Health system ‘asleep at the wheel’ on mesh

Health system ‘asleep at the wheel’ on mesh Campaigners: Women members of the Australian Pelvic Mesh Support Group who fought for a Senate inquiry into the “catastrophic failure” of Australia’s health system on mesh.
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Suffer: The Newcastle Herald Weekender cover of March, 2016 adopted by the Australian Pelvic Mesh Support Group to campaign for mesh victims.

Fighter: Australian Pelvic Mesh Support Group founder Caz Chisholm has provided a voice for women victims.

Tragedy: Health Issues Centre chief executive Danny Vadasz has compared the treatment of women mesh victims with the treatment of institutional child sexual abuse victims.

TweetFacebookNewcastle Herald on Wednesday.

In a scathing submission after more than 2200 women –including many from the Hunter region – responded to a centre survey, Mr Vadasz said themesh scandal exposeshow theburden of proof and responsibility for raisingserious health issues is left with “the peoplewho’ve suffered in the first place”, while regulators often remain in denial.

The abuses of power, the shifting of responsibility to victims, and a system that leaves victims to fight the medical industrylargely on their own when things go wrong, provide clear comparisons with the treatment of institutional child sexual abuse victims, Mr Vadasz said.

Health Issues Centre chief executive Danny Vadasz.

The mesh scandal exposes“the systemic failure of the regulatory institutions and processes established to guarantee the safety and quality of health care in Australia”, he said.

“This whole of system failure implicates Commonwealth and State health authorities, their instruments, and in particular the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC), the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the various state and federal complaints commissions, a large number of surgeons and GPs conducting or referring mesh implant surgery, and the various specialist colleges and professional associations that represent them.

“These stakeholders have all been asleep at the wheel while this tragedy has unfolded.”

Mr Vadasz said regulators had chosen “denial rather than acknowledge system failure”.

It was not unreasonable to describe the health system’s handling of mesh as a “catastrophic failure” because regulators had failed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of mesh devices, failed to establish a comprehensive register of mesh products, failed to establish an adverse reporting system that accurately represented women’s injuries, failed to enforce the need for informed consent by women patients, failed to adopt a patient-centred response when women victims sought help, and failed to apply precautionary principles in the face of mounting evidence of adverse outcomes, Mr Vadasz said.

He told the Senate inquiry that the framing of debate about mesh once problems were raised in public showed the health system was still failing patients.

”Much of the debate about the severity of this problem has been framed in terms of the good outcomes of the many outweighing the unfortunate experiences of a few,” Mr Vadasz said.

“Health spokespeople continue to refer to transvaginal meshas the ‘gold standard’in dealing with incontinence and prolapse, but our health system is built on values such as equity and a universal duty of care, not on a cost/benefit analysis that accepts the unavoidability of collateral damage.”

Mr Vadasz said the women’s experiences of meshpresented in the Health Issues Centre submission was to remind governments, departments, regulators and the health industry of “the human dimensions of this tragedy”.

“It’s to ensure that our sense of humanity is not subordinated to a statistical dispute over acceptable failure rates,” he said.

Mr Vadasz said many of the women victims had been characterised asoutliers who were unrepresentative of the silent majority. Many were left doubting their ownlived experience.

He said mesh injuries had been “dramatically under-reported” because many surgeons refused to validate complaints of adverse outcomes reported by women patients.

“To build an effective safety regime we must firstly admit that our current system has failed us. It is only by acknowledging that this crisis evaded all radar detection that we can begin the task of rebuilding a safety regime that acts decisively with foresight rather justifies its inaction in hindsight,” he said.

Colour your home in style

Project: Sean and the team at Sage Painting have won multiple awards in their industry and are helping Newcastle homeowners add some style to their homes.
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Fewer design trends suit the Australian home as much as the outdoor living space.

For an increasing number of Australian homes, a portion of the backyard has become an extra living room. Homeowners are often looking for a relaxing space either in or over-looking the backyard without sacrificing the design and comfort of the interior lounge room.

This space can be a verandah, courtyard, pool hut or gazebo and many homeowners are drawing inspiration from the world over.

“At Sagewe are seeing everything from tropically inspired alcoves through to the more elaborate North African sanctuaries,” says Sean Hersee, Managing Director of Sage Painting in Newcastle.

Sean Hersee

Regardless of where your inspiration takes you it is important to keep a few things in mind when designing your outdoor living area. Sage oftenadvises their customers on key items when planning their outdoor retreat.

The first thing Sage suggest is to ensure that you are using high-quality weatherproof finishes on all outdoor surfaces. This protects the surface from water, sunlight and heat and ensures you keep the area looking newer for longer. This is especially important in the Australian climate.

Second, think about good design flow from the interior through to the exterior of your home.

Try not to create a huge juxtaposition that shocks the senses,flow can be achieved through the use of colours, furniture, texture and other materials.

A final thought is the use of a prominent design feature. Whether it is a strong paint colour, furniture pieces you like or even an edgy sculpture, try to build the rest of your outdoor space around it and keep that as the central theme.

Expert: Sean Hersee

SAGE Painting specialise in painting and decorating high-end homes in the Greater Newcastle region.

They have extensive experience with outdoor living spaces and can provide valuable insight and guidance foryour next project. Byhiringthe very best talent from across the state, Sageensures the highest of standards are met for every job, every time.

Photo shows shelter gone to dogs: AJP

Singleton Pound.Singleton Council has again defended itself over the state of its animal shelter after the NSW Animal Justice Party labelled conditions at the pound “appalling”.
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The AJP said it would make a formal complaint to the RSPCA and demanded council immediately upgrade the facility.

It came after an AJP member visited the pound and took a photo of a dog in a cage that the party alleges was unprotected from the elements,had no raised bed andno blanket or jacket for the canine.

“The council-run pound is completely inadequate and fails the most basic of requirements to ensure animals do not suffer because of exposure to the elements,”AJP Hunter spokespersonJoshua Agland said.

“Singleton mayor Sue Moore may like to say that everything is OKand that her council is considering plans for a new facility but reality is, the pound as it stands right now is far from OK.”

Cr Moore said the dog depicted in the photo had a bed and warm bedding at the rear of the cage, which could not be seen in the image.

“I agree the golden Labrador is there through no fault of her own and I would again encourage responsible pet ownership,” she said.

A report will be tabled for councillors in September regarding plans for a new animal shelter.

In a statement responding to the AJP’s claims, a council spokesperson said the RSPCA had visited the facility and was satisfied with the conditions.

“Council is committed to ensuring the welfare of all animals while at the facilityand in the re-homing process,” the spokesperson said.

“The Labrador currently at the facility has been provided with adequate shelter,bedding and food.”

Kids should take risks: new research

Cosy: Preschoolers Benji, Rose, Eden, Bowie, Theo and Vivienne are learning how to perceive, assess and manage risk, such as open fire. Picture: Marina NeilHUNTER parents have been urged to losethe cotton wool and allow their children to engage in supervised risky play, such as access to open fire andscaling high climbing equipment, after new research showed it can actually increase their safety awarenessand help them better judgedanger.
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University of Newcastleconjoint associate professor Linda Newman and Dr Nicole Leggett completed the research withAdamstown Community Early Learning and Preschool director Kate Higginbottomas one of four projects in acollaborative practitioner study.

“We certainly did engage in risky play before the project andwe always valued a risk based philosophy,” Ms Higginbottom said. “But we wanted to understand how to provide validity to our parents and educators in terms of why we engage in risky play.”

Dr Leggett held workshops for Ms Higginbottom’s team about intentional teaching, which involvesbeing thoughtful, informed and deliberate, instead of teaching by rote.“It’s also about problem solving together,” Ms Higginbottom said. “Before if a child was climbing to a great height we might direct them ‘You need to put your foot here’. This was about working together to build their competence to assess risk and help them manage that risk, so ‘Let’s think about how we can get down’.”

The school expanded its toolbox to include hacksaws and power drills, introduced skateboards and increased use of its 20 gallon firepit. “What we found after six weeks was there was a big decrease in the verbal and physical support they required,” she said. “There was more sustained shared thinking between educators and children and between the children themselves.

“The children were challenging themselves a lot more and their language increased with words associated with risk assessment or management–they were starting to tell us‘My socks are sweaty–I should take them off when I’m climbing’.”

She said children needed to experience appropriate risks to learn how to manage them. “We need to think not about what are the dangers if we do this now, but what if we don’t do this now?’’

“What are the dangers if they do go on a camp in the future and don’t know how to manage risk around a fire?”

Mate guilty of killing

MISSED: Chris Daunt was last seen in April, 2015. His body was found at Seahampton in June, 2016, and his mate Christopher Robertson was charged with his murder. Picture: Supplied CHRISTOPHER Daunt put a semi-automatic pistol to the head of his mate and fellow drug dealer, Christopher Robertson, and accused him of being a police officer in the moments before he was repeatedly hit with a hammer and killed in a North Lambton home in March, 2015.
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“You’re either a copper or you’re trying to rip me off and I’m gonna kill you,” Mr Daunt said, according to the account Robertson gave police when he finally confessed to the killing more than a year later.

Mr Daunt was “highly agitated” about a drug deal he was due to make in Sydney and paranoid that Robertson was setting him up when he pulled the gun and threatened Robertson in a North Lambton home about 6.45pm on March 29, according to a statement of agreed facts.

A few moments earlier the pair had smoke amphetamines together and, according to Robertson, he had told Mr Daunt he no longer wanted to supply drugs for him.

Robertson told police Mr Daunt forced him to his knees, kicked him a number of times and was yelling threats at him with the gun pointed at his face when Robertson grabbed a hammer from an open tool box and swung it at Mr Daunt.

He told police he knocked Mr Daunt’s hands out of the way before striking him in the temple with the hammer.

Mr Daunt fell on his back and Robertson jumped on top of him, striking him at least two more times in the head with the hammer “because he was so angry”.

Robertson said he then went to choke Mr Daunt, but realised he was dead.

SEARCH: Police scouring the side of George Booth Drive at Seahampton in June, 2016, after human remains were discovered. Picture: Marina Neil

Robertson, 34, of Cameron Park, appeared in Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday via audio visual link from the Mid North Coast Correctional Centre where his legal representative, Public Defender Peter Krisenthal, entered a guilty plea to a charge of manslaughter “on the basis of excessive self defence” after a murder was charge was withdrawn.

It has been more than two years since Mr Daunt, a popular builder living in Gateshead, was first reported missing and 12 months since Robertson confessed to the killing and led police to his body on the side of George Booth Drive at Seahampton.

Robertson had covered his tracks, even sending text messages to Mr Daunt’s parents purporting to be their son; first suggesting he was contemplating suicide and then saying he was fleeing to Perth because someone was after him.

A statement of agreed facts, tendered in Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday, outline a complicated and often strained relationship between Mr Daunt and Robertson.

They met about six years ago through a mutual friend and, according to Robertson, Mr Daunt began supplying him with amphetamine and ecstasy.

According to Robertson, there was an altercation between the pair about three weeks before Mr Daunt was killed.

They were at Robertson’s house when Mr Daunt accused Robertson of being a police officer and demanded proof he wasn’t.

Robertson said he showed Mr Daunt a number of parking fines which appeared to placate him.

It was at that time, according to Robertson, that Mr Daunt first showed him the semi-automatic pistol in the waistband of his pants.

On the day he died, Mr Daunt was supposed to head to Sydney to supply two people with drugs.

But first he had to stop by Robertson’s house to make a collection.

Robertson gave him $1800 and the pair smoke amphetamines on the verandah of Robertson’s North Lambton home.

Robertson says he told Mr Daunt he no longer wanted to supply drugs and Mr Daunt became agitated and again accused him of being a police officer.

They went inside for a while and, according to Robertson,repeated the process; they went outside, smokedamphetamines and Robertson told Mr Daunt he was out of the drug business.

At 6.42pm, Mr Daunt received a phone call about the drug deal in Sydney.

He hung up, went outside to his car and returned to the house “highly agitated”, Robertson later told police.

What happened next; the gun, the threats, the hammer, all comes from Robertson.

He was the only other person in the house.

After he killed Mr Daunt, Robertson told police he wrapped his body in a tent, took his wallet and placed the firearm and hammer in a towel.

He cleaned the blood from the house, moved Mr Daunt’s car and later drove his body to bushland at Seahampton, returning the next three nights to throw dirt and dry concrete over it.

Robertson will appear in Newcastle District Court on July 27 to get a date for sentence.

He faces a maximum of 25 years in jail.

This, according to his killer Christopher Robertson, is what Mr Daunt said.