Thursday, September 10, 2009

Insane politically correct Federal prosecutors finally see reason and drop oppressive case

"Baby swinging video" charges dropped. More idiotic "child protection" while kids who are REALLY at risk are ignored. "Attack the innocent" seems to be the motto of child protection agencies worldwide. Anything else is too difficult, apparently. But with the prospect of a jury trial they knew that they could't win this one. The publicity probably freaked them too. The children of the light love the light and the children of the darkness love the darkness (John 3: 19-20)

COMMONWEALTH prosecutors have dropped charges against a man accused of transmitting child abuse material by sharing a video on the internet of a man swinging a baby. Christopher Charles Illingworth, a 60-year-old freelance journalist from Maroochydore on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, was charged with two counts of using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material after he shared the video using the website Liveleak.

The video features a nine-month-old baby continually being swung around by its limbs, for about three and a half minutes, sometimes completing 360 degree loops over the man's head.

The video originated from either Russia or Ukraine and was traced to Illingworth's home, which was subsequently raided in November 2008 by police officers from Task Force Argos, which targets child pornography and abuse.

His lawyer argued in court that under Commonwealth law the video could not be deemed as torture, cruelty or physical abuse because it appeared the baby had not been harmed. A Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions spokeswoman today said the charges had been dropped. "This prosecution was discontinued ... after the matter was reviewed by the CDPP in accordance with the prosecution policy of the Commonwealth taking into account all the circumstances involved including the classification given to the material by the Classification Board," she said.

Mr Illingworth, a father of four, had argued the video simply showed a Russian circus family undertaking training, and said the charges were ridiculous. "My name and health has been damaged - I'm going to do something about this," he said. "If anything, I want this to go to trial by jury - 12 adults, 12 parents are going to see the stupidity of this. "Bring it on, bring it on with all your might." He said supporters had raised around $500,000 to cover his legal costs.


Another NSW government school destroyed because of ban on effective discipline

BALACLAVA-clad students jeered as frightened children stood outside the gates of their government high school yesterday with signs reading "Stop the violence". School bullying has become so rampant that parents fearing another Jai Morcom-style death threatened to remove their children from school.

Police have charged two 15-year-old boys with assault and affray after an alleged serious attack on students at Airds High, near Campbelltown in Sydney's southwest. Two students were suspended for 10 days and two others for four days after a brawl that left three teens injured - one with a broken nose.

Yesterday, protesting students shielded their faces with placards. Students worried about bullying plan a mass walkout tomorrow. Parents said the death of 15-year-old Jai Morcom after a schoolyard fight at Mullumbimby on August 29 was a chilling reminder of the potential dangers children faced.

Yesterday, Airds High students said they were "living in constant fear of being next". "All it takes is just looking at someone the wrong way and then you're hit," one student, too frightened to give his name, said.

Students leaving the school yesterday told of a "vicious" culture of bullying at the school. They said the bullying was indiscriminate, with victims targetted regardless of age, race or religion. "It's pretty vicious - people bash each other and call each other names," one Year 7 student said. "The bullies target anyone they think they can get to - they don't hurt people because of race. "But there are always people getting hurt in the playground."

Tracey Ross said she feared sending her son Jacob to school each morning after he was severely bullied by a group of older students. "I was told . . . that not one of these kids is safe between school hours," she said. "Jacob is in Year 8 but the students who were picking on him are in Year 10 . . . he was physically and emotionally bullied so badly that he was removed from school for six weeks."

Rebecca Hoffman said she often felt "scared" for her daughter Danielle in Year 9. "When I saw the (Mullumbimy High) incident on TV I was very worried," she said.

The two 15-year-olds charged after the incident on September 3 will appear in Campbelltown Children's Court on September 28. A Department of Education and Training spokesman said they would be placed on probation on their return to school. [Meaning what? More empty talk]


Another public transport outrage

Another example of how governments get people out of their cars. Driver couldn't change $20 so leaves schoolboy behind on the road. How odd that so many drivers don't know of a government "policy" that says they must not do that? Is it a policy mentioned only in hushed whispers or in fine print? Any wonder why I drove my son to school when he was a kid?

A 14-YEAR-OLD schoolboy has been left behind on a semi-rural road by a Brisbane bus because the driver refused to break a $20 note. The incident was the second serious case in a month for Brisbane Transport after a 10-year-old girl was left stranded in Mt Gravatt.

The boy's father, Nick Smith, told The Courier-Mail he had dropped his son Joshua off on Meadowlands Rd at Carina early last month, with a $20 note to pay for his week of bus trips to school. But the boy, who was dressed in school uniform, was told by the driver he would have to leave the bus because there was not enough spare change to break the note.

"He had a $20 note and then the driver said to him that he couldn't change the note and that he had to get off the bus," Mr Smith said. "I had to pick him up and then take him down to Cannon Hills bus terminal ... but where he was on Meadowlands Rd there are no shops or things close to hand for him to get change. "Being in full school uniform, showing his ID and being of a relatively minor age, I felt it was extremely disappointing that the decision was made not to let him on, given the problems that we have had in the past."

Both TransLink and Brisbane City Council have a "no child left behind" policy, which states that children of school-age or younger cannot be left behind by buses regardless of whether they are carrying the sufficient fare.

Mr Smith said his wife had rung TransLink to complain, and was told the driver had the right to refuse entry if passengers were not carrying the correct fare. "Initially when we complained, my wife actually rang them and they said, 'Look, passengers do have to tender the right change – there is a sign on the bus'," he said.

"If it was an adult, or if he was abusive or the behaviour was not appropriate you would understand but he did nothing wrong, he was very upset, very shaken and quite disappointed that he wasn't allowed to get on the bus."

A spokesman for TransLink said yesterday incidents of children being left behind were "very serious" and the driver had been disciplined but not sacked. "In this instance, following a thorough investigation by Brisbane Transport and TransLink, the driver involved has been disciplined and counselled and an apology has been issued to the child's parent," he said.

Public and Active Transport chair Jane Prentice said a memo had been sent to council drivers, reminding them of the "no child left behind policy". "I understand the latest incident was after we sent the alert but the bottom line is that it is not acceptable behaviour."



Three current articles below

Alarming wait for urgent medical procedures in NSW government hospitals

WAITING lists for urgent operations such as heart bypasses and cancer surgery have blown out dramatically this financial year, with the number of operations performed statewide falling by 5260 to 32,913 in July compared to the same month last year - a 14 per cent slump. The Health Minister, John Hatzistergos, released figures on Tuesday showing an improvement in elective surgery waiting times in the March to June quarter. But surgeons said administrators had approved extra surgery during this period to meet performance benchmarks, only to slash it subsequently.

''On July 1 they took the foot off the accelerator,'' said Patrick Cregan, the chairman of NSW Health's Surgical Services Taskforce. ''There's been an enormous blowout since then.'' While this was partly attributable to the swine flu epidemic, which reduced the number of beds available for surgical patients, ''the vast bulk of it is that we've got a budget problem'', Dr Cregan said. Fully staffed operating theatres were going unused, he said, as surgery was cancelled. ''It's an enormous waste of operating capacity,'' Dr Cregan said.

Another taskforce member, Brian McCaughan, said that at the end of July, 227 people who needed urgent operations such as heart, cancer or brain surgery were still on the waiting list beyond the 30 days recommended maximum, and more than 3000 others had waited too long for less urgent operations. This was in addition to patients who finally received their operation in July after waiting longer than benchmark times.

Professor McCaughan said the swine flu outbreak affected only operations where high-level care was needed afterwards. ''We did fewer hearts, but [the epidemic] doesn't impact on colons, hernias, gall bladders or breasts'', for which waiting lists had also increased. Budget allocations presented by NSW Health to area health services show the number of operations that can be performed statewide this year will be capped at 255,000, with hospital managers financially penalised if they deviate by more than 5 per cent from the targets.

NSW Health's acting deputy director-general for health system performance, Nigel Lyons, said the figures had not been finalised but were ''indicative''. Allocations had been calculated to allow 100 per cent of patients to be treated within recommended times, he said. Western Sydney hospitals will be allowed to perform less than two-thirds the number of operations allocated to eastern Sydney region under the new budgeting method - which awards money for actual ''episodes of care'', rather than allowing area bosses to distribute funds as they see fit.

Despite their similar catchment populations of just over a million each, Sydney West Area Health Service can perform only 30,812 operations, against South Eastern Sydney Area Health Service's 48,853. Dr Lyons and the NSW Health director-general, Debora Picone, would visit Nepean Hospital today to discuss doctors' concerns about the new formula, which the chairman of the hospital's medical staff council, Peter Flynn, said illustrated ''ingrained inequity''.

He said doctors would insist the department commit to 9000 extra operations a year in western Sydney by 2011, as facilities were opened or expanded.


Another overstetched public hospital doctor speaks out in Queensland

I WORK at one of Brisbane's largest hospitals as a surgical registrar. I have been very close to writing this letter many times in recent years but thought it would fall on deaf ears. I often have to work several months straight. That is, leaving my home at 6.30am every day and returning at 9pm or 10pm – often later, in the early hours of the morning, to have a few hours sleep and do it again.

There have been occasions over the years where I have been so fatigued I have fallen asleep while performing surgery, literally slumping forward while standing over the patient's open body on the operating table. On other occasions, I've seen my senior consultants fall asleep while operating, such was their exhaustion. It is terrifying to watch. Imagine if the patient knew the risk they were in.

We are meant to work 38-40 hour weeks. I will often do those many hours in a single weekend on call. My true hours are 50-70 hours per week. I have done over 100 at times. In addition to this, we're supposed to have four days off for every 14 days of work and, if you looked at the roster, it would seem as though they have allowed for this. But there is also an "unspoken" roster that has meant most of us only get about two to three days for every 30 days of work.

Surgery staff don't get time in lieu. If there's no one else to do it, you just have to work. If there's no one else to cover the ward on a weekend, you just have to do it. It doesn't matter to Queensland Health that you have just worked 30 days straight and haven't seen your spouse or kids in a fortnight.

Fatigue pay is what you get when you have worked your "rostered" hours for the day (7.30am-4.30pm). But you have to do so much overtime that your next "rostered" day starts before you get a chance to have an eight-hour break. We're supposed to have eight hours (of every 24 hours) not working. Fatigue pay kicks in when you have to return to work before having eight hours off (often we don't "return" as we haven't even had a chance to leave from the previous day).

If you complain about the hours and workload, you simply will not be able to progress in your career. If you want to get on to a competitive training program, your reference "scores" might be affected and you will not be able to specialise. It sounds crazy, with such a shortage of specialists, but as I have been told many times over: "you have to play the game" if you want to get into your chosen field.

The only problem is – without any exaggeration – the "game" maims and kills patients. It destroys doctors' health, marriages and relationships with their children. In addition to this, think of patient safety – you couldn't drive a car after such long hours of work, so why are we expected to perform surgery?

Most of us are extremely disillusioned, exhausted and in fear of our jobs if we speak about it, even among ourselves. Yes, we need more doctors. We're training more at uni than ever, so we will definitely have the graduates in coming years. But we need the specialty colleges to create the training positions and the hospitals to create the training-approved positions to accommodate these doctors until they become fully qualified (which can be five to 10 years after they finish medical school).

And there are simple short-term solutions at hand that everyone in the hospital system knows about but are too afraid to talk about to the media. At the hospital I work at, there are spare operating theatres that go unused. If they were to open these theatres and have them all fully functioning for urgent cases, we could get the elective lists completed during working hours.

Most doctors I know no longer enjoy what they do. Many have dropped out of surgery. Often our patients, who we sacrifice our family time to help, simply refuse to help themselves and we know we are just beating our heads against a brick wall trying to assist them in medical intervention when they'll just go back to the same habits or self-abuse.

Forget about the pay. Most of us didn't get into the industry for money. Many years out of medical school, I am still paying off my degree. Money doesn't buy you sleep. It doesn't buy you good health or lower stress levels. It doesn't buy you a place on a training program. Nor does it save your marriage. Money doesn't even give you a chance to have dinner with your family or tuck your kids into bed – not even one night a week.

Doctors should not have to put up with these conditions. The Government must step up. There is so much that could be done to help the situation and not all involve multibillion dollar budgets. It just needs some common sense. We need some action. People are literally dying for it.


Study slams jargon in public hospital consent forms

MORE than 80 per cent of the consent forms patients are asked to sign before having an operation are incomprehensible to anyone without specialist medical knowledge. Ninety per cent of the forms do not make clear the purpose of the planned operation, and 95 per cent of them do not list the relevant risks to the patient, research by Australian experts suggests.

The experts, from an Adelaide hospital, reviewed hundreds of consent documents given to patients to sign since 2005, and found one in 15 did not use a single word to describe the procedure that could be understood by looking it up in a standard English dictionary.

Far from being isolated cases, they say such language is typical of consent documents used nationwide, and that such use of jargon is "unacceptable", particularly given that many patients are elderly and in frail health.

The authors of the research, published today in the Medical Journal of Australia, suggest mandatory standards should be introduced to ensure patients are better informed. Lead researcher Mark Siddins, director of the urology unit at Adelaide's Repatriation General Hospital, said many doctors appeared to think the point of consent forms was to protect them from being sued, rather than to help the patient make the right treatment choice. He said while hospital technology had been transformed in the last 20 years, the way doctors interacted with patients had changed little. "We are surprised indemnity insurers don't require that doctors give (understandable) consent information."


1 comment:

Paul said...

The level of jargon has dramatically increased, and the number of things that require a formal consent process has as well. This has the effect of slowing everything down that little bit more. Its lawyers of course. Its all about the ambulance chasing no win no pay lawyers.