A disabled woman went on a healing pilgrimage to Lourdes – and returned with broken legs.
The family of cerebral palsy sufferer Patricia Mitchell have launched legal action against the organisers of the trip after she fell 4ft from a hoist.
Mrs Mitchell, who was wheelchair-bound, broke her left leg in three places and her right leg once.
Her family say she never fully recovered from the fall and she died earlier this year aged 63.
Her sisters Pauline Scarr and Terry Featherstone are now suing for tens of thousands of pounds.
Mrs Featherstone, 60, said: ‘You go to Lourdes to get cured and she came back with two broken legs. It’s unbelievable.’
Mrs Scarr, 62, said: ‘We want justice now for Patricia. I want answers.’
Mrs Mitchell, from Bowburn, County Durham, was born with cerebral palsy and had never been able to work. As well as her lifelong condition, she had also survived breast cancer and the death of her husband Ian in 1995.
A devout Roman Catholic, she had travelled to Lourdes several times hoping for a miracle healing, and on one occasion had met Pope John Paul II.
She returned to Lourdes in August 2005 for a the £450 week-long stay with HCPT: The Pilgrimage Trust and Disabled Together.
Two volunteer carers had just helped bathe Mr Mitchell when she fell about 4ft to the ground from a hoist.
She was assessed by a nurse but was told she had not sustained serious injuries, her sisters say.
It was only when Mrs Mitchell returned to the North East that it emerged she had broken her left leg in three places and her right leg once.
For a time, doctors feared they may have to amputate.
After a few weeks Mrs Mitchell left hospital, but, her sisters claim, was never the same and she died on February 4 this year.
Mrs Scarr said: ‘It’s so sad. She was disabled, but she led a good life and I think if it wasn’t for the fall, she would still be here today.’
A spokesman for HCPT said she was unable to comment as the matter was with the organisation insurers.
Disabled Together did not respond to a request for interview.
FORT WORTH — A North Texas family is racing to stop a hospital from amputating a patient’s foot, saying the procedure violates their religious rights.
The situation is now so tense that Angela Wright’s husband has been barred from the hospital where she is being treated.
Wright had her first heart attack two months ago. Her family immediately began calling prayer groups, asking fellow Christians to appeal to God.
They kept praying through five more heart attacks.
“It’s everything,” said Dwight Wright. “It’s the reason my wife’s still here, I believe.”
Angela Wright remained at Baylor All Saints Medical Center Fort Worth Friday as the toes on her left foot blackened. Family members say doctors want to amputate, possibly going as far up as her knee.
That evaluation has led to a showdown. Family members say prayer needs more time to work, and an amputation would violate their religious rights; doctors say the amputation is medically necessary.
Jodee Wright, who had just visited her mother, recounted the conversation she had with the patient: “Do you want your toes amputated? She said, ‘No, I’m scared to death of losing my other foot.'”
Wright lost part of her other leg due to a blood clot nearly 20 years ago.
“There hadn’t been a day that’s been by since 1992 that she hasn’t asked me why didn’t I get her out of the hospital? Why did I let them amputate her leg? So why in her right mind would she want anything else amputated?” Dwight Wright asked.
The family concedes, however, that at other times Angela said “yes” to the doctors asking for permission to amputate. They blame medication and trauma, and say they should be allowed to make the decision on her behalf.
“I want her here; but I want her to have every opportunity she can have to keep the rest of her foot, because that’s all she’s got,” Dwight Wright said.
On Friday morning, the hospital removed Angela’s husband from her room and barred him from the the facility. A hospital spokesman said Wright made threats to hospital staff, and was “impeding the patient from making decisions about her care.” He denies the allegations.
As of Friday night, the amputation had not been carried out.
Lets all say it together: THANKS RELIGION!
About 70,000 women die every year and many more suffer harm as a result of unsafe abortions in countries with restrictive laws on ending a pregnancy, according to a report.
The total number of abortions across the globe has fallen, the influential Guttmacher Institute says, but that drop relates only to legal abortions and is mostly the result of changes in eastern Europe.
There were 41.6m terminations worldwide in 2003, compared with 45.5m in 1995. But in 2003, says the report, 19.7m of these were unsafe, clandestine abortions. The numbers of those have hardly changed from 1995, when there were 19.9m.
Almost all the unsafe abortions were in less developed countries with restrictive abortion laws.
“Virtually all abortions in Africa and in Latin America and the Caribbean were unsafe,” says the report. In Asia, safe procedures outnumbered unsafe because of the large number of legal abortions in China. Most of those in Europe and almost all in North America were safe.
The figures are hard to obtain in countries with restrictive laws from hospitals dealing with women damaged by backstreet or self-induced abortion. But the institute, which has been monitoring the numbers for many years, is confident of the picture it paints and hopes it will influence policy makers.
“Our hope is that the new report will help inform a public debate in which all too often emotion trumps science,” said the institute president, Dr Sharon Camp.
Fundamental to turning the tide is preventing unwanted pregnancy, but in many countries there is little advice on family planning and contraceptive products are in short supply. “Women will continue to seek abortion whether it is legal or not as long as the unmet need for contraception remains high,” Camp said. “With sufficient political will we can ensure that no woman has to die in order to end a pregnancy she neither wanted nor planned for.”
The US has always been the biggest funder of family planning in developing countries, but a significant amount of it stopped under the presidency of George Bush, who reinstated a policy known as the “global gag rule” on arrival in office in January 2001.
It removed funding from any family planning organisation overseas that had anything to do with abortion, including counselling. Although European governments, including the UK, stepped up contributions, funds were short at a time when more couples were becoming interested in smaller families. “It really was a lost decade,” said Camp.
President Barack Obama has rescinded the policy and more US funds are expected, but the process of ordering increased contraceptive supplies from manufacturers and getting them to where they are needed will take time.
Where contraceptive use has risen, such as in the former Soviet bloc countries, abortion rates have invariably fallen. Worldwide, the unintended pregnancy rate has dropped from 69 for every 1,000 women aged 15-44 in 1995 to 55 for every 1,000 in 2008. The proportion of married women using contraception increased from 54% in 1990 to 63% in 2003.
However, only 28% of married African women use contraceptives. Lack of availability is the biggest issue.
The report points to a global trend towards the liberalisation of abortion laws, which has allowed women with an unwanted pregnancy to end it safely. Nineteen countries have relaxed their restrictions since 1997. But in three countries, Poland, El Salvador and Nicaragua, tougher legislation has been introduced, the latter two prohibiting abortion even when the woman’s life is at risk.
“We have seen an increase in women’s deaths and teenage suicides in Nicaragua,” said Dr Kelly Culwell, of the International Planned Parenthood Federation at the report’s launch.
Camp deplored the exit of the pharmaceutical companies from research and development work on contraceptive products. “There used to be 13 major pharmaceutical companies with full-blown programmes of contraceptive R&D. Now there are none,” she said.
Yet there was a real need for products women could use if they were having occasional rather than regular sex apart from the condom, which requires the consent of the man.
–noun; the method of treating disease by pseudo-scientific bullshit methods, that often causes a marginally sick person with curable illnesses or diseases to degrade and become critically or terminally ill; similar to religion (opposed to LOGIC, SCIENCE, MEDICINE, SANITY, NON-RETARDED-BULLSHIT ).
A couple who failed to seek medical treatment for their baby daughter, who was severely ill with eczema before an infection killed her, wept in the dock today as they were jailed for her manslaughter.
Thomas Sam, 42, and his wife Manju, 37, were convicted in the NSW Supreme Court over the death of nine-month-old Gloria, with a jury accepting they were guilty of criminal negligence.
Sentencing Thomas Sam to a minimum of six years in jail and Manju Sam to at least four, Justice Peter Johnson said Gloria was subjected to significant pain over an extended period and her parents’ failure to seek proper help for her amounted to cruelty.
“Gloria suffered helplessly and unnecessarily … from a condition that was treatable,” the judge said.
Gloria was happy and healthy for the first four months of her life, but then developed eczema.
The court heard that, despite medical advice to seek specialist treatment, her parents repeatedly failed to make or attend appointments.
Instead, her father – who taught and practised homeopathy – treated her himself.
By the time her weakened immune system succumbed to an infection in May 2002, her black hair had turned white and her body was covered with an oozing rash.
She died three days after being admitted to the Children’s Hospital at Randwick.
Medical experts told the trial that, had she been given medical attention a week earlier, she probably could have been saved.
Justice Johnson said Thomas Sam displayed “an arrogant approach to what he perceived to be the superior benefits of homeopathy compared with conventional medicine”.
The judge said that, while Sam’s wife deferred to her husband, she had “failed the child in her most important duty, with fatal results”.
It was overwhelmingly clear that homeopathy would not suffice in dealing with the severity of Gloria’s condition, Justice Johnson said, and there was a “wide chasm” between her parents’ approach and the action a reasonable parent would have taken in those circumstances.
“The omission of the offenders to seek proper assistance for her may be characterised accurately as cruelty,” he said.
He jailed Thomas Sam for a maximum eight years, and Manju Sam for a maximum five years and four months.
The weeping couple embraced in the dock before they were led into custody.
CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) — When it comes to saving lives, God trumps doctors for many Americans.
An eye-opening survey reveals widespread belief that divine intervention can revive dying patients. And, researchers said, doctors “need to be prepared to deal with families who are waiting for a miracle.”
More than half of randomly surveyed adults — 57 percent — said God’s intervention could save a family member even if physicians declared treatment would be futile. And nearly three-quarters said patients have a right to demand that treatment continue.
When asked to imagine their own relatives being gravely ill or injured, nearly 20 percent of doctors and other medical workers said God could reverse a hopeless outcome.
“Sensitivity to this belief will promote development of a trusting relationship” with patients and their families, according to researchers. That trust, they said, is needed to help doctors explain objective, overwhelming scientific evidence showing that continued treatment would be worthless.
Pat Loder, a Milford, Michigan, woman whose two young children were killed in a 1991 car crash, said she clung to a belief that God would intervene when things looked hopeless.
“When you’re a parent and you’re standing over the body of your child who you think is dying … you have to have that” belief, Loder said.
While doctors should be prepared to deal with those beliefs, they also shouldn’t “sugarcoat” the truth about a patient’s condition, Loder said.
Being honest in a sensitive way helps family members make excruciating decisions about whether to let dying patients linger, or allow doctors to turn off life-prolonging equipment so that organs can be donated, Loder said.
Loder was driving when a speeding motorcycle slammed into the family’s car. Both children were rushed unconscious to hospitals, and Loder says she believes doctors did everything they could. They were not able to revive her 5-year-old son; soon after her 8-year-old daughter was declared brain dead.
She said her beliefs about divine intervention have changed.
“I have become more of a realist,” she said. “I know that none of us are immune from anything.”
Loder was not involved in the survey, which appears in Monday’s Archives of Surgery.
SAN FRANCISCO — — Doctors may not discriminate against gays and lesbians in medical treatment, even if the procedures being sought conflict with physicians’ religious beliefs, the California Supreme Court decided today.
In the second, major gay-rights victory this year, the state high court said religious physicians must obey a state law that bars businesses from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.
“The 1st Amendment’s right to the free exercise of religion does not exempt defendant physicians here from conforming their conduct to the . . . antidiscrimination requirements,” Justice Joyce L. Kennard wrote for the court.
The decision stemmed from a lawsuit filed by Guadalupe T. Benitez, an Oceanside lesbian who lives with her partner and wanted to become pregnant with donated sperm.
Benitez contended that Dr. Christine Brody, an obstetrician and gynecologist at the North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group in Vista, told her that her religious views prevented her from performing an intrauterine insemination on a lesbian.
Another physician at the clinic, Dr. Douglas Fenton, later told Benitez that the staff was uncomfortable helping her conceive a child and advised her to find another doctor outside the medical group, Benitez said.
The doctors denied the allegations. Brody said she would not perform the procedure on any unmarried woman, heterosexual or homosexual.
Justice Marvin Baxter, in a separate concurring opinion, said doctors can avoid liability by referring patients who want procedures that conflict with their religion to other physicians in the practice.
Ontario physicians could be stripped of their right to exercise religious or moral conscience if a new set of guidelines is accepted by their regulating body next month, critics say.
Doctors across Canada are now allowed to opt out of such things as prescribing birth control or morning-after pills or doing abortions when it goes against their conscience. Physicians are also allowed to refuse to do referrals in such cases.
But a new draft proposal from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario could change that for doctors in the province.
“I’m really concerned with the new principle that the college is promulgating and that is that doctors do not have the right to be guided in the conduct of the practice by their conscience,” said Joseph Ben-Ami, president of the Centre for Policy Studies, an Ottawa-based think tank. “That’s a sweeping broad principle to establish — and once you’ve established it the field is wide open for further changes.”
For example, he said a doctor might refuse to help a same-sex couple to use reproductive technology to have a child.
“There are a lot of doctors who feel uncomfortable with this and think it’s detrimental to the child’s welfare down the road. The way were reading this draft document is a doctor could be hit with a misconduct” if the new rules are adopted.
Some of the provisions included in the draft document are:
â€¢ [A] physician’s responsibility is to place the needs of the patient first, [so] there will be times when it may be necessary for physicians to set aside their personal beliefs in order to ensure that patients or potential patients are provided with the medical services the require.”
â€¢ “Physicians should be aware that decisions to restrict medical services offered … or to end physician-patient relationships that are based on moral or religious belief may contravene the Code and/or constitute professional misconduct.”