Monday, March 12, 2007


'The NHS failed my daughter'
An independent inquiry is to be launched after the charity Mencap highlighted six deaths of people with learning disabilities in NHS care.One of the cases was that of Emma, 26, a woman with a severe learning disability, who died in 2004.Her mother Jane took her to the GP because she had not eaten for eight days. The doctor thought it was a virus, but Jane thought her daughter's condition was something more serious.A month later, Emma had to be admitted to hospital where she was found to have a swelling in her groin.She was distressed and in great pain, and she could not eat or take painkillers orally. Her family say the hospital staff found it hard to look after Emma, who could display challenging behaviour and struggle to express how she felt.Emma was discharged because the hospital said they could do nothing more to help her.But 11 days later, test results showed she had lymphoma - a cancer of the blood.Her family were told that, with treatment, she had a 50:50 chance of survival.But doctors decided not to treat her, saying she would not co-operate with her treatment, and she was sent home.However she was admitted again five days later because she could not drink. But, according to Jane, Emma still received no treatment for two days and care only started when the family's solicitor complained to the hospital.

At this point, doctors said Emma only had a 10% chance of survival after treatment and that the only option for her was palliative care.Jane says: "We had serious doubts about her care; the delays and the lack of understanding and the fact that they weren't listening to us."She wasn't given basic care. We had to feed her and wash her."Nobody talked to her about her care, although we tried to advise them what she needed."She added: "I know cancer treatment is expensive, and I feel like Emma wasn't seen as an investment."Emma was transferred to a hospice for the last month of her life. Her condition, and her ability to take in liquids, improved while she was there.The family has submitted a complaint to the Healthcare Commission, who are currently investigating the case.Jane said: "We were devastated by Emma's death, and we also have to deal with the process of making a complaint."

I find this article really sad.
Not only do I find it sad but frightening. What does this mean for my child who is learning disabled?
Would Beauty also not be 'seen as an investment' if she were taken seriously ill?
Only by reading things like this can we learn and be prepared. I am grateful to Emma's mother for revealing what has happened. If Beauty became ill I would insist on immediate care with my solicitor stood next to me.

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To something less serious.
Should I be proud to say that I watched very little TV last night?
I sat down to watch the end of Grey's Anatomy, not a program that I usually watch but SnoWhite loves it and she had informed me that the new episode of Supernatural would be following. BIG HOWEVER, she proceeds to inform me that she doesn't want to watch Supernatural as she has already seen it on YouTube and 'it's not very good anyway'. BUT there is a double bill of Grey's Anatomy on! Unspoken 'Pleeeeeease let me watch it'. She also happily informs me that Supernatural will be repeated on Thursday! Who could deny a face like that? Or the logic!

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Steve said...

Terrifying story. I feel really disturbed by it. It makes me shudder, to think such a massive failure of care can happen in this day and age.

LAA and Family said...

I find Emma's story very disturbing as well. It brings to mind what happened to Terri Schiavo. I hate to be a pessimist, but I think these situations are more common than we might really know and I think there will be more of them as long as our cultures don't value and respect life, ALL LIFE.




An Irish Blessing

(A Blessing from St. Patrick)
May the road rise to meet you,

May the wind be always at your back,

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

May the rains fall soft upon your fields,

And, until we meet again,

May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.