Sunday, November 20, 2011

Queer nurse wanted to be a hero

As a 35-year old geriatric nurse with no family he was obviously going nowhere vocationally or in any other way so he apparently needed something to make him feel good about himself. Being Asian probably made him feel an outsider too. That he was interviewed by police BEFORE the fire suggests that he had already begun to behave erratically

AS Australians tuned in to the dramatic scenes at the Quakers Hill Nursing Home on Friday, the alleged killer was still at the scene - claiming he had helped to save residents.

After being treated by paramedics - as the bodies of those too frail to escape the inferno were removed from the crumbling building - Roger Kingsley Dean allegedly helped at the scene.

He then turned to TV crews, who labelled him a hero. In footage screened on channels Seven and Nine, the 35-year-old told reporters: "There was a fire and I just quickly just did what I can (to) get everyone out. "The smoke is just overwhelming but, you know, we got a lot of people out, so that's the main thing."

Police believe Dean set alight sheets in two rooms in the nursing home before joining the rescue and boasting about it on TV soon after.

Dean, who was interviewed by police seven hours before the fatal fire over another matter, has been charged with four counts of murder. He is expected to face further charges as the death toll rose to five yesterday.

Police released the names of three victims - Alma Smith, 73, Lola Bennett, 86, and Ella Wood, 97.

The crime scene is 500m from the townhouse where the registered nurse, who has been refused bail on four counts of murder, lived a quiet life with his long-term partner, Dean French.

Mr French is the owner of a small business in Quakers Hill. He briefly went to work yesterday morning then returned home about 10am but refused to comment.

Yesterday neighbours described nightshift worker Mr Dean as a quiet man who kept to himself. Quakers Hill senior Anglican minister Geoff Bates said the parish was shocked to learn of regular churchgoer Mr Dean's arrest.

Neighbour Peter Arnold said Mr Dean started at the home a few months ago. "He said he found part-time work as a nurse. He resigned (the previous job). I don't know what the reasons are. He found (a new job) quickly."


Cautious mothers give peanut butter parties for kids outside hospital in case of allergic reaction

They are probably doing more good than they know. Kids introduced to peanuts early are less likely to become allergic to them

WORRIED parents are holding "peanut butter parties" in parks near the Women's and Children's Hospital in Adelaide in which they give their children the spread for the first time.

The parties put parents in quick reach of emergency medical help should their child have an anaphylactic reaction.

Christine Dening, of St Peters, said her mothers' group leader had suggested exposing her son Henry, 2, to peanuts near the WCH "just in case".

"That way we could dash to the emergency room if he reacted," Ms Dening said. "(The group leader) also recommended doing it with a group so that we could support each other and help to reduce anxiety."

Although there is no history of allergy in Ms Dening's family, she was concerned about Henry's potential reaction to peanuts. She said she would do things differently with her daughter, Eliza, seven months, because Henry proved to be allergy-free.

"In hindsight, I was more worried about allergies than I needed to be given there are no allergies in the family and the likelihood of an anaphylactic reaction is low," she said. "I'll try Eliza with peanuts at home, although I'll probably still have 000 on my speed dial, just in case."

Gerry Tudorovic said she had considered attending a peanut butter party after hearing about the event through her mothers' group but in the end opted to introduce the food to her son Spencer, 2, at home.

"I wanted to make sure we were in Adelaide and not doing anything just in case," she said. "I was mildly worried, as I have a friend whose child is extremely allergic, but not too worried as my husband and I are not allergic to foods, and I was never too picky about Spencer eating foods which had traces of nuts."

Dietitian Julia Boase, who specialises in paediatrics and allergies, said she was aware of peanut butter parties near the WCH.

"I've even heard of mums driving to the emergency department car park and giving their kids their first peanut butter sandwich there," she said. "There's a bit of a heightened level of parental anxiety out there because allergies are on the rise but parents need to remember that the majority of kids don't have an allergy."

Ms Boase suggested concerned parents followed the advice of the Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, which says there is no evidence parents should delay the introduction of potentially allergenic foods.

Anaphylaxis Australia vice-president Sandra Vale said the organisation had heard of parents around the country visiting hospitals to let their children try potentially allergenic foods nearby.

"This is especially true if they have an older child that has an allergy," she said. "The waiting list in hospitals for testing is long so this is a safety precaution for these parents. "I think there is an increased need for education, as well as better access to services. "Parents just want peace of mind."

Dr Mike Gold, an allergist at the WCH, said parents should discuss their concerns with their GP, especially if a sibling already had a nut allergy.

"In some infants or children further investigations such as a simple blood test can be performed by a general practitioner to exclude a possible nut allergy," he said.

A WCH spokeswoman said the hospital was not aware of parents holding the "peanut butter parties" near the hospital.


Appalling child protection service in Victoria

The disgusting creatures offer hush money rather than investigate their failings

A MUM whose son died suspiciously has been offered $220,000 by the Department of Human Services to end her fight for justice and keep the deal secret. Pensioner Michelle Stewart - whose son Nathan was aged 16 when he died from a stab wound to the heart - has received the six-figure offer in a legal letter from the DHS.

But the letter linked the money to a confidentiality clause that would have barred her from talking about the details of the settlement. "It's all about the suppression to them, never speaking about it again," she said.

In a brave move motivated by a mother's love for her son rather than money, Ms Stewart has turned her back on the hush fund and chosen to tell her story through the Sunday Herald Sun.

"But it's about the principle, it's about doing what is right, it's about them being accountable to some degree and paying some respect," she said.

Nathan died in a Melbourne hospital in April 2005, months after his family and school had raised concerns about his care.

Ms Stewart has staged a six-year legal battle against the DHS and the Angliss Hospital - where he was first treated for the fatal wound - claiming negligence and failing in a duty of care. In a bid to stop the case going to court, the DHS has sought a settlement by offering her a one-off payout but demanding that she never talk of the deal.

A letter from lawyers representing the DHS shows the department was willing to pay $220,000 on condition there was a confidentiality clause. Ms Stewart also claims the DHS told her at mediation she could never talk about what happened to her son under the terms of the deal. "They can't even admit that they made a mistake, they can't even say 'sorry'," she said.

Ms Stewart said she was first offered $50,000 by Eastern Health in 2008 to sign a gag clause. That was later raised to $80,000, which she also refused. In April this year the DHS made her the $220,000 offer during mediation, on condition that the department denied liability and she sign an order "to keep the terms of the settlement of the proceedings and the terms of the compromise ... confidential".

She was given two weeks to sign the DHS deal but declined, last night describing the offer as "blood money" and adding: "You can't put a price on silence. "They want me to sign away my son's story - pay me to sweep it under the carpet. "Where is the dignity in that? It's saying 'shut up'."

Bronwyn Perry, spokeswoman for Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge, refused yesterday to comment on the Minister's involvement in the case or her knowledge of the gag clause. "Given the litigation is ongoing, we are unable to comment," Ms Perry said.

The Government has assembled a high-powered legal team, believed to include three QCs, to fight the case in the Supreme Court next year.

Ms Stewart will represent herself in the trial, which is expected to last three weeks, but is unsure how she will pay for legal costs that already total more than $279,000. "You do feel powerless when you're up against such a big government body, but he was my son and I loved him so I can't give up the fight," she said.

In a statement, DHS spokesman Steve Pogonowski refused to respond to questions about the offer. "The legal process is ongoing, so we are unable to comment further," he said. "Out-of-court settlements and confidentiality agreements are a personal matter between the litigant and the department."

Ms Stewart vowed to get justice for Nathan and said she wanted an apology from the department and for it to accept some blame for his death: "I have had to fight for the right to have my son's voice heard, I should not have had to do that."

"My son has died in vain if his voice has not been heard. I often say the day Nathan died, I died too. I built my life around him - this has torn me apart," she said.

In a 2008 investigation into Nathan's death, State Coroner Jennifer Coate described him as "an intelligent and articulate boy who had been exposed to a great deal in his short life".

Ms Stewart said Nathan was taken out of her care due to domestic violence at home. No one has ever been charged in connection with Nathan's death.

Opposition child safety spokesman Luke Donnellan said it was outrageous for the DHS to try to "bury" such a serious issue. "Mistakes have been made. Why not just admit that, learn the lesson and move on?" he said. "Nobody would ever want this to happen again."

The DHS received 32 reports of child deaths last financial year and the office of the Child Safety Commissioner launched 27 inquiries into the deaths of children known to child protection workers last year.


The truth will out on Labor's carbon scam

THE whitewash begins. Now that the carbon tax has passed through federal parliament, the government's clean-up brigade is getting into the swing by trying to erase any dissent against the jobs-destroying legislation.

On cue comes the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which this week issued warnings to businesses that they will face whopping fines of up to $1.1m if they blame the carbon tax for price rises.

It says it has been "directed by the Australian government to undertake a compliance and enforcement role in relation to claims made about the impact of a carbon price."

Businesses are not even allowed to throw special carbon tax sales promotions before the tax arrives on July 1. "Beat the Carbon Tax - Buy Now" or "Buy now before the carbon tax bites" are sales pitches that are verboten. Or at least, as the ACCC puts it, "you should be very cautious about making these types of claims".

There will be 23 carbon cops roaming the streets doing snap audits of businesses that "choose to link your price increases to a carbon price".

Instead, the ACCC suggests you tell customers you've raised prices because "the overall cost of running (your) business has increased".

It's all very Orwellian: the tax whose name cannot be spoken. We are already paying for the climate-change hysteria that has gripped Australia for a decade. Replacing even a portion of our cheap, coal-fired power with renewable energy is hellishly expensive. It also requires costly adaptation of existing infrastructure.

That's a big reason why electricity prices have hit the roof already. So when we accelerate the process with the carbon tax, the pain will escalate. That's the whole point of carbon pricing. A record number of households have had their electricity disconnected because they can't pay their power bills.

Household energy costs are estimated to have risen 17 per cent since July, with the result that the ranks of the energy poor are swelling.

In NSW, the Energy and Water Ombudsman has reported an 18 per cent increase in complaints from people whose electricity has been disconnected.

Then there are all the little immeasurables. For instance, last winter the price of Lebanese cucumbers in NSW skyrocketed because soaring energy costs forced the biggest grower to shut off heat lamps in some of his growing sheds. Result: fewer cucumbers - so prices rose to meet demand.

But no matter how Orwellian the tactics, no matter how many carbon cops are sent into hairdressing salons to interrogate barbers on the precise nature of their price rises, the truth remains: Australia has gone out on a limb, imposing a carbon tax that will send businesses to the wall, cause undue hardship to families, and tether Australians more tightly to government handouts.

And soon, we will send billions of dollars overseas to buy useless pieces of paper called carbon credits. Invest-ment bankers, lawyers and carbon traders will get rich, as will all the usual spivs and scam artists ready to stick a bucket under the government spigot raining taxpayer cash.

It doesn't matter how many fairy stories the Greens tell about how the carbon tax will "save" the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu. Or how many gullible people believe hurricanes, floods and earthquakes are the result of man-made global warming. Eventually, the truth will out.

Even the International Panel on Climate Change, whose bureaucrat-written summaries cherrypick the most alarming scientific forecasts, is holding back in the face of runaway alarmist rhetoric from politicians.

In fact, leaked draft copies of the IPCC's latest special report into "Extreme Events and Disasters" reveal declining scientific certainty about the threat of human-produced greenhouse gases.

"There are a lot more unknowns than knowns," says BBC environment correspondent Richard Black.

The rising toll of extreme weather events cannot be blamed on greenhouse gas emissions, according to Black, who has seen the draft.

"Uncertainty in the sign of projected changes in climate extremes over the coming two to three decades is relatively large because climate change signals are expected to be relatively small compared to natural climate variability," says the IPCC report. In other words, the effect of human-produced greenhouse gas on the climate is insignificant when compared to natural climate change.

Since he's dropped in for 26 hours, US President Barack Obama could explain to his new best friend Julia Gillard why he decided not to impose a carbon tax on his ailing economy. Or why Canada has prudently ruled out a carbon scheme, and New Zealand is scaling its back and China and India continue to sit on their hands. Durban will be fun.



Paul said...

I hadn't actually read that article until now. Seems our trizzy Nurse did indeed want to be the hero of the moment. Oh well, he may have had his 15 minutes (seconds?) of fame, but it's gonna cost him some time face-down in prison. Hope he rots from the inside when the other prisoners are through with him.

Being elderly is looking more and more like an extreme survival sport.

Paul said...

"Dean, who was interviewed by police seven hours before the fatal fire over another matter, has been charged with four counts of murder."

The Money Shot. What did he do that required him to quickly engage in some rather desperate personal image management?