Saturday, July 04, 2009

Protective father saved daughter from lung cancer after NHS doctors sent her home with antibiotics

Grateful Laura Hicks has every reason to listen to her father. When the twenty-year-old developed breathlessness and persistent coughing three years ago, her doctor said she had asthma and sent her home with antibiotics. But concerned father Stan Hicks refused to accept the diagnosis.

The osteopath sent his daughter back to the clinic with a letter insisting that she receive an X-ray. The scan revealed a tumour taking up two-thirds of her right lung. Miss Hicks, now aged 20, underwent six months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy to shrink the tumour which was then removed along with her lung and two ribs in 2007. Miss Hicks, from Midsomer Norton, in Somerset, is now cancer free.

‘There was something in the back of my mind that it was more serious, but I had so many things on at the time I ignored it because the doctor's diagnosis seemed logical,’ she said. ‘I was lucky that my doctor actually listened. You have to think that GPs see so many patients a day, and my dad sees me every day so he could tell things weren't right. ‘I wasn't shocked when they told me it was cancer as I suppose subconsciously I was prepared for it, but it has put things into perspective. ‘I listen to my dad more now, well on some things anyway.’

Miss Hicks was unable to sit her A-level exams while undergoing treatment but has now completed a foundation access course in economics and hopes to go to the University of Bath to study economics. ‘I can't walk very far and I am more prone to chest infections so I have to look after myself, but I did the Race for Life a few weeks ago,’ she said.

Mr Hicks, who is also an animal osteopath, said his medical knowledge and instinct made him question Laura's initial diagnosis. ‘There were certain symptoms that she had that concerned me and in my letter I mentioned a type of cancer that was not too far off what she was diagnosed with,’ he said. ‘Doctors have to work on percentages to some extent, and make a judgment on the likelihood that someone of Laura's age would have lung cancer because there was no reason for it.

‘The lesson here is not to be too complacent about persistent symptoms, people tend to ignore things but if the symptoms are maintained there is probably a reason for it.’


Pre-nups finally recognized in Britain

British courts are so "generous" to women that marriages there are sometimes compared to prostitution -- so a pre-nup is about the only protection a husband has got against a predatory woman. What, for instance, caused Heather Mills to deserve £24.3 million after 4 years of marriage to Paul McCartney?

One of Germany's richest women won a British court case on Thursday upholding a pre-nuptial agreement that denies her ex-husband a slice of her fortune, in a ruling hailed as ground-breaking. Katrin Radmacher, 39, a paper industry heiress, and Nicolas Granatino signed the agreement in Germany before marrying in London in 1998 that stipulated they would not claim money from each other if they split.

A court last year awarded Frenchman Granatino 5.6 million pounds ($11.39 million) of her 100 million pound ($A203.5 million) fortune after they divorced in 2006 despite the agreement. Radmacher asked the Court of Appeal to overturn the ruling on the basis of the agreement, which was recognised in France and Germany but had not been legally binding in Britain.

In backing the pre-nuptial agreement on Thursday, Lord Justice Matthew Thorpe, one of three judges hearing the case, said courts should give "due weight" to such agreements when deciding future cases about dividing assets. He said he believed it had become "increasingly unrealistic" to regard such contracts as void.

The court also cut the earlier figure awarded to Granatino to about one million pounds as a lump sum, in lieu of maintenance. He will also receive a 2.5 million pound fund for a house to be returned to Radmacher when the youngest of their two daughters, who is now six, turns 22.

Radmacher said she was delighted with the decision, saying she and her ex-husband had made a promise about their financial arrangements, which had been broken when they split. "I am delighted that the court accepts that the agreement Nicolas and I entered into as intelligent adults before our marriage should be honoured," she said in a statement. "Ultimately, this case has been about what I regard as a broken promise. "The arrangements the court has ordered will enable our daughters to live comfortably when they are with their father, and that is the way it should be. "Nicolas and I made each other a promise and all I have been asking is that he be kept to it."

The couple's marriage reportedly floundered after Granatino, 37, gave up a lucrative job in the finance industry to become a low-paid biotechnology researcher at Oxford University.

Radmacher's solicitor hailed the ruling as a legal milestone, saying the court had recognised that such agreements made by couples were decisive in Britain. "Now, in a landmark judgment, three of the most highly-respected judges in the land have ruled that pre-nups can be decisive in determining the financial division on divorce," solicitor Ayesha Vardag said. "From today grown-ups can agree in the best of times what will happen in the worst of times."

The High Court ruled last year that it would be "manifestly unfair" to hold Granatino to the pre-nuptial agreement. The court also said then that the arrival of the couple's children had "so changed the landscape" that the pre-nuptial agreement should be set aside. But lawyers for Radmacher argued in the Court of Appeal that the freedom to agree a contract was "at the heart of all modern commercial and legal systems."

Radmacher had earlier agreed to pay off her former husband's debts of about 700,000 pounds ($1.42 million).


Everything is bent to promote global warming -- even the size of sheep

Crazy stuff. Why? 1). Since there has been no global warming for 10 of the 24 years concerned, the explanation given fails its most basic assumption. More likely is that some imported pest has reduced the amount of forage available and that factor enhances the survival of smaller animals. 2). Most sheep in Australia run wild and do so in much warmer climates than St. Kilda -- and they are generally big healthy animals. By the logic below they should all be the size of Chihuahuas

CLIMATE change has caused a flock of wild sheep on a remote northern Scottish island to become smaller, according to an unusual investigation published on Thursday. The study explains a mystery that has bedevilled scientists for the past two years.

The wild Soay sheep live on Hirta, in the St. Kilda archipelago in the storm-battered Outer Hebrides, and have been closely studied for nearly a quarter of a century. The law of evolutionary theory says the brown, thick-coated ungulates should have got progressively bigger. Tough winters mean that bigger sheep have a better chance of survival and of reproducing than smaller ones, and eventually they would dominate in the flock's numbers. But in 2007, stunned researchers realised that the average size of the Hirta sheep, instead of rising, had been progressively falling.

The answer, British biologists said on Thursday, lies in climate change. A team led by Tim Coulson, a professor at Imperial College London, pored over data for the animals' body size and life history over 24 years. They found that the sheep were not growing as fast as they once did and smaller sheep were likelier to survive into adulthood instead of perishing as lambs. This gives smaller sheep a shot at reproduction, which means that the average sheep size has fallen - by 81gram per year on average.

Coulson believes that shorter, milder winters mean that lambs do not need to put on as much weight in the first months of life in order to survive to their first birthday, as they did when winters were colder. “In the past, only the big, healthy sheep and large lambs that had piled on weight in their first summer could survive the harsh winters on Hirta,” he said. “But now, due to climate change, grass for food is available for more months of the year and survival conditions are not so challenging - even the slower-growing sheep have a chance of making it, and this means smaller individuals are becoming increasingly prevalent in the population.”

Another factor in the sheep shrinkage is a so-called “young mum effect.” Ewes that give birth earlier tend to produce smaller sheep, thus adding to the smaller average size.

Man-made climate change is already having an impact on species in terms of habitat and migratory patterns. But scientists say it is hard to predict which will be winners and losers from the change, partly because of the complexity of separating out evolutionary pressures from environmental factors.

The new study, published in the US journal Science, could help, said Coulson. “Biologists have realised that ecological and evolutionary processes are intricately intertwined, and they now have a way of dissecting out the contribution of each,” he said. “Unfortunately, it is too early to tell whether a warming world will lead to pocket-sized sheep.”


British council forced to drop fraud case against mother who 'cheated' to get son in school

Another episode in the battle parents in Britain have to get their kids into a safe school. Sending your kids to a school where other students (particularly blacks) arrive armed with guns and knives (and even machine pistols in some cases) is something most British parents go to great lengths to avoid. But the Leftist British authorities, with their usual hatred of success in others, do their best to force middle-class kids into sink schools. They send their own kids to private schools, of course

A mother accused of using a false address to get her son into a popular state school has escaped prosecution because of a legal loophole, the council who brought the unprecedented case against her said today. Mrinal Patel, 41, applied for a place for her five-year-old son Rhys at Pinner Park First School in Harrow, north London in January last year. She claimed on the form that she lived within walking distance of the school but after she was offered a place Harrow Council discovered that the address she submitted did not match that on her tax records.

Mrs Patel was due to appear in court next week but Harrow Council has dropped their case against her because they were unsure the Fraud Act 2006 would cover school admissions cases. Councillor David Ashton, leader of Harrow Council, said there seemed to be “a loophole” and they had withdrawn their action to avoid potentially hefty legal costs. “While we stand by the substance of our case, subsequent legal advice is that technical legal arguments over the interpretation of the Act could pose a risk to the success of the action,” he said.

The case will cast doubt on the power of councils to tackle the rising number of parents who cheat on their school admissions form to get their children into the best schools. "The difficulty is that there is no clear law of what sanction applies if parents puts false information on their application form,” Mr Ashton said.

Mrs Patel said she was relieved the council had dropped the case. “It’s been an extremely difficult ordeal and I’m happy to put the matter behind me,” she said. “I have from the outset denied the allegations and the council’s unconditional withdrawal of the proceedings confirms my innocence.” Mrs Patel said that when she made the application, she had been living at her mother’s address, within the school’s catchment area. She claims she was separated from her husband and had no intention of going back to her matrimonial home which is further away – but changed her mind four weeks later.

She acknowledged that she had wrongly stated on the application form that she had been living at her mother’s address for 14 years but said she had been under a lot of pressure at the time. "I still don't feel I have done anything wrong," Mrs Patel told Radio 4's Today programme. "My biggest mistake was that I didn't tell the council I had moved out [of her mother's flat] when I did. "When they rang to check with me and asked if I was still living there, I said no. “I totally understand how it may appear. I explained that to the council, I gave them my full circumstances. I was totally honest and truthful about them,” she said.

The school received 411 applications for 90 places available in September 2008. The council says it allocated places to children living closest to the school, up to a maximum distance of 0.685 miles.

Mr Ashton said; “This case was never about persecuting mothers who wish to do the best for their children. It was about defending the integrity of the school system against those who might seek to flout it. “We always seek to resolve issues over school admission by dialogue. However, we will continue to consider court action as a last resort when all other avenues have been exhausted.”


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