Friday, June 12, 2009

Negligent NSW public hospital kills young woman

The death of a 29-year-old woman after the delivery of her third child could have been prevented if staff were better trained and more rigorous policies had been in place, a NSW coroner found today. Rebecca Murray died from hemorrhaging after an emergency caesarean at Bathurst Hospital in June 2007. She lost a litre of blood following the surgery, but the hospital had not previously checked her blood type and ensured it had adequate supplies, so blood had to be transported from Orange.

Deputy State Coroner Carl Milovanovich also found that the nurse in charge of her recovery had been inadequately trained, and did not alert medical staff in time when Ms Murray's condition rapidly deteriorated. Bathurst Hospital has since introduced a new policy which requires staff to do a full blood count on all women having elective or emergency caesareans and ensure there are supplies on hand.

Mr Milovanovich recommended that all hospitals in NSW be required to follow suit. "If the unexpected and avoidable death of a young mother at Bathurst Hospital justifies a change in policy at Bathurst Hospital, why should that policy not extend to statewide?" Mr Milovanivich asked. "Do we have to wait for another mother to die in similar circumstances ... before there is some change?"

Ms Murray's father, Lewis Furner, said outside the Westmead coroner's court that responsibility for her death lay with the hospital administration, and not the nurse who had not been properly trained. But he was not optimistic that any changes would be made to the health system. "The last health minister, Reba Meagher, had the hide to say in parliament that NSW has got one of the best health systems in the world,'' Mr Furner said. "Now while we've got a government that thinks like that I don't hink there's going to be any changes. It's from the top down, that it's failing. It's just disgusting.''

But Ms Murray's mother, Adrienne Furness, was tearful on behalf of the three children. "It's a shame that they're not going to know her, just a shame,'' she said.


Once again it needed a publicity bomb to blast the NSW child protection agency off their backsides

NSW Department of Community Services officials and police swooped on a house in Sydney's west yesterday, removing a 12-year-old boy from the woman who took him in after he had been abused and malnourished. The action came as the minister responsible, Linda Burney, lashed The Australian yesterday for highlighting the plight of the boy and his siblings, and as the opposition described DOCS as an organisation on the verge of collapse.

The Australian yesterday revealed that eight malnourished children had been living with their increasingly desperate mother, a Sunni Muslim, in a violent and chaotic home that was overrun with mice, just 20km from the Sydney CBD. The children were taken into care last October, not by DOCS but by a neighbour who has five children of her own, when one of the boys was put into a full body cast after bones were broken by an elder brother. Eight months on, the children remain spread around in the care of the woman, her friends and her own mother.

The woman told The Australian yesterday she was terrified that DOCS would come for all the children now that she had made the case public. She had been pleading with DOCS to do something about the children for years but was told that it was policy to place Muslim children with Muslim foster carers, and it was impossible to find one that could take eight abused children, half of whom had severe developmental delays. "I wanted them to remove the boy and they say now, OK, they will do that, because he was abusing my children," she said. "But now I fear they will take them all."

DOCS initially refused to discuss the case with The Australian, saying it was "before the courts". But Ms Burney, the NSW Community Services Minister, spoke to Sydney radio station 2UE at length yesterday, saying she trusted the organisation she managed. "There has been extensive work with the mother of these children," Ms Burney said. "The mother recognised there was a severe problem. Community Services had been working for a long time with that family."

Asked why the children were never removed, Ms Burney said "I can't go into too much detail, this very issue is in front of the courts. "As I understand it, there was an arrangement made with a family friend or a neighbour. "I understand the outrage. I understand when you read that article, it is appalling. "I'm not for one minute trying to get away from that but the situation that you've read about is much more complex than what appears. "I don't know how well it serves the public to run out every graphic awful detail about the lives of children. Yes, there are mistakes, and yes, this is awful. But what about the 99 per cent where it's a success story?"

Ms Burney complained that she had recently tried to organise a news conference with a young woman who had escaped domestic violence with the department's help but only one journalist turned up. "It's easy to run out these (negative) stories," she said.

Foster Care Association president Denise Crisp has called for a royal commission into DOCS. Ms Burney said: "We do not need another inquiry. We had had a 12-month investigation and we are in the process of rolling out that reform. "One of the reasons we have to have that reform is that one government agency cannot cope with 300,000 calls about distressed children a year."

Opposition community services spokeswoman Pru Goward criticised Ms Burney yesterday, saying it was incredible that eight children had been farmed out across a neighbourhood, without any proper training or checks being done. She said the majority of children reported to DOCS were neglected, rather than abused. "Neglectful parents need to be shown how to look after their children better and helped to learn to do this," Ms Goward said. "If their child has problems - health or learning or behavioural - then these families quickly get into trouble, just like the family in the report today."


Leftist contempt for the military

One shudders to think what would have happened if Lathan had won his election bid and become Prime Minister. He hates just about everybody. He even describes himself as a "hater"

DEPUTY Prime Minister Julia Gillard has defended the members of the Australian Defence Force after former Labor leader Mark Latham called them "meatheads". Ms Gillard says the men and women of the ADF do a first-class job.

Mr Latham accused the nation's soldiers of having "limited intelligence and primeval interests in life'', in a column in today's edition of The Australian Financial Review. He said former defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon was better off out of the portfolio, with even the most tedious of public duties "better than knocking around with the meatheads of the Australian Defence Force''.

When asked about the comments, Ms Gillard said in Sydney that Australian soldiers were respected around the world. "I, as Deputy Prime Minister, deal with many men and women in our defence forces and as Deputy Prime Minister I'd certainly want to say that the men and women of the Australian Defence Force do a first-class job, a fantastic job,'' she said. "Their skills and abilities are recognised around the world. "Our soldiers, our defence personnel, join with those in other nations for operations around the world, and around the world they are known as highly trained, highly professional, highly skilled personnel who get on with doing dangerous work in the interests of this country.''

In a wide-ranging assault Mr Latham wrote that when he worked for Gough Whitlam the iconic Labor leader had told him the one of the purposes of his office as an ex-prime minister was "to milk the system" and take full advantage of publicly funded entitlements. "Regrettably, milking the system has become a regular part of Labor's culture," Mr Latham wrote. Mr Latham contrasted the frugality of former Labor leaders John Curtin and Ben Chifley with the modern ALP breed. "Labor talks a lot about working families but most of its Mps are working hard for the high life," Mr Latham wrote. "Their favoured form of infrastructure is the gravy train."

He said Labor has "jettisoned its traditional values" and ALP figures viewed power as an "entree card to the social establishment rather than a forum for radically attacking elites and social inequality." "Labor's ministers have been duchessed in the establishment, crippling the credibility of their social democratic beliefs."

Mr Latham wrote Mr Fitzgibbon should be relieved to be out of the Rudd ministry because he privately had held the Prime Minister in contempt and could now regain pride and self-respect. "For most of his time in opposition Fitzgibbon despised Rudd, remorselessly ridiculing every detail of the man's existence, form his gawky ways and peculiar hairstyle to his wife's less-than-glamourous-looks."


Smart Jap copter pilot saves lives in crash

A team of four aviation investigators will travel to the Gold Coast this morning to examine the wreckage of a helicopter which crash landed in the car park at Dreamworld yesterday. The damaged Bell JetRanger aircraft has been moved to a secure holding yard ahead of an assessment by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) after it lost power with five people on board while coming in to land at the Coomera theme park about 3.55pm.

Experienced pilot Matsumi "Matt" Sato managed to steer it towards an empty part of the car park, where it fell on its side and sent debris scattering 40 metres.

An off-duty firefighter standing at a nearby bus stop reportedly kicked in the chopper's window to assist Mr Sato and four Taiwanese tourists, who had been taking a joy flight. All were taken to Gold Coast Hosptial with minor injuries. Two remain there in a stable condition this morning.

An ATSB spokesman said an investigative team from Brisbane had been assembled overnight and would spend the coming days examining the damaged aircraft. A report will be made public, probably in a number of weeks. "The investigation will take a while because there are a number of things we have to look at as well as the aircraft itself; maintenance records, meteorological charts and that sort of thing," he said.

His actions to steer the floundering chopper away from the theme park crowds, cars and several thrill rides, have been credited with averting potential disaster. Mr Sato's boss at James Technologies, Darren Caulfield, was returning from Townsville this morning and could not be contacted. Police acting Superintendent Neil Haslam praised the pilot for his quick thinking. ''Obviously investigations need to be undertaken, but the pilot has done a remarkable job,'' Supt Haslam said. ''It looks like he has lost power and has successfully gone to an empty area of the car park.''

''The safety of our guests and staff is our absolute priority and we are deeply shocked to hear of this incident,'' the company said in a statement. ''We are incredibly grateful for what we are led to believe was a quick and experienced response. ''The owning company and the appropriate authorities will conduct a full investigation into the matter, which Dreamworld will be closely monitoring.''


Best job winner a $150k whingeing Pom

For American readers: "Whingeing" is the sort of whining you get from a tired toddler. A "Pom" is Australian slang for an English person. It is a common Australian perception that the English do a lot of complaining about minor things and are hard to please generally. Australians deride that as "whingeing"

ENGLISHMAN Ben Southall, winner of the World's Best Job, hasn't even started "work" yet and he's already living up to the worst stereotypes of his countrymen. Southall, 34, will collect a $150,000 tax payer-funded salary for six months lounging around the tropical paradise, enjoying free meals and accommodation in a three-bedroom luxury villa on Hamilton Island.

However, the blond-haired project manager from Petersfield, Hampshire, is already complaining his July 1 start date means he will miss out on the English summer, The Sun reports. "I'll miss the long days we have. The island may boast a tropical climate but it gets dark at 8pm," he moaned.

The Brit even whinged about missing English food, saying he would pine for roast dinners. "It will be far too hot to cook anything like that," he said.

Southall's only duty is to produce a blog detailing his life of leisure and regular activities such as sailing, snorkelling and scuba diving. He beat off more than 34,000 other applicants from around the world to win the coveted post, dreamed up by Tourism Queensland as part of an award-winning promotional campaign.


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