Thursday, April 05, 2012

Democracy at work

The comments are addressed to Anna Bligh, the now ousted leader of the ALP in Queensland

People just don't like supposedly "healthier" food

JUST one per cent of purchases are from McDonald's healthy range of foods.

The research, conducted by the Cancer Council, is the first to confirm that healthy options are rarely being purchased by eat-in diners.

"Australians are mainly purchasing unhealthy fast foods, despite healthier options being available in fast food stores," the authors said in the Health Promotion Journal of Australia.

The researchers compared purchases at 20 McDonald outlets over a two-week period.  There were 1449 meals purchases observed, but just one per cent was healthy.  No more than two healthy meals were observed in any store.  A total of 65 per cent were deemed unhealthy.

Nutritionist and chef Zoe Bingley-Pullin said it was not surprising that most people were not opting for the healthier choice.  "McDonald's is an indulgence food and the majority of people that go there are buying something because they see it as a treat," she said.

She said that it was positive that McDonald's offered healthier choices, but that it was not going to sway the majority of its customers to switch to salads.  "It is not the first point of choice when you are thinking of healthy food," she said.

A McDonald's spokesperson said it would not offer healthier options on its menu if they didn't sell.  "The introduction last year of a choice between salad or fries with extra value meals shows that there is a demand for choice," she said.

"Are salads as popular as fries?  "We don't claim that they are, but they are being chosen by our customers and we expect the number will grow."

Obesity Policy Coalition spokeswoman Jane Martin said fast food outlets like McDonald's would be better off making their high turnover products like burgers and fries healthier.

"There should be ways of making the mainstay of their business healthier because that is obviously what is being marketed heavily during shows like My Kitchen Rules and that's what people are buying," she said.

She said providing a healthy menu was getting rid of the protest vote in the group and meeting the company's corporate social responsibility policy.


S.  Aust.: Government hospital burns woman to death

Through faulty equipment and lack of supervision

A WOMAN died after receiving serious burns to 75 per cent of her body from hot water in a hospital shower, a court has heard.

Jan Mary Proctor, 56, was admitted to the Flinders Medical Centre in February 2008 after she had collapsed at her home several times in the preceding week.  Deputy State Coroner Anthony Schapel is hearing evidence about the circumstances of Ms Proctor's death on February 22 - a week after she was first admitted.

The court heard Ms Proctor was suffering from multiple illnesses including alcoholic liver disease and her mobility was severely restricted by the time she was hospitalised.  She required assistance to move.

Counsel assisting the Coroner, Naomi Kereru, said before being transferred from one ward to another, a nurse took Ms Proctor to a shower and put her in a shower chair.  The nurse left the area and returned up to 10 minutes later to find the bathroom filled with steam.  "Ms Proctor was slumped in the shower chair and her skin was noted to be peeling from her chest and stomach," Ms Kereru said.

Ms Proctor sustained burns to 75 per cent of her body and she was transferred to the burns unit at the Royal Adelaide Hospital that day. After going into septic shock, Ms Proctor later died from multi-organ failure.

Ms Kereru said the hot water could reach temperatures of up to 60C but a thermostatic regulator was not operating in that shower at the time and the emergency alarm also encountered issues.

The level of assistance Ms Proctor received while showering was also a concern, Ms Kereru said.   "(There is a question as to) whether it was appropriate for Ms Proctor to be left in the shower on a chair for the period that she was," she said.

In giving evidence today Ms Proctor's sister, Karen Fitzgerald, said she was shocked to see her loved one experience so much difficulty in moving the day before the accident.  Ms Fitzgerald said she helped her sister move from a chair to her hospital bed, but it was a "gruelling" process and Ms Proctor required constant breaks.

"My view was that if something had gone wrong when she was in the shower chair, I don't think she would've had the capacity to sort it out," Ms Fitzgerald said.  "I wouldn't have trusted her level of mobility ... I wouldn't have thought she could be unattended at all."


More public hospital negligence

A Queanbeyan woman has had her life "turned upside down" after suffering permanent damage from an antibiotic administered at Canberra Hospital, a court has heard.

The ACT Supreme Court was told the territory "fell woefully short of its obligations" when doctors failed to warn Marjorie Freeman about the risks of the drug gentamicin.

Ms Freeman, 64, is allegedly housebound and cannot work after she was given repeated doses of the gentamicin in 2005 and 2006.

She is suing the territory for compensation, alleging that doctors at the hospital did not warn her of the risks and administered the drug despite the fact that safer alternatives were available.

Yesterday the court heard Ms Freeman, a former nurse, was given gentamicin during an operation to insert a stent in one of her ureters in November 2005.

She was given the antibiotic again in January 2006 after going to Canberra Hospital with pain and received a third dose later that month during a 13-minute operation to remove the stent.

The court heard Ms Freeman suffered permanent damage to her vestibular system, which encompasses the inner ear and controls balance and spatial orientation.

She could not walk steadily, was "essentially housebound" and could not do much work around the home.

The court heard the third and final dose of gentamicin in late January 2006 was "the straw that broke the camel's back" and led to the damage to her inner ear.

Ms Freeman's legal team, led by Catherine Henry Partners, argued that the gentamicin was administered as a preventive measure, rather than to treat any actual infection.

The practice was described as "misguided" and the court heard it would have been more appropriate not to give patients any preventive antibiotics, because any infections that did occur later could be treated with safer drugs.

Ms Freeman also had a personal aversion to gentamicin after learning about the drug's side effects during a refresher course on medications for her nursing job.

She also believed gentamicin had been a key factor in her father-in-law suffering hearing problems after being hospitalised in 2001.

Ms Freeman's father-in-law died a year later.

The court heard doctors at the hospital helped Ms Freeman fill out patient consent forms and paperwork before the operation to remove her stent but there was no discussion of any possible complications and no discussion about any drugs that might be administered.

The trial continues before Justice Hilary Penfold today.


Qld. Premier Campbell Newman orders own probe into health payroll fiasco

CAMPBELL Newman has used his first week in office to launch four major audits into state affairs, including a probe into Queensland's much-troubled health payroll system.

In a show of distrust in the former Bligh government, the Premier ordered his own investigation into what went wrong with Queensland Health's payroll amid ongoing glitches and overpayments.

The probe, which was launched last Wednesday, is designed to identify faults within the system.

Since March 2010, Queensland Health's payroll fiasco, one of the Bligh government's biggest disasters, left thousands of health workers underpaid, overpaid or unpaid, often for weeks on end.

Almost $220 million has so far been spent fixing the system, while the Government continues attempts to claw back about $75 million in overpayments.

Mr Newman, who set himself a seven-point action plan for his first seven days as Premier, also launched a major audit into the state's finances amid concerns Labor had cooked the books.

He ordered the state's Auditor-General to review Racing Queensland, with Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney yesterday taking additional action to secure the future of the state's racing industry.

Mr Seeney directed the Office of Racing to undertake a second audit under the Racing Act to investigate how racing rules are administered and ways to improve industry licensing.

"Under our LNP election policy, racing integrity functions are to be transferred to government, and will continue to be funded by industry," he said.



Paul said...

Partner did a shift as Hospital Bed Manager the other day, brought home $6.47 for his trouble. Thank you for fixing the system QH.

Paul said...

Well documented side effect of Gentamicin. Problems arise mostly when it is given too fast. That's where the mix of collapsing baseline educational standards and chronic under-staffing comes in.

Paul said...

And the Proctor story? Ten years back she wouln't have been taken to the shower if their was a risk she would need to be left alone. I repeat what I said a few minutes ago...with interest.