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Defending life
from conception to natural death


22 July 2005

22 July 2005

22 July 2005 The BBC's Panorama programme has broadcast an undercover investigation into the care of elderly patients in British hospitals.

Despite the recent appointment of a National Director for Older People's Services to stamp out 'ageism' in the NHS, secretly filmed footage shows neglect of elderly patients.

Filmed incidents included failure to administer pain relief drugs properly to terminal cancer patients and nurses eating patients' food in the kitchen whilst some patients who were unable to feed themselves went hungry.

The chief executive of the hospital where the programme was filmed admitted that the footage was 'disturbing' and apologised to patients and relatives involved.

People over 65 make up two thirds of patients in UK hospitals and, with an ageing population, this figure is likely to increase.

[BBC, 20 July ] The Culture of Life Foundation has issued a statement on the nomination of John Roberts to the US Supreme Court. Culture of Life's president, Austin Ruse, comments, "For too long, those opposed to the dignity of life, marriage and the family have turned to the courts to advance their agenda and many judges have been far too happy to accommodate. We are confident that Roberts possesses the temperament and character of a man who knows that his role on the bench is not to advance his own personal preferences but to enforce the law."

[Culture of Life Foundation statement, 20 July] Opinion research suggests that most Americans want to know Mr Roberts's views on abortion. AP-Ipsos surveyed some 750 people this week.

[Guardian, 22 July ] Several US Senators have urged Congress to suspend sales of the abortion pill RU-486 (also known as mifeprex or mifepristone) in the wake of FDA warnings about the drug's safety.

The FDA alerted the public to five deaths which might be linked to taking RU-486 and authorised an updated warning on the product's label, but said the number of known deaths so far amounted to only 1 in 100,000 and therefore were not a serious cause for alarm.

[Reuters, 21 July ] An English local authority has been applauded for protecting unborn children who are assessed as being at risk. Government inspectors praised the children's service of Barnsley metropolitan borough, West Yorkshire. Midwives were involved in the work for the unborn.

[Barnsley Today, 21 July ] It would seem that the unborn children referred to are in homes where there is violence.

The Welsh assembly government has restored the provision of in vitro fertilisation to the whole country.

Health authorities in northern and mid-Wales previously closed the service.

[BBC, 22 July ] The Public Health Minister for the UK, Carolyn Flint, has announced an extra £15 million for sexual health services in 2005-6.

Projects to benefit from the new money include upgrading contraceptive services, and promoting chlamydia screening nationwide.

The new funding drive continues the Government's Sexual Health Strategy initiated in 2001-2.

[M2 News, 20 July ] The GMB, Britain's general union, is to take the law firm Foskett, Marr, Gadsby&Head to an employment tribunal alleging that they sacked employee Derrinda Bilgin because she was pregnant.

Mrs Bilgin, a legal secretary, claims that she was denied a promotion previously promised her and also removed from her currently-held position as a result of her employers discovering that she was pregnant.

[GMB, 20 July ] Researchers at Tel Aviv University have used adult stem cells to create a potential treatment for Parkinson's disease.

Professor Eldad Melamed and his team have succeeded in using stem-cells to produce GDNF, the substance which protects the neurons that produce the dopamine which becomes depleted in Parkinson's patients. [Pharmaceutical Business Review, 20 July ]

A woman in Illinois with cerebral palsy, who is fed by tube and uses a wheelchair, has given birth. The unidentified lady's daughter is in intensive care but is described as healthy. Rape has been alleged.

[Guardian, 21 July ] There seems to be a lack of knowledge about treating malaria in pregnancy.

A review by York University, England, suggests that studies on the issue are sparse.

A particular problem is the lack of drug trials in Africa where the disease is widespread.

[Medical News Today, 21 July ] A feature in the Daily Telegraph newspaper claims that Britain has led the world in developing the hospice movement.

The nation has some 35 children's hospices and six consultants (senior, expert doctors) in children's palliative care.

The movement has been supported by charitable donations. Medical staff from overseas visit the British system to learn about it. [Daily Telegraph, 21 July ]

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