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Sad,Mother's £6,000 breast implants 'fell out' after surgery at a cut-price clinic

A mother-of-two's breast implant fell out of her chest weeks after botched surgery in Turkey.

Angelica Isaksen, from Stockholm, Sweden, forked out £6,000 for her second boob job last June at a cut-price clinic she found on Instagram.

The 27-year-old – desperate to get her body back in shape for bikini competitions – claims she chose the unnamed clinic after seeing celebrities promote it on the social media site. 

Ms Isaksen also had a Brazilian butt lift and tummy tuck during her six-day stay in Turkey. She was immediately unhappy with her results. 

Within days her right breast had ballooned, turned bright red and was throbbing in pain but the clinic told her the side effects were 'normal'.

After two weeks, while back home in Sweden, the scar underneath her right breast had began to open up and the implant – covered in brown liquid – was poking out of it. 

Ms Isaksen has since had both implants removed and is back to a B-cup. It is not clear what size her implants were.

Ms Isaksen said she has shared her story to warn other women against choosing budget boob jobs to save money. 

Doctors in Sweden revealed the purchasing assistant had contracted MRSA, an antibiotic resistant bug, while under the knife. 

Ms Isaksen has since had both implants removed and claims she is unable to look after her children until the highly infectious infection clears up.

She said: 'Immediately after surgery, I knew something wasn't right as my right breast was swollen and sore.

'I have had surgery before and a caesarean so I can handle pain, but this was horrendous.

'After two days, my breast started leaking with blood, but I was told it is "normal" and was made out to be overreacting.

'They didn't remove the tape to see what was going on - I assume the tape was holding the incision together.'

Ms Isaksen added: 'After six days in Turkey, I returned home and I took the tape off - the stitches were opening, and my breast continued to bleed - it was so scary.

'I added pressure to it with a towel and started panicking as I could see the implant coming out. I was so worried in case it fell out on to my lap.

'By the time I got to the hospital, it was pouring with blood - they took me straight in for tests - they came back saying I had MRSA.'

Ms Isaksen was kept in hospital for five days in Sweden before being sent home to wait for an appointment with a plastic surgeon to remove the implant. 

She had to wear a special bra and lie down to stop the implant from falling out. 

Ms Isaksen said: 'Every step I took the hole in my breast got bigger - I was bedbound for two weeks whilst I waited for the removal.

'I felt better as soon as it was out - the implant was covered in a brown liquid from the infection.'

The right implant was removed on December 2 and the left was removed January 7.

Ms Isaksen had her first boob job four years ago in Sweden but after giving birth to her twins Milan and Tristan, 18 months, she wanted a 'mummy makeover' and to get back in shape for bikini competitions.

After seeing multiple celebrities promote the clinic and reading positive reviews, she opted to go ahead with the surgery.

She said: 'I found the clinic in Turkey through Instagram; I had seen a lot of celebrities promoting it so I trusted them and thought it must be good.

'All of the reviews online were great - I later discovered this is because they ask you to write a review whilst you are in the clinic - they obviously delete the bad ones.

'I initially went to the clinic for a breast uplift, volume added to my bum, loose skin removed from carrying the twins and my abdominal muscles tightened.

'None of these things were achieved, I looked the same, so I complained, and they offered me a free revision.

'I assumed the uplift was unsuccessful due to the weight of the implants so the second time round, I went for implants which were half the size and an uplift.'

Ms Isaksen added: 'I was picked up from the airport and taken straight to the hospital - I didn't even get chance to drop my luggage off nor shower. Within ten minutes, I was getting ready for surgery - I felt very uneasy.'

Ms Isaksen is now back to her natural B cup size after the implants were removed. But she is still dealing with the repercussions.

She added: 'MRSA is resistant to many antibiotics - I have become house-bound and unable to look after my children due to the bacteria.

'I have been through a horrific ordeal and the surgery are not taking responsibility for their actions - I have been blocked on WhatsApp and Instagram by them.

'I want to save lives by sharing my story and prevent this from happening in the future.

'The MRSA is still in my system and it will be until the wounds clear up. I went under the knife to get my body back in shape for bikini competitions but now I regret it more than ever.' 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7868493/Mother-twos-breast-implants-fall-chest-botched-surgery-Turkey.html

stella Posted on January 16, 2020 10:41

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Boy, 10, has surgery to remove a brain tumour after his mother, 40, blamed his persistent headaches on playing too much PlayStation

A 10-year-old boy was diagnosed with a brain tumour after his mother blamed his headaches on playing his PlayStation.

Lucca Larkin developed headaches in August, which his mother Shellie, 40, initially put down to an issue with his glasses.

After a trip to the optometrist came back clear, Mrs Larkin and her husband Simon, 46, banned Lucca from gaming, thinking that may be behind his symptoms.

With the pain still lingering, a GP diagnosed Lucca with blocked sinuses and recommended he take Calpol.

Sensing something was seriously wrong, Mrs Larkin took her son to A&E on August 30. A scan later revealed he had a medulloblastoma brain tumour.

Lucca, from Radcliffe in Greater Manchester, had surgery to remove part of the tumour on September 3. 

He is on a waiting list for chemo and radiotherapy to treat the rest of the mass, which was too dangerous to take out.

Despite Lucca seeing an optometrist and having his PlayStation taken away, the youngster was still battling intermittent headaches over the August bank holiday weekend.

His mother, who works part-time as a social media manager for a cycle wear company, took him to the GP.

The doctor dismissed his symptoms as nothing serious, and recommended he take anti-allergy tablets and Calpol.

When these failed to help, Mrs Larkin took Lucca to Fairfield General Hospital in Bury, Greater Manchester.

Later that day, the youngster was referred to North Manchester Hospital's children unit. A consultant booked Lucca in for a scan and he was monitored overnight.

After a sleepless night in lots of pain, a nurse pushed forward an appointment with a second consultant early the next morning, who arranged an immediate CT scan. 

A few hours later, the results showed Lucca had a brain tumour. He was diagnosed on August 31, just three weeks after his tenth birthday.  

'It's hard to describe the feeling you have when you hear the news that what you thought were sinus headaches or migraines is actually something much more sinister,' Mrs Larkin said.

'People use the term heartbroken but upon hearing the news I felt like my heart had broken into pieces. It was like a physical pain deep inside.

'I felt scared, terrified in fact. Later I felt an intense anger that this horrible disease even exists.

'As a parent it's the worst feeling, you feel like you've died inside. I knew there was nothing I was going to be able to do at that point to help him.' 

Once diagnosed, Lucca had an operation to remove the tumour at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. 

He is on the waiting list for further treatment at the Christie Hospital in Manchester. 

The family are also awaiting the results of a lumbar puncture, which will assess whether his tumour spread to his spine. A lumbar puncture, or spinal tap, analyses the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. 

Lucca has also been put forward for proton beam therapy, a type of radiotherapy, in Germany. 

The family could be required to stay there for more than six weeks. 

Despite all he has endured, the youngster has managed to stay positive.   

'He's doing brilliantly,' Mrs Larkin said. 'He's still very upbeat.

'We have five children and we always thought Lucca was the softest but he was so strong during all of this. 

'He hasn't complained once or moaned about his situation.'

Lucca was diagnosed just two days after his father quit his job working in operations and planning for a utility company to start his own business.

His son's poor health means the new business will not go ahead, with Mr Larkin being on call to take Lucca to Germany when required. 

The couple have started a GoFundMe page to help them financially.  

Mrs Larkin is also speaking out to encourage other parents to trust their instincts.  

'If you know something isn't quite right, you have to follow it through,' she said.

'If I'd just left it and thought, "right okay, it is just a sinus infection, we'll go to the doctors' next week", we might not be in the same situation as we are now.

'Something was telling me deep in my gut something wasn't right, that there was something other than what they'd already said and that we had to push for it.'

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7481125/Boy-diagnosed-brain-tumour-mother-blamed-headaches-PlayStation.html

stella Posted on January 16, 2020 10:32

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Baby girl who was given just hours to live after she was taken off life support is alive four months

A baby girl born with a serious heart condition, who was deemed a 'miracle' for surviving after she was taken off life support, is about to celebrate her first birthday.

Phoenix Da'Vine, from Temple Hills, Maryland, was diagnosed at birth with a double outlet right ventricle, a heart defect that makes it difficult for blood to throw through the body properly. 

After undergoing two surgeries, she went into cardiac arrest when she was just seven months old and had to be placed placed on life support.

Fearing that Da'Vine would spend the rest of her life in hospice care, her mother, Monique Goldring, made the heartbreaking decision to take her daughter off of life support in April 2019.

Doctors gave Phoenix just six hours to live, but those hours turned into days, weeks and now months. 

Phoenix is currently at home and - although she's on oxygen and taking a slew of medications - she will turn one year old in less than two weeks. 

Goldring gave birth to Phoenix via C-section on August 25, 2018, after developing pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure.

'I had migraines for like a week straight and my mother was like: "You're going to the doctor",' she told DailyMail.com.

'They found out I had pre-eclampsia - and I had a clean bill of health my entire pregnancy - so they decided to do a C-section then.'

Phoenix was born full-term, weighing seven pounds and two ounces. While Goldring was in recovery, the nurses performed a routine check-up pm the newborn.

They found her oxygen saturation levels were extremely low and detected a heart murmur, so she was admitted into the neonatal intensive care unit. 

Phoenix underwent an echocardiogram shortly after and was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition called double outlet right ventricle (DORV).

In normal hearts, the pulmonary artery connects to the right ventricle and the aorta connects to the left ventricle. 

But, in DORV, the heart's two major arteries both connect to the right ventricle, neither to the left ventricle, according to Boston Children's Hospital. 

This creates a problem because the right ventricle then mixes oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood before leaving the heart, which circulates throughout the body.

About one in every 10,000 babies is born with DORV, according to Seattle Children's Hospital. 

'I was devastated and I was told that to survive she would need to have four open-heart surgeries,' Goldring said. 

'But I knew she needed them to live.' 

Phoenix had her first surgery in September 2018, when she was just 10 days old, during which a pulmonary arterial band - a sort of medical patch - inserted to limit the amount of blood flowing to her lungs.

But too much blood was still seeping through to her lungs, so she underwent her second of four-needed surgeries and had a shunt inserted in October 2018 at two months old.

She was hospitalized until January 2019 and all seemed well until March, when Goldring noticed a lot of congestion in her daughter's nose.

It was the first subtle sign of the turn for the worse Phoenix was about to suddenly take.  

One day, when Phoenix's nose started bleeding a lot, Goldring drove her from her home in Temple Hill to Inova Fairfax Hospital in Annandale, Virginia, where Phoenix regularly received care.

'Halfway there she was cranky and very fussy but eventually, she got quiet,' Goldring said.

'She looked like she was asleep. But we get to the ER and she was completely blue. I shook her arm and face, she did nothing. I screamed her name, nothing.

'I pulled out the car seat and rushed her into the ER and said: "My daughter's not breathing!" They rushed her in and it felt like forever.'

After finally detecting a pulse, doctors told Goldring that Phoenix had suffered severe brain damage due to a lack of oxygen flowing to her brain and she was placed on life support for about a month.  

'I prayed with my family and my friends...and one day I said: "Phoenix, if you're tired, let me know",' Goldring said.

'Phoenix was facing towards the TV, and she looked at me when I said that. That was confirmation for me.'  

Phoenix was taken off of life support on April 23 and was only expected to survive for six hours.

But after the six-hour mark, she was still alive.  

After two months, she was discharged and will celebrate her first birthday in less than two weeks. 

'We are definitely having a big party with family and friends and RSVPs are already at 100,' Goldring said.

'We're going to have carnival games and have piñatas and face painting and lots of food.'

Currently, Phoenix is on oxygen 24/7, she's fed with a feeding tube and takes 14 different medications.

This includes her standard heart medication, Zantac to help settle formula in her stomach, Valium and morphine for pain and anti-seizure medication.

Phoenix still needs two surgeries, called a Glenn procedure and a Fontan procedure, to redirect the flow of blood because she will eventually outgrow her shunt.  

Inova Fairfax and Children's National have both denied the procedure, saying the risks outweigh the benefits, so Goldring is looking at different hospital.  

'I definitely want to see if there's someone willing to take her case on,' she said. 'If there's someone's willing to look at her records and tell me if there's even another option because I want to save her life.' 

The family has started a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of Phoenix's medical bills. As of Wednesday evening, more than $7,400 has been raised out of a $100,000 goal. 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7357763/Baby-girl-taken-life-support-four-months-ago-celebrate-birthday.html

stella Posted on January 16, 2020 10:25

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Cannibalism victim was butchered 'like you wouldn't kill a livestock animal'

When police in Jeffersonville, Indiana, found Tammy Jo Blanton's dismembered body in her bathtub, it was draped with a camping tent with at least 25 stab wounds and blunt-force injuries on her throat, neck, nose, mouth, lips, fingers and chest, a prosecutor told a Clark County jury at a murder trial Wednesday.

"Joseph Oberhansley butchered Tammy Blanton like you wouldn’t kill a livestock animal," Clark County prosecutor Jeremy Mull told 12 jurors and four alternates who were bused to Jeffersonville from Hamilton County on Wednesday for Oberhansley's trial. "But this lady died with dignity."

Oberhansley, 38, is facing life in prison without parole on charges of murder, rape and burglary after authorities say he stalked, raped and killed Blanton, then ate parts of her body in 2014.

The prosecution and defense agreed to take the death penalty off the table if Oberhansley's attorneys agreed not to use insanity as a defense.

Since February 2017, Oberhansley's mental competency has been at issue, delaying the trial process. Three state psychiatrists and psychologists in 2017 found that he wasn't competent to stand trial, but after more than a year of treatment at an Indiana state psychiatric facility, he was deemed competent.

Oberhansley's defense attorneys, Bart Betteau and Brent Westerfeld, filed another motion to revisit the competency issue. They told Clark County Circuit Judge Vicki Carmichael on Wednesday that Oberhansley continues to show distrust and complains about the way he's being represented.

In April, Carmichael ruled that Oberhansley, who filed a motion to withdraw the insanity defense his attorneys promoted, could reject the insanity plea. Oberhansley told the judge he felt that using the defense would admit guilt and likely wouldn't work.

Clark County sits along the Ohio River, just north of Louisville, Kentucky. The jurors were selected from Hamilton County, just north of Indianapolis, to ensure Oberhansley will get a fair trial, Carmichael said. They'll be sequestered for the duration of the trial and unable to use any electronics.

Victim died 'with dignity'

Blanton and Oberhansley had been dating – and briefly lived together – in the few months leading to her death Sept. 11, 2014.

Just days before, Blanton had broken off their relationship and changed the locks on her Jeffersonville home, Mull told the jury.

The day before she was murdered, Blanton told her friends and coworkers that she was taking her life back, Mull said. She said she wasn't going to live in fear of her ex-boyfriend or stay at a friend's house anymore.

Mull told jurors that in the final moments before Blanton died, she'd locked herself in the bathroom, hoping to save her life. Evidence shows that Oberhansley forced open the door, he said.

During a videotaped interview with police that Mull said the jury will see during trial, when asked what Blanton said after he kicked the bathroom door open, Oberhansley said, "Truth be told, she really wasn't all that scared, surprisingly. Like she knew (she was going to die), you know what I mean?" Mull told the jury.

“In her last moments, she wasn’t going to give him the pleasure of seeing her scared," Mull said.

Although the defense isn't allowed to present evidence related to Oberhansley's sanity or state of mind, Betteau asked the jury to think about whether a person who eats the brain and heart of his ex-girlfriend is "thinking right."

"All I want you to do is to keep an open mind," Betteau said. "(The prosecutor) told you about a few statements; select evidence. But there's going to be a whole lot more."

Betteau told the jury that they'll see photos and hear testimony that's worse than what the prosecutor described in his opening statements.

"Her chest had been cut open. The heart was removed. The heart was eaten," Betteau told the jury. "I'm sorry that I have to go over this, but that's what the evidence is."

Betteau said the jury will hear Oberhansley talk about what was going on in his mind at the time in the video police interview. Oberhansley thought Blanton was going to kill him, and that she could hear his thoughts, Betteau said.

"Think about the process and say to yourself, is this someone who’s thinking right? His thought was that someone was after him."

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/08/21/cannibalism-trial-indiana-begins/2071335001/

stella Posted on January 16, 2020 10:19

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Teen torture case: Girl given 'chilling choice' of how she would die

A teenage girl's body was found inside a rusty steel drum amongst weeds at an abandoned Auckland state home.

Seventeen-year-old Dimetrius Pairama had earlier been given the chilling choice of how she wanted die, the High Court at Auckland heard today.

"There is no doubt that there was a murder, there is no doubt as to the injuries to the deceased," Justice Timothy Brewer told the court.

The teen's body was found in a vacant Housing New Zealand property on Buckland Rd, Mangere Bridge on July 8 last year.

Before her death she had been kidnapped and tortured, the Crown Solicitor at Auckland, Natalie Walker told the court.

She was beaten, tied to a chair, gagged and her naked body burned with an aerosol can and cigarette lighter, Walker said.

Pairama was then "presented with a chilling choice".

She was asked how she wanted to die.

"Death by hanging or stabbing?" Walker said Pairama asked.

She was then strung up from a pole with a makeshift noose made out of old sheets, the court heard.

Her battered, naked and lifeless body was then cut down and wrapped in sheets and plastic.

"Her body was hidden inside a rusty steel drum, amongst some weeds, at an abandoned state home," Walker said.

"How did this happen?"

Ashley Winter, also known as Toko Shane Rei Winter, 29, and Kerry Te Amo, 25, are accused of the kidnapping, torturing and murdering Pairama.

Their trial began today.

Winter, a transgender woman, has pleaded guilty to a charge of kidnapping but denies murdering Pairama.

Te Amo has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Walker said the pair had carried out a "senseless and unimaginable attack" which had taken away Pairama's will to live and presented her with an impossible choice.

But she said "sometimes we can never know why things happen".

Another teenager, who has been granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for giving evidence, will tell the court what she saw and heard at the Buckland Rd home, Walker said.

Police first began investigating after breaking up a fight near Britomart in central Auckland.

Walker said the group who were at the house had turned on each other and needed to be broken up by police.

"You'll pay for what you've done!" Winter was told, the court heard.

Walker said police would soon discover the "whole horrifying truth" about how Pairama, who had spent time in Oranga Tamariki care, was killed.

The prosecutor said Winter has "told countless lies" to police.

The court heard Winter has a various points claimed she was Pairama's sister, admitted she played a part in the killing, said there was no ringleader, and that she had a reason to be angry at the teen.

Pairama was described by those her knew her as a "bubbly, pretty and very friendly" girl who had a distinctive laugh, the court heard.

Her life goal, Walker told the court, was getting a qualification and enough money to buy a house.

Justice Brewer earlier told the jury in a case such as this it may be "easy to feel prejudice against people who have been brought to court for charges like these".

But he said this was "not a court of morals, it is a court of law".

The judge urged the jury to decide on what the Crown has proved before considering their verdicts.

"In deciding what happened you are going to have to make human assessments … some people can be honest and some can be honestly mistaken," Justice Brewer said.

"You must keep an open mind until you have heard all of the evidence, the lawyers' closing arguments and my summing up.

"You can only decide the case on the evidence that you hear in the courtroom."

The judge said: "Above all Mr Foreman and members of the jury, your job is to be fair."

https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/crime/auckland-teen-torture-case-girls-body-found-inside-a-rusty-drum-at-abandoned-state-house/

stella Posted on January 16, 2020 10:09

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Thug, 23, caught on CCTV stabbing man to death after pub row is jailed

Horrific CCTV footage captured the chilling moment a killer brandishes a 'Rambo-style' in the street after a pub row - minutes before stabbing a man to death.

Carlton Donaldson, 23, was jailed for at least 23 years after he was found guilty of murdering Daniel Baird, 27, in Digbeth, Birmingham

Donaldson's friend Sashon Brown, 25, was also jailed for two-and-a-half years after he was convicted of violent disorder. 

Footage captured from The Forge Tavern showed Carlton Donaldson, aged 22 at the time, and his friend Brown getting into a heated argument with Dale Scott, a friend of Mr Baird.

Moment killer slashes at revelers before murdering young man

The footage showed Mr Scott stumble into a group, including Donaldson and Brown, after hitting a punch-bag machine in July 2017.

Brown, of Sutton Coldfield, pulled out a folding knife and flicked the blade in a threatening gesture to show Scott he was armed and ready to fight.

Carlton Donaldson then stepped in but the violence spilled onto the streets, where the men darted between a traffic-filled road in a dramatic chase.

The man who bumped into Brown, who was not named in court, was hit by a car and bounced off the bonnet and into the road. 

He got onto his feet and started to run moments after the heavy collision. 

Donaldson then pulled out a 'Rambo-knife', narrowly misses the target, before he fatally stabbed Mr Baird in the chest.

As well as murder, he was found guilty of wounding with intent, attempted wounding with intent, and violent disorder. The judge passed concurrent jail terms for the other offences.  

Dale Scott and Sean Spooner were cleared of possessing an offensive weapon and violent disorder. 

A member of the public gallery shouted abuse at Donaldson and Brown as they were led away following the trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

The court heard emotional statements from Mr Baird's loved ones, including his girlfriend Gemma Morris.

Miss Morris said her life had changed forever after her partner's brutal murder. She said: 'I should have been planning our wedding and not Dan's funeral.

'This has changed me as a person. I will never get over losing Dan.

'I do not know how to face my future without Dan.'

Mr Baird's sister, Kerry Sheehan, branded Donaldson a 'remorseless coward' who 'hunted down' the victim.

Ms Sheehan said: 'He would brighten up the room with his great smile. This has left us all traumatised. He was kind, caring and funny.

'He had his whole future ahead of him. He had simply gone out for a good time.'

The court was told Donaldson had a previous conviction for carrying a kitchen knife when he was 15. In July 2009, he was convicted of robbery and attempted robbery and given an eight-month sentence.

In 2016, Donaldson was sentenced for two counts of common assault, possession of cannabis and later convinced of assaulting a prison custody officer.  

 

Patrick Upward, mitigating for Donaldson, said his client had not gone out looking for violence and 'it all happened in a matter of seconds'.

He described the killer's own life as a 'tragedy' as he had been in care until the age of 11 and left school at 14.

Stephen Bailey, mitigating for Brown, said his client 'spontaneously' took a flick knife out in public and brandished it out of 'upset and frustration'. 

Judge Paul Farrer told Donaldson he used a 'Rambo-style' knife with 'murderous intent'.

The judge told him: 'Your use of a knife represents a significant aggravating feature. You chose to take possession of a significant knife.

'It was deployed with murderous intent in the course of a public disorder in which you played a leading role.

'The tragic death of Mr Baird has had a profound impact on his family and friends.'      

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6759699/Thug-23-caught-CCTV-stabbing-man-death-pub-row-jailed.html

stella Posted on January 16, 2020 10:00

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“It was so euphoric that I couldn’t help but cry” — Masao Meroe says of Ghana citizenship

Euphoric‘ doesn’t really convey the way I felt that evening. I’m not sure I can give you a replacement. The knowledge of the impending Citizenship Ceremony was a long time in coming… and for the past year seemingly elusive to the point of wondering if it would ever happen. The ‘process’ was not a real ‘process‘ whereby an application form, dates, schedules and information were never communicated (because they didn’t exist as the government ministries and agencies stunned through the event). I cried because of the long journey to get to that point, that moment of citizenship. I cried thinking back upon friends who helped me get here and not here to experience the ceremony which would have made them feel proud of this achievement. I cried thinking about all the people who would be proud of me of my becoming a Ghanaian citizen.

Masao Meroe (left) with his son Kofi and Kofi’s girlfriend, Athena (middle), in Hampstead Heath Park in London

These are the words of Masao Meroe on becoming a citizen of Ghana. His father is from Marshall, Texas in the United States (US) and his mother is Japanese. His parents met during the US occupation of Japan after WWII. He is an American born on a US military base in Japan where he spent the first 5 months of his life. He became a Ghanaian citizen in November 2019 and is the second person I am interviewing about leaving the US to settle in Ghana.

TheAfricanDream.net discovered that Masao, an African-American, is the founder of Sankofa Investments (established 1994 in Ghana) under which he owns and operates Sankofa Beach House and formerly Sankofa Meroe Tours. A graduate of Brandeis University and the University of California, Berkeley, Masao holds a BA in Politics, a Masters in City and Regional Planning and a Juris Doctorate of Law.

He first visited Ghana in 1981 and almost four decades down the line, he stood in line on November 27, 2019, with others to take the oath of citizenship and became Ghanaian. “It was so Euphoric again that I couldn’t help but cry,” Mr. Meroe told TheAfricanDream.net during this chat.

Let’s go back to 1981 where all this started. Masao arrived at the University of Ghana for a short law school program that year. His fascination with Africa grew from that time on, it led to him traveling widely within the continent. So strong was the pull by Africa that in the year 2000 he moved his family to Accra, Ghana after living in Ibadan, Nigeria for five years with them.

As he talked more about his citizenship ceremony, Masao explained, “the swearing-in elevates your sense of belonging and instills a sense of responsibility for the growth, wellbeing, and security of this country because I am a part of it. I have embraced the country as my own. This is a feeling I never had in the US,” said Masao who has been traveling within Africa and organizing tours for more than three decades as a way of bringing to others the Africa experience.

My years of living and working in Africa have enabled me to establish relationships and contacts that afford groups and individuals access to people and places generally unreachable to tourists. Through my Sankofa Meroe Tours, I was able to tailor tour activities based on the specific interest for not just African-Americans, but persons and institutions of all kinds that wanted an authentic experience. While I just completed a small group tour last October, I’m now running away from this business as I’m trying to slow down the pace of life.

Before all this, he primarily worked in the US as a real estate development consultant on low and moderate-income housing development and community development projects in California and Ohio. He, however, grew up in Massachusetts after his four-month stint in Japan as an infant. He disclosed he has since returned to Japan once during his adult life.

Now that Masao is a full-blown Ghanaian, and will soon be a proud owner of a Ghanaian passport, how does that feel? “Well…” said the man who moved to Ghana and only retired in the last couple of years, “I’m a person who holds an American passport for convenience of travel. When I get my Ghana Passport, I’ll be a person who holds the Ghanaian passport for convenience of travel but mainly in West Africa and, more so the rest of Africa.

Mr. Meroe with wife Janet in a 2018 event flyer of theirs.

We moved with savings and lived off those for the first two years when we arrived in Ghana,” said the 64-year-old retiree, who is, well, not quite retired as he explained that “the Beach House is a ‘working retirement’ for me. Let’s just say he is “a correct man,” which is generally what the Japanese male name Masao means.

Before he became a citizen of Ghana, he had already committed half his life experience in Africa, seeing and experiencing more of Ghana than the average Ghanaian. Masao has also seen more of West Africa than the average West African and more of Africa than most Africans. “I, however, live in Ghana with no plans to leave or desire to live elsewhere. My citizenship does not change any of these feelings.”

Speaking of change, when TheAfricanDream.net asked Masao what he would love to change about Ghana if he could, without hesitation he responded: “The sense of protecting and appreciating the environment and cleanliness because I run a beach bed and breakfast. The sight of trash in the ocean is heartbreaking for me, and my dream is to see a cleaner Ghana soon in every sense of the word for everyone, especially the children.

My children are now in the US where they attended University, as much as my wife and I miss them, they are working there and also trying to make their way back home to Ghana which is home for all of us,” said Masao whose wife, Janet, was also vetted and approved for Ghanaian citizenship.

Watch out for my next conversation yet another African-America who became a citizen of Ghana and next time you are in Ghana do check out Sankofa Beach House — remember to tell them TheAfricanDream.net sent you. Also, visit www.sankofabeachhouse.com to find out more and don’t forget to ask Masao about his favorite dish and drink from Ghana when you get the opportunity to meet him.

https://www.modernghana.com/news/978816/it-was-so-euphoric-that-i-couldnt-help-but-cry.html

stella Posted on January 16, 2020 09:53

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Husband breaks down in tears as he begs for help to find wife, 37, who mysteriously goes missing on Florida business trip

Police in South Florida are searching for a Utah woman who went missing while on a business trip.

Kelly Glover, 37, of Holladay was last seen at The Westin hotel in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday at around 2am.

Glover traveled to Florida with a friend, according to her husband, Adam Bremer.

‘Her friend went to bed early,’ Bremer told KSL-TV.

‘My wife was still up and her friend woke up around 4am, and my wife was nowhere to be found and the door was left open.’

Bremer said his wife was filmed by surveillance cameras heading to exit stairs in the hotel in her pajamas with no shoes on at 2am. She was holding a water bottle.

There is no actual footage of her outside of the building, according to KSTU-TV.

Bremer told WPLG-TV that his wife left her belongings, including her cell phone and purse, behind in the room.

‘She left it in the room and that’s the last we’ve seen of her ... We text each other every morning I get up before her,’ an anguished Bremer said. 

‘I hadn’t heard from her by 9am I knew something was wrong, sent a few more, the second her friend called me I already knew.’

When Bremer was told his wife was missing, he hopped on a plane from Salt Lake City and flew to South Florida.

Fort Lauderdale Police sent dive teams into the water nearby to search for Glover, but there was no sign of her.

Investigators also used canines and a helicopter to aid in the search, but so far with no results.

Bremer is asking the public for help in finding his wife.

‘I think social media can be very powerful,’ Bremer said.

‘Like, post and repost and repost and repost until we find her.’

Bremer is asking anyone in the vicinity to look around and see if they see anything unusual.

‘Please get up ... look around, go to your neighbor’s house,’ he said.

Bremer added: ‘She’s got a sweet spirit and she’s a very sweet girl and she has a big heart. She’s a good person, an amazing wife.

‘She’s my best friend

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/world/husband-breaks-down-in-tears-as-he-begs-for-help-to-find-wife-37-who-mysteriously-goes-missing-on-florida-business-trip-and-was-last-seen-on-hotel-surveillance-video-in-pajamas-heading-to-the-exit-stairs/ar-BBYRnnJ

stella Posted on January 16, 2020 09:48

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Mother considers labeling son ‘nonbinary’ to keep his long hair

A mother in the UK is considering extreme measures to prevent her son from being kicked out of school over his prized hair.

Bonnie Miller, whose 8-year-old son Farouk James has more than 260,000 followers on Instagram, says she may declare the boy “nonbinary” just so he can keep his lush, waist-length locks while in school. Miller is putting schools on blast for the “outdated practice” of barring boys from having long hair, she tells the Daily Mail.

“Applying for a mixed[-sex] school, I may just put him down as non-binary,” says Miller, 41, who had been searching for the right school to place her son. “I have been trying to think of loopholes, and think how can I get him in.”

She claims the dress code, which is common among secondary schools in the UK, is sexist: “The mixed schools I have been looking at have policies which clearly differentiate between boys and girls.”

Miller has launched a petition asking Parliament to prohibit schools from enforcing the policy, which has nearly 1,000 signatures already. She also claims to have the children’s psychological well-being in mind: “I thought, ‘I have to do something about this, children’s mental health is more important.’ ”

“We are told we are supposed to be tolerant, and embrace diversity,” Miller, from Fulham, West London said. “However this policy teaches children that they cannot be different.”

She continues, “Why are we teaching — at such a young age — that long hair means there is something wrong with these children?”

Miller, a photographer, added that her son also has no interest in cutting his hair.

“Parents have shown me they have had to chop their child’s hair off, and the devastation it has caused,” she explained. “It’s a part of their identity. You are asking someone to take away a huge part of themselves, to fit into what is socially expected.”

Farouk has already traveled to cities such as New York and Florence, Italy, to showcase his enviable mane on behalf of children’s fashion brands such as Guess.

“Farouk globally can be himself, and be appreciated for who he is through Instagram,” says the mom-of-three. “But locally he is not accepted.”

According to Miller, strangers have mistaken her son for a girl, but Farouk is unfazed by the gaffe.

The young model was just 2 years old when his mother set up an Instagram for him, after another Instagram influencer allegedly used his image without their permission. Now, Miller and Farouk take great pains to preserve his curly coiffure, including washing with Evian mineral water.

“He’s become a role model for children, for boys with long hair,” said the mom-of-three, who also runs the Instagram account @BadMotherBlogger with some 10,500 followers. “Parents say they refer to Farouk’s page to give their child confidence.”

She says, “I’ve cried numerous times because, just from me allowing him to be himself, he has changed other children’s lives.”

https://nypost.com/2020/01/13/mother-considers-labeling-son-nonbinary-to-keep-his-long-hair/

stella Posted on January 16, 2020 09:44

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Teenager, 18, who was stabbed to death after he was chased by thugs through an east London estate in broad daylight .

An 18-year-old who was stabbed to death after being chased through an east London estate has been identified.

London's 91st murder victim this year, named locally as Santino, was found with stab wounds in Chadd Green in Plaistow, East London, at roughly 3.30pm on August 26. 

Tributes have been left to Santino - the 18th teenager to be murdered in the capital this year, and fourth to be killed in 15 days - with his grieving family paying their respects by laying flowers at the scene.

 

His father said: 'My son, he did nothing. He was just 18 years old, a baby,' the Evening Standard reported. 

He added: 'Everybody is saying they are sorry to me, but it is my son who will be in the ground.'

A family friend who was cutting flowers at a memorial described the victim as a ‘respectful’ young man, telling the Metro: ‘He was a kind and loving boy. ‘Anyone who knew him at a friendship level would agree.' 

Witnesses said the victim was chased before he was left for dead outside a row of terraced houses.

Terry Eddis, 73, said he saw a police car 'tearing into the road' and three officers ran towards where the victim was lying on the ground before giving him CPR. 

'He didn't look very old, he just looked like a child,' Mr Eddis said.  

No arrests have been made so far.  

The Met Police had been called to the Chadd Green estate at around 3.30pm to reports of a critically injured man, and officers attended with London Ambulance Service.

They found the victim suffering from stab injuries in the street. He was pronounced dead at the scene an hour later.  

Forensic officers were seen collecting evidence from the pavement beside a block of flats. A post-mortem examination and formal identification is to be arranged.  

A spokesperson for Newham Council tweeted: 'Tragic and needless death of youth, 18, in Plaistow today. Condolences to family of the victim.

'If you have information contact police or Crimestoppers anonymously. If you are a young person and want to speak up, you can do so independently of police at http://fearless.org.'

On Saturday, 69-year-old Allan Isichei was attacked while he walked home and later died on a neighbour's doorstep. A man in his 30s has been arrested on suspicion of his murder.

Any witnesses, or anyone with information, should call police on 101 quoting CAD 5133/aug26.

To remain anonymous, call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Any young people who have information about violence or knife crime can visit www.fearless.org where they can pass on information anonymously – your I.P address will not be traced.

Fearless is part of the Crimestoppers charity, and is also independent of the police.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7403381/Pictured-Teenager-stabbed-death-chased-thugs.html

stella Posted on January 16, 2020 09:41

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Baby boy has life-saving surgery to give him a cow's heart valve

A baby boy has been given a heart valve taken from a cow in a life-saving operation. Bradley Harrison was in surgery for nine hours, during which his heart was stopped for six hours. His mum said she felt ‘sick’ when she first heard he needed part of the cow’s heart, but is now overjoyed that he is doing well. Amber Griffiths said she was offered an abortion at 24 weeks pregnant when doctors diagnosed him with five heart defects that meant he might not have survived the pregnancy.

She refused, and his life was saved with the bovine transplant when he was five-and-a-half months old. Now ten months, he has recovered well and is thought to be one of only a small number of babies given the pioneering treatment on the NHS.

He was able to enjoy his first Christmas and New Year with brothers Riley, three, and Lucas, two. Amber, 24, said: ‘At first I felt sick hearing that Bradley was going to have part of an animal put in him, but his chances of survival with the calf valve were high and it ended up saving his life. ‘We are all over the moon that he’s now doing so well.’ Amber and fiance Ryan Harrison, 24, were stunned to discover that they were expecting a third baby in June 2018. It was during her routine 20-week scan that Amber was told the baby had congenital heart disease.

She was given the devastating news that he had pulmonary atresia – where the pulmonary valve, which regulates blood flow from the right ventricle to the lungs, does not form properly. ‘I knew something was wrong, I could feel it,’ Amber said. ‘The sonographer wouldn’t look at me in the face. ‘They told me there was a risk he wouldn’t make it to the end of the pregnancy, I could go into preterm labour and that he won’t breathe when he’s born.’ The mum-of-three decided to keep her son, even though her pregnancy left her bed bound and unable to look after her other boys. She also had a traumatic labour on Valentine’s Day after her placenta failed, which lead to her being put under anesthesia while Bradley was delivered via emergency C-Section.

After Bradley was born weighing 6lbs 2oz at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne, he was immediately taken to Freeman Hospital where Amber rushed to his side when she was discharged after 24 hours. Bradley was given a CT scan not long after birth where his parents were also told he had the heart condition Tetralogy of Fallot – four defects which limit the amount of oxygen carried by the blood. Following a heart and lung reconstruction nine days after he was born, Amber and Ryan thought their son’s health problems were over. He needed a new heart valve and was fitted with a plastic one. But despite the nine-hour op, the little boy’s issues had only just begun. Four months after his first operation, Amber panicked when Bradley started to turn blue when he cried.

Amber, of South Shields, said: ‘We rushed him to hospital, where they said his heart was starving his lungs of oxygen.’ The miracle baby underwent open heart surgery when he was five and a half months old, and had the life-saving bovine transplant, which saw tissue taken from a calf and used to repair Bradley’s valve. His heart was stopped for six hours while doctors operated and he needed four pints of blood. Bradley has been left with a large, vertical scar running down the centre of his chest from his open heart surgery. Amber said: ‘Bradley has been through so much in his life already. He’s such a fighter, there was no question about me not continuing with the pregnancy, I knew he would survive.” He already has his next open heart surgery planned for when he is two and a half years old, as his artificial valve needs to be replaced as he grows.

https://metro.co.uk/2020/01/13/baby-boy-life-saving-surgery-give-cows-heart-valve-12051368/

stella Posted on January 16, 2020 09:36

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Driver accused of causing death of step-daughter Chloe Kerr in crash after wedding reception

A driver has been accused of causing the death of his step-daughter in a horror crash in Warwickshire.

Paul Hampson has been charged over the tragic death of Chloe Kerr, a 22-year-old trainee teacher.

He is accused of smashing his Mercedes into a tree after a family wedding while under the influence of drink or drugs.

Chloe was a passenger in the 45-year-old’s Mercedes C220 when it crashed in Wishaw, Warwickshire.

The tragic incident unfolded just after midnight on October 7, 2018.

She died in hospital six days later after suffering devastating injuries.

Hampson appeared before Warwick Crown Court on Friday where he pleaded not guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

He also denies causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs and failing to allow a blood sample to be taken for analysis.

His wife Emma, Chloe’s mum, was also in the car and was badly hurt – and he pleaded not guilty to a further charge of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Hampson, of Water Orton, Warks, was granted bail and will go on trial at the same court on October 19.

Judge Anthony Potter heard the family had been at a wedding reception prior to the crash, which occurred near Moxhull Hall Hotel.

The court was told as the car went across a junction at 50mph, it hit a tree on the opposite on the road.

Regan Peggs, defending, said Hampson, who suffered broken ankles in the crash, was left in shock and "can’t recall very much at all about the immediate aftermath".

Speaking at the time of her death, Chloe's mum paid tribute to her "beautiful sweet angel".

She wrote on social media: "My heart has been left with a hole unfixable, my baby my best friend my third leg and my side kick is now watching us from above.

“The impact so far seems far from real and I’m yet to be brave enough to read anything written.

"My girl has and always will stole hearts, made people laugh, cry and sing when they didn’t want to!!

"Chloe is the most beautiful sweet angel I could ever be a mother to and I am so deeply proud of her from the moment I laid eyes on her 22 years ago.

"My heart will always ache Chlo but I know ur never far and as I can’t believe I’m writing this I will cling on to every moment and memory I cherished with u until we meet again!"

Chloe's former school Water Orton Primary, where she had returned as part of her teacher training, also paid tribute.

Headteacher Carl Lewis said: "Chloe was a very capable young person who had a love of life and was very caring about others.

"She worked incredibly hard and was a natural talented teacher, even taking part in residential visits with Year 6 in her own time."

https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/driver-accused-causing-death-step-17560053

stella Posted on January 16, 2020 09:30

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Piccadilly Gardens stabbing spree 'was targeted attack on four homeless men', says victim left with 18 stitches

All four victims of a stabbing spree in Piccadilly Gardens were homeless men, one of the victims has said.

Tommy Dennison, 52, claimed in an interview with the Manchester Evening News this morning that he was drinking a cup of coffee outside Primark when a man came up and slashed him across the face with a lock-knife without saying a word.

The offender then stabbed another homeless man sat just metres away.

"He was outside Nero's where the bin is," said Tommy.

"I heard him screaming so I went over to help him.

"I tried to calm him down, he'd been stabbed twice, in the back and shoulder.

"Then I heard more screaming, from the other side of the street.

"There was a commotion, all these people were in the street, phoning police.

"Officers came from everywhere, it was a sea of blue."

Tommy says both the other two victims were also homeless men.

"One has a scar near his eye," he said.

"I saw him in hospital, his face was bad.

"The other guy has 180 stitches.

"[The attacker] was targeting the homeless, he didn't say anything, he just walked up and slashed me."

Although Tommy has had substance abuse problems and lived on the streets for many years, he has recently found accommodation.

He is now recovering at home after having 18 stitches to his face in hospital last night.

"It's sore but I'm OK," he said.

"Everybody will be worried out there.

"I'm off the streets now, I'm trying to turn my life around.

"There's some right evil out there.

"But Manchester is a safe place, it's just now and again there are some incidents."

Greater Manchester Police continues to investigate the stabbing incident and a 30-year-old man is in custody.

City centre spokesman for Manchester Council Pat Karney said on Twitter this morning: "Incident last night was a rough sleeper feuding with other rough sleepers."

Officers confirmed Taser was deployed as he was arrested on suspicion of serious assault at the scene on Market Street.

Eyewitness Mitchell Jemmeh was walking towards Market Street when he saw the incident unfolding in front of him last night.

He told the M.E.N.: "A homeless man was surrounded, he was screaming.

"At first sight I thought it was over money or he was on drugs, then a group of lads shouted to the people surrounding the homeless man: ‘he’s on the tram, he’s here’.

"Everybody on the tram got off leaving this one male on his own on the tram. He was cornered on the end carriage of the tram.

"Then two female PCSOs came running over being cautious telling the surrounding crowd to back off."

"Two or three plain clothes police officers then detained him, he was struggling trying to resist. He was then tasered and taken to the ground.

"As this is happening two other males appear to be stabbed, one was next to the first homeless man.

"He had a wound to the face and was bleeding from the face. The other was on the other side of the tram stop at a bin."

Greater Manchester Police said in a statement last night: " Shortly before 6.20pm this evening, police were called to reports that two people had been stabbed on Market Street.

"Officers attended and a 30-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of serious assault – a taser was deployed during the arrest.

"Four people have been injured and one has been taken to hospital for treatment.

"This is being treated as an isolated incident and there is not believed to be any wider threat to the public

"Anyone who witnessed the incident or has footage or information is urged to contact police.

"Anyone with information should call police on 101 quoting incident number 2353 of 12/01/2020, or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111."

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/piccadilly-gardens-stabbing-spree-was-17558577

stella Posted on January 16, 2020 09:25

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Stab victim reveals injuries after whiskey and cocaine-fuelled attack

A man has revealed his horrific wounds after he was stabbed in the stomach with a steak knife at a party because he had ordered a taxi home. 

Adam Robertson from Walker, Newcastle, was partying in a Quayside flat in the city when he decided and order a taxi home at 4.30am. 

Yet his friend, Nathan Andrewartha, 22, 'seemed to take offence' at Mr Robertson's decision to go home and flew into a cocaine and whiskey-fuelled rage inside the Dream Apartment on City Road.

Drenched in his own blood, Mr Robertson was left lying on a bed and feared he may die after the attack which could have easily ended in a murder charge, a judge ruled. 

Andrewartha, of Scrogg Road, Walker, was arrested and initially charged

But prosecutors accepted his guilty plea to the lesser offence of unlawful wounding and wept as he was jailed for two years last week.

Recorder Jonathan Aitken told him that his actions could have seen him spend life behind bars. 

Mr Robertson said his attacker 'deserves' to behind bars and has revealed graphic pictures of his blood-stained t-shirt just moment after the attack on March 23 last year.

'I was in hospital for weeks because of what he did to me, and the doctors were worried I might not pull through,' he said.

'I've even lost my job because of what he did - he's just a scumbag.' 

Newcastle Crown Court heard earlier that night, Andrewartha had been 'showing off and bragging' about what he had done to other people.

With the steak knife tucked down his trousers, he threatened to stab a work colleague's boyfriend who had mistreated her.

Adam added: 'He was going around all night acting like an idiot, saying he was scared of nobody.

'I'll always remember him standing in the middle of the room with a bottle of Famous Grouse whisky, drinking it straight from the bottle.

'I ran at him and he ran at me but as we met, he stabbed me right in the belly and slashed me all over,' said Mr Robertson.

'I then got him in a headlock and he was trying to stab me even more but my friend took the knife off him.

'I looked him straight in the eye and said 'You've stabbed me'.

'He just went 'Aye, I know I have' and then he started crying.'

As he bled out, Mr Robertson claims Andrewartha, realising the seriousness of what he had done, begged those present not to contact the police before leaving and going home.

Mr Robertson was taken to hospital, where he had a 3.9ins wound behind his ear and a puncture wound to his abdomen.

And that night, his family kept a vigil at his bedside in the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle where he was treated.

Recorder Jonathan Aitken said: 'I have to sentence you for unlawful wounding on a person who used to be your friend when, in a drink and drug-fuelled state and not thinking correctly, you took umbrage at him due to some imagined slight because of the way you were intoxicated.

'You attacked him, he thought he had been punched but in fact you had a knife in your hand and that inflicted a very serious injury.

'It could so very easily have ended his life and yours as well, to all intents and purposes, because you would have got life imprisonment.' 

The court heard how Mr Robertson's injuries left him unable to work and he lost his job as a result.

Mr Robertson said he is also now cautious when out in public and spends most of his time at home.

'What he did left me really deflated,' he said.

'For me, what happened since was all about rebuilding my confidence as I've always been in work so he has robbed me of that.'

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7876561/Stab-victim-reveals-injuries-whiskey-cocaine-fuelled-attack.html

stella Posted on January 16, 2020 09:19

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Boy caught on camera helping his brother escape but pretends he was asleep when mum finds them

When Amy Werdekker went into her sons’ room, she was surprised to find them both dancing, instead of in their beds. Flynn, four, could get out of bed himself, but Arthur was only 22 months and still in a cot. She quizzed her older son about what happened but he insisted he had no idea because he had been asleep. Amy, who is also mum to 12-week-old Edie, went to check the camera on the monitor she has in the boys’ room and couldn’t help but laugh when she discovered what really happened. Cheeky Flynn hadn’t been asleep at all but had created an ingenious escape route to get Arthur out. Flynn climbed over the bar of the cot and placed a box inside for his little brother to stand on.

When Arthur seemed unsure about following his brothers precarious path over the top of the cot and onto his adjacent bed, Flynn had another plan. Instead Flynn laid out his teddies and blankets, encouraged Arthur to stand onto the box and then helped him jumped over the edge into the soft pile below. Amy, from Leicestershire, tells Metro.co.uk that she was confused when she first went into their room but the video made it all clear. She says: ‘Both boys seemed very pleased with themselves about their little escape routine and were playing, dancing and singing in their room when I went in to get them both ready for the day.

When I asked what had happened, Flynn denied all knowledge and said he was still asleep and so didn’t see. ‘We tried to ask Flynn a second time later on in the day about what had happened but he again denied all knowledge. ‘When we showed him the video footage from the camera monitor in their room, he just burst out laughing and said “It’s OK mummy, he didn’t get hurt because I put lots of blankets and teddies on the floor! I just wanted to play with him”‘

Amy adds that now Flynn knows about the camera, he hasn’t tried to assist with any further breakouts but he still does like to spend time with his little brother. She says: ‘I will quite often find that he has climbed into Arthur’s cot himself to read him stories in the morning.’

The great escape has also encouraged Arthur’s adventurous side. ‘Arthur is a fearless daredevil,’ Amy says. ‘I will always seem to catch him moving chairs to try and reach door handles and climbing to turn on light switches! It’s definitely true what they say about your second child… You need eyes in the back of your head!’

https://metro.co.uk/2020/01/13/boy-caught-camera-helping-brother-escape-pretends-asleep-mum-finds-12050680/

stella Posted on January 16, 2020 09:15

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Two teenagers jailed for killing man who was stabbed at 18th birthday party

Joe Ward, 18, of Lockfield in Runcorn, was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum period of detention of 16 years at Liverpool Crown Court today (24 May 2019) for murdering 18-year-old Eddie O’Rourke at the Royal British Legion Club in Runcorn on the evening of 7 September 2018.

A 15-year-old boy, who cannot be named because of his age, has been sentenced to seven years in a Young Offenders Institution, for manslaughter.

Joe Ward was found guilty of murder and possession of an offensive weapon on 5 April 2019 by a jury at Liverpool Crown Court.

Ward fatally stabbed Eddie O’Rourke, 18, at the Royal British Legion Club in Runcorn on the evening of 7 September 2018.

The 15-year-old, who handed Ward a knife, was found guilty of manslaughter and had earlier admitted possession of an offensive weapon.

Ward, of Lockfield in Runcorn, had a grudge against Mr O’Rourke because he was going out with his ex-girlfriend.

The two men exchanged words at the party and went outside but returned to the party.

CCTV showed how the 15-year-old defendant handed Ward a knife with a 12-inch blade which he took from the waistband of his trousers.

The two then went outside with Mr O’Rourke and got into a fight with him. Ward then stabbed Mr O’Rourke in the stomach. Mr O’Rourke was taken to hospital but died shortly afterwards.

The 15-year-old had been jointly accused of murder with Ward but was acquitted by the jury of that charge.

Damion Lloyd, of the CPS, said: “This was meant to be a party to mark a young person’s coming of age.

“Instead, these two defendants used it as opportunity to kill another young person that they had a grudge against.

“The jury have found these teenagers guilty of some of the most serious offences in the criminal justice system and they can now expect substantial jail terms as a result.

"The Crown Prosecution Service would like to extend condolences to the family and friends of Eddie O’Rourke at this very difficult time.”

They will be sentenced at a later date to be set by the court.

https://www.cps.gov.uk/mersey-cheshire/news/update-two-teenagers-jailed-killing-man-who-was-stabbed-18th-birthday

stella Posted on January 16, 2020 09:10

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Spurned woman obsessed with pal sunk super strength lager before storming her house with three knives

A woman who became obsessed with her pal sunk super strength lager before turning up at the woman's house with three knives and smashing her way inside.

Sarah Cahill turned on her victim when her feelings weren't reciprocated. Her actions were described like something from a 'horror movie'.

The 41-year-old, who has problems with alcohol and has attended AA meetings, fell in love with the woman and became infatuated with her.

The victim, who isn't gay and has a boyfriend, was sent disturbing messages.

Cahill threatened to cut the woman's father's throat, while professing her love for her.

The victim ignored the texts and voicemails.

In one message, Cahill told her she would 'die for her', adding: "I just know in my heart it is you, you are the love of my life, I think you’re the most beautiful girl in the world.

"I am in love with you, I always have been and always will be I wish I could make love to you just once.''

She then left a voicemail vowing to break into the victim's home and stab her.

On October 16 last year, the victim was asleep at her home in Bury. Cahill, having drunk strong lager, turned up at the property armed with a Stanley knife in her handbag and two other blades in her pockets.

She smashed her way inside using a plant pot to break a patio window, before demanding to speak to the victim

Cahill was restrained by woman's father, who got out of bed and grabbed her.

In a statement, the victim said: "The messages disturbed and frightened me. Everything I felt was an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame.

"I often lay awake at night worrying about this. I didn’t tell her mother and father what had been happening because I was embarrassed. When she threatened to slit his throat I felt sick and terrified.

"That night I thought I was safe in my home and it turns out I wasn’t. I keep thinking about seeing the first knife and being so shocked that she had come to stab me all I could think about was protecting my dad.

"I was so anxious I couldn’t leave the house for nine days after."

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Cahill, from Middleton, was jailed for nine years under the terms of an extended sentence after a judge ruled she was a 'dangerous' offender.

She admitted aggravated burglary with intent to cause grievous bodily harm; stalking; and having a bladed article at an earlier hearing.

Prosecutor Robert Elias said: “The background to this is that Sarah became infatuated with the complainant to the extent that this became an obsession.

"Her feelings were not reciprocated not least because the complainant isn’t gay and this turned to feelings of resentment, and crystallised in a drunken desire by Sarah to stab the complainant.

'They had been long term friends for four years.

"They formed a friendship described as almost 'sibling like' and Sarah thought she had fallen in love, but the complainant had an existing relationship.

"Sarah found it difficult to accept this and became obsessed with the complainant. She picked up her first drink in two years and texted saying she was going to hurt herself.''

The court heard the victim tried to contact Cahill as she knew of a previous self harm incident and she found her that day and encouraged her to get help.

But that evening Cahill bombarded her with a number of voice mails and text messages saying: "If your dad ever calls me again I’ll cut his throat. You would be nothing without your mum."

It was then followed by other messages adding: ''I don’t mean what I’m saying we had some good times didn’t we?."

''You could have stopped this you silly girl.''

A further message warned of her coming to the victim's house break through the window and stab her. 

Sentencing, Judge Bernard Lever told Cahill: ''This was a serious example of a very serious offence.

"You entered the complainant's home at 3.30am which must have been terrifying for the family. I have to certify that you are dangerous in these circumstances I have the power to extend the sentence. You won't be released until the parole board is satisfied that you are no longer dangerous.

''I am doing this to reassure the victims and because I have a duty to ensure safety from you to the general public.

"She had a boyfriend but you became infatuated with her and built up a resentment towards her father - it is hardly surprising he didn't feel comfortable about the way you were going.

''You had avoided alcohol for two years but you started drinking again the week before the aggravated burglary.

"You sent threatening messages that if her father ever called you again you would slit his throat and additionally that you would die for her by self harm.

'You broke a window to her home, the family home, and barged in and you had a Stanley knife in your bag and two knives on you, a long knife and a kitchen knife. Fortunately the father overcame you and bravely stopped you from becoming a risk.

''Let it be said that this offence carries an intention to cause serious injury, when the police arrived you struggled and caused a disturbance. This is against a background of a lot of threatening messages. 

"You admitted that you had fallen in love with a young woman, that you had been drinking and on the evening in question drank super strength lager.

"The three victims experienced hurt and it is noteworthy that the mother has commented that you were always treated by them with nothing but kindness. You know that these three people will have been so worried and hurt by your behaviour.''

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/spurned-woman-obsessed-aa-sponsor-16087352

stella Posted on January 16, 2020 09:02

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Meath mum opens up on 'major shock' after one-year-old diagnosed with cancer

The Co Meath woman was awaiting the arrival of her second child in July 2017 when her eldest, Clodagh, fell ill.

And within hours of being diagnosed, the tiny toddler was undergoing her first set of chemo.

Navan mum Eimear said it started with a droopy eye at the dinner table and later a lip cut that lasted half an hour, but doctors both times couldn’t figure out the problem.

However, when little Clodagh became lethargic later that week, her GP sent them to Our Lady’s in Drogheda, Co Louth, and that is where the nightmare really began.

She said: “We went to Drogheda around 5pm, and were seen in Paediatric A&E about an hour later.

“By 9.30, they came and had a chat with us. They brought us into a room — myself, (partner) Cameron — a tiny room with five nurses and gave us the news that they suspected she had leukaemia.

“They couldn’t confirm because Crumlin are the specialists so they wanted to send us straight there in an ambulance that night.”

She added: “We’re quite laid back people, we’re not really dramatic so for us it was a major shock. But I did know, my gut was telling me something is wrong. But you don’t expect to go in and someone to say your daughter has cancer.”

Every week in Ireland, more than ten young people are diagnosed with cancer, according to the Cancer Fund for Children.

Tests were done as soon as Clodagh arrived at the Children’s Hospital in Dublin at around 1.30am and shortly after it was confirmed she had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia with the fight for her life starting almost immediately.

Eimear recalled: “Basically at 8 o’clock in the morning she had a heart echo, they checked her kidneys, they checked a few different things.

“She had to get a double lumen implanted in her chest so they could administer chemo and take blood tests and all the rest.

“So at four o’clock that evening they took her up and she got her first dose of chemo.

“They took out some spinal fluid to check how much per cent leukaemia she had in her blood, which came back as 97 per cent.

“Then after that you just go through the motions. You’re in Crumlin for ten days straight and we came out for three days but she got an infection unfortunately so we were back in Drogheda for a week and then we went back to Crumlin for six weeks.”

And as hard as this was for Clodagh’s dad Cameron, Eimear was also heavily pregnant.

She said of her eldest: “She had been walking and talking a little bit at 16 months but then she was completely bedridden so she couldn’t walk or talk anymore.

“She was quite traumatised by all the different tests and different people coming in and poking her and different things so it was quite traumatic to be honest and, of course, I was pregnant.”

Eimear continued: “I was 37 weeks pregnant when they took her in and by the time I was 40 weeks pregnant the consultants and the nurses were talking about me in every single morning meeting — ‘has that lady had her baby?’

“I was really laid-back and went over to 42 weeks. I had to go to the Coombe, which was only down the road.

“It was quite funny because the Crumlin nurses were all really nervous about me going into labour on the ward. They said, ‘We can deal with cancer kids and patients, but we don’t deal with mammies and babies.’”

Baby Teaghan arrived on August 27 and when she was released a few days later, Clodagh also got to come home from Crumlin.

But the family had to completely transform their lives.

Eimear said: “The whole house changed completely. First of all they had killed the cancer so at that stage she had 0.01 per cent of cancer in her blood cells, which was huge.

“So they spent the first 39 days killing all that stuff, then she had to go to lots of different chemos and we had to administer chemos at home.

“She can’t go anywhere where there’s loads of people. We have to screen every person who comes through our door, they can’t have coughs, colds, flu within 72 hours.”

The mum added: “She finished her treatment in October, but even now we’re still wary of it because her immune system is suppressed for maybe another year. So we just have to be careful with what we do. You can’t organise things.

“We used to take her temperature at seven o’clock every morning and once her temperature is OK then you can contemplate doing stuff but if the temperature is not OK, you have to take it again and then it is straight to Drogheda.

“Basically, you can’t give her Calpol or Nurofen if she gets a temperature because her body is telling us that there is something wrong and we have to go to hospital for at least five days and get antibiotics.”

Clodagh is now healthy and happy and she and her family were able to take a break from her illness for a holiday at Daisy Lodge, in Co Down, which is run by the Cancer Fund for Children.

The charity is currently fundraising for another centre in Cong, Co Mayo, which will include a games room, a sauna and a hair and beauty salon.

Golfer Rory McIlroy and his foundation have already donated €1.2million to the charity and Eimear called it a “godsend”.

She said: “It was just amazing. It was the best holiday ever because you were going to a place where people understood what you are going through, who had the place really clean with no chance of infection, and a fun place for them to play with toys that they never seen before.

“They have complimentary therapies, there’s a relaxation therapy, it was brilliant.

“There’s an outdoor playground, and they also twin with a few businesses in the village so you can go and have free ice-cream and pancakes and everything.

“I couldn’t recommend the place highly enough. Obviously you’d prefer to not have to be in a position where you’d be able to go to these places but when you are in it, it was amazing.”

https://www.thesun.ie/fabulous/4979781/meath-mum-shock-toddler-diagnosed-cancer/

stella Posted on January 16, 2020 08:54

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A Barely 2-Year-Old Boy Receives a Medal on Behalf of His Dad, Who Died Fighting Against the Australian Bushfires

Recently Australia has been affected by some very large and unrelenting wildfires. While there has always been an annual fire season during the summer in Australia, this time the country suffered some of the worst droughts in decades and the one of the highest heatwaves this past December. These terrible bushfires have taken the lives of many, including some brave firefighters who battled these fires. We feel terribly sorry for the families who were affected by this, especially the children who lost their parents.

We at Bright Side would like to take a moment to offer our condolences to the families and honor the deeds of these fallen men, like this firefighter dad of one toddler.

As we welcomed the new year with high hopes, a toddler began his without his dad. On the 2nd of January, 2020, the barely 2-year-old Harvey Keaton, who had on a firefighter outfit and a pacifier in his mouth, received a medal to honor his dad. The New South Wales Rural Fire Service family witnessed the emotional sight of Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons pinning the medal to young Harvey’s chest. His dad, Geoffrey Keaton, was awarded the Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery and a Commissioner’s Commendation for Service.

Geoffrey Keaton was one of the firefighters who lost his life in the line of duty as he fought against one of Australia’s deadliest wildfires. He was killed along with his colleague, Andrew O’Dwyer, when a falling tree hit their vehicle, causing it to overturn. Geoffrey was only 32 years old at the time.

This was just one of many instances of a kid losing their parent in the wake of the bushfires in Australia. As of the beginning of the year, a total of 27 people have died this fire season. Geoffrey’s colleague, Andrew O’Dwyer, also left a daughter, Charlotte. She wore her dad’s helmet and service medal at his funeral.

Australia’s wildfires have also taken the homes of so many, with over 2,000 homes in New South Wales alone either destroyed or damaged. That’s not even including the natural homes of the animals that have been affected. An estimated of half a billion animals were affected by the bushfires and some of them are in danger of extinction.

On top of Geoffrey Keaton’s coffin, there was a mug with the message, “Daddy I love you to the moon and back!” inscribed on it. Little Harvey might not have a full understanding of his dad’s sacrifice, but he will grow up to learn that his dad was a hero, especially in this desperate time of need. As will all the families of those that have lost their loved ones, who went in to fight against the fires.

Let’s take a moment to honor those who have sacrificed their very lives to stop the wildfires and thank those who have extended help in any way possible to those who are suffering.

If you could say anything to the families of these firefighters, what would you tell them? After seeing the effects of Australia’s bushfires, what do you think you could you do to help?

https://brightside.me/wonder-people/a-19-month-old-boy-receives-the-medal-of-honor-for-his-firefighter-dad-who-died-trying-to-stop-the-australian-bushfires-795344/

stella Posted on January 16, 2020 08:48

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Driver, 46, is charged with causing the death of father-of-two fire worker who was killed in horror crash while tackling blazes

A man has been charged over the fatal head-on car crash in regional Victoria which killed an on-duty Forest Fires Management worker and seriously injured his colleague.

The 46-year-old driver from Alexandra was charged on Monday with dangerous driving causing the death of the state's third bushfire victim Mat Kavanagh, 43.

The accused man had been fighting for life in hospital after the collision on the Goulburn Valley Highway at Thornton on January 3, while a 47-year-old ute driver was injured.

He has been remanded to appear in court on April 28.

It comes as the fire threat across the east was slightly downgraded, with all alerts across the state sitting at a watch and act level or lower at midday Monday.

Milder weather is forecast across the week with rain developing in the state's east on Wednesday and extending at least until Saturday.

Despite the respite, temperatures will hover about 30C and winds are still gusting, meaning the danger lingers and fires show no sign of relenting.

'These fires aren't out and they're not going to be out until they burn themselves out or we finish with a really big rain event,' Premier Daniel Andrews told KIIS FM on Monday.

'The weather bureau's not telling us that's likely.'

There are 19 active fires across Victoria, more than 1.3 million hectares have been burnt and 1500 firefighters remain on the job.

While hundreds of properties and structures have been lost to the fires, so have the lives of four men.

Wonthaggi father of two Bill Slade, 60, was working at the edge of a fire at Anglers Rest, near Omeo, when he was struck by a tree on Saturday, becoming the fourth death.

Mr Slade had worked on major fire incidents in the past including the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires.

'Bill was a much loved colleague, friend and member of the Wonthaggi community. He'll be sorely missed by Parks Victoria,' Parks Victoria chief Matt Jackson said.

Poor and very poor air quality conditions due to the bushfires are forecast statewide, with smoke and haze in the east, northeast and central Victoria.

Visibility has been reduced to about 500m in East Gippsland and about 5 kilometres in Melbourne due to smoke from fires in the state's far east and NSW.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7880245/Driver-46-charged-causing-death-father-two-fire-worker.html

stella Posted on January 16, 2020 08:42

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Meghan Markle has the 'full support' of mom Doria Ragland after being 'miserable, having anxiety attacks and struggling after Archie's birth, as Duchess confides she has no intention of ever returning to the UK to live'

Meghan Markle has the full support of her mother Doria Ragland as she and Prince Harry quit as senior royals, while a friend of Markle's exclusively reveals to DailyMail.com that she has no 'intention' of ever returning to the UK to live.

Last Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex dropped the bombshell news that they were quitting, dividing their time between North America and the UK and would work to become financially independent, catching the royal family and the rest of the world off guard.

But Meghan has the backing of her Los Angeles-based 63-year-old mother, who 'was really worried about Meghan... and is relieved that her daughter is putting her mental health and well being first,' the insider said. 

Meghan, 38, herself admitted to struggling after the birth of Archie, as the friend explained Meghan was 'miserable in the UK' and 'wasn’t sleeping well and started having anxiety attacks about her future.' 

Now across the pond and last spotted in Canada, the friend said of Meghan: 'This was her plan all along, to eventually leave the UK and build her own empire with Harry.' 

Meghan admitted to struggling with media scrutiny in an ITV interview that aired in October, saying: 'Not many people have asked if I'm okay... It's a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.'

She added: 'Look, any woman especially when they are pregnant you're really vulnerable and so that was made really challenging, and then when you have a newborn – you know…' 

When asked if things had been a struggle for her, a visibility upset Meghan replies: 'Yes.' 

The friend added: 'Doria is very much about being true to oneself and so of course she will continue to encourage Meghan to take the road less travelled.' 

Ragland was seen walking her two dogs on Thursday afternoon and pictured chatting on her phone as she clutched her dogs' leashes. At another point during the day, the former social worker and yoga instructor was spotted jumping into her SUV and driving off.   

Her outing came the same day Meghan flew back to Canada where she had left eight-month-old Archie with his nanny, leaving Harry to deal with the fallout from their royal family crisis. 

Harry is said to be set to follow Meghan later this week with no clue of when he will be returning. 

Meghan was reportedly spotted at the Sidney Pier in British Columbia on Friday before heading to Victoria International airport, which confirmed it had 'VIP arrival', according to the Vancouver Sun

Meghan's friend revealed that she has no 'intention' to return to the UK to live permanently, saying: 'She doesn’t want to raise Archie there and she doesn’t want to schlep back and forth. She’ll make extended visits but that’s it.  

'They are looking for a permanent residence in Canada. She said she wants a country house in Whistler outside of Vancouver and a home in Toronto.'

The insider added: 'What Meghan wants, Meghan gets. This was her plan all along, to eventually leave the UK and build her own empire with Harry. 

'Meghan wants to make millions and this was never going to happen if she didn’t make a drastic change with Harry. She wants to be up there with [Jeff] Bezos and [Warren] Buffet. 

'Some of her friends thought she would eventually divorce Prince Harry and marry a billionaire. She always talked about marrying a billionaire before she met Harry. 

'Now she doesn’t have to because together they will make their own billion dollar empire. This is what she has wanted all along.' 

And as far as the rest of the Royal family is concerned, Meghan feels the good she and Harry can create with their own fortune, far outweighs any hurt feelings.

The friend added: 'Meghan says their announcement was not a surprise to the royal family, they knew all along.' 

On Monday morning, a grim-faced Prince Philip was seen driving away from Sandringham, as he leaves it to his wife Queen ElizabethPrince Charles and Prince William to broker an exit deal with the Sussexes.

Hours later, the Queen said the royals had 'very constructive discussions' and it was agreed that Prince Harry and Meghan will split their time between the UK and Canada. 

It was reported over the weekend that Meghan had told Harry she must step away from the royal family, partly blaming William and telling Harry over Christmas: 'It's not working for me', according to the Times. 

But on Monday, Harry and William denied there is a rift between them in a joint statement.

It read in part: 'Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between The Duke of Sussex and The Duke of Cambridge. 

'For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful'.  

The Queen – who was left 'deeply hurt' by her grandson's decision to release the statement without her knowledge – made clear to courtiers she wanted the problem sorted 'within days' to prevent further damage to the monarchy.

Her Majesty is said to want guarantees that Harry and Meghan's business empire built around their Sussex title doesn't damage the royal family. 

The monarch was under pressure to find a way forward because the Sussexes could give a tell-all interview to their friend Oprah Winfrey and 'sound off' about the royal family's 'racism and sexism' if they do not get their way at Sandringham, palace aides fear.  

The couple are said to see their long-term future in the United States – but not while President Trump is President - with friends claiming while the couple plan to live in Canada at first their ultimate aim is to have a home and business in Los Angeles.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7881909/Meghan-Markle-support-mom-Doria-Ragland-miserable-UK.html

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 19:02

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Skeletal remains of baby girl and the backyard grave she was buried in as they are shown at her Ohio cheerleader mother's murder trial

The tiny bones of a baby girl who was buried by her cheerleader mother in her backyard within hours of being born in 2017 were shown to a jury at the teen's murder trial on Friday.

Brooke 'Skylar' Richardson, now 20, was 18 when she gave birth in secret in her parents' house in May 2017. She says the baby was born dead and that she buried her in the backyard within an hour or so of the birth.

Prosecutors believe she killed the baby herself because she was hell-bent on going to college without being a mother. 

On Friday, the third day of her murder and manslaughter trial, prosecutors called Dr. Susan Brown, a forensic pathologist who performed an autopsy on the baby's remains and determined that she had been murdered. 

Dr. Brown said that while she could not determine how the baby died, she believed Skylar killed her based off of comments she made in an interview with the police, where Skylar, after repeatedly denying hurting the baby, eventually said she took a lighter to the baby's skin, to make her assessment. 

Her attorneys say the comment was coerced and made out of desperation after police said they 'knew' she did 'something with fire'.  

The jury was shown photographs of the remain which were dug up in Skylar's family's back yard and were also shown the baby's shallow grave.

They had been laid out on a table to form a tiny skeleton. As they were being shown, Skylar fought tears.  

The prosecution's case hinges on since retracted remarks made by Dr. Elizabeth Murray, a pathologist who had been hired by Dr. Brown to consult on the remains. 

She, at first, said they appeared to have been burned which led prosecutors to follow the theory that Skylar set the baby on fire. When detectives questioned Skylar for a second time, she repeatedly denied having done so but, after denying it 17 times, said she took a lighter to the baby's skin. 

Parts of that interrogation were played on court Friday. 

During it, the cops told the teenager 'we know there was some sort of fire'. 

She was stunned at the suggestion, saying: ''I didn't burn her! I promise, I didn't burn her!'

The police asked her repeatedly if she was sure, and she answered: 'I swear!... I did nothing with fire. Nothing.' 

The cops asked if she had put her in the fire pit in her yard, or even in the microwave or oven but she said no, repeatedly.   

'We know there was some sort of fire,' they eventually said. 

Skylar replied: 'I don't understand it.' 

Dr. Brown said during Friday's testimony that she based her assessment - that the baby died as a result of homicidal violence - on those remarks, her assessment of the baby's remains and on the scene at the house, where detectives had written in notes that there had been an 'attempted incineration'. 

She said she could not confirm by looking at the bones alone that they had been burned, or that the baby had been born alive or dead. 

'By looking at the bones alone with no other information, there's nothing that I can say just by looking at the bones that there is a live birth.

'As part of my job, I am required to look at all of the information. So I did that. That included the scene information and the information gathered during the police interview...my evidence was based on her interview,' she conceded, under cross-examination. 

She also admitted on Friday that despite claiming to have based her findings on the 'scene', Dr. Brown said she never saw any photographs of the baby's grave. 

While the bones showed that the baby suffered skull fractures, Dr. Brown said she could not tell if they had been inflicted before or after she died.

'I identified the fractures of the skull, however did also clarify that I don't know if they were are before death or after death but they are there,' she said.   

Dr. Brown then went on to say that neither she nor Dr. Murray examined the bones with a microscope. 

A different doctor who examined the baby's remains found that the skull fractures were not a result of homicidal violence. 

Skylar's attorney Charles H. Rittgers eviscerated the pathologist on cross-examination. 

They pointed out that it would be impossible for a human to be set on fire with a lighter alone and that a baby's body was made mostly of water, making it even more implausible.

They laughed when the pathologist said that a person's hair could be set on fire and also asked why the pathologist did not take into account Skylar's original claim, during her first police interview, that there was no umbilical chord attached when she gave birth to the baby. 

'An umbilical chord not being attached would mean at some point it broke,' the doctor said. 

'Would the baby die as a result?' Skylar's attorneys asked, pointing out that it would mean the baby was not being given oxygen and nutrients. 

'A baby can die in those circumstances,' Dr. Brown said.

The defense accused brown of 'confirmation bias', saying she only gave her attention to anything that would support the notion that the baby had been set alight. 

'You ignored a tonne of facts that would indicate that this baby was stillborn. 

'You didn't get an OB consult. You didn't pay attention to the fact that Skylar was bleeding on April 3,' he said, saying all of them would have pointed to her having a stillbirth. 

Skylar, a cheerleader with a history of eating disorders, found out she was pregnant in April 26 during a visit to the gynaecologist. 

She had gone to obtain birth control pills and was told that she was around 32 weeks pregnant. 

She claimed, in police interviews, that she had suspected she was pregnant but had tried to put it out of her head until then. 

The doctor said the baby was healthy and urged Skylar to tell someone. Because she was 18, he was not obliged to talk to her parents. 

After her doctor's appointment, she left the practice and told no one about the pregnancy. Despite being pregnant, she was able to get a prescription to birth control pills which she began taking that day, later claiming that she did not know it court harm the infant. 

On May 7, just 11 days after the doctor visit, in the middle of the night, Skylar claims she gave birth on the toilet of her bathroom while her parents slept. 

In her police interview, she said the baby came out 'white', with her eyes closed, and was not breathing. 

On Friday, a state expert witness testified that it was unlikely the baby would have died in between her visit to the doctor on April 26 and the day she gave birth. 

Dr. William Brady, a fetal medicine expert, said it would be unusual for her to lose the baby and that there was no evidence to suggest the baby was at risk of harm. 

The defense asked the doctor how much he had been paid by the state to appear. 

He said he charges $5,000 a day for court appearances and $500 an hour for any preparation that is required beforehand.

During her police interview, Skylar told said she held her baby in a towel, 'waiting for her to wake up', after delivering her.

When she didn't, she said she went to her garage, retrieved a shovel, and dug a 'little' hole for her. 

Later that day, Skylar texted her mother Kim, who was 'obsessed' with her teenage daughter's weight, saying how 'happy' she was that her 'belly' was 'back'. 

She also took a selfie in the gym where she proudly examined how her stomach had flattened. Kim did not know she was pregnant or that she had given birth hours earlier. It was common for the pair to discuss Skylar's weight. 

For two months, the baby remained a secret. 

It was only when Skylar went back to the same doctor's practice where she learned she was pregnant, asking for more birth control pills, and an obstetrician asked her what had happened to her baby that she buckled and said she'd 'buried' it in her yard. 

The doctors then alerted the authorities and the baby was dug up. 

On Thursday, the jury was shown Skylar's first interview with the police where she sobbed and said: 'I did not try and kill my baby, I would never hurt her.' 

She was released without charge after that interview but was brought back in for questioning once the remains had been examined. 

There, she said she'd taken a lighter to the baby's skin. 

Her attorneys say that the comment was coerced by the detectives and that it was based on the since retracted claims of the pathologists. 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7435635/PICTURED-Skeletal-remains-murdered-baby-shown-jury-Ohio-cheerleaders-trial.html

 

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 18:58

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Nice to meet you, mum! Incredible moment baby girl wriggles out of her mother's womb then falls asleep on her chest during 'natural' C-section

This is the moment a baby girl falls asleep while crawling out of her mother's womb during a natural C-section. 

Charlotte Knowles, 31, had a traumatic first birth so wanted to make sure baby Lyla's arrival was as stress free as possible.

Doctors assisted, helping her baby out of the incision, but then left her to crawl and push herself out the rest of the way in a technique called 'calm birthing'.

In the newly released video from the family, Lyla barely cried as she wriggled from the womb and even fell asleep half way out, with doctors having to gently wake her.

Under the watchful eye of proud dad Ricky, and grandmother Tracy Wright, 54, she woke up and wiggled her torso free, before pushing herself out.

The method is considered more peaceful than traditional c-sections and is slowly being introduced to more hospitals across the UK each year.

Charlotte from Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, said it was the perfect way to bring her second child into the world.

The emergency police call handler said: 'The whole birthing experience was so calm and peaceful - I felt so relaxed as they really kept the environment free of stress.

'As it was a planned c-section, I got to walk myself to theatre, sit on the operating table and take some time to mentally prepare myself with my partner by my side.

'The whole team of doctors and nurses spoke to me throughout and talked me through every step of the way.

The strange thing with a c-section is can't see or feel what is actually happening to you, so you have to rely on others to tell you.

'Before I knew it, Lyla was out - she didn't cry initially and as you can see on the video, she even fell asleep half way out of my tummy, so it must have been a calm experience for her too!'

For mum-of-two Charlotte, giving birth to Lyla in a peaceful environment was very important to her after her first daughter's stressful birth. 

In 2008, Charlotte fell pregnant with Annalee and after splitting with the father, she moved from Prittlewell to Florida with her parents.

She was induced in hospital, but as Annalee's heart rate dropped and doctors discovered Charlotte's hips were too narrow to give birth naturally, she was rushed in for an emergency c-section.

She said: 'It was terrifying. One minute I was being induced, and the next minute I had lots of doctors and nurses running around me.

'They quickly prepped me for surgery and rushed me in for an emergency c-section after Annalee's heart rate dropped.

'I was only 21-years-old, I felt very panicked and scared and it was just all happening way too quickly.

'Thankfully, the c-section went well and Annalee was fine and healthy, but the whole experience traumatised me.'

Charlotte's family moved back to the UK in 2010, and started to build a life for her and her daughter in Leigh-on-Sea.

Two years later, she was introduced to Ricky by mutual friends and the pair started dating in July 2012.

Charlotte fell pregnant in July 2014, and knowing a c-section was on the cards, she began to prepare herself to go through it all again, but hopefully not in as much panic.

Charlotte said: 'I knew when I got pregnant with my second that I wouldn't be able to go through a natural delivery.

'It did make me sad to think that I'd never be able to experience a natural birth, but having a baby was a blessing regardless of how they enter the world.

'I wanted to have this birth be a beautiful and calm experience for me and our baby, despite being on the operating table.

'With Lyla being Ricky's first child as well, I wanted it to be something magical for him as well without all the fear that I went through the first time.'

Thankfully for the happy couple, they had Ricky's mother Tracy who is a midwife, was on hand throughout the pregnancy, and knew straight away they wanted her in the room.

Tracy said: 'I've helped so many babies come into the world, and when Charlotte asked me to be in the room with her, I couldn't say yes fast enough!'

'I've never actually helped with a 'natural' c-section birth before, so it was wonderful that Charlotte could be my first one as well.

'Delivering my own granddaughter into the world was just incredible, and it is an experience I will never forget.'

On 23 April 2015, Tracy helped Charlotte deliver baby Lyla in Southend General Hospital as supportive Ricky watched from the foot of the bed.

Weighing 8lb 2oz, baby Lyla pushed her own way out of Charlotte's stomach, taking a quick nap in between her entrance to the world as she helped herself out. 

Lyla, who is now four, took on the role of bridesmaid in March 2018 alongside sister Annalee when Charlotte and Ricky got married.

Lyla has even watched footage of her own birth after grandmother Tracy captured it on video.

Charlotte said: 'I feel blessed to have a video of Lyla's birth, because you can't watch your own c-section at the time so it's wonderful I can look back now at what happened.

'Most people do not choose to video a c-section - it seems to be quite a taboo subject with it being that it is an operation and you are being cut open.

'I've watched the video over and over, Annalee and Lyla have both watched it too and they think it's amazing, which it is!

'I love how relaxed Lyla was during her birth. I found the whole process was as close to natural as you can get for mother and baby, and I feel so blessed to have gone through it.'

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7413717/Baby-wriggles-mothers-womb-falls-asleep-chest-natural-C-section.html

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 18:53

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Ex-drug dealer wants to turn life around after watching mum's funeral in prison

A man who spent a decade in prison for selling drugs is calling on the goodwill of the public this festive season, to give him a second chance. Corey, 50, who was homeless when he finished his prison sentence, is raising £5,000 so that he can train up to become an electrician and give back to those in need. He has been inspired to turn his life around after being made to watch his mum’s funeral from his prison cell in the U.S., saying she ‘always tried to steer him right’ and that he never wants to ‘experience the inside of jail again’. British born Corey had moved to Pennsylvania with his family at the age of 5, before getting involved with gangs and selling drug at the age of 16. He was caught in 2008 and sentenced to 10 years in a US prison. Talking about his experience, Corey said: ‘I was young when I got into it, and saw other people selling drugs, and thought I could make money that way. But since serving time in prison, I have cut ties with all those people and I intend to do things the right way now.’

When Corey’s sentence ended in 2018, he was deported back to the UK, with no chance of ever returning to the U.S., where he’d spent the past 45 years. When he arrived at London’s Heathrow airport, he had nowhere to go and slept in the airport. Describing the ordeal, he said: ‘My children and friends all live in the States and I was alone, with no-one to reach out to. I remember sleeping in the airport that day. ‘Being homeless and away from the people you love can be really tough. During my 10 years in prison, I only saw my children once or twice a year. This was really hard, especially at Christmas, and I massively regret not being there for them.’ Corey wanted to rebuild his life, but like many ex-offenders, he struggled to find work, having been out of his previous trade – construction – for so long. His problems were made worse by his living situation, as he was constantly moving around different homeless hostels. However, he has been referred to the charity Beam, a website that lets members of the public fund job training programmes for homeless people so that they can earn a living.

From homeless ex-offenders like Corey to care leavers, refugees, single mums and army veterans, Beam aims to give disadvantaged individuals a chance to turn their lives around. Today, Corey has launched a campaign to raise £5,000 so that he can complete his relevant NVQ qualifications to become an electrician. While in prison, Corey experienced the deaths of a number of friends and family members, including his grandfather and stepson, which gave him a whole new perspective on how precious life is. But the biggest loss of all was his mother. He said: ‘My mother died three years ago, and I wasn’t allowed to go to her funeral because I was in prison. ‘I had to watch it on a VCR tape in a room by myself. She’s been my biggest supporter from day one. ‘Her death really knocked me to the core and took everything out of me. I’m still trying to rebuild myself from that moment.

She’s always tried to steer me right. I’ll never want to experience the inside of jail again – I’m not going to do anything that’s going to jeopardise my freedom. I’m turning my life around because of her.’ Corey says he wants to use the skills he would acquire as an electrician to ‘give back to the community’ whether it be through free electrical work for charities or people in need. He added: ‘I want people to know that I will never take for granted this second chance I’ve been given, and I hope that by putting my skills to good use by helping others, I can show how grateful I am.’ Beam’s Founder and CEO Alex Stephany said: ‘Homelessness affects a diverse range of people from ex-offenders like Corey to care leavers, refugees, single mums and army veterans. ‘If we can help support people like Corey into meaningful work, we believe they will be more grateful and determined than most to make a success of any opportunity given to them.’ If you’d like to donate to Corey’s campaign, and help him on his way to becoming an electrician, you can do so here.

https://metro.co.uk/2019/12/27/ex-drug-dealer-determined-turn-life-around-watching-mums-funeral-prison-11967321/

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 18:46

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Paranoid dad who died after being Tasered slashed stranger with knife

A paranoid Falmouth father-of-two died after being Tasered by police moments after slashing himself and a stranger with a knife following a cocaine binge, an inquest has heard.

A jury inquest into the death of 30-year-old Marc Cole got underway in Truro today.

Mr Cole died at Truro's Royal Cornwall Hospital after being Tasered by Devon and Cornwall Police officers in Langton Road in Falmouth on May 23, 2017.

The inquest is being presided over by coroner Geraint Williams, and is scheduled to last 15 days.

One of the issues to be explored is whether the police use of a Taser caused the death.

Opening the inquest, Mr Williams told the jury that in the hours before his death, a "paranoid" Mr Cole was at a friend's house taking cocaine, before he started waving a knife around.

"He was behaving strangely in the weeks and months before he died, irrational and paranoid in his thinking, that people were out to get him, things of that nature," Mr Williams said.

"He spent the bulk of that day (May 23) with a friend, Charlie Black. Part of that day, Mr Cole was reasonably okay, but he became rather paranoid and was acting peculiarly, causing Mr Black anxiety.

"Mr Cole was smoking cannabis and took a large quantity of cocaine, that seemed to have an effect upon him."

Giving evidence, Mr Black, who had known Mr Cole for 25 years, said his friend had seemed "stressed, uneasy and delusional" in the weeks before his death, and was struggling to cope with the recent death of his father.

On the morning of the day of the incident, a paranoid Mr Cole thought his friends were filming him. In conversation with his brother, Mr Cole said he "didn't know what's real and what's not real".

Late that afternoon Mr Cole and Mr Black were together at the latter's house when a friend of theirs, known as Bungle, arrived.

"Mr Cole had a large kitchen knife which he was waving around," the coroner told the jury. "He was becoming increasingly odd in behaviour. He then grabbed hold of the friend around the neck and brandished the knife in his face."

Describing the incident, Mr Black said they were watching TV when Mr Cole started taking cocaine.

In his police statement, Mr Black said Mr Cole was sniffing cocaine from a piece of furniture, and raising his head "like a crazed man".

He told the inquest that after taking the drug, Mr Cole became uneasy and stopped talking.

Mr Cole became "defensive" when Bungle arrived at the property, he said.

"Marc reached for the knife. He said 'I know what you two have been doing'. The curtains were closed and he thought there were people outside looking in. Daniel (Bungle) showed him there was nobody.

"He got up with the knife and walked towards Daniel. Marc was worried for his safety, he was petrified, scared.

"He grabbed Daniel and was trying to protect himself. I said leave him, he came towards me, he shook it off. My mum was outside and I was worried for her, I told her to get out of the house."

In his police statement, Mr Black said Mr Cole was holding the knife with the blade pointing towards Bungle’s head.

Mr Cole said he could not recall that, and added that he was not happy with his police statement and how it was worded.

"He was more self-defence scared rather than being aggressive," Mr Black said. "I think he was just scared and wanted to protect himself."

A struggle between Mr Cole and Bungle ensued, and the knife grazed Bungle's arm.

When asked if he feared for his safety or that of others, Mr Black replied: "I was worried about the whole situation. I wanted to diffuse the situation."

He admitted that he was afraid his mother, who was in the property, could get hurt.

"I didn’t want my mum involved in that situation," he said. "I just wanted her to get away from it."

After the incident with Bungle Mr Cole fell from a room on the first-floor, injuring himself in the process.

Alarmed by Mr Cole's behaviour, a number of people called 999.

Mr Black's mother recalls Mr Cole standing in the garden holding a knife.

"He looked straight at me," she said, "and he didn't look as though he recognised me. He looked straight through me. I was completely frozen.

"There was something really wrong. It wasn't Marc. He was waving the knife."

In her police statement, Mr Black's mother said Mr Cole was "slashing at his arms" with the knife.

Mr Black said he then saw his friend in the road, looking scared and covering himself.

"It was almost like seagulls were swooping down at him," Mr Black said.

In his police statement, Mr Black said Mr Cole was holding the knife up to the left side of his neck.

Mr Cole's brother arrived, but Mr Cole ran down the road. Coroner Geraint Williams told the jury that Mr Cole jumped into another garden and "stabbed or slashed" a woman, cutting her on the leg.

The incident appeared to have been an accident, with the knife coming into contact with the woman as Mr Cole jumped over a garden fence.

Mr Williams added: "He was seen to be trying to cut his own arms or throat with the knife. It seems Mr Cole had cut his neck badly, and there was lots blood to be seen."

Police and paramedics arrived, and an officer deployed a Taser.

Mr Black recalls: "I heard somebody shout, 'drop the knife'. Within a short time I heard a Taser go off. There was a short pause and I heard the Taser go again, I think Daniel heard that one as well.

"I went outside, Marc was on a stretcher unconscious. He got put in the ambulance and we all went to Treliske.

"It’s something I’ve been trying to forget for the last couple of years. I was a bit worried for him, I’d never seen my friend like that."

Marc was transported to Royal Cornwall Hospital, but medics were unable to revive him.

The inquest continues.

https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/paranoid-falmouth-dad-who-died-3732851

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 18:43

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Gigi Hadid couldn't look happier as she walks arm in arm with Zayn Malik after reuniting with on/off boyfriend on his birthday

Gigi Hadid has officially rekindled her romance with ex-boyfriend Zayn Malik after breaking up a year ago.

The couple sparked rumors that they were back together when they were spotted out together Saturday, when he joined the celebrations for her mother's birthday.

And Gigi couldn't have looked happier as the two walked arm in arm while celebrating Zayn's 27th birthday the next evening in New York City.

Grinning, she held tight to her boyfriend, who she has dated on and off since 2015.

Looking every inch the model, Hadid sported an avant-garde look in black and carried a slouchy iridescent sparkling handbag as she joined Zayn for dinner at Eleven Madison Park in the Flatiron District. 

Following his love as they walked, birthday boy Zayn posted a proprietary hand on her behind. 

The former One Direction star cut a cool look in a retro crimson shirt with vertical cream stripes, open over a black t-shirt. 

The couple were spotted out the night before for Gigi's mom Yolanda's 56th birthday, sparking rumors they'd got back together.

A source told E! News: 'Gigi and Zayn got back together right before the holidays in December. Zayn has been reaching out to Gigi for the last month and she is giving him another chance.'

They added: 'She has always loved him and the break between the two was needed. Zayn has been working on his past music and focusing on his health and is in a really good place currently.'

Gigi and Zayn began dating in late 2015 before splitting up in March 2018 and getting back together in June, just to announce another split in January 2019.

She appeared in his sensual video for his debut solo single Pillowtalk, which dropped in January of 2016.

They later appeared together on the cover of Vogue for the August 2017 issue, which sparked controversy for incorrectly referring to them as gender fluid. 

Since their split, Gigi was briefly romantically linked to The Bachelorette alum Tyler Cameron over the summer.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-7880483/Gigi-Hadid-goes-avant-garde-black-steps-boyfriend-Zayn-Malik-27th-birthday.html

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 18:36

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Parents are arrested for kidnapping their seriously-ill newborn daughter from a hospital while she was still connected to an IV and driving her 400 miles away

Two parents were arrested after removing their newborn baby girl with a life-threatening condition and who was connected to an IV,  from a Louisiana hospital on Sunday, prompting authorities to launch a a missing child advisory.

Louisiana police located the child more than 400 miles away in Alabama. 

The Louisiana State Police said Shaun Levy, 39, and Brittany Parrie, 28, were at the Sabine Medical Center in Many, when their newborn baby arrived around 1am on Saturday. 

Baby Levy was born with an undisclosed medical complication and was set to be transported to a hospital less than two hours away in Shreveport for medical intervention. 

However, Shaun and Brittany left the hospital with Baby Levy nearly three hours later in a 2002 Cadillac Escalade for an unknown reason. 

Both the mother and the child still had intravenous drip feeds (IVs) connected to them at the time of departure. 

Soon after leaving, the Louisiana State Police issued a Level II Endangered/Missing Child Advisory on behalf of the Many Police Department.  

They cautioned that the couple could have a Texas license plate despite having recently registered in Alabama. 

'The Cadillac may be displaying a Texas license plate or a personalized Alpha Phi Alpha Alabama license plate. Levy recently registered the vehicle in Alabama on January 7, 2020, so it is possible the Texas plate is still displayed on the vehicle,' they wrote. 

What's more, Shaun was considered by authorities to be 'armed and dangerous.'   

Meanwhile, the parents drove more than 400 miles from Louisiana to Monroeville, Alabama.  

Officers were able to track down the couple within 48 hours and arrested the pair on charges that are still pending. 

Baby Levy was transported by an ambulance in Monroe County, where she is currently in stable condition.  

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7879919/Cops-locate-Louisiana-newborn-life-threatening-condition-400-miles-away-Alabama.html

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 18:31

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Texas Gamer Helps Save Her UK Teammate After Hearing Him Having A Seizure

While playing and talking with his teammate online, a teen in the UK started to have a seizure. His teammate, a woman in Texas, heard him, and when he stopped responding, she called local police in the UK to help her teammate across the pond.

Aidan Jackson is 17 and lives in Widnes, England. As reported by the Liverpool Echo newspaper, on Jan. 2, he was playing online with Dia Lathora when he began feeling sick. Moments later Lathora heard, over the internet, what sounded like Jackson having a seizure. She tried to talk to Jackson but got no response.

“When he didn’t respond I instantly started to look up the emergency number for the EU,” Lathora told the Liverpool Echo. When she couldn’t find that number she instead called the non-emergency number and shared Jackson’s address and location with the police, who sent first responders to the home.

Jackson’s parents were downstairs during the incident, unaware that their son was suffering from a seizure. When the police arrived at their home they had no idea why. One of the officers explained that they were responding to a call about an unresponsive male at this address that had come from America.

Jackson was rushed to a local hospital and stabilized. He is now back home and is waiting to see a doctor about his seizure. This isn’t his first seizure. Back in May 2019, a seizure sent him to the hospital.

After returning home, both Jackson and his parents thanked Dia Lathora. They are happy she was able to help.

https://kotaku.com/a-gamer-in-texas-helped-save-her-uk-teammate-after-hear-1840957347

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 18:28

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Father's heartbreak as student son dies after thinking he had ‘tummy bug’

A heartbroken father has revealed how his six-year-old son died after he was unable to get hold of a GP.

Russell Hibberd called the NHS’s 111 service and his local surgery after Sebastian developed an abdominal complaint.

But he couldn’t get through to any medical professional despite numerous calls over the next six hours.

Sebastian died that afternoon and was subsequently found to have a serious bowel condition, which could have been treated if it had been detected sooner.

The tragic course of events will be recounted tonight in a hard-hitting BBC documentary on the crisis in GP surgeries.

It coincides with a poll of 1,700 family doctors by Pulse magazine which shows that some are carrying out 100 consultations a day – more than three times the safe limit.

Many surgeries are severely understaffed because GPs are retiring or quitting at a time when demand is higher than ever before.

Sebastian’s condition, which was initially thought to be a tummy bug, developed over a weekend in October 2015.

By the Monday he was deteriorating and Mr Hibberd first called NHS 111 shortly after 8am that day.

The call handler advised him to contact his GP surgery. But when he tried the surgery he was put through to an automated message saying it was closed and to phone NHS 111. Mr Hibberd called the helpline a second time and was again told to ring the GP surgery, which should have opened at 8am.

He phoned the practice several more times before 8.45am but it was still closed.

Eventually, just before 9am, he got through to a receptionist. After explaining that Sebastian was vomiting and delirious, he was told a duty GP would phone back.

The call never came and shortly after 1pm Mr Hibberd rang the surgery again – twice – only to be told it was closed for lunch.

Sebastian deteriorated soon afterwards and started having fits. His father dialled 999 but Sebastian suffered a cardiac arrest and died in hospital that afternoon.

Mr Hibberd, 40, a systems technician, who lives in Plymouth with his wife Nat and three other children, said: ‘Phoning the GP in the morning was incredibly frustrating.

‘I was tearing my hair out, I’d not slept much that night. I was very frustrated and very irritated that I was trying to speak to a GP and they’re not there.

‘I went upstairs and [Sebastian] was fitting. I checked whether he was breathing and he wasn’t so I dialled 999. I was performing CPR while we were waiting for the ambulance to arrive. The ambulance crew did their best [but] unfortunately he died.

‘The experts who were brought to the coroner’s court said a competently trained medical person would probably have picked up that something was wrong [and that] he needed to go to hospital. It’s a doctor’s surgery on a Monday morning and it was brought up that it was their busiest time.

‘As it’s gone on, we are just finding there’s more and more things wrong with NHS 111. I was just knocking back between the two and not speaking to a medical professional all day. It’s just ridiculous. You’ve got people falling through the cracks.’

The case raises fresh concerns about GP surgery opening hours. Glenside Medical Centre in Plymouth, where Sebastian was registered, lists its opening hours as 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday – and there is no mention of a lunch hour.

Sebastian’s case also highlights shortcomings in the NHS 111 helpline and its ability to identify serious illnesses in children.

Similar failings were exposed by the death of one-year-old William Mead from sepsis in December 2014 following a series of errors by GPs and, later, the 111 service.

An NHS-commissioned report two years after his death found that his mother Melissa, from Penryn in Cornwall, was poorly dealt with by the call adviser who missed abnormal symptoms.

The line’s call handlers are not medically qualified but have been trained to use a computer system which recommends what action to take depending on the symptoms described by the caller. Call handlers might be advised to put the caller through to 999, to request that a doctor or nurse rings the caller back, or to tell the caller to take some other action.

Sebastian Hibberd was later found to have intussusception, where a segment of the bowel ‘telescopes’ inside another, causing an intestinal blockage. At his inquest in February, experts said a GP or medical professional would have immediately picked up on the warning signs of green vomit and cold arms and legs.

The coroner, Ian Arrow, is preparing a ‘prevention of future death’ report, which will call for urgent improvements in care. This will be sent to NHS England, the Department of Health, the local clinical commissioning group, and the GP surgery.

A spokesman for NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, which commissions GP services at Glenside Medical Centre, said that after Sebastian’s death South Western Ambulance Service had investigated. The CCG had commissioned a further independent investigation.

‘Action has already been taken on the basis of these investigations, notably to strengthen the handling of 111 calls involving children and to clarify handover arrangements between GP surgeries and 111,’ he added. 

Dawn Treloar, partner at Hodge Jones and Allen specialising in clinical negligence, who represents the family, said: 'Sebastian’s parents have lived through the nightmare of losing their wonderful little boy because of multiple failures by various individuals and organisations. 

'His death was preventable and should not have happened. The inquest was very protracted, concluding over three years after Sebastian died. 

'Now, three months after their son’s inquest concluded, the family are still waiting to see whether the coroner will produce a prevention of future deaths report. 

'This delay is unacceptable and is putting the family through unnecessary torment. We need the coroner to make the recommendations Sebastian’s parents are asking for to ensure a tragedy like this does not happen again.'

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7003231/Heartbroken-father-tells-son-six-died-agony-despite-desperate-calls-GP.html

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 18:24

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Teen lucky to be alive after croc attacks turtle

A Townsville teenager who jumped into the sea to save a struggling turtle has had the shock of his life after the struggling animal was eaten by a crocodile that crept up on them.

Coree Summerville, 15, escaped unscathed after his kind-hearted rescue attempt took a dramatic turn at The Strand pier on Townsville's foreshore.

He'd been fishing there on Saturday when he noticed the turtle struggling and belly up in the water.

After about 20 minutes it floated ashore and we went down onto the beach and saw that it was a turtle struggling to swim," Coree told 9News.

What he didn't realise was that a croc was watching.

After the teen hit the water, the reptile struck, biting the turtle Coree was holding.

"The croc came out of nowhere and just took a chunk of it," said Coree.

"I just dropped the turtle, ran, I was freaking out."

The teenager said he and his friends rang the HQ Aquarium Turtle Hospital after the attack.

"I then jumped back in the water and swam this turtle to shore," said Coree.

"I was pretty scared – if that croc had missed the turtle it could've got me."

Swimming enclosures on The Strand esplanade were closed after the drama, with the croc to be targeted for removal if authorities can find it.

Croc sightings are relatively common in the Townsville area with dozens reported last year.

http://news-af.feednews.com/news/detail/1984c1485ae6f8a31e0d1d8fe1e4e472?country=zw&language=en&share=1&client=

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 18:20

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Girl’s desperate bid to find £300,000 to fight cancer no one has ever survived .

The family of a 13-year-old girl with a rare and incurable form of brain cancer are making a last ditch attempt to save her life. Lily Wythe’s world was turned upside down in September when she was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), which currently has a 0% survival rate. Despite such a bleak prognosis, the teenager remains optimistic and is hoping to get a place on a ‘promising’ experimental clinical trial in the US aimed at finding a cure. Her parents have praised friends and neighbours in the Essex town of Leigh-on-Sea for rallying around Lily and fundraising £30,000 out of the £300,000 they need for years of groundbreaking treatment. Reflecting on when doctors first told them about the survival rate, Lily’s mum Diane told Metro.co.uk: ‘It was awful, absolutely awful. Actually at that point I was in disbelief when they told us.

‘We got on the train on the way home and thought how is this even possible in 2019? How can you not cure it or even treat it?’ After experiencing headaches in August five different health professionals all put her symptoms down to a hormonal migraine, explained part time nail technician Diane. But after she started slurring her speech and losing her balance as she walked her family took her in for an MRI scan and she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. She was then sent to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London where doctors warned the family there’s a zero per cent survival rate and that most patients only live for a year. Only 10% of children with the tumour survive for two years and only 1% make it past five. As the disease is more common among children aged five to nine, it is not known whether Lily’s survival odds will be different.

She’s gone through six weeks of radiotherapy and is showing signs of improvement, but her tumour is likely to return in six to nine months and spread more aggressively than ever before. Diane, 40, added: ‘We returned home and since then she has been improving. ‘The whole left side of her body is affected by the tumour, her legs more than her hands. ‘She’s eating now but she had to learn to swallow again, she had to progress from pureed food. She’s had to learn to walk again.’ ‘She can now mobilise around the house by holding on to things.

‘It’s horrible to see, obviously she’s so frustrated, she says to me that she should be able to get up and body works but it just doesn’t.’ As he friends go out to Christmas parties, Diane says her daughter feels like she’s missing out while she’s stuck at home. Lily has lost some of her hair and is on a strong dose of steroids but despite the massive impact on her life she still remains optimistic about the future. Diane added: ‘She’s doing really well, she’s amazing, positive. She’s a very happy-go-lucky kind of girl anyway. ‘She’s adamant it’s not coming back but obviously we know it will. ‘When it does are we going to be set up for the treatment is there going to be money there, is there going to be space on the trial?’

Diane says the diagnoses was ‘horrendous’ to begin with for her and husband Martin, 41, but now they agree a ‘positive attitude is the way forward’. In an online fundraising page set up for Lily’s treatment her loved ones say: ‘As a family we are doing all we can to raise this money however being such a massive amount we had to make the tough decision to set up this go fund me page. ‘Nothing prepares you for any of this. We now face the realisation that our care free life is over and now we are caught up in hospital appointments, an entourage of doctors and consultants. ‘Life can change in an instant. No warning, no reason.’

https://metro.co.uk/2019/12/16/girls-desperate-bid-find-300000-fight-cancer-no-one-ever-survived-11915223/

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 18:15

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Mother, 19, who was diagnosed with untreatable brain cancer months before giving birth dies after 16-month battle to fight the tumor

A 19-year-old who was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor months before giving birth has died after more than a year of battling to find a cure.  

Dana Scatton, of Pennsylvania, was seven months pregnant in December 2017 when a brain scan revealed she had diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG).

It is one of the most devastating cancers, which affects 300 children a year, most of whom are under 10 years old. No one has survived with DIPG for longer than 18 months, and it does not respond to any treatment. 

Despite some recent efforts to test moonshot treatments for DIPG in clinical trials, researchers have long struggled to find any glimmers of progress - and have therefore struggled to get funding to keep trying.  

Dana delivered her daughter, Aries Marie, a month early on January 4, 2018, before starting radiation treatment, and traveling to a clinic in Mexico, which promotes a 'cure' for DIPG, though they have not succeeded and doctors accuse the clinic of preying on vulnerable families. 

There were moments of hope and progress, but this week, on Easter Monday, her family told well-wishers Dana had passed away.   

We may never have the right things to say to truly honor the amazing, smart, loving, caring, passionate, incredibly beautiful and free spirited mother, daughter, niece, sister, cousin, friend and independent woman Dana was every day,' the family wrote on Facebook. 

'She inspired us all to be better than who we are and to keep God in our focus at every moment. She faced the greatest fear of all, death, and smiled back with a grin only God can instill. She fought harder than the toughest warriors known to man and did it with grace and valor.'

DIPG tumors usually start in the brain stem, the part of the organ that's located just above the back of the neck and connected to the spine. It controls breathing, nerves and muscles that help people see, hear, walk, talk and eat.

There is no known cure for the disease and scant treatment options due to lack of funding for research. 

It is a vicious cycle: organizations are reluctant to fund research into something that seems so untreatable; most funding into child cancers goes to leukemia, which is the most researched child cancer. 

Without funding and research, it will remain mysterious - and in turn, it will remain difficult for researchers to get funding to dispel the mystery.

Due to the tumor's location in Dana's brain, it started taking over her motor functions - making it more difficult for her to walk, talk and breathe.

At points, MRI scans suggested that the radiation treatments were shrinking the tumor, 'with no signs of blocking her pons,' the part of the brain involved in the control of breathing, communication and balance. 

According to the National Cancer Institute, clinical trials have shown that traditional chemotherapy aren't effective. 

As a result, many parents of DIPG patients from all over the world have turned to the controversial Dr Alberto Siller, who has a dubious clinic located in Monterrey, Mexico, as a last resort. 

The highly controversial treatment, with no evidence of success, involves an untested mix of 11 chemotherapy drugs, injected into an artery in the brainstem that costs $300,000, reported Science Based Medicine

But doctors who run the clinic have not performed any clinical trials, peer-reviewed studies or published survival and recurrence statistics. 

A family from Rogers, Arkansas flew to Monterrey, Mexico in July 2017 for their daughter Addy Sooter, three, who was diagnosed with DIPG, to receive experimental chemotherapy treatment at Dr Siller's 0-19 Clinic.

In September 2017, an Australian family traveled to Monterrey in hopes of a last-ditch treatment for their then-four-year-old daughter Annabelle Nguyen, who was diagnosed with DIPG when she was two years old. 

A year ago, Annabelle's family said the five-year-old had 'no evidence of disease,' a term used when scans and tests can't find cancer in a person who has been treated for the illness. 

But that apparent progress did not last. Both girls since passed away, dealing a blow to parents desperate for answers. 

There are now highly-anticipated clinical trials in Australia, the UK and the US. They have reached out to Clinica 0-19 to collaborate or review their work, but the clinic has refused. 

Dana, the youngest of nine children, told DailyMail.com in December 2017 that right before she was diagnosed she started to experience difficulty speaking, which had become strenuous.

'I noticed that it took me a little to swallow, then walking got harder and it was even hard to speak,' Dana said.  

She said things got worse in the beginning of December when she went to catch the bus to take her to school and her legs began to feel limp, leaving her too unable to walk properly.  

At first Dana thought it could just be stress from the pregnancy and school.

'I thought it could be the way the baby was sitting on nerves,' she added.

Less than two weeks after her initial symptoms, Dana told her doctor what she was experiencing during a routine visit to check on the baby.

She was in the emergency room the next day where she underwent a cat scan and MRI that found a large tumor on the base of her brain.

Within hours of the MRI doctors delivered the diagnosis and prognosis. 

Dana said the first thing that went through her mind when she heard the diagnosis was: 'Is my baby going to be okay?'

Both Lenore and Dana's father Robert took time off of their jobs at Amazon and a YMCA to take care of their daughter full-time. 

The support from family and friends has been overwhelming and Lenore said that since Dana's brother JJ took to Facebook and made a GoFundMe for medical expenses, people from around the world including Ukraine and Germany have reached out to send their prayers and support. 

Dana said: 'I just want to be a wonderful mother.' 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6960327/Mother-19-diagnosed-untreatable-brain-cancer-months-giving-birth-dies.html

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 18:09

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Doctor, 39, dies of same type of cancer she spent life researching

In a cruel twist of fate a doctor has died from the same type of skin cancer she spent her whole life researching.

Melanoma expert Dr Sharon Hutchison worked as a researcher at the University of the Highlands and Islands in Inverness, Scotland.

But in January last year she was herself diagnosed with skin cancer after spotting a mole on her neck.

Dr Hutchison underwent treatment but died last week at the Highland Hospice just a year after being told she had the aggressive form of melanoma.

The 39-year-old had originally joined the university research team in the summer of 2018 with its work being part of a worldwide collaboration.

She had previously been employed for around six years before that in the radiopharmacy department at Raigmore Hospital where she was involved in producing treatments for thousands of cancer patients.

She was also been involved in the development of drug treatments for melanoma at Glasgow University.

Dr Hutchison continued to work months after her diagnosis up until the beginning of December.

She underwent two different types of therapy but the cancer spread.

She spent her final days in the hospice surrounded by her family and her colleagues have since vowed to carry on her work.  

Dr Antonia Pritchard said: 'She was very stoic. She faced it with immense strength. She was remarkable. 

'She went to her doctor - she did all the right things but her melanoma was a particularly aggressive form.

'She had major surgery and was back at work after one week. She had a tremendous work ethic when it came to her research.'

'Being an expert in this, we knew from the outset what the options were.

'She was a great friend, meticulous researcher and I miss her immensely.'

Dr Pritchard added that her team would continue to research the disease and raise awareness of melanoma so people know how to spot the warning signs.

She said: 'Sharon was very passionate about people getting themselves tested.

'Hopefully, that will be one of the outcomes from this.'

Dr Hutchison leaves her parents David and Jane and her brother Neil.

She often enjoyed outdoor pursuits in her spare time and included mountain biking and running events.

Mourners were invited to give donations to the hospice at her funeral which took place at Falkirk Crematorium on Thursday. 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7875781/Doctor-39-dies-type-skin-cancer-spent-life-researching.html

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 18:04

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British backpackers relive the terrifying moment their car lost control and flipped onto its roof in the middle of the Australian Outback with emergency services four hours away

Two British backpackers have relived the terrifying moment they lost control of their car and flipped on to the roof in the middle of the Australian Outback.

Robyn Jago, 23, and Elyse O'Donnell, both from Merseyside, went to Perth from Thailand in February 2018 to begin their 'dream trip'.

The friends spent the next year working on a farm 'in the middle of nowhere' in Broome and Hallscreek, to save up to travel the East coast.

But their trip took a horrific turn when a tyre on the car they were in burst, causing it to lose control and veer off the road on September 30.

Ms Jago said she first realised something was wrong when she smelt 'burning rubber' coming from the tyres.

Driver Ms O'Donnell tried to regain control but hit a dip at the side of the road and flipped the vehicle on to its roof, hitting a tree which smashed through the windscreen.

Australian police told Ms Jago if she had not had removed her seatbelt she would have been impaled.

Ms Jago told the ECHO: 'I woke up and I was on my hands and knees scrunched up in a ball.

'I don't remember being in the air flipping. I just remember seeing a tiny glimpse out of the window which I knew wasn't the road.

'I was trying to understand what had happened when I saw a light switch on the floor next to me and that's when I realised that it was actually the roof of the car and that we were upside down.' 

Ms Jago and ms O'Donnell were in the car with two other women, who they had met the month before, but who have asked not to be named.

Seconds before the accident, Ms Jago had unfastened her belt to change position in the tightly packed car - meaning she took the full force of the crash.

She said: 'Your senses slowly start coming back to you and I heard screaming and Elyse's voice.

'She had managed to get out of the car by this point with [one of the other women] and they were stood on the side of the road.

'When I looked to my right I saw (one of the others) covered in blood, I thought she was dead.

'She had blood all over her face and wounds where the tree had scraped her. I screamed.'

Ms Jago said: 'Elyse could hear a hissing noise coming from the car so she thought it was going to blow.

'She was shouting ''you need to get out of the car''.'

By this point, Ms Jago said she knew she had broken her back but they had no other option but to get out of the car.

She said: 'I couldn't get out of the side I was on so we had to get out of the other side but there was a branch coming through the window.

'Elyse and [one of the others] had to pull us both out in the end.'

Ms Jago suffered a bleed on the brain during the crash and was left with a broken back and a burst finger.

Ms O'Donnell broke her back and neck in five places.

One of the other two women sustained a total of 14 serious injuries, including a wound to the head, while the other was left with black eye and a torn ligament to the shoulder.

Ms Jago said: 'I never take my seatbelt off, I literally just took it off for a minute to get comfortable.

'But the police told me afterwards that if I had had my seat belt on there was a good chance I would have been impaled by the tree and would probably have been dead by now.'

After escaping from the vehicle, the girls stood 'shaking' as they tried to work out what to do next.

Ms Jago said the crash took place 'literally in the middle of nowhere' and was a three-and-a-half-hour drive away from the nearest hospital.

But thanks to a lorry driver who was going past shortly after the accident, the girls were found.

Ms Jago said: 'We were far away from the road because of where the car landed but [one of the others] heard a lorry going past so she bombed it up to the side of the road.

'She told him 'we've just been in a car crash' and he grabbed his first aid kit, he was lovely.'

'There was a mining site not too far away so he called there and said 'have you got first aiders to help in any way they can.'

Ms Jago said it took four hours for an ambulance and police to arrive at the scene of the crash.

The girls were taken to the nearest clinic, 40 minutes away, to be assessed before Ms Jago was taken with one of the other women, by air ambulance to Broome Hospital.

Ms O'Donnell and her other friend who was involved in the crash were taken to Kunnuara Hospital the next day.

Ms Jago said: 'The first person Elyse told was her mum. She panicked at first because all Elyse did was cry down the phone but then once she told her everyone's alive and she went really calm and calmed Elyse right down.

'Elyse told my sister for me because I lost my phone in the crash. It was so surreal it honestly still doesn't feel like it happened to us.'

Ms Jago spent eight days in hospital before she was discharged, while Ms O'Donnell spent nine days being treated.

Due to the severity of both of their injuries, they were fitted with neck braces and had to attend hospital appointments several times a week for three months.

Ms Jago said: 'We were both in absolute agony. After we were discharged from hospital we spent the next three months mostly indoors at our friends house.

'I had to go back to the hospital for constant checks. I was put on medication for my brain haemorrhage and memory games and brain training.

'We could walk but we spent a lot of time lying down because of the pain. We were tired all the time, we just had no energy.'

Since the accident, Ms Jago and Ms O'Donnell have made good progress with their injuries and had their back braces removed in December.

Despite being able to walk now unsupported, Ms Jago said they are both unable to return to work until at least March and suffer from a lot of pain which makes it a 'nightmare to sleep at night'.

Ms Jago said the psychological pain of the accident, has also been 'unbearable' with both Ms O'Donnell and herself regularly suffering from flashbacks and night terrors.

But due to the high cost of receiving physiotherapy for their injuries and counselling, the girls have been unable to get the help they desperately need.

Ms Jago said: 'It's taken a toll on our mental health. I've had depression and anxiety before but it's been a whole new level since the accident.

'We've had to sit indoors for three months watching our savings disappear while we recover.

'We've both struggled to sleep since. We have sleep paralysis and suffer from nightly flashbacks.'

She added: 'We're so scared of travelling in cars now. We'll be in a taxi and it'll change lanes and we both get so nervous. We're just very nervous about everything little thing.

'The doctor has told us we're not allowed to go back to work until March.'

To help the girls get the money they need for physiotherapy and counselling, a Just Giving Page has been set up by their friend Jack.

Despite initially being reluctant to ask for help Ms Jago said they have now used up nearly all of their savings on going to and from hospital appointments and from being unable to work for so long.

She said: 'We didn't want to ask anyone for help at first we just said we'll figure something out but our friend Jack set up a fund raising page to help us out.

'People have said to us why don't you come home but we're so reluctant to give up because this is the only thing I've ever wanted in my life to move to Australia.

'We worked so hard for over a year to save up to travel and we've not even been able to do that yet.

'We were going to buy a car and go on a road trip up and down East Coast it's ruined everything.'

Ms Jago added: 'Nearly all our savings have gone on getting to and from the hospital and not being able to work.

'I am starting to accept that I can't change what happened and to just be thankful each day that no one was paralysed.

'We're just taking it one step at a time but my current aim is just to be able to afford enough therapy so that I can exercise again, I'm just focusing on the little things for now.

'And regardless of how hard things are mentally, physically and financially we have some hope that we might get through it all and continue on our adventure.'

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7878943/British-backpackers-relive-terrifying-moment-car-lost-control-flipped-Outback.html

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 18:01

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Brothers whose father gunned down their mother and sister in a murder-suicide

The sons of an abusive father who shot dead his wife and daughter before turning the gun on himself have claimed he was 'scared' of their sister because she stood up to him.

Lance Hart, 57, penned a 12-page suicide note before he blasted his wife Claire, 50, and their 19-year-old daughter Charlotte before killing himself in a car park in Spalding, Lincolnshire, on July 19, 2016. 

Now brothers Luke and Ryan Hart have written a book called Remembered Forever about their experience and to raise awareness about the reality of domestic abuse. 

Speaking on Lorraine this morning, Ryan told how growing up he'd learnt to submit to his father's rules and demands because it seemed 'safer', but Charlotte refused to accept his behaviour.

'I think over those 25 years of abuse, I didn't know how to respond in a way which kept mum and Charlotte safe,' he admitted.

'Charlotte was always the one out of the whole family who stood up and knew what was wrong.

'I think our father was scared of Charlotte, and we definitely admired Charlotte a lot for her strength and bravery.'

Luke told how their father was very coercive and found ways of making life 'really hard' without creating incidents that would lead someone to call the police or a neighbour to intervene.

'It was never him who was responsible, so we didn't really know what was going on,' he said.

Luke admitted they were shocked when the murders happened because the violence all seemed to happen at once and come out of nowhere.

'It was only when we look back over our lives that we realised he'd been incredibly controlling, and he'd ramped it up in the months leading up to the murders,' he said.

They told how their father used money to trap their mother, who suffered from multiple sclerosis.

The pair eventually made a plan to get their mum and sister away from their dad - but five days later he hunted them down and killed them both.

Ryan was working abroad in Holland when he saw the breaking news story about the shooting. 

He admitted it took him a month to come to terms with what had gone on.

'It wasn't until the funeral that I really accepted what had happened, but that day was spent in a state of shock, confusion, anger, disbelief,' he said.

The pair admitted they never thought their father was a domestic abuser because their mother and sister were 'so strong'. 

'You think that victims are weak and perpetrators are strong,' he explained.

'We always saw our father as weak, and Mum and Charlotte as incredibly strong, so it didn't fit the dynamic that we'd interpreted.'

'Mum was incredibly stoical; she was an incredible mum, she looked after us before all else,' Ryan added.

'Charlotte was brave and courageous - she would call our father out for what he was doing and say it wasn't right. 

'Charlotte was Mum's emotional support, she was the one that helped Mum come out of our shell, they were more like sisters.

'Our father hated Charlotte because he saw her as ruining his control over our mother, he didn't like Charlotte supporting our mother, so Charlotte got the brunt of Father's behaviour.' 

The brothers are now keen to help other families going through a similar ordeal. 

'Our story isn't actually unique,' Ryan said. 'We were looking for violence in our father, and that violence only came on the day of the murders, so we didn't see ourselves as victims because we weren't being hit.

'We want to articulate the truth that domestic abuse is about control and power and to look out for the non-physical signs of abuse because they are often more prevalent and quite psychologically damaging as well.

'The scars internally that I have to live with from the abuse of my father take a lot longer to get over.' 

Asked if they have struggled to build relationships with other people as a result of their father's behaviour, Luke said it's made them both fiercely independent.

'We learnt to be very self-relient and self-sacrificing and as children we didn't want to need stuff because there wasn't much to go around,' he told Lorraine. 

'We all became very self-sacrificing and independent. I don't want to feel like a burden and I sometimes don't have the energy to help other people with their problems because I'm so tired.

'I think it has affected [relationships] in the sense that relationships can sometimes seem like a bit too much to take on for me at times.' 

After the murders, Luke and Ryan both read a lot of literature which helped them understand their father was the 'archetypal domestic abuser and family murderer', but they never saw it as he was controlling rather than violent.

Ryan admitted: 'I think the hardest thing for us has been finding a new purpose in our lives.

'The book and speaking out to people is what helps us get through each day and look to the future.'

'We realised there needs to be this transition of knowledge,' Luke added. 'We're trying to help other people see what's going on and hopefully protect themselves.'

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-7231891/Brothers-father-murdered-mother-sister-claim-dad-scared-daughter.html

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 17:55

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Britain's worst mother Karen Matthews is seen without her engagement ring following claims she has split from her paedophile fiancé

Britain's worst mother Karen Matthews has been spotted without her engagement ring after claims she split from her fiance when she discovered he is a paedophile. 

Matthews, 44, got engaged to Paul Saunders, 57, just six weeks after they met after falling 'head over heels in love'. 

But Matthews is believed to have ended their relationship after finding out her new lover is a convicted child abuser who groomed a vulnerable teenager while working as a driver for special needs children.

She reportedly told a friend she was looking to return her £39.95 Princess Diana lookalike ring.  

And when she stepped out near her new home in the south of England yesterday, it was nowhere to be seen.  

A friend of the mother-of-seven previously told The Mirror that the blue silver oval blue Cubic Zirconia cluster ring is in the box and ready to go back.   

She was furious when she found out about Saunder's offending and even more enraged her ring 'was't the real thing', claims the paper. 

Saunders was jailed for five years in January 2010 for his abuse of a vulnerable young girl aged between 15 and 17 who said after his conviction at Oxford Crown Court: 'He makes me sick. He should die. I hate him'. 

He targeted the 'vulnerable' girl and made indecent images of her, the court heard as he was jailed for five years placed on the sex offenders' register for life.

The 57-year-old was arrested at Matthews home last week by Thames Valley Police because living with his fiancee was a breach of is bail conditions.

The handyman from Reading, Berkshire, was released under investigation. 

A witness told The Sun: 'They are still together in her house.' 

Despite the claims the pair have now split, there were also reports Matthews is planning to sell the rights to her wedding to a glossy magazine. 

She was also planning on asking her evil murderer best friend Bernadette McNeilly to be her bridesmaid, reports The Star

McNeilly was part of the gang that tortured and set fire to Suzanne Capper 16, and made her listen to recordings of her imitating the murderous horror film doll Chucky.  

Matthews and her ex-boyfriend's uncle Michael Donovan were jailed in 2008 for the plot to stage Shannon's kidnapping and claim the £50,000 reward for 'finding' her.

She made a series of tearful TV appeals for help in finding her daughter as West Yorkshire Police launched one of the force's largest ever searches.

Shannon was eventually found by detectives in Donovan's flat, around a mile from her home in Dewsbury, 24 days after she disappeared.

Prosecutors said the schoolgirl was drugged and probably kept captive on a leash during her incarceration.

Police described Matthews as 'pure evil' after she was found guilty of kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice.

Her then-boyfriend, Craig Meehan, was not involved in the kidnapping plot.

However, he was separately convicted of possessing 49 indecent images of children on a home computer.

She and Donovan were both sentenced to eight years in prison in January 2009 and released in 2012 after serving half their sentences.

Shannon was raised by a new family under a new identity and is now an adult.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7878407/Karen-Matthews-seen-without-engagement-ring-following-paedophile-boyfriend-split-south-England.html

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 17:49

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Canadian Clinton donor Frank Giustra says he has NEVER been in contact with the royals and doesn't own the house

Canadian Hollywood mogul Frank Giustra has denied that he is the mystery billionaire owner of the $14million Vancouver Island mansion where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stayed for the holidays. 

Giustra denied owning the home and ever having contact with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex or their representatives. 

Harry and Meghan have refused to name the secretive billionaire who loaned them the Canadian mansion and DailyMail.com revealed that the true owner has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal his identity with methods typically deployed by money-launderers and tax-evaders.

An association with someone who goes to such lengths to hide their identity will raise questions over judgment as the couple pursue earning opportunities in their attempt to 'work towards financial independence.'

Giustra said in a series of tweets Sunday evening: 'I was disappointed to read this morning's error-filled article about me in @nypost.? I do not own a home in, or near, Victoria, BC. I have never been contacted by a member of the British Royal family, by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, or by any of their representatives.' 

Giustra, co-founder of Hollywood studio Lionsgate whose close ties to the Clintons have caused controversy in the past, was named as the owner of Mille Fleurs, the seafront home close to Victoria, British Columbia, by The New York Posts' Page Six Sunday. 

In his statement, the 62-year-old Canadian bashed the New York Post for its reporting. 

'Unsurprisingly, the New York Post used this non-story as an opportunity to recycle a series of lies about me that have been repeatedly and definitively disproved by The New York Times, Fox News, and the US Department of Justice among others,' Giustra said. 'Once again, the Post has confused fake news and for evidence-based investigative journalism.' 

The mansion's ownership by Giustra was at odds with what DailyMail.com was told by a realtor involved in the 2014 sale of the home.

That person, who had to sign a non disclosure agreement, said it was bought by a billionaire who is neither Canadian nor or American for $18million CAD - $14 million. 

Dailymail.com revealed how the real homeowner has used highly controversial methods also deployed by money-launderers and tax-evaders to conceal his identity. 

The billionaire who owns the home has declined to identify himself voluntarily ahead of new legislation in the Canadian province which will make it compulsory for the owners of properties to be publicly named.   

Giustra is close friends with David Foster, who arranged for the Duke and Duchess to stay at the imposing home, DailyMail.com first revealed.  

Music producer Foster is the husband of Broadway star Katharine McPhee, a friend of Meghan's since their school days. 

The owner of Mille Fleurs was apparently not known to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex until Foster introduced them.  

Giustra is also one of the biggest donors to the Clintons and is on the board of their foundation.

He ran into controversy when, in 2005, he traveled to Kazakhstan with then President Bill Clinton. 

There they met the country's despotic president Nursultan Nazarbayev. Clinton's appearance is seen as helping Giustra secure a deal to start his UrAsia uranium company in Kazakhstan, which would later merge with Uranium One.

Giustra donated $31.3million to the Clinton Foundation in 2006 and helped start the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative.

In 2016, emails then showed Giustra and fellow billionaire Carlos Slim gave the Clinton Foundation an endowment of $20 million for the Haiti Development Fund six years earlier. But reports said 'there is almost nothing in the public record' showing what happened to the money. 

Giustra called the controversy 'insanity, a f***ing circus'.  

The royals declined an invitation by DailyMail.com to reveal the mystery mansion owner's identity. The couple's spokeswoman also declined to say whether they had paid for the vacation.   

There was no sign of Meghan Saturday at the mansion on Vancouver Island after she flew back to Canada without Harry to rejoin baby Archie, who had been left with a nanny. 

In a sign of the couple's wish to spend considerable time in North America, they have moved their pet dogs to the property.   

Harry and Meghan's intention to quit as senior Royals has widened the gulf between the two siblings, with William understood to be 'incandescent' over his brother's blindsiding of the Family.  

It also emerged the Duke of Sussex pulled the trigger on his abdication decision because he feared his wife, who had not settled well in the UK, was 'on the brink' and could suffer a meltdown if she remained in the country permanently.

Anxious to avoid exacerbating an already tense situation, the Royal Family is keen to tread carefully. A source said: 'There is no suggestion that they will be punished or stripped of their Royal titles or HRH status. Everyone wants to find a solution to this as quickly as possible.' 

After laying down a 72-hour ultimatum to aides on Friday to hammer out a solution to the Sussexes' future roles, Her Majesty summoned Princes Charles, William and Harry to her Norfolk Estate to put an end to the turmoil ravaging the monarchy - while Meghan is expected to join the discussions via a conference call from Canada.

Courtiers have quickly crashed together a document outlining several blueprints for Harry and Meghan's new position within the Royal ranks. 

Mille Fleurs is officially owned by the Towner Bay Country Club Ltd.

The Towner Bay Country Club owns all 27 properties on the private Towner Park Road, just outside the small town of North Saanich.

When the homes are put on sale, the buyer does not buy the house directly.

Instead they buy shares in the country club, which gives them effective ownership of the property. The buyer's name therefore does not appear on the title of the land, which is a public document. 

The office address given by the Country Club on its corporate filings is at a local law firm, Henley & Walden LLP in Sidney. The firm refused to comment.

It refused to name the shareholder to DailyMail.com.  

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7881931/Businessman-Frank-Giustra-DENIES-mystery-billionaire-lent-Harry-Meghan-mansion.html

 

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 17:45

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'My heart is so broken': Former MAFS star Nic Jovanovic makes a teary tribute to his late grandmother who has passed away from cancer

Former Married At First Sight star Nic Jovanovic has paid tribute to his beloved grandmother on social media after she passed away from cancer.

The 29-year-old revealed the tragic news in a teary post, saying he was 'heart broken' and labelled her as an 'amazing woman that will be missed'. 

'To my beautiful Baba. May you rest in peace now,' he started off his tribute.

'No more suffering from the cancer. You are pain free now and with family watching over us. Thank you for always being hard on me and wanting the best for me.

'Thank you for always feeding me way too much. Thank you for putting a roof over my head when times were tough.' 

He went on to add: 'You are such an amazing woman and will always be missed, but never forgotten. My heart is so broken right now. Watch over the family and I forever. I love you so much!'

His former co-stars including Cameron Merchant, Ines Basic and Dino Hira sent their well wishes under the post's comments.

'Oh bro! Baba will always watch over you and the fam from heaven feeling so proud to have been part of an amazing and loving family!' Dino wrote.

'So much love to you,' Ines added. 

In August, Nic opened up about his own personal battle with testicular cancer after his 'wife' Cyrelle Paule made insensitive comments during the show.

During a candid interview with 9Now, the former reality TV star described the uncertainty of his second diagnosis as crippling and 'horrific'. 

'I got diagnosed with another form of cancer. I had to have a testis removed and surgery and chemo,' he said.

'You have so many mixed thoughts about cancer in your head. Has it spread? Is the chemo working? Will the surgery be enough?' he added.

Nick explained that the experience was not just horrific for him, but also affected his entire family, who 'had to beat it all together'. 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-7880511/MAFS-Nic-Jovanovic-makes-teary-tribute-grandmother-died-cancer.html

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 17:39

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Students with Disabilities Walk Their Teacher Down the Aisle at Her Wedding: They're 'My Babies'

A special education teacher from Georgia invited three of her 10-year-old students to join her on her special day.

Colleen Powell, a teacher at Lakeview Academy in Milledgeville, said there was no question that she wanted three of her favorite students — Dominic May, who has Down syndrome, and Jay Hurt and Korde Solomon, who both have disabilities — to play an important part in her wedding earlier this month.

“Especially just having five or six kids, they become your own,” the 25-year-old education explained to WMAZ. “Since I don’t have any kids of my own, I call these three my babies.”

“I’d always said my boys are going to be in my wedding because they’re just the biggest piece of my heart,” she added to Today. “They mean as much to me as anyone else that was there.”

When Powell walked down the aisle, she was accompanied by her father and Jay and Korde, who served as rings bearers. Jay as cerebral palsy, and was pushed in his wheelchair by Korde.

“They’re just the biggest piece of my heart,” Powell told WMAZ. “They mean as much to me as my bridesmaids did, and as much as my husband’s groomsmen.”

Because the boys have difficulty speaking, Jay carried a device with a pre-recorded message that announced, “Here comes the bride,” when he pressed a button. When the wedding officiant asked, “Who gives away the bride?” Dominic played a message that said, “Her parents and I do.”

“They can all communicate their wants or needs or their feelings,” Powell told Today of the way she communicates with them in class.

Camellia Hurt, Jay’s mother, said she wasn’t sure if Powell was serious when she initially asked about the children participating in the ceremony.

“Originally, I thought she just kind of said it to be kind because I was in the classroom while she talked about planning the wedding,” Hurt said. “She was serious.”

“At first I was on pins and needles but thank God nothing happened,” she said. “He was really involved in the wedding and this was so beautiful.”

Shiquana Solomon, Korde’s mother, told Today that the boys had a great time celebrating their teacher’s special day with her.

“Korde danced going down the aisle, he had to bust out a little dance move. They started clapping,” she recalled. “I was happy. I was crying.”

“They will always remember that,” Dominic’s mom, Ingried Banks, told WMAZ. “And I will, I know the other parents will always love them for that.”

https://people.com/human-interest/students-disabilities-walk-teacher-down-aisle-wedding/

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 16:16

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Mother reveals how she nicknamed her daughter, 6, 'Little Miss Bump' because she was a 'clumsy kid' before discovering that a BRAIN TUMOUR was causing her to fall over

A mother has revealed how her daughter who she thought was just incredibly clumsy was actually suffering from a brain tumour - and that falling out of bed may have saved her life.    

Shelley Dunlop, 30, from Dorset, told how she gave up on trying to teach her daughter Annabelle Ginn, now seven, who was nicknamed 'Little Miss Bump,' how to ride a bike as she kept toppling off it.

'We did our best to get her on a bike but we got nowhere as her balance was just so bad,' she explained. 'She couldn't even ride a scooter without falling off so we gave up on both.

'And from as long as I can remember, Annabelle has been incredibly clumsy. She was always tripping – she'd manage to stumble over nothing on a flat floor.'

She continued: 'It got worse when she started school and she'd come home with an accident form most days.

'One teacher nicknamed her Little Miss Bump and another suggested we get her tested for dyspraxia, which was on my to-do list.

'She's always been a bubbly, chatty, happy little girl and we didn't think anything of it – we just thought she was a clumsy kid.'

But after Annabelle, who was six at the time, fell out of her cabin bed and three days later started suffering excruciating headaches and vomiting, a scan revealed a tennis-ball sized brain tumour.

Doctors told the shocked mother that it had probably been growing for years and was the cause of Annabelle's balance problems.

They said that falling out of bed had probably caused fluid on her brain to build up, which triggered the headaches and sickness. 

'Thank goodness Annabelle fell out of bed – I'm convinced it saved her life as it led to her diagnosis,' said Shelley, who works as a health care assistant.

'You hear the words, "your child has a brain tumour" and you just can't take it in.

'It was surreal and I couldn't register this was happening to my little girl – it felt like I was watching a TV show.

'All the time we'd thought she was just clumsy, she was walking around with a ticking time bomb inside her head.'

After a 10-hour operation to remove the tumour, Annabelle was in hospital for a month as she had to relearn how to walk and talk again.

Eight months on, she has been left with weakness on her left side and impaired vision in her left eye, but is back at school full-time.

Now, Shelley is planning to give Annabelle 'the best Christmas ever' and 'counts her blessings' that she is doing so well.

She is sharing their story through The Brain Tumour Charity to support its HeadSmart campaign to raise awareness of children's brain tumour symptoms and reduce diagnosis time.

'We didn't have a clue that poor balance was a possible symptom of a brain tumour,' explained Shelley.

'If we had, Annabelle would probably have been diagnosed earlier and her tumour wouldn't have grown so big and caused as much damage.' 

The family's nightmare started on April 9 when Shelley and her partner Troy, 31, were downstairs when they head a crash from Annabelle's bedroom around 7pm.

'We ran into Annabelle's room and she was on the floor holding her head,' explained Shelley. 'She said she'd hit it when she fell out of bed trying to shut her blinds.

'We checked her over for bumps and cuts and she said she was OK, so I gave her a cuddle and tucked her back in bed.'

The next day, Annabelle seemed fine but three days later, she woke up with a headache and got sick.

After taking her to the GP, Shelley was told it was most likely due to bruising from the fall and was sent away.

But the following morning, Annabelle woke up with a headache and vomited again, so her concerned mother took her to The Royal Bournemouth Hospital where she works.

'She was under observation and a doctor said she had concussion and was going to send her home with Calpol,' she explained. 'Then Annabelle had a headache and they saw for themselves how much pain she was in.'

Doctors decided Annabelle needed a CT scan and sent her to Poole Hospital, which has a paediatric unit - and five hours later she was taken for a scan.

'By then, I was by myself as Troy had to go back to work,' recalled Shelley. 'As soon as a nurse asked me to go into another room, I knew something was seriously wrong. Doctors told me that Annabelle had a large tumour near her brain stem.'

They said she had to be transferred immediately to University Southampton Hospital's paediatric neurology department for a more detailed MRI scan. 

'I'd been convinced they were going to say she had concussion and send me home with an information leaflet – not turn our world upside down in seconds.

'I had so many questions racing through my mind that I was scared to ask, but I made myself ask: "Is she going to die?" 'I was terrified.'

Shelley rang Annabelle's dad, her ex-partner, Alfie, to break the news and he met her to travel in the ambulance with their little girl to Southampton.

'I was in tears while Annabelle wolfed down a packet of crisps as she hadn't had any dinner,' said Shelley. 'She looked fine so I couldn't take it in she had a brain tumour.

'When she asked, "Mummy, why are you crying?" I told her I'd stubbed my toe.'

The next day, Annabelle's MRI confirmed that she had a brain tumour.

'I felt sick when we saw the scan and the lump a size of a tennis ball in my little girl's brain,' said Shelley.

The next morning, Annabelle had 10-hour surgery and Shelley went down to theatre with her.

'Watching her being put to sleep on the table knowing she might not make it or not wake up the little girl I knew was the hardest thing I've ever done,' she said. 'It felt like an eternity.'

Finally, she was told Annabelle was in recovery in the intensive care unit.

'She had wires everywhere, including a drain allowing fluid to drain from her brain,' said Shelley.

And she suffered another devastating blow when doctors explained Annabelle had posteria fossa syndrome - a condition sometimes caused after surgery to the cerebellum - causing paralysis down the left side of her body. 

'She couldn't move, speak or swallow for five days,' said Shelley. 'Her dad and I hardly left her side.'

'Our six-year-old had reverted to a new born state and had to have a feeding tube. To start with, all she did was cry or throw up.

'It broke my heart to see my giggly little chatterbox just sitting there with a blank look on her face and no expression in her eyes. She looked empty.'

Another MRI scan showed surgeons had removed most of the tumour, while biopsy results later revealed it was a grade one (non-cancerous) pilocytic astrocytoma .

'We were so relieved Annabelle's tumour wasn't cancerous and felt like we'd won an unlucky lottery,' said Shelley. 

Back on the ward, Annabelle started her rehabilitation. 

Shelley communicated with her using a thumbs up or thumbs down, and the little girl's condition improved slowly thanks to physio and occupational therapists.

Annabelle's first achievement was being able to roll over by herself, then sit up with help, itch her nose and sit up on her own. Poignantly, she had to go through all her 'firsts' again.

'Annabelle had to relearn her first steps, first words and first time using the toilet,' said Shelley. 

'It's something no parent should ever have to go through.'

But there were some precious 'firsts' too.

'The first time she said "I love you, Mummy" again was incredible and so emotional,' explained Shelley. 'And another magical moment was when she was able to smile again.

Of course what Annabelle remembers most is being able to eat again when we took her out in a wheelchair for her favourite Subway lunch.'

Back at home, Annabelle – who now has scans every six months - went back to school part-time in June and was full-time by September.

'She still wears a patch to correct double vision in her left eye caused by nerve damage in surgery,' explained Shelley. 'We take her wheelchair most places as she still gets very tired.'

'Annabelle is more introverted and not as laid back as she was before surgery. She's still having physio and seeing a psychiatrist, but considering everything she's been through, she's doing brilliantly.'

'We're slowly but surely getting back our feisty little girl who loves Netflix, playing chess and her puppy Evee.

'And we're going to give her the best Christmas ever and have planned trips to Winter Wonderland and Disney on Ice in London – I can't wait to see her face light up.'

Now Shelley cherishes every second with her daughter.

'We're among the lucky ones as Annabelle's future looks hopeful,' she explained. 'I am so proud of her and every day I count my blessings we've got her.'

Sarah Lindsell, The Brain Tumour Charity's chief executive, commented: 'We are so sorry Annabelle and her family have been through such an ordeal.

'And we are incredibly grateful to Shelly for sharing her gorgeous little girl's story to help us raise awareness about our HeadSmart campaign.

'Annabelle's experience highlights how symptoms like balance problems can possibly be a warning sign of a brain tumour, especially when linked to other symptoms like persistent headaches and vomiting.

'HeadSmart has two aims: to save lives and reduce long-term disability by bringing down diagnosis times.

'On average, the campaign has halved diagnosis time from 13 weeks to 6.5 weeks, and we are determined to get that down to four weeks or under.

'We are delighted for Annabelle and her family that she is doing so well and wish them a very happy Christmas.'

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-7819259/Mother-reveals-thought-daughter-clumsy-discovering-BRAIN-TUMOUR.html

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 16:11

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Cosmetic surgery leaves teen brain damaged, mother 'just wants daughter back'

THORNTON, CO -- A Thornton family has filed a lawsuit against a prominent doctor and a nurse anesthetist saying after their daughter suffered two cardiac arrests and brain damage during cosmetic surgery, the medical professionals overseeing her care did not call 911 for more than five hours.

“We just really want to know what happened, what was the truth, what happened back there”, said Lynn Fam, during an interview with CBS4.

Last summer, her daughter, Emmalyn Nguyen, 18, decided to have breast augmentation performed by Greenwood Village Doctor Geoffrey Kim.

 

“I was fine with it,” said Fam.” We didn’t think anything like that was going to happen to our daughter. I was a teenage girl once before.”

She said her daughter, a graduate of Mountain Range high school, was healthy and had saved up for the $6,000 procedure, which many of her friends and family had undergone before.

“To us it felt safe,” said Fam.

But in the family’s lawsuit, filed Wednesday by attorney David Woodruff, the lawyer contends Nguyen was left unattended and unobserved for 15 minutes after being given anesthesia Aug. 1 at 2 p.m. by certified nurse anesthetist Rex Meeker.

The procedure took place at Kim’s Greenwood Village office, Colorado Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery. The lawsuit alleges negligence and contends that during that initial timeframe, Nguyen went into cardiac arrest and was revived when Dr. Kim performed CPR.

But Woodruff says medical records show Nguyen went into cardiac arrest a second time, just a few minutes later, and was again stabilized, but 911 was still not called, even though she was “neurologically unresponsive.”

Lynn Fam says what was supposed to be a two hour procedure stretched late into the afternoon and she kept asking what was happening.

“I just had kind of a weird feeling,” said Fam.

She said at various points, staff members misled her about what had occurred. She told CBS4 that at one point Dr. Kim told her ”Everything went fine, the only thing is we didn’t proceed with the procedure because her heart rate dropped but she is fine. He said everything is fine, Emmalyn is fine, everything is good. She’s young, she’s healthy, she’ll be okay, it’s just taking her long to wake up.”

Fam says at one point an office staff member even approached her and gave her a reminder card setting up a follow up appointment.

Kim did not respond to multiple messages left by CBS4, but his attorney, Kari Hershey, told CBS4 “As a physician, Dr. Kim is not at liberty to comment about any specific patient

State medical records show Kim has had no previous disciplinary actions against his medical license.

Finally, at 7:35 p.m., the lawsuit says Meeker, the nurse anesthetist, called 911. An ambulance was sent and Nguyen was transported to Littleton Adventist Hospital.

After 22 days, she was transported to a rehabilitation hospital where she receives around the clock medical care. Nguyen is now in what is known as a “minimally conscious state” — unable to speak, walk, eat or take care of herself. Her family says she has suffered severe brain damage and will likely remain in this condition for the rest of her life.

Lynn Fam said a lawsuit won’t bring her daughter back but might provide some answers as to what happened.

“That’s a really long time,” Fam said, referring to the gap between the cardiac arrest and the 911 call.

“To me it’s a miracle she pulled through all that and she is still fighting this. I don’t know how they can sleep at night knowing they did this to her. They ruined Emmalyn’s life, not just hers but all of ours.”

Sonny Nguyen, the teen’s father, told CBS4 “I’m a little speechless about how they can wait that long. I’m a little shocked they wait that long for help.”

Woodruff, their attorney, calls the delay in summoning help “unbelievable. When an entire team of healthcare professionals realizes shes in cardiac arrest, they perform CPR then they don’t call 911 for five and a half hours. That’s unconscionable.”

He said there is no such thing as a risk-free procedure.

“If you’re in the wrong hands and health care providers are not paying attention or not doing their job, it carries a risk of significant permanent injury or death and I think everyone should be aware of that.”

Meeker, the nurse anesthetist, was involved in a similar situation in 2007.

He served as the nurse anesthetist for Paula Harty, of Silverthorne, who was also undergoing a breast augmentation.

According to a 2009 lawsuit filed in that case, Harty suffered low blood pressure and a slow heart rate during the procedure which were unrecognized and led to cardiac arrest and severe brain damage.

One month after the procedure, Paula Harty died. Her husband filed suit and named Meeker in the legal action saying he had been negligent, failing to properly administer anesthesia and failing to properly monitor Harty’s condition during the procedure. The suit was eventually settled out of court and the terms are confidential

But Paula Harty’s daughter, Brandy Swenson, told CBS4 she did not think Meeker should have been allowed to continue practicing after her mother’s death.

“They killed my mom, 100%,” said Swenson. “She would be alive today if they had done their jobs right.”

State records show that case did not lead to any state disciplinary action against Meeker. Meeker did not respond to multiple calls and text messages from CBS4 seeking comment. A call and email to an attorney believed to be representing Meeker were also not returned.

Now, every day, Lynn Fam visits her daughter’s bedside, brushing her daughter’s hair, adjusting her pillow and maintaining hope.

“It’s really hard, it’s not easy,” said Fam. But we all try to stay strong in case she can hear us.”

The mother leans in, just inches from her daughter’s face.

“We’re all right here for you. We love you so much. Stay strong,” whispers Fam. “We just want you to go home, we’re all waiting for you, ok?”

https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/cosmetic-surgery-leaves-teen-brain-damaged-mother-just-wants-daughter-back-1.4740982

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 16:02

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Young couple with four year-old son both diagnosed with aggressive cancer .

A young couple who are parents to a four year-old boy have both been diagnosed with aggressive forms of cancer. Heather and Jason Brinkerhoff were forced to abandon renovation work on their home in Palo Alto, California, and now fear for their son Lucian’s future. Jason, a self-employed artist, began experiencing headaches in May 2018, and was diagnosed with an often deadly form of brain cancer shortly afterwards.

And in January they were hit by another devastating blow when personal trainer Heather was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Both have since undergone multiple surgeries and chemotherapy treatments in a bid to halt the spread of the disease, so they can watch their son grow up.

Jason is on newly-improved drugs he hopes will extend his life expectancy, with Heather also having treatment which she hopes will contain her illness. Neighbors were so touched by the Brinkerhoffs’ plight that they rallied round to finish renovation work on their home, with construction completed earlier this week. Heather told the Palo Alto Daily Post: ‘This truly has shown me that people are good and want to help each other.’ Close friend Lisa Branson, who attends the same church as the family, felt upset that the Brinkerhoffs were living in a home with unfinished walls, boarded up windows and exposed wires.

She explained: ‘They had this dream of slowly turning this home into their dream home. ‘When they were diagnosed that became an impossible task for them and yet they were still living in this very raw house.’ The couple continue to battle cancer, but are now able to do so in more comfortable surroundings. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover their costs, as well as Lucian’s pre-school fees.

https://metro.co.uk/2019/12/20/young-couple-four-year-old-son-diagnosed-aggressive-cancer-11942753/

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 15:58

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Four-year-old boy writes heartbreaking poem for his baby sister who is battling a rare form of cancer

A four year-old boy has written a poignant poem to his baby sister who is battling a rare form of cancer.

Ruby Young, two, was diagnosed with aggressive neuroblastoma after doctors found a growth in her stomach.

Her older brother, Freddy, has now written a verse to encourage people to give money for cancer research.

Ruby was diagnosed soon after her second birthday and the disease has now progressed to stage 4 - the highest grade - and spread to her bone marrow.

She now faces a two-year course of treatment at London's Royal Marsden Hospital. 

Her brother's poem, written with the help of grandma Shirley Rayfield, 50, begins: 'What can we do for Ruby Roo, the little girl who is only two; The poor little honey; has a tumour in her tummy; Give a penny, give a pound; so a cure can be found.'

The children's mother, Vikki Young, 29, said: 'I was in the hospital constantly in August when she was first diagnosed so Freddy was spending a lot of time with his grandma.

'She told me they had written something for Ruby and I didn't know what to expect.

'I just broke down when I read it, it's an amazing poem and I am so proud of him. It just broke my heart reading it, I find it hard to read it even now.'

Mrs Young and husband Rob, who run their own refrigeration business in Rainham, Kent, first spotted signs of the disease when Ruby, lost her appetite and began losing weight.

A growth found in her stomach in August was pressing on her internal organs, including her lungs, making it very difficult to breathe.

Ruby now has to undergo a long course treatment, involving chemotherapy and radiotherapy and possibly surgery.

Mrs Young added: 'When we found out about Ruby's diagnosis we were in complete shock, it all seemed surreal (and still does) and we were absolutely devastated. We couldn't believe this was happening to our little Ruby.' 

She added: 'When they first told me all I thought was is she going to die? I had to ask that. I will do anything I can for my little girl.'

Mrs Young says there is a high chance Ruby will relapse even if the treatment works and further treatment in America costs £500,000.

The family are now raising money for the Neuroblastoma Children's Cancer Alliance (NCCA), which funds the treatment in America.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2806697/Heartbreaking-poem-written-four-year-old-boy-cancer-sufferer-sister.html

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 15:52

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Cystic fibrosis sufferer being 'suffocated by own body' pleads for 'wonder drug'

The family of a young woman critically ill with cystic fibrosis have issued a plea to NHS chiefs and drug firm bosses to provide her with a breakthrough drug that could save her life.

Nicole Adams, 28, from Belfast, is in the end stages of the genetic disease that affects 10,000 Britons and kills half of sufferers before they reach the age of 40. Nicole’s lung function hovers at just 13 per cent, leaving her struggling to breathe.

Hospitalised a month ago with flu, in a video message to well-wishers she described the feeling as ‘like being suffocated by my own body’. Her condition seemed stable until Wednesday, when she was suddenly rushed into intensive care. Doctors are now battling to clear her airways.

Her only real hope lies in a new medicine that can dramatically improve lung function – but the pioneering pill is not yet licensed in Europe or approved for NHS patients. UK doctors may not be able to start prescribing it until 2021, as financial watchdogs who assess drugs are ‘very busy’ at the moment, according to sources.

The drug, called Trikafta, has, however, been available in America since October, after US authorities gave it the green light following ‘stunning’ clinical trial results. In the next few months it will also be available in the Republic of Ireland – just a short train ride away from Nicole but under an entirely separate healthcare system.

Trikafta has been dubbed the ‘Holy Grail’ by cystic fibrosis sufferers and campaigners.

Although it has not yet been passed by the European drug safety body, the company which makes it, Vertex, could bypass the system and supply it directly to Nicole’s medical team. So-called ‘compassionate use’ of new drugs is legal, if sanctioned by doctors in a bid to save the sickest patients.

Nicole’s devoted boyfriend Ciaran McVarnock has also launched an appeal to raise the estimated £20,000 it would cost to buy a one-month supply of Trikafta from America. By yesterday they had almost reached their target. Yet, while the fund may buy Nicole time, what she and other patients in similarly bleak situations need urgently is a longer-term solution, say her supporters.

Speaking last week to The Mail on Sunday from Nicole’s bedside at Belfast City Hospital, Irish boxing champion Ciaran, 27, said: ‘They’re calling Trikafta the wonder drug. It’s saved lives, and we need to get it for Nicole as soon as possible.

‘I know it’s a complicated situation, and the care she has received is incredible, but this is life and death for her – it makes me so angry and frustrated that the drug is out there and that she can’t get it.

‘We’ve been overwhelmed by the positivity from around the world – we’ve even had cystic fibrosis patients in America offer to send Nicole their Trikafta tablets, saying it’s made them feel so much better they could do without it for a bit, but of course we can’t accept.

‘She needs her doctors to give it to her, and she ticks all the boxes to receive it on compassionate grounds. Nicole is a fighter, she is so strong, but I’m worried about how much fight she has left in her. She is trying to stay positive. We all are. But she needs Trikafta now.’

At the end of October, the Government announced a landmark deal for cystic fibrosis medicines – ending a four-year row with the drug manufacturer, Vertex, over costs. The contract to supply the tablets Orkambi and Symkevi was said to be the largest financial deal of its kind in NHS history – potentially amounting to £100 million over two years. But the talks dragged on for so long the drugs are now, since the introduction of Trikafta in America, ‘obsolete’, some campaigners have claimed.

Last month, this newspaper revealed how NHS chiefs, under pressure from politicians wanting to break the deadlock, signed the deal for Orkambi and Symkevi – but not Trikafta, because they were unable to agree on a price for the newer drug. At present, if a medicine is to be approved for routine NHS use, first the European Medicines Agency has to give it a licence. Then UK prescribing watchdog the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) assesses its value – a complex calculation based on the cost of the drug versus how well it works.

If it brings a significant improvement in quality of life and reduces the amount of other treatments a patient needs, it is deemed cost-effective and given the green light. Finally, NHS England make a financial agreement with the drug’s makers before it goes to patients.

Publicly available documents show that Vertex wanted NHS England to pay a single price per patient, per year, that would cover all cystic fibrosis drugs, as well as those being developed – namely Trikafta, which was showing promise in trials from 2017. Although financial details are confidential, The Mail on Sunday has been told the amount Vertex was asking for was close to £50,000 – for Orkambi, Symkevi, an older drug Kalydeco, and the then-forthcoming Trikafta.

NICE and NHS England would pay only up to £12,000 per patient, per year, sources have said. And not without reason: Orkambi and Symkevi bring about only a modest improvement in health. Many clinicians believed the price Vertex was asking was too high. Vertex argued the figure reflected the game-changing nature of Trikafta.

NHS chiefs seemed unwilling, or unable, to put faith – and finances – into a drug that wasn’t yet launched. Neither side was prepared to budge and in May, despite all parties knowing how important the new drug was, Trikafta was ‘taken off the table’ in talks. The result of the impasse is that Trikafta was approved for use in America on October 21, and two days later Orkambi and Symkevi – older, less effective drugs – were approved for UK use.

While they do stabilise symptoms, slowing deterioration, Trikafta, improves lung function – and is four times as effective. And while Orkambi and Symkevi work for less than 45 per cent of cystic fibrosis patients, Trikafta is effective in 90 per cent of cases. Experts anticipate almost all patients on Orkambi or Symkevi will switch to the newer drug, once they can get it. Many suggest it will turn cystic fibrosis from a fatal illness to a chronic, manageable disease – extending life expectancy.

Nicole has battled gradually worsening health since her teens, and other complications mean a heart and lung transplant isn’t an option. She was given early access to Orkambi at the end of last year but suffered a bad reaction and had to stop taking it.

She ran her own hair salon in Belfast but earlier this year was forced to close the business due to her worsening health.

She was started on Symkevi at the beginning of last week and seemed to be getting stronger. But then, on Wednesday, her condition suddenly worsened.

Cystic fibrosis causes thick, sticky mucus to build up inside the body – clogging the lungs and digestive system. This leads to problems with absorbing nutrients and makes sufferers prone to infections in the airways. The result, ultimately, is irreversible, fatal lung damage.

Orkambi, Symkevi and Trikafta all work by ‘switching on’ a process in cells that helps balance the levels of salt and water in bodily fluids, thinning the mucus.

At first, the drug can cause a dramatic increase in the amount of mucus in a patients’ lungs, which then has to be coughed up. This, say her family, may be the cause of Nicole’s current, acute breathing difficulties.

For all cystic fibrosis patients, daily physiotherapy sessions involve exercises designed to help bring up mucus from the lungs, clearing the airways.

But for someone as unwell as Nicole, who is unable to walk more than a few feet without becoming utterly exhausted, these sessions represent a mammoth physical task.

Whatever happens next, for a patient such as Nicole with end-stage cystic fibrosis, Trikafta could be not simply a lifeline, but a chance to live normally again.

To add to the family’s frustration, after a deal done last week by health chiefs in the Republic of Ireland, patients there will be prescribed Trikafta as soon as it gains a European safety licence, expected by April. The Irish Health Service Executive signed a pipeline deal – of the type ‘taken off the table’ in UK talks.

This will come as little comfort to Nicole and her family in Northern Ireland, which is under the NHS.

In the past two weeks, following The Mail on Sunday’s initial report, NHS England and NICE have met, separately, with Vertex to try to thrash out a deal for Trikafta.

A source close to the negotiations said: ‘NHS England have now said they want to do a deal as soon as possible for Trikafta, so the UK doesn’t lag behind other European countries when the drug is approved in early 2020. But NICE have said they’re very busy, and it could take up to a year to assess the drug.

Many people involved feel this is completely unacceptable, when patients are in such desperate need right now.’

Nicole remains in a critical condition. But as soon as she is well enough, her family want her to be able to start on Trikafta.

Ciaran said: ‘She should have had it before now. It’s what she really needs.

‘But it’s not just about Nicole, it’s about everyone who comes after her – I’ve seen first-hand what people with cystic fibrosis go through. They need Trikafta now.’

A spokesman for Vertex said: ‘We cannot comment on specific patients, but take all requests for compassionate use of our medicines very seriously. We are working diligently to assess these requests as quickly as possible once they are received from a patient’s doctor, which is the sole means of initiating this process.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7817235/Family-cystic-fibrosis-sufferer-28-issue-desperate-plea-NHS-drug-firms.html

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 15:46

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Mum can't wrap kids' Christmas presents after Parkinson's diagnosis at just 34

Age 21, Nicky Doyle, noticed that her hand started to shake. At the time, she was working as a finance manager and in her spare time, loved running and exercising and thought she was just stressed by her busy lifestyle. She made trip after trip to see her doctors and was given a whole range of explanations. She had no idea that the shake in her hand was the first sign of Parkinson’s – a progressive neurological condition, which means the brain slowly deteriorates over time. It took 13 years for Nicky to finally get her diagnosis, at the age of 34. Nicky, from Brierley Hill, Dudley, was told she has early onset Parkison’s as the condition usually happens in people over the age of 50 – just 4% of cases each year are younger. Nicky tells Metro.co.uk: ‘I first noticed a little tremor to start with but I thought it was just stress. ‘I went to the doctors and they diagnosed me with an underactive thyroid, which seemed pretty minor. ‘It was gradually getting worse and I was told it was dystonia, which is a type of uncontrolled muscle movement.’ Dystonia is associated with Parkinson’s but Nicky’s condition was not linked because of her age. By 26, Nicky was fed up with the tremor that was gradually getting worse and she again went to the doctor for more test.

But before she could be referred further, she found out she was pregnant with her daughter Olivia. She explains: ‘Throughout the pregnancy, I didn’t shake once. I felt fabulous. It was great. And then the minute I had her, it all came flooding back and I was even worse. ‘I couldn’t really feed her, I couldn’t bath her. It was really horrendous. ‘It was a really difficult time as a new mum. I cried so many times, I think my eyes dried out.’ With her tremor now having a huge impact on her life, she insisted on further investigations into the cause but she was told again it was just dystonia.

‘I was trying all sorts of things – alternative therapies, yoga, hypnosis, supplements, exercise and meditation. You name it, I did it – but nothing was helping.’ Eventually, four years ago, Nicky was referred to a neurologist and she asked for a DAT scan – a test used to diagnosis Parkinson’s by measuring the level of dopamine receptor cells in the brain. She says: ‘I think, by then, I knew it was Parkinson’s. I just knew my body. ‘I wanted an answer. I was sick to death of feeling awful all the time. ‘As a young woman, I just wanted to be normal.

‘I was so anxious about going out because people would come up to me and think I was drunk or on drugs. It got to the point where I hated leaving the house because of the stares. ‘People don’t realise that young people get Parkinson’s – they see it as something that happens to older people.’ At the end of the test, Nicky looked at the technologist and said: ‘I’ve got Parkinson’s, don’t I?’ She wasn’t able to give Nicky an answer as the diagnosis comes from a doctor but she told Nicky ‘What will be will be.’ Nicky adds: ‘I just knew I had it. Two weeks later, I got the phone call to say I needed to see the doctor. I was like a woman possessed. I made the doctor tell me over the phone. ‘Three days later, I went to see the doctor to talk about it. I went on my own because I didn’t want to deal with anyone else’s emotions.

‘I actually just dealt with it. I just asked what I had to do and what tablets I  had to take. After struggling for so long, it was a relief to know what it was.’ But although Nicky was now able to take medication to slow down the progression of the condition, it still had a huge impact on her life. She explains: ‘At the time I was running a construction firm with my ex-husband but is was so difficult. ‘I’ve given up work now. I’m only 38 and I find that really hard to deal with.’ For Nicky, one of the most difficult times was at Christmas as she feels she wasn’t able to do some of the things that make this time of year special. She says: ‘Wrapping Christmas presents was one of the things for me because my hands would shake so much, my mum has had to do it for me for years. ‘I can laugh about it because I will say I’d say I could do it but I’ll end up going through a whole roll of wrapping paper and wouldn’t have wrapped one present. It was upsetting.’ Nicky uses medication and regular exercise to help with her symptoms but her condition cannot be cured. She says: ‘It has helped as if I didn’t take medication, I wouldn’t be able to walk, talk or function properly. ‘I do need help and every day is different but it is working for me at the minute.’

Being a mum to Olivia and William, now six, Nicky says it is hard being a mum and dealing with the condition. She says: ‘Some days it’s just those little things like fastening buttons or tying your child’s shoelaces. ‘There’s very little support for kids who are watching their mum, dad or grandparent slowly deteriorate. ‘My kids have never known any different but one of the worst things I have heard my little girl say is “Mummy, is Parkinson’s going to kill you?” I was in bits. ‘It is very challenging and it affects every element of my life.’ She adds that in a way, she is glad it took so long to get a diagnosis because she thinks if she had known when she was younger, she wouldn’t have had children. ‘They are such a blessing and I couldn’t imagine life without them but it would have been very different if I had been diagnosed when I first had symptoms,’ she says.

Despite everything, Nicky has remained positive. She says: ‘I actually count myself really lucky because there are people who are much worse. At the minute I am doing ok and I take it day by day. ‘I do believe that anything is possible with some help and support. ‘It is really hard for my family and we don’t really talk about it because I am their daughter and they are looking after me.

‘My mum comes in and helps me with cleaning and cooking and is like my carer. Without her, I would be lost.’ Nicky is the face of the Parkinson’s UK campaign and she works with the charity to raise awareness of the condition. She adds: ‘They’re doing amazing work both in getting the message out there about Parkinson’s and helping people understand but also in raising money for research. ‘I hope that this money they raise over Christmas will go towards better treatment.’

https://metro.co.uk/2019/12/23/mum-cant-wrap-kids-christmas-presents-parkinsons-diagnosis-just-34-11932871/

 

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 15:17

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Real estate agent, 26, who vows to beat cancer after being told she has just months to live receives more devastating news

A young woman who has been given just months to live but refuses to accept her diagnosis has one more opportunity to save her life. 

Cairns real estate agent Lisa Griffiths was first diagnosed with brain cancer when she was just 22 years old when a 6.7cm tumour was discovered in 2015. 

Now 26, she travelled to Mexico where she underwent a course of treatment not yet available in Australia. 

But during the course, Ms Griffiths was told the tumour in her skull was growing at a 'rapid pace' to the point of being able to feel it at the back of her head. 

She returned to Australia on Thursday.

An update on GoFundMe by her friend Megs Whiteside revealed that new lesions have been spotted on Ms Griffiths' lungs. 

Ms Griffiths previously battled the aggressive cancer for four years, which saw her learning to walk again and suffering memory loss and speech difficulties. 

'When I was first diagnosed at 22 they gave me a year [to live] and I survived,' Ms Griffiths previously told Daily Mail Australia.  

Ms Griffiths will now undergo a clinical trial agreed upon with her neurosurgeon and plastic surgeon. 

'Lisa has an extremely rare soft tissue cancer,' Ms Whiteside wrote.

'So rare that there are few people in the world with this type of lesion as a primary intracranial tumour.

'This has always made her case extremely unusual and has made treating her very difficult. 

'Given the nature of this aggressive disease, Lisa's specialist team suggested she proceed with a clinical trial as soon as possible in hopes to shrink the tumours, as all other treatments have been unsuccessful.'

Ms Griffiths has already had her first dose of the treatment in the clinical trial and 'tolerated this extremely well'. 

She thanked the community for their continuous support.

The GoFundMe page has since reached $162,967 of the $150,000 goal and continues to grow. 

After having spent $250,000 of her own money, Ms Griffiths believes the majority of the money has been contributed by friends and local businesses in the Cairns area.

'Never once has she ever complained or looked for sympathy even when she was devastatingly faced with loss of eyesight,' Ms Whiteside wrote on the fundraiser.

'Through every grim diagnosis and only weeks after each surgery she turned up to work every day with a positive attitude, always looking to make others smile.'

Ms Griffiths' partner Troy McGuane has also contributed to the cause by sharing an impassioned video online asking for help. 

Mr McGuane almost broke down in tears as he spoke of the terminal diagnosis and the public's generosity.

'The support has humbled myself and Lisa and I have cried multiple times today, not in sadness but due to me being so proud of her,' he told Daily Mail Australia. 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7818915/Cairns-real-estate-agent-refuses-accept-terminal-cancer-diagnosis-undergoes-clinical-trial.html

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 15:10

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Student’s leg turned ‘rock hard’ after stepping on sea creature

The modern languages student, 21, was on the trip of a lifetime with her family and felt "invincible" given she was "young, active and healthy."

However, just days later, Phoebe, from Canterbury, Kent, was left on the brink of having her leg amputated after developing full-blown sepsis.

Doctors had no option but to put Phoebe through four major operations in seven days - but miraculously managed to save her left leg.

Now in recovery, Phoebe says she is "lucky" to be alive and is bravely sharing her story to raise awareness of deadly sepsis.

She said: "My experience just goes to show that anyone can get sepsis. It could happen to anyone.

"One of the nurses described me as the 'unluckiest miracle'.

"I'm unlucky because I stood on that sea urchin and for what followed, but I'm so lucky that I'm still here."

Phoebe's nightmare ordeal began when she noticed her left foot had started to swell up after she stepped on a sea urchin while on a holiday in Barbados in October 2018.

She said: "I was on the beach one day and stepped on a sea urchin.

"I didn't think anything of it really.

"Two days later I noticed my feet were starting to swell up.

"It got to the point where I couldn't even walk."

Phoebe went to see her doctor who gave her some alcohol wipes and antibiotics - and within five days her feet felt better.

She flew home from Barbados and returned to university, but within a few days began to feel unwell again.

She said: "I went back to uni and my parents were coming down the following weekend which was the weekend of Remembrance Sunday.

"I woke up that day and really struggled to function.

"I couldn't work out what was happening and I remember feeling quite sweaty.

"I was supposed to go to the rugby with them but I had to go home and spent the whole day throwing up.

"On the Sunday morning I got up and noticed there was something wrong with my leg. I just thought it was really bad cramp.

"I slept through the rest of the day, and that night, my leg just went solid. It was incredibly painful, I've never known anything like it.

"Eventually I screamed at my housemates that something was wrong and they drove me straight to A&E and carried me in."

Despite a nurse saying Phoebe probably had severe flu and should go home, she insisted that she did not feel right and was given a blood test.

It was then that doctors realised that Phoebe was in the grip of a severe infection in her left calf, invasive streptococcus A, which quickly led to her developing full blown sepsis.

Doctors even told Phoebe there was a high chance they would have to amputate her left leg to halt the spread of the infection.

However, doctors managed to save her leg by performing four major operations in seven days.

And after around a month in hospital, Phoebe's condition gradually stabilised and she was discharged.

Despite her recovery, Phoebe has still had two re-occurrences of infection in her leg that left her bed ridden and on a cocktail of antibiotics.

Phoebe surpassed doctors expectations and managed to relearn how to walk in one month rather than the six that doctors predicted it would take her.

Phoebe said: "It was really difficult, I couldn't do anything for myself.

"I had to relearn how to walk again and use my left leg.

"It was tough because I've always been quite active and suddenly I couldn't do anything for myself. If I wanted to shower, I had to ask my parents to help me.

"The doctors and nurses were fantastic and the care I received from the NHS was amazing.

"It was easy to get depressed and give up. I thought I should just drop out of university but I wanted to carry on.

"I still can't feel my left leg even now. I'm pretty fit but it can affect daily life.

"I also have scars on my left leg. In comparison to other people's scars they're not that bad but people do stare at it."

Phoebe added: "It's changed my view of the world.

"Life is short and you need to treasure every moment."

"It brought my family even closer together.

"I appreciate the small things so much more, life is really short so you need to enjoy it."

Phoebe is now preparing to run the Madrid Half Marathon in March 2020 - despite only just relearning how to walk.

She is raising money for the UK Sepsis Trust on her GoFundMe page.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/10560788/student-lucky-alive-sepsis-sea-urchin-barbados/

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 15:06

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Man who was doused with petrol and set on fire by a school bully when he was 10 years old launches career as motivational speaker

A man who was doused with petrol and set on fire by a school bully at the age of 10 has said he is glad it happened because it inspired him to change his life for the better. 

Justin Brazil, now 36, suffered horrific burns on more than half his body after the violent attack in fourth grade. 

He fell into a coma for three weeks and had to have 64 reconstructive surgeries over eight years, battling with depression as he felt he looked like a 'monster'. 

But 26 years later Justin, from Memphis, Tennessee, says he has turned his agony into motivation, and after a stint in the military he now travels around the country as a motivational speaker in the hope that his story will help others. 

Justin said: 'Me and the school bully had been in fights previously, and one day he threw a cup of petrol over me and struck a match.

'I was on fire, started running and my brother and friend put the fire out. I walked back for a quarter of a mile back to my house and when I got there, an ambulance was called.

'The next thing I remember, I was lying in a hospital bed surrounded by'Get Well Soon balloons. 

'I grabbed one, looked into it and in the reflection I could see my burns - I looked like a monster.

'When I woke up, I started my extensive reconstructive surgery journey and within eight years I had had 64 surgeries to try and cover my burns.

'I spent years hating my appearance - to the point of being suicidal - so at 31 I decided enough was enough and I needed to turn this into something positive.'

After leaving hospital, Justin returned to school where the bullying continued - however as he grew up and had more surgeries his mindset started to change.

He said: 'When I first left hospital I couldn't go outside for five years because my skin couldn't be exposed, so I would have to wear a suit and a mask.

'When I eventually went back to school the children would bully me, and when I would go out in public adults would point and laugh at me because of how I looked.

'But as the years went on, things started to get different. I started to read comic books and decided that surviving the fire was my super power.

'With the right attitude, life started to become something that I didn't think it would be - I even went to prom with two girls!'

When he graduated from high school, Justin then joined the military and served for six years before returning to his home town.

Upon his return, Justin decided to take what happened to him and turn it into something positive and in June 2014, he began motivationally speaking to inspire others.

He said: 'I decided to forgive my bully for what he did to me because I realised that he helped me to find my purpose in life.

'Since I started to have a better outlook on what happened to me I have helped many people.

'I feel as though sharing my story about how I turned my life around from what happened to me, can inspire others to turn their life around too.

'My friends and family have continued to support me and I have always received great feedback - to the point where I am glad of what happened to me, because if not I may not have been able to change others' lives too.' 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7216491/Man-doused-petrol-burned-school-bully-motivational-speaker.html

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 10:55

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Daughter of woman mauled to death by her eight-year-old pit bull Amigo

A Massachusetts woman has died after she was mauled to death by her dog while suffering a seizure - but the family won't put the canine down. 

Melissa Astacio, 44, was suffering a seizure in her Somerset home on Friday when her eight-year-old pit bull named Amigo attacked her. 

Police were called to the home around 5.20pm by Melissa's daughter Heaven.

Responding officers were forced to taser the dog before paramedics could assist Astacio, who had a history of seizures. 

She was rushed to the hospital and died from her injuries.  

'I don't think he was trying to attack her,' Heaven said to WJAR. 'I think the dog was just trying to help my mom but he's just a dog and he didn't know any better.'

'What happened that night, it never happened like that before. I don't want to see my dog get put down for something he was only trying to help with,' she added.  

She said her dog had never reacted violently in the past to her mother having a seizure. 

'The dog would just lay on the side of her and like sniff her and stuff like that,' Heaven said. 

The dog Amigo was brought to Swansea Animal Rescue where he was placed in quarantine as officials investigate the incident. 

The family had Amigo since he was a puppy.  

While pit bulls are stereotyped as dangerous dogs, experts say the breed isn't necessarily more aggressive than other canines. 

'Every dog has behavior that comes from both nature and nurture, and no breed is inherently good or inherently bad any more than any human being is,' Dr. Terri Bright, director of behavior services at MSPCA-Angell said, according to the Boston Herald

Astacio's death has shook the community as some locals left flowers on the doorstep of the mother-of-three. 

'All my mom ever wanted was for me and her three kids to have a better life than she could,' Heaven said.  

Police do not believe criminal conduct or foul play is suspected. 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7819367/Massachusetts-woman-mauled-death-pet-pit-bull-suffering-seizure.html

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 10:48

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Russian boy, eight, has buckwheat surgically removed

An eight-year-old boy had to have buckwheat surgically removed from his knees after his stepfather forced him to kneel on a pile of grain seeds in Russia

Sergey Kazakov, 35, punished the boy for coming home late by making him kneel for nine hours at a time on the grain, causing seeds to take root in his bloodied knees. 

The crop had to be surgically removed under general anaesthetic at a hospital in Omsk, Russia.  

Kazakov also kicked the boy and pulled his hair while he was kneeling and the boy's mother Alina Yumasheva admitted she had approved the punishment.  

Yumasheva claimed that she and Kazakov discovered the form of punishment on the internet. 

The mother told the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda: 'I checked on it myself and set up an experiment.

'I knelt on it. It didn't hurt me. So he (Kazakov) was allowed to apply this punishment.'

However, sources said the boy was forced to kneel on grains which were like 'rough sandpaper' and he was heard crying 'it hurts' as he was kicked by his stepfather.  

The couple also starved the boy for up to four days at a time, claim state investigators.  

Kazakov told police he had inflicted the punishment once but several more deleted videos were traced on his phone, say investigators. 

The boy's ordeal came to light when he fled the family home and pleaded with a female neighbour to help.

She called in doctors because of the horrific wounds on the child's knees from which blood was flowing.  

Kazakov, a computer programming entrepreneur, and Yumasheva are now facing trial in Omsk. 

The couple are under investigation for torture, causing damage to the boy's health, and failure to properly educate the boy. 

He was remanded in custody and she was barred from leaving her home pending criminal investigations. 

However, after one month in hospital, the boy has been returned into her care, say Russian reports. 

This was despite the boy pleading with his nurse in hospital: 'Will you send me to live in a good family now?' 

The child's class teacher Olga Pidzhakova said the boy was academically bright but she believed he had been scared to complain.

'He is a good, positive child,' she said. 'His mother constantly attends parental meetings, comes if I call.

'He is always clean, and neatly dressed.

'Neither I, nor other teachers or children were even aware that he was being bullied at home. It is only now that I find out he was simply afraid to complain to us.' 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7796605/Russian-boy-eight-buckwheat-surgically-removed.html

stella Posted on January 13, 2020 10:44

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