News, 29 April 2004
29 April 2004
29 April 2004 A UK nurse is being tried for the attempted murder of four elderly patients, The Independent reports. Barbara Salisbury was allegedly seen by colleagues giving one patient an overdose of diamorphine with the words, 'give in, it's time to go' and trying to kill another patient by removing his oxygen supply and lying him on his back so that his lungs would fill with fluid. Robin Spencer QC, prosecuting, said that Ms Salisbury tried to murder patients in order to free beds and "brazenly overstepped the line between humane nursing and callous dispatch". The trial is expected to last eight weeks. [The Independent, 29 April ] Women who were born in the summer have fewer children than those born in winter, spring or autumn, according to research conducted by the Vienna University Veterinary Medicine School. Some experts suggest that factors such as nutrition, light and temperature could influence the development of the unborn child's reproductive organs but the authors of the study said that more research in the area was necessary. [Medical News Today, 29 April ] In order to hasten a court decision on the partial-birth abortion ban, the US Justice Department has dropped attempts to gain access to medical records of late-term abortions. The department had argued that the records were central to claims by those challenging the law that the procedure was medically necessary, but attempts to subpoena the records has had mixed success in the courts. [CNN, 27 April ] Scientists at Unrea University in Sweden say that the STI chlamydia affects male as well as female fertility. In the study of 244 infertile couples attending a clinic, couples where the man was infected with chlamydia had their fertility reduced. Approximately 10% of men in the UK are thought to have chlamydia. [Medical News Today, 29 April ] A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association argues that women who have dental x-rays during pregnancy could increase their risk of having low birth-weight babies. Philippe Hujoel of the University of Washington in Seattle who led the study said that people had previously assumed that head and neck radiation had no effect on pregnant women. [Reuters, 28 April ] 206 members of the US House of Representatives have signed a letter to President Bush asking him to relax restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. The strongest support is for the use of embryos left over from IVF treatment. Republican Randy Cunningham claimed that he changed his mind over embryo research when a child 'with some exotic disease' asked him to save her life after a hearing on research funding and later died. [Reuters, 28 April ] Doctors are urging women who request a caesarean section without a medical reason to consider a natural birth amid concerns about the surge in caesarean births. Women who fear giving birth naturally are to be offered counselling and advice. [Scotsman, 28 April ] The White House has announced that it will not fund a 'reproductive rights' conference featuring a number of pro-abortion organisations including Planned Parenthood, the UN Population Fund and the anti-Bush campaign MoveOn.org. A senior government official said that the conference had "increasingly moved from a teaching forum to a platform for expressing partisan political views." [CWNews, 28 April ] A pro-life medical student has been reinstated at the University of Manitoba Medical School after refusing to be involved in any abortion-related activity. The student had previously lost appeals over several years against a fail grade in the obstetrics and gynaecology part of his course because of his pro-life stance. [LifeSiteNews.com, 28 April ] Two photographers who attended a pro-abortion rally last week have complained that abortion advocates tried to stop them photographing the assault of a group of pro-life women. The students were surrounded by abortion supporters and dragged away from the event when they led a pro-life chant. One later needed medical treatment. One of the photographers was hit over the head with a pro-abortion sign when he tried to take pictures. Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life, said: "Violence has no place in the feminist movement. Not violence against our own bodies, our own children - or each other. Feminism is about equality." [Lifenews.com, 28 April ] Australia's federal health minister Tony Abbott has urged Catholics to campaign against abortion and to make their views known. Mr Abbott told the Catholic Weekly: "I certainly think it is important for Catholics. I don't think they need to do it aggressively or judgementally, but I certainly think it is important to let the world know that the Church hasn't gone soft on this, or forgotten about it, or moved on from it." [Cathnews, 29 April ] US demographers have warned that China faces a rapidly ageing population fuelled by its one-child policy and the gender imbalance caused by the abortion of baby girls. By 2030, China may contain nearly 400 million elderly people with little support and only a few eligible for social security. Attempts at establishing pension funds have so far met with little success. [The Age, 28 April ] Correction: In our news bulletin on 26 April, we stated that: "An estimated 500,000-800,000 people marched in Washington on Sunday in support of abortion." These figures, published by The Telegraph and Breaking News amongst others, may have been grossly exaggerated. CNN reported 250,000 and the New York Times "tens of thousands". We apologise for any inaccuracy and for any impression that a particular estimate deserved credence.