Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Amazing public hospital failure

A bureaucratic disgrace. More careless treatment would be hard to imagine

A former Socceroo died in hospital because his urinary catheter was wrongly connected to an oxygen supply, leading to a burst bladder and collapsed lungs, a coroner has heard.

An inquest is being held into the death of Steve Herczeg at Adelaide's Queen Elizabeth Hospital on September 19.

"The coroner will hear that Mr Herczeg's oxygen supply was incorrectly connected, resulting in his bladder inflating with oxygen, then bursting and his lungs collapsing from the pressure of the oxygen," counsel assisting Naomi Kereru told the South Australian Coroner's Court on Monday.

The court heard Mr Herczeg, 72, who was the first South Australian to play for Australia in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match, was admitted to hospital because he had had a fall and was having hallucinations.

He was also suffering from a urinary tract infection, for which a catheter had already been inserted, but was considered clinically stable when admitted to the respiratory ward and placed on oxygen therapy, Ms Kereru said.

Soon after his admission, a nurse heard screams of pain coming from Mr Herczeg's room and a code blue was called. An emergency team attempted to resuscitate him but was unsuccessful.

The doctor who performed the autopsy found Mr Herczeg's bladder had ruptured and his lungs had collapsed, causing his death by "respiratory failure".

"I understand his oxygen supply somehow became connected to his catheter," forensic pathologist Stephen Wills told the court.

"The bladder ruptured, allowing the gas into the rest of his body."

Dr Wills said it was highly unusual for the tubes to be mixed up the way they were.

"I've never come across it before," he said.

He said it would have been "quite painful" when Mr Herczeg's bladder burst and while the former soccer star was already suffering from respiratory disease, the injuries would likely have killed any healthy person.


Ballarat police again accused of misconduct, heavy-handedness with assault victim

Ballarat police officers have been accused of dragging the victim of a violent assault along the ground, before charging her with assaulting her alleged attacker.

On May 17, Ballarat police were called to an assault in the city's north where they arrested a 43-year-old woman. The woman, who only wants to be known as Sofia, had been the victim of a brutal assault with a tyre iron.

"I just thought I was gonna die," she said. "I was really dizzy and I was on the grass and I just said to myself, I need to stand up and defend myself."

Sofia, who is from South America, said she became panicked and erratic when she saw her alleged attacker, a neighbour, speaking with police.

Her lawyer, Neil Longmore, questioned how officers then reacted.  "The police seemed to think that was reason to then handcuff her and throw her on the ground and start dragging her around and drag her to the ambulance," he said.

Sofia said: "I just want to be helped. Protected." "I was treated like an animal," she said.

Sofia was taken to hospital where she received 14 stitches on the back of her head, and the side of her face. She went home but hours later was woken up by police who arrested her.

"I said 'why am I being arrested if I'm the victim?'. He says, 'it happened, the same thing with your neighbour, don't worry'," Sofia said.

Mr Longmore said bias against his client was a common thread throughout the interview. "She clearly thinks that she's giving them information because they're investigating what's happening to her, not that she's going to be charged," he said.

"She should've been not just read her rights, she should've understood her rights and I think you can see there's a pretty clear line between when somebody's just being read them and doesn't understand them.

"If you do understand your rights in that situation, you certainly shouldn't be giving the police information because they're just about to use that against you to charge you."

Sofia said she thought she was helping with the investigation.

"Just at the end of the interview I understood that they [were] intending since the beginning [to] charge me, whatever I was going to say," she said.

"[The interviewing officer] was repeatedly saying ... 'so you attacked him? Did you attack him?' "And I was trying to say that I was fighting for my life."

Sofia was charged with recklessly causing injury and assault with a weapon, which referred to the mop she used to defend herself, and was served with an intervention order.

The charges were ultimately withdrawn when she appeared at the Ballarat Magistrates Court.

Sofia said she had no faith in Victoria Police's complaints process and instead made a complaint to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC), alleging officers failed to investigate her case properly.

Her lawyer, Mr Longmore said: "What she really would like is an apology and a proper investigation of what occurred and some better training for police, or younger ones who seem to fall into this conduct."

"There's something not quite right about the police training that allows them to just roll through those rights ... go ahead with their interview ... and use it against a person and the person hasn't understood what's going on."

Sofia said she wanted justice. "I don't think they are prepared, prepared to treat people to protect people. I almost died and they did nothing to help me," she said. Victoria Police said the investigation was ongoing and it would be inappropriate to comment.


Green activist ban on Turnbull agenda

Malcolm Turnbull has flagged a fresh attempt at passing laws to prevent environmentalists using the courts to block major projects, before his week-long visit to Queensland.

Labor and the Greens blocked a previous attempt by the Abbott government to prevent people with political agendas from using the courts to disrupt and delay projects such as coal mines.

The prime minister told reporters in Sydney, on the eve of a Brisbane cabinet meeting, he appreciated the value of a "robust democracy".

"People are entitled to bring their cases before the court, but there is no doubt there has been very systematic, very well funded campaigns against major projects," Mr Turnbull said.

"It's right to express concern about that."

He said the government would test whether the new Senate - which has nine Greens and 11 minor party members on the crossbench - has the "appetite" to reconsider the Abbott government bill.

Queensland Resources Council chief Michael Roche said such laws were important, especially given the increasing role of foreign interests in lobbying against resources projects.

But he said the federal government should go further and reassess taxpayer subsidies for "green activist" groups.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said he was concerned environmental activism and poor management by the Queensland Labor government were holding back major projects.

"I certainly don't take this place for granted, Malcolm doesn't take it for granted and we want to make sure we drag other people along with us on this path of making Queensland a stronger place," he told reporters in Brisbane.

The Greens want a ban on fracking and all coal seam gas and shale development.


This should be end of the road for Gillian Triggs

The idea of human rights is so powerful that those who would ­violate it in the privacy of their torture chambers are compelled to swear fealty to it in public discourse.

Yet established protections have come under growing stress with a gap between commitments and practice. In theory, human rights commissions are instruments to arrest the slide. But when the guardians begin to damage the institutions they lead and the cause they are meant to champion and defend, they should relinquish or be relieved of office. We seem to be at that stage with the Australian Human Rights Commission.

In “correcting” her October 18 testimony to a Senate estimates committee denying statements ­attributed to her, AHRC president Gillian Triggs said that on “further reflection”, she now accepted the accuracy of her April interview in The Saturday Paper. But was it further reflection or the revelation that the interview tape contradicted her denials that prompted her to correct the record?

She also said: “I had no intention of questioning The Saturday Paper’s journalistic integrity.” Pardon? Accusing the paper of inaccurate reporting, taking words out of context and even fabricating quotes was not intentionally impugning the professional integrity of Ramona Koval and the editors in order to cover her own loose words? Triggs has done much good and some of the past attacks on her have been scurrilous. But the effort to mislead parliament and the attempt to damage the professional reputation of a writer to save face make her position untenable.

The priority for a race discrimination commissioner should be reconciliation. Tim Soutphommasane has succeeded in ­inflaming divisions further instead of promoting social cohesion. In criticising elected politicians as an appointed official, he betrays arrogance. In inviting complaints about Bill Leak’s cartoon — satire at its biting best — which he then must adjudicate, he compromised the commission’s institutional integrity. In repeated statements, he fails to grasp that anti-discrimination efforts must sit within the framework of human rights.

Behind the individual failings of the two stands a law that should never have been passed, abuse and excesses under which are pretty much guaranteed, and which therefore would have been rescinded by any government which values core freedoms that underpin liberal democracy. The reason the law survives is a flawed philosophical structure propping it up, namely the progressive subordination of human rights to anti-discrimination machinery.

The promotion and protection of human rights is a bedrock requirement for a liberal society. But different groups of rights demonstrate an ambivalent relationship with governments. Individual human rights can be abused most pervasively and systematically by governments. Yet their protection requires the appropriate legal framework and enforcement machinery of the state. For social and economic rights, the state is the primary provider and guarantor. The same is true of the right not to be discriminated against on grounds of gender, race, religion and so on.

However, anti-discrimination rights, designed to protect against harmful action, have increasingly morphed into the right not to be offended. The citadels of liberal freedoms have been stormed by ­illiberal zealots to mock the very values of tolerance and diversity that sustained their gains. Out-of- control anti-discrimination tribunals have become the tool to enforce political correctness by state power. They attack not so much the particulars of any concrete case as the general principle of dissenters’ right to express a contrary opinion. The debate is no longer about any given issue or case but about the freedom to debate.

Social stigma and public shaming have become the favoured tools of identity activists, with the help of useful idiots in politics, to place increasing areas of policy off limits to public debate. In the name of pursuing tolerance for ­minorities, zealots are increasingly intolerant of those with differing views. This explains the perversion that institutions meant to defend human rights instead lead the assault on human rights. The result is minority fundamentalism with all the trappings of religious fundamentalism: certainty about truth and falsehood, intolerance of dissent and fanatical imposition of ideological purity.

This includes restrictions on US university campuses, which should be the bastions of debate that raises critical, contrarian, challenging and uncomfortable questions. Instead, concepts such as trigger alert, micro-aggression, safe spaces and the right not to be offended or hurt by a lengthening list of proscribed words have trampled on free speech rights. Meanwhile, an increasingly intolerant India has been transformed into the republic of hurt sentiments as litigious “offendees” haul writers and artists, those who have escaped vigilante lynch mobs, to courts that can take decades to decide cases.

The road-to-tyranny threat posed by this trend of narrowing speech rights is shown by two cases the AHRC has badly mishandled, confirming that political judgment may be more important than legal qualifications to be president.

Because Leak’s cartoon of parental neglect of indigenous children in remote outback com­munities was essentially true (satire doesn’t work without the kernel of truth), it hurt, and some people take offence at truth that hurts. Those who recognise Leak is speaking truth to the power of political correctness and act to rectify the pathology will advance the cause of reciprocal racial respect. By contrast, a Queensland University of Technology staffer has done more harm than good to the cause of reconciliation by her too precious claims of racial hurt that requires $250,000 to be assuaged.

The Australian has the resources to mount a robust challenge to the AHRC apparatchiks. Most people don’t. Therein lies the rub. The process is weighted heavily against the defendant. Once a complaint is lodged, the AHRC can use state power and resources to pursue action against them.

Allegations of racist insults can ruin reputations and destroy lives, even if the ultimate judgment finds for the defendant. The complainant suffers no penalty but can gain substantial financial advantage: heads I win, tails you lose.

Many simply settle out of court to get on with their lives rather than risk being caught in a legal nightmare with an uncertain outcome. No citizen should have to spend time and money to defend a basic human right in the modern-day version of a star chamber. Some QUT students chose to pay $5000 effectively as extortion money to escape the trap. This is an incentive structure inviting abuse of law and process.

Free speech is meaningless if in practice it does not include the freedom to offend. I find it easy to tolerate all who agree with me. Any law that attempts to silence free debate deserves contempt and should be challenged and rejected by the people if the politicians are too pusillanimous to rescind it.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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