic of violence and aggression'' and urged the government to take action ''to counteract the prevailing assumption that violence in a healthcare setting is permissible and intractable''.

But it strongly opposed the government's pre-election pledge to put 120 armed guards in emergency departments - which it has since agreed to reconsider - saying any move to introduce guns was fraught with danger. The AMA said patients could seize guns and patients who could be subdued by other means might be shot.

The Victorian chairman of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, Simon Judkins, said most violence related to mentally ill patients or those affected by alcohol or drugs, who needed to feel safe rather than threatened.

Dr Judkins said introducing armed guards would mark ''a sad day in our health system'', and urged the government to dump the plan quickly.

''Rather than establishing and fostering an environment of safety and caring, the message this sends to staff, patients and relatives is that they are coming into an environment which is dangerous and threatening,'' he said in a submission to the inquiry.

The AMA instead called for other measures including stationing well-trained, unarmed security staff close to emergency departments around the clock to deter violent behaviour in every hospital.

Other proposed measures included better training for staff on recognising and reducing conflict, separate rooms to stabilise agitated patients, and giving patients estimates of how long they might have to wait.

Dr Parnis said long delays contributed to violence, particularly by mentally ill patients for whom emergency departments were the gateway to care.

''We need to deal with overcrowding,'' he said. ''If you're tied up with people hanging from the rafters it increases the anxiety and frustration and decreases our ability to handle the violence that can erupt as a result.

''The worst-case scenarios are things like a violent patient in a cubicle next to a sick child and their family.''

St Vincent's Hospital emergency physician Neil Goldie said a ''behavioural assessment room'' in front of the hospital's ambulance bay had worked well to stabilise aggressive patients before they entered the main emergency department. ... 1hk91.html

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Post by kenobewan » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:41 am

Geelong's St John of God Hospital may have history of mix-ups

THE hospital that gave two newborn babies to the wrong mothers to breastfeed may have done it before.

In the wake of revelations of a baby bungle at Geelong's St John of God Hospital on Friday, another woman claims her baby was also handed to the wrong mother who began breastfeeding her at the hospital.

The mix-ups were revealed as a Herald Sun investigation uncovered dozens of errors with identification tags of newborns in Victorian public hospitals.

Premier Ted Baillieu said he was shocked by the latest baby mix-up, which was "entirely unacceptable" and "needs to be investigated".

The earlier mix-up involved a Geelong woman who said her newborn girl was given to another woman to breastfeed six years ago. The nurse realised her error and handed the baby back.

"Nurses are overworked, I get that. But it shouldn't happen ... they're not dealing with fruit and vegies, they're dealing with children," the mother said.

In the latest incident, two newborns were mistakenly given to the wrong mothers and breastfed by them at the hospital on Friday.

The babies spent more than eight hours with the wrong mothers. A family member alerted staff.

Health experts said there was a small risk the babies may have contracted HIV or hepatitis through the bungle.

It is believed the mix-up happened after the babies' identification bracelets were not checked against those of their mothers.

Sunshine Hospital had 17 cases of wrongly tagged babies in the four years to May 31, Freedom of Information documents show.

Six newborns had no name bands, four had the wrong name and another six were given the wrong gender.

At Southern Health, one baby was mistakenly given another baby's label in the same delivery suite - one of seven newborn ID errors there since 2006.

The mishap was picked up and rectified when the baby was transferred to the ward.

Frankston Hospital also reported two cases of incorrectly tagged babies, but gave no further details.

The documents revealed 26 cases since 2006 in just four of Victoria's biggest maternity sites.

It is unclear whether any of the errors led to babies being given to the wrong mothers.

St John of God Hospital said it "deeply regrets" last week's baby mix-up.

"As soon as the mistake was discovered, the babies were returned to the correct mothers and the women's obstetricians advised," the hospital said in a statement.

The hospital was investigating how the mistake happened, and counselling and pastoral care had been offered to both parents.

Staff had apologised to both families, and was testing the babies for infections. ... 6097111086

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Post by kenobewan » Wed Jul 20, 2011 7:26 am

Top Hospitals Named to National 'Honor Roll'

The annual hospital rankings by U.S. News & World Report named 17 centers of medical excellence nationwide.

Johns Hopkins Hospital led the list of those at or near the top for reputation and outcomes in six or more specialty rankings. Joining Hopkins on the so-called honor roll were:

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
Cleveland Clinic
University of California Los Angeles Medical Center
New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York City
University of California San Francisco Medical Center
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston
Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University, St. Louis
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle
University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers, Ann Arbor
Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn.
Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York City
Stanford Hospital and Clinics, Stanford, Calif.

All together, 720 hospitals out of the roughly 5,000 nationwide were ranked at the top in at least one specialty, or in their region among the 94 metropolitan areas considered in the Best Hospitals guide.

For most specialties, the rankings reflected death rates, safety outcomes, procedural volume, and other objective data collected on the hospitals.

The results also took into account a national survey by the publication that asked physicians which hospitals they considered best in their specialty for treating the most difficult cases.

The most impartial and scientifically rigorous rankings, though, come from the government's Hospital Compare website, according to Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH, of the Harvard School of Public Health and VA Boston.

However, that website isn't well organized or easy to navigate for patients, he said in an email to ABC News in collaboration with MedPage Today.

For example, nearly every hospital is average by its method of calculating mortality rates, Jha pointed out.

"While this approach is more palatable to the hospital industry, it wrongly suggests to consumers that it doesn't matter where you go," he wrote.

Jha recommended that among the proliferation of hospital rankings, patients should consider the U.S. News & World Report as a guide.

"If I were advising my family, I'd start with U.S. News and see if there are good data on hospitals in the area," he explained. "If there are, I'd look up some of the data on Hospital Compare as a validation." ... sues/27610

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