Life's Roller Coaster

If I'm missing, or not taking messages sorry – I'm more angry about letting my friends down than YOU will ever be at being let down! Unfortunately that is sometimes a side effect of Cancer! Mea Culpa: may I blame being short fused & grumpy on it too! My first symptoms presented in Nov-1998 – Follow The Trail on >DIARY of CANCER< Immediately Below!

Some additional Links With Coping & Beating Cancer At Heart …

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Some additional Links With Coping & Beating Cancer At Heart …
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Posted by:

Greg Lance – Watkins

Greg_L-W

eMail: Greg_L-W@BTconnect.com

https://InfoWebSiteUK.wordpress.com

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Hi,
.

Hello there,

My sister’s breast cancer diagnosis came when she was only 23 and shook my entire family to its core. I’m endlessly grateful that my sister was able to conquer her disease, but I think a lot about how lucky she was. Not everyone is as fortunate, and many don’t realize how real the risk of cancer is. This has been something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, since our family’s annual summer vacation is on the horizon.

In her honor, I wanted to pass along some really important cancer and terminal illness resources that would fit great here: https://greglw.com/cancer-links/ . I hope they’ll ease the minds of anyone going through a difficult time due to a cancer diagnosis.

 

9 Proven Ways to Reduce Your Cancer Risk

 

Asbestos: What You Need to Know When Buying, Selling or Remodeling

 

Creative play: Helping children cope with cancer

 

A Sobering Diagnosis: Coping With a Terminal Illness Diagnosis as a Recovering Addict

 

17 Simple Ways to Prevent Air Pollution in Your Home

 

Asbestos, Mold and Other Toxins

 

The health hazards of sitting

 

I appreciate your time and all you do to promote awareness and offer support.

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Katybeth

 

Katybeth Dee

http://selfexam.org/

340 S Lemon Ave #5780 | Walnut, CA | 91789

Regards,

Greg_L-W.

 

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Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
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IF You, Like I, Have A Garden – Its Odds On You Have Used Glyphosate …

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IF You, Like I, Have A Garden – Its Odds On You Have Used Glyphosate  …
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Posted by:

Greg Lance – Watkins
Greg_L-W

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Cancer agency left in the dark over glyphosate evidence

The World Health Organization’s cancer agency says a common weedkiller is “probably carcinogenic.” The scientist leading that review knew of fresh data showing no cancer link – but he never mentioned it and the agency did not take it into account.

Filed June 14, 2017, 1:05 p.m. GMT

LONDON – When Aaron Blair sat down to chair a week-long meeting of 17 specialists at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France in March 2015, there was something he wasn’t telling them.

The epidemiologist from the U.S. National Cancer Institute had seen important unpublished scientific data relating directly to a key question the IARC specialists were about to consider: Whether research shows that the weedkiller glyphosate, a key ingredient in Monsanto’s best-selling RoundUp brand, causes cancer.

Previously unreported court documents reviewed by Reuters from an ongoing U.S. legal case against Monsanto show that Blair knew the unpublished research found no evidence of a link between glyphosate and cancer. In a sworn deposition given in March this year in connection with the case, Blair also said the data would have altered IARC’s analysis. He said it would have made it less likely that glyphosate would meet the agency’s criteria for being classed as “probably carcinogenic.”

But IARC, a semi-autonomous part of the World Health Organization, never got to consider the data. The agency’s rules on assessing substances for carcinogenicity say it can consider only published research – and this new data, which came from a large American study on which Blair was a senior researcher, had not been published.

The lack of publication has sparked debate and contention. A leading U.S. epidemiologist and a leading UK statistician – both independent of Monsanto – told Reuters the data was strong and relevant and they could see no reason why it had not surfaced.

Monsanto told Reuters that the fresh data on glyphosate could and should have been published in time to be considered by IARC, and that the failure to publish it undermined IARC’s classification of glyphosate. The legal case against Monsanto, taking place in California, involves 184 individual plaintiffs who cite the IARC assessment and claim exposure to RoundUp gave them cancer. They allege Monsanto failed to warn consumers of the risks. Monsanto denies the allegations.

The company also goes beyond saying the fresh data should have been published. It told Reuters the data was deliberately concealed by Blair, but provided no specific evidence of it being hidden.

Blair told Reuters the data, which was available two years before IARC assessed glyphosate, was not published in time because there was too much to fit into one scientific paper. Asked whether he deliberately did not publish it to avoid it being considered by IARC, he said that was “absolutely incorrect.” He said a decision not to publish the glyphosate data had been taken “several months” before IARC chose to conduct a review of the chemical.

The National Cancer Institute also cited “space constraints” as the reasons why the new data on glyphosate was not published.

SENIOR SCIENTIST: Aaron Blair, a retired epidemiologist, led the review of several pesticides, including glyphosate, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015. CREDIT: National Cancer Institute/Bill Branson/Handout via Reuters

The absence of the data from IARC’s assessment was important. IARC ended its meeting in 2015 by concluding that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.” It based its finding on “limited evidence” of carcinogenicity in humans and “sufficient evidence” in experimental animals. It said, among other things, that there was a “positive association” between glyphosate and blood cancers called non-Hodgkin lymphoma. IARC told Reuters that, despite the existence of fresh data about glyphosate, it was sticking with its findings.

The agency’s assessment is at odds with other international regulators who have said the weedkiller is not a carcinogenic risk to humans. It led to a delay in Europe on a decision on whether to re-license or ban EU-wide sales of pesticides containing glyphosate. That decision is still pending. In the meantime, some countries have tightened restrictions on the weedkiller’s use in private gardens and public spaces and on crops before harvest.

In the United States, a California judge took the IARC assessment into account in a separate legal case in March when ruling that the state can require RoundUp to carry a warning label that it may cause cancer. Monsanto is now facing further litigation from hundreds of plaintiffs across the United States who say glyphosate gave them or their loved ones non-Hodgkin lymphoma, citing the IARC assessment as part of their claims.

Yet if the IARC panel experts had been in a position to take into account Blair’s fresh data, IARC’s analysis of the evidence on glyphosate would have been different, Blair acknowledged in the court documents reviewed by Reuters.

The unpublished research came from the Agricultural Health Study, a large and significant study, led by scientists at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, of agricultural workers and their families in the United States. Asked by Monsanto lawyers in March whether the unpublished data showed “no evidence of an association” between exposure to glyphosate and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Blair replied: “Correct.”

Asked in the same deposition whether IARC’s review of glyphosate would have been different if the missing data had been included, Blair again said: “Correct.”  Lawyers had put to him that the addition of the missing data would have “driven the meta-relative risk downward,” and Blair agreed.

Scott Partridge, Monsanto’s vice president of strategy, told Reuters the IARC glyphosate review “ignored multiple years of additional data from the largest and most comprehensive study on farmer exposure to pesticides and cancer.”  

“We decided to remove it because … you couldn’t put it all in one paper.”

Aaron Blair, former epidemiologist at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, explaining why new data on glyphosate and cancer was not published

The Agricultural Health Study was particularly pertinent, he said, because it examined real-life human exposure to glyphosate, whereas much of the scientific research IARC analysed involved laboratory tests on rodents.

IARC told Reuters that its evaluations follow strict scientific criteria and that its carcinogen classification system “is recognised and used as a reference all around the world.” It reiterated that in the interests of transparency it considers only published data.

Reuters asked two independent statistical experts to review the data, which has still not been published, though the National Cancer Institute told Reuters researchers are currently working on an updated analysis of it. Neither of the two experts had seen the data before and both said they had no conflict of interest over glyphosate.

David Spiegelhalter, a professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at Britain’s University of Cambridge, said there was “no apparent scientific reason” for not publishing the data. Bob Tarone, a retired statistician who worked alongside Blair and others at the National Cancer Institute for 28 years before moving to the for-profit International Epidemiology Institute, said he could find “no ready explanation in terms of the available scientific evidence” for the data not to have been published.

Tarone had already raised the issue in a little-noticed paper in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention last year. He wrote that IARC’s classification of glyphosate as probably carcinogenic to humans was the result of “a flawed and incomplete summary” of the evidence.

In an email to Reuters, IARC declined to say whether Blair informed IARC staff about the unpublished data, whether he should have, and whether that data might have changed IARC’s evaluation of glyphosate had it been published in time. The agency said it had no plans to reconsider its assessment of the chemical.

NON-SELECTIVE HERBICIDE

Glyphosate is what’s known as a non-selective herbicide, meaning it kills most plants. Discovered by the Monsanto chemist John E. Franz in 1970, glyphosate is no longer under patent, is supplied by numerous companies and is now the world’s most widely used weedkiller, deployed in agriculture, forestry and domestic gardening. Monsanto and other companies have developed genetically engineered seeds that can tolerate glyphosate, allowing farmers to apply it to entire fields without destroying crops.

The safety of the chemical has been under scientific and regulatory scrutiny since the 1980s. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other international bodies, including the European Food Safety Authority, Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency, New Zealand’s Environmental Protection Authority and Japan’s Food Safety Commission, have kept it under regular review, and all say glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans.

But it is not settled science, and researchers across the world continue to study glyphosate – measuring traces of it in water and foods, exposing lab rats to it, and monitoring possible health effects in people who have used it year after year in their work.

One of the largest and most highly regarded studies to examine effects of pesticide use in real life is the Agricultural Health Study, a prospective investigation of about 89,000 agricultural workers, farmers and their families in Iowa and North Carolina. Since the early 1990s, it has gathered and analysed detailed information on the health of participants and their families, and their use of pesticides, including glyphosate.

AHS researchers have published numerous studies from their data. One paper looking at glyphosate and possible links with cancers was published in 2005. It concluded that “glyphosate exposure was not associated with cancer incidence overall.” Since then, more data has been collected, adding statistical power to subsequent AHS analyses.

In early 2013, Blair and other researchers began preparing new papers with updated AHS data on lymphoma and pesticides, including data on glyphosate. Reuters reviewed drafts dated February 2013 and March 2013, and asked Spiegelhalter and Tarone to examine them. They said the papers, while still in the editing process, were in relatively advanced manuscript form. The drafts contain notes in the margin and suggested changes signed “AEB,” Blair’s full initials.

After studying the draft papers, Tarone said the unpublished figures show “absolutely no evidence whatsoever” of an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma because of exposure to glyphosate.

Spiegelhalter told Reuters: “In the drafts I saw, none of the herbicides, including glyphosate, showed any evidence of a relation” with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He noted that the study was statistically strong enough to show a relationship for other pesticides – so had there been any link to glyphosate, it should have shown up.

In his legal testimony, Blair also described the Agricultural Health Study as “powerful” and agreed the data showed no link.

But these draft papers were never published, even though Blair told Monsanto’s lawyers in March that the Agricultural Health Study was robust and statistically well-powered, and told Reuters the research was important for science and the public. Email exchanges between Blair and his fellow researchers in 2014 also show they were keenly aware there would be scientific and public interest in fresh AHS data.

On February 28, 2014, Michael Alavanja, a co-lead author of one of the draft papers, sent an email to another AHS co-researcher, copying the message to Blair. It noted that the research was “important to science, public health, IARC and EPA” – the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In the same email, Alavanja referred to the findings on non-Hodgkin lymphoma, or NHL. He wrote: “It would be irresponsible if we didn’t seek publication of our NHL manuscript in time to influence IARCs (sic) decision.”

Yet the new AHS data on glyphosate and lymphoma did not surface.

Instead, a revised version of one of the 2013 draft papers prepared by Blair and other researchers appeared in a journal called PLoS One in October 2014. It did not include the data on herbicides, of which glyphosate is one.

This was unusual. Since 2003 AHS researchers had published at least 10 papers using different rounds of updated data to explore possible links between pesticides and specific diseases. And each one included all four pesticide classes: fungicides, fumigants, insecticides and herbicides.

Alavanja was one of the authors of the paper published in PLoS One in 2014. He said he and other authors and senior scientists at the National Cancer Institute decided to remove herbicides from that analysis primarily because of “the issue of statistical power and the need for a comprehensive evaluation of glyphosate and all cancers.”

Blair told Reuters the data on herbicides, including glyphosate, had been removed “to make the paper a more manageable size.” He gave a similar answer to the lawyer acting for Monsanto, who repeatedly asked in the legal deposition why the data was not published. Blair testified that the paper “went through many iterations.” He said he could not recall when the glyphosate data was removed, but “we decided to remove it because … you couldn’t put it all into one paper.”  

Monsanto argues that the data was not published because it showed no link between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The IARC review “ignored multiple years of additional data from the largest and most comprehensive study on farmer exposure to pesticides and cancer.”

Scott Partridge, vice-president of strategy at Monsanto

Tarone said the absence of herbicide data in the published 2014 paper was “inexplicable,” noting that volume of data had not been an issue in any previous published papers. He said updated AHS data and analyses on herbicides “should be published as soon as possible” to allow “a more complete evaluation of the possible association between glyphosate exposure and NHL risk in humans.”

Reuters asked nine other scientists listed as authors on the two draft papers of 2013 why these drafts had never been published. Some were unavailable for comment, and others referred questions to Laura Beane Freeman, who was a co-author on the draft papers and on the 2014 PLoS published study, and is the National Cancer Institute’s current principal investigator of the AHS.

In an email to Reuters, Freeman and a spokesman for the institute said: “After reviewing early drafts of the manuscript, it became clear that it would be impossible to do a thorough evaluation of all major pesticide groupings due to the sheer volume of information that was important to include.”

They said the decision to separate the results for herbicides, including glyphosate, allowed the scientists “to present more thorough evaluations” of the remaining pesticides.  An updated study on glyphosate is under way, Freeman said.

CULTURE CLASH

Despite IARC’s modest size and budget, its monographs – assessments of whether something is a cause of cancer – often catch the eyes and ears of policymakers and the public. Recent IARC monographs have included judgments that red meat is carcinogenic and should be classified alongside arsenic and smoking, and that coffee, which IARC previously said might cause cancer, probably is not carcinogenic.

The agency takes a different approach to many other regulators in two important ways. First, it says it assesses “hazard” – the strength of evidence about whether a substance or activity can cause cancer in any way, whether in a laboratory experiment or elsewhere. It does not assess the “risk” or likelihood of a person getting cancer from everyday exposure to something. Second, in general it only considers research that has been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

IARC considered around 1,000 published studies in its evaluation of glyphosate. But only a handful of those were cohort studies in humans – the kind like the Agricultural Health Study and the most relevant to real-life situations such as people working with glyphosate in agriculture.

The differing judgments on glyphosate by IARC and other regulators have stoked clashes on both sides of the Atlantic.  In the United States members of Congress have launched investigations into American taxpayer funding of IARC. They have yet to reach any conclusions.

In Europe, the battle centres on the looming decision about whether to re-license glyphosate for use in the European Union. The European Commission has said it wants EU member states to come to a decision by the end of 2017. Politicians will need to weigh the opinions of IARC and other scientific bodies when they decide whether or not to accept a Commission proposal to extend glyphosate’s marketing licence by 10 years.

It remains unclear whether the AHS data will see the light of day in time to be considered. Blair said he thought publishing the glyphosate data would be important and that his former colleagues at the NCI were working on it. The NCI’s Freeman said her team is currently “drafting a manuscript on this topic.” She said the new study “will explore the effects of glyphosate exposure in greater depth than a publication that includes multiple pesticides” and would, she hoped, be submitted “to a peer-reviewed journal in the coming months.”

Alavanja said a draft paper “should be available for submission to an appropriate scientific journal sometime later this year,” but that a publication date “is very difficult to predict.”          

Glyphosate battle

By Kate Kelland

Photo editing: Simon Newman

Design: Catherine Tai

Graphic: Ciaran Hughes

Edited by Richard Woods

To view the original article CLICK HERE

Regards,

Greg_L-W.

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Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
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The cancer-sufferer standing against Jeremy Corbyn in his own backyard …

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Posted by:
Greg Lance – Watkins
Greg_L-W

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Hi,

Anna’s article below puts into perspective not just the destruction of life as you may know it but in fact the confrontation of one’s own demise. Her article is wide ranging, very personal and in its way has the fascination that is seen in a rodent when confronted by a hungry snake!

On Rebuilding Your Life When Hit By An Exocet.

They were not, as you might imagine, all fellow patients with physical ailments. Exocets arrive in many forms.

For Mrs Blunt, it arrived in the form of her husband’s gleeful public declaration of his love for his homosexual partner. The media were delighted to report on his new relationship. She was left to rebuild her life with her children. An entirely innocent victim of a life shattering Exocet.

For Mrs Travis, it was the announcement that her husband was being investigated by Operation Yewtree. Mrs Travis had done nothing wrong, yet she lost her home, her peace of mind at a time that she was grappling with breast cancer – and her privacy. Her life would never be the same again.

Other who have been kind enough to make contact with me include a man who has recently been cleared of all charges, a totally innocent individual, yet who must still keep his head below the parapet for fear of further publicity so I shall not mention his name; and Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner who finds time in her busy schedule every day to phone me and keep my spirits up.

That is not to ignore the many good friends I have made whilst running this blog – Gloria Smudd and Blocked Dwarf come to mind in particular, both have given of their time to help me settle into my new home; Andrew Rosthorn, Daedalus Parrot and ‘another’ who shall remain nameless (again with good reason to keep their head below the media parapet)  have given hours of their time to help me stand for election.

It is with those who have found themselves caught up as innocent participants in the whirlwind of false allegations that I feel a particular affinity with. I have a new understanding of what it is like to have your life turned upside down.

My life, their life, can never be the same again. We have done nothing wrong, yet have to accept that there is no road back to our old life – whether it is because, in their case, that the vile accusations will continue to be propagated on an unforgiving internet, their family name forever besmirched; or in my case, that I will never walk again with all the limitations that brings in its wake.

One thing I have quickly learned is to disassociate yourself from those who have a fixed view as to how you should ‘present’ yourself to the public in future.

You have to be true to yourself.

Yet there are many around you only too quick to give you advice as to what you should or shouldn’t be saying, nor how you should be saying it! You can rest assured that my decision to carry on blogging hasn’t gone down well with some people. My decision to ‘go public’ with my story in The Times with James Gillespie and the Mail on Sunday with David Rose in an effort to bring publicity to the issue of people suing the NHS has gone down like a lead balloon in some quarters…..

Fortunately that doesn’t include Mr G who has been a tower of strength for me, not just in terms of what he has had to do for me physically – and I cannot wait to publish the blog post which will carry pictures of the wonderful extension he has built on for me to live in, I am so very proud of what he has done – but he has also supported me mentally; mopping my tears when I have been overwhelmed by self pity, cheering me when I have managed to write a blog post, and, small point, bringing me back photographs of all the little things I can no longer see for myself.

I say ‘small point’ – but have you any idea what a difference it makes to me that he brings back a photograph of what the pub garden looks like now that they have taken down a large tent, rather than merely ‘telling’ me about it? It makes me feel as though I am still part of the wider world.

It was Mr G too, who brought into the hospital that photograph of me at 23, to remind me that that girl was still inside me, even if I could no longer recognise myself in the mirror. (One of the side effects of the massive dose of steroids that I was having at the time, apart from making you talk ten to the dozen in a loud voice, is that they literally change the shape of your jaw and puff out your cheeks, so much so that I nearly screamed the first time I caught sight of myself!)

I have had to get used to the lack of privacy too. I can no longer be alone. There must always be someone with me. No phone call is private. No part of my body is private – I have round the clock care to wash me and dress me. No bodily function is private. That is why it becomes so very important to have some control over some part of my life – and that is where I have some connection with others who have received an Exocet in the backside.

We can’t change the past, can’t change what has happened, but we have control over how we face the future.

Hidden away, licking our wounds; or blazing out in public saying ‘I don’t care what you think, this is the person I am, this is the person I choose to be, this is the person I am – you can either like it or lump it’.

It will come as no surprise to those of you who know me well, to learn that I am choosing the latter path. In fact you could say – the latter path ‘with knobs on’.

As we speak, there are two web experts doing their best to put my blog site back as it was. It can’t be exactly the same, because it will be going on a wordpress.com site rather than a self hosted wordpress.org site and the software is not identical. I’ve chosen not to go the self hosted route this time, because I still have to face the reality that the cancer will kill me at some unspecified time in the future, and if the blog was self hosted, that would mean that it would disappear again.

Thankfully the kind reader who had hosted the archive site is going to host the new site as well, so it will stay up and running when I am gone – it does mean though, that all the comments on all the back posts will disappear. Apparently there is no known piece of software that will scrape both the posts and the comments onto a new WordPress site. Edinburgh University have a full record of all the comments for any serious researchers. I’m just explaining that before someone thinks there is some nefarious reason why there are 0 comments on the old posts.

So, my choice as to how to deal with future is to write; what I want, when I want, how I want. Writing is my window on the world, it allows me to reach out to people from this bed. I hope that you will take the opportunity to comment as well – not just read, for it is that conversation that transports me from this bed into the world that I used to belong to.

A world that was full of people and events and colour.

If you have time – you can make it like that still for me, by telling me of what you have been doing, what you are thinking. I know there were hundreds, nay thousands, of you reading this blog before I closed it in December – if just a few of you take the time to continue that conversation you will be helping me to be part of my old world.

Thank you.

To view the original of this article CLICK HERE

Susanne, who is now 68, has battled her illness, leiomyosarcoma, a rare soft tissue cancer, for six years. After almost killing her several times, it has now attacked her spine, rendering her immobile.

Crushed: Susanne, pictured above in her 20s, was a victim of medical negligence in 1973 when she was given a hysterectomy at the Westminster Hospital when she was admitted for a ¿dilation and curettage¿, a minor operation used to deal with heavy periods 

Crushed: Susanne, pictured above in her 20s,

Perhaps you would like to enjoy the privilege of getting to know Susanne a little better, in her rapidly closing life, however long it will be – see:
https://twitter.com/AnnaRaccoon2017

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

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Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 44 (0)1594 – 528 337
Calls from ‘Number Withheld’ phones Are Blocked

All unanswered messages are recorded.
Leave your name & a UK land line number & I will return your call.

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I try to make every effort to NOT infringe copyrights in any commercial way & make all corrections of fact brought to my attention by an identifiable individual

Please Be Sure To
.Follow Greg_LW on Twitter.

Re-TWEET my Twitterings

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The cancer-sufferer standing against Jeremy Corbyn in his own backyard …

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The cancer-sufferer standing against Jeremy Corbyn in his own backyard …
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Posted by:
Greg Lance – Watkins
Greg_L-W

eMail: Greg_L-W@BTconnect.com

https://InfoWebSiteUK.wordpress.com

www.InfoWebSite.UK

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.

Hi,

The deathbed candidate: The cancer-sufferer standing against Jeremy Corbyn in his own backyard

  • Cancer sufferer Susanne Cameron-Blackie is standing in the General Election
  • The 68-year-old political blogger wants to use her dying days to fight Labour
  • Ms Cameron-Blackie will challenge Jeremy Corbyn for his seat in Islington 

Jeremy Corbyn claims the NHS isn’t safe in Tory hands. But the truth is, it’s not safe under Labour, either. The crisis that is threatening to destroy it gets deeper every day for reasons Corbyn hasn’t started to think about – and that’s why I’m running against him.’

Susanne Cameron-Blackie, better known as the political blogger Anna Raccoon, is speaking in her cottage kitchen, blessed with a stunning view across the Norfolk Broads. She is in a hospital bed, propped up by pillows. It is likely to be her death bed, her last resting place before the cancer that has ravaged her body finally claims her.

Yet it is from here that she will register this week as an independent candidate to fight Corbyn for his parliamentary seat in Islington North.

Defiant: Susanne does not know whether she will survive until Election Day on June 8. But she is determined to use every moment she has left to fight Corbyn 

Defiant: Susanne does not know whether she will survive until Election Day on June 8. But she is determined to use every moment she has left to fight Corbyn 

On a bedside table are some of the drugs keeping at bay the agony caused by the cancer which has spread through much of her body: Fentanyl, a clinical form of heroin, and the animal tranquilliser ketamine. A team of nurses visits every day.

Susanne does not know whether she will survive until Election Day on June 8. But she is determined to use every moment she has left to fight Corbyn.

‘I may be the first parliamentary candidate forced to lie down, rather than stand, for office. But I’m determined to do something useful with what’s left of my life.

‘I’m taking on Corbyn in his political comfort zone. He talks about shaping the future. As things stand, the future for the NHS is to vanish up its own backside because of the money going on lawyers and damages.’

Her campaign is based on the urgent need for sweeping reform of the personal injury legal system, to safeguard the NHS from the crippling and ever-increasing burden of medical negligence lawsuits. 

Last year, NHS Resolution, the body which handles such claims, revealed that cases arising from incidents up to the middle of 2016 are set to soak up a staggering £56 billion in lawyers’ fees and damages by the time they are settled – half NHS England’s annual budget.

Susanne, 68, has battled her illness, leiomyosarcoma, a rare soft tissue cancer, for six years. After almost killing her several times, it has now attacked her spine, rendering her immobile.

Crushed: Susanne, pictured above in her 20s, was a victim of medical negligence in 1973 when she was given a hysterectomy at the Westminster Hospital when she was admitted for a ¿dilation and curettage¿, a minor operation used to deal with heavy periods 

Crushed: Susanne, pictured above in her 20s, was a victim of medical negligence in 1973 when she was given a hysterectomy at the Westminster Hospital when she was admitted for a ‘dilation and curettage’, a minor operation used to deal with heavy periods 

But she shows no sign of giving up. ‘No politician has ever tackled this issue, least of all Corbyn,’ she says. ‘All Labour talks about is the amount of money going in through the NHS’s front door – ignoring the haemorrhaging out the back.’

Just how pressing the issue is was brought home to Susanne last month. After spending days in the cancer high-dependency unit at the Norwich and Norfolk Hospital, she had been prescribed the Fentanyl and ketamine, but an error by a nurse meant she was given a tiny dose of a much weaker drug – a prescription meant for another patient.

She shudders at the memory. ‘I can’t even begin to describe the pain I was in,’ she says. ‘It was a descent into hell.’ No wonder: a scan revealed that the erosion of one of her vertebrae had left her spinal cord exposed.

But for Susanne, worse was to come. ‘Excruciating as it was, the mistake was recognised and put right. But afterwards, I had a visit from someone in the hospital’s legal department. She wanted to know if had I engaged a lawyer, and was I planning to sue?

‘I was flabbergasted. Why? What would be the point? I know why the mistake was made: because the nurses in that unit are rushed off their feet. If I were to sue, the only thing that would change would be my husband’s bank account in several years, long after I’m gone.

Susanne will be challenging Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in next month's General Election

Susanne will be challenging Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in next month’s General Election

‘If I sued, I would be taking away yet more money from the NHS, so making it more likely that a future patient would endure a similar ordeal. This is the point Corbyn and Labour don’t get. They say they are socialists, yet they’re doing nothing about a system which treats the NHS as if it were a manufacturer making faulty products, instead of a provider of a vital social good.’

It wasn’t the first time Susanne had become a victim of medical negligence. In 1973, for reasons never explained, she was given a hysterectomy at the Westminster Hospital when she was admitted for a ‘dilation and curettage’, a minor operation used to deal with heavy periods.

‘I was only 23 – it left me psychologically crushed. Yet 45 years ago, people didn’t think of suing the NHS. One thing I do know is money would have made no difference. I picked myself up and moved on.’

It was not until she was in her 50s that she went to Aberystwyth University and obtained a double first in law. But by this time, she had spent years working for the Lord Chancellor’s department as an investigator for the Court of Protection, the tribunal which decides when people cannot administer their affairs through physical or mental incapacity.

‘As I thought about what had happened at the Norwich and Norfolk, I realised that through my work, I had witnessed some of the system’s worst abuses – in cases where incapacitated people were suing for medical negligence and getting enormous settlements. Then Mrs May announced the Election. I knew this was my chance.’

Among the most crucial reforms, she says, is the repeal of a 1948 law which means, bizarrely, that when patients sue the NHS, their damages are calculated on the basis they will pay for private healthcare for the rest of their lives – even though many will continue to be treated in the public sector, at public cost.

‘I saw this time and again,’ Susanne says. ‘Someone would get a huge settlement, but not fork out a penny on care. Meanwhile big awards, running into millions, are assessed on the basis that the beneficiary will live for several decades. But if they die a few years later, nothing goes back to the NHS. They can leave it to their relatives or a dogs’ home. This has to change.’

However, the biggest change she wants is more fundamental: an end to the legal lottery that means two patients with identical needs will be treated differently – one receiving millions, and the other nothing. ‘Take, for example, a cerebral palsy patient. The case will probably come down to something in the medical notes that a lawyer can argue means the midwife was absent for 19 minutes. These claims aren’t based on need, but on a narrow, legal definition of fault.

‘So they drag on for years. And it means a doctor or a hospital can never say sorry, which is all many patients want – because to do so will mean admitting liability.’

The last time the Government appointed a commission to examine this situation in 1978, it recommended a ‘no fault’ system be investigated.

Tomorrow, armed with the necessary ten local resident signatures and a campaign address in Mr Corbyn’s constituency, Susanne’s candidacy will be registered with the returning officer.

‘Just imagine: if some of the billions going to law firms and left legacies could be put into patient care, what a difference that would make. I will fight to my dying breath to make people – including Jeremy Corbyn – recognise this fact.’

To view the original article CLICK HERE
As I have known and followed Susanne Cameron-Blackie for a number of years and colluded on certain issues, particularly in her personna of Anna Raccoon, a link to her site can be found on CLICK HERE
I totally endorse her sentiments regarding suing the NHS, having refused to sue for considerable damage done to me during my nephrectomy and subsequently, damage that has given me both disability and pain every day since the operation in Sep-2001!
Every penny piece I might have been paid by way of compensation would have been money denied to other patients for their medical treatment, not to mention the obscene percentage that would have vanished in costs and fees!
I whole heartedly endorse Susanne’s stance and would commend to you her heartfelt and selfless essay on the subject CLICK HERE
Think of Susanne and join with me in wishing her a pain free final journey, having fulfilled so many challenges, acting ethically and with courage to the end in a reflection of her style through her lifetime. When the time comes I will miss her humour and the razor sharp ethical manner she always had to cut to the chase – I do so hope she will continue to out live both the odds and predictions, with her usual stoic determination, for a prolongued period until it suits her to avoid the risk of further pain and indignity.
Long before her diagnosis with cancer I never really thanked her for her compassion and encouragement in my battle with cancer, that most penicious and unwelcome visitation on ones body, life and loved ones.
Perhaps you would like to enjoy the privilege of getting to know Susanne a little better, in her rapidly closing life, however long it will be – see:
https://twitter.com/AnnaRaccoon2017

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

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Hi,

Cancer sufferer urges patients to stop suing NHS

Susanne Cameron-Blackie: ‘the NHS provides all you need without a penny going to lawyers’ALBAN DONOHOE/ALBANPIX

A woman dying of cancer has started a campaign to curb the compensation culture in the NHS despite suffering two cases of medical negligence herself.

Susanne Cameron-Blackie, 68, from Norfolk, has been given three months to live after being diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma, a soft tissue cancer, six years ago. It has spread through her body, leaving her virtually paralysed.

She is determined to spend her final weeks battling to cut the spiralling costs of litigation against the NHS. Last year, settlements and costs took £1.5bn out of the NHS budget.

NHS Resolution (formerly known as the NHS Litigation Authority) estimates that £56bn could be needed to deal with all cases arising from failures and mistakes made up to March 2016.

“That is the equivalent of half the annual budget of the NHS,” said Cameron-Blackie. She suffered in her early twenties when her womb was removed without permission as she was undergoing a dilation and curettage procedure. During recent treatment she was given another patient’s medication, leaving her in agony.

“But I didn’t sue,” Cameron-Blackie said. “The money from the original operation would have made no difference, I just got on with my life. The second time, I would not have got anything — the money would have gone to my husband in a few years’ time. What good would that do?

“Even the valid claims where somebody gets £6m and it’s entirely justified, that money goes into the court of protection and all their needs are met by the NHS.

“It is whether there is a fault that matters. If you can’t prove a fault, then you can have a patient with exactly the same damage, exactly the same needs and they are met in exactly the same way, but there is no payout.”

Cameron-Blackie, who formerly worked for the lord chancellor’s office, has returned home after her latest hospital treatment. The NHS has installed a bed and oxygen in her home on the Norfolk Broads.

“When the chips are down and you are left like this, the NHS provides everything and more that you need without a penny piece going anywhere near lawyers,” she said.

Cameron-Blackie is likely to find widespread support for her campaign.

Rob Hendry, medical director at the Medical Protection Society, which represents healthcare professionals, said: “A package of legal reforms is required to control the spiralling cost of clinical negligence, including a fixed cap on the legal fees that can be charged.”

A spokesman for NHS Resolution said it aimed to settle claims fairly and quickly. “We also have a responsibility to defend unjustified claims robustly. We received 10,965 new clinical negligence claims in 2015-16 [and] resolved 4,935 (46%) of clinical negligence claims without the payment of damages.”

10 comments
 
Ralph Naderbolsinmattu 6 days ago

 
 

The NHS Litigation Authority lost 76% of cases it contested in court, causing distress and pain to thousands of patients damaged by negligence.

 
PlatoSays 9 days ago

 
 

For those who’ve enjoyed the Anna Raccoon blog and twitter account over a decade or more.

A superb lady with a remarkable life story.

 
Kate Catleugh 9 days ago

 
 

There is a toxic chicken and egg situation here. Of course a cash-strapped NHS should not be paying enormous damages that result from expensive legal claims.  As things are now, the NHS very often will try and deny/defend/obfuscate to avoid the legal consequences of its actions. This of course not only escalates the costs but also prevents the lessons which should be learned from such errors to be learned.

If the NHS provides the remedies or reliefs needed as a consequence of it’s actions without charge anyway,  how much more rapidly, cleanly and efficiently this could happen if faults were admitted and rectified, as far as possible.  Where loss of life or hurt feelings are concerned,  surely an honest admission, a lesson truly learned and a prompt and sincere apology is far more appropriate than a long drawn out legal case and punitive financial damages awarded against the organisation least able to afford it without further jeopardising it’s ability to deliver for other patients.

 
Nick Simpson 9 days ago

 
 

My missus is a lawyer who spends her working week suing the NHS.  Go on, hate me.

Her typical client is a five year old with brain damage caused by an accident at birth.  By accident I mean a toxic combination of incompetence and stupidity. 

If such children die, compensation is minimal to non-existent.  The kids who really cost the NHS money are the ones that live, because they can live for decades unable to speak, walk, talk, feed themselves or wipe their own backside, let alone go to the shops or earn a living.  Someone has to look after them; and looking after them properly costs a lot of money.

The idea that the NHS treats everyone whose life chances are ruined in this way is absolute rubbish.  It doesn’t.

Legal Aid is no longer available for Clinical Negligence cases.  Lawyers must take such cases on contingency fee arrangements (No Win, No Fee).  That means lawyers like Mrs VoP have to decide very carefully which cases stand a reasonable chance of succeeding at trial.  She turns many down, because the alternative is to do a lot of work for nothing and unfairly raise the hopes of families.  Lawyers who push weak cases swiftly find out the consequences.

Yes, it’s true that Clin Neg lawyers are well paid (although not as well remunerated as doctors, whose average pensions are in the region of £50,000).  But the NHS could save enormous insurance fees by putting its own house in order.  Firstly, it could train its midwives properly (a common cause of negligence is that midwives are slow to grasp that a delivery might be in some way out of the ordinary).  Secondly, it could change the culture of defensiveness whereby doctors lie, cover each other’s backs and even alter medical notes in an attempt to avoid blame.  Thirdly, it could try making an early assessment of each allegation of negligence – Mrs VoP reports that again and again Trusts reject claims until a late stage of the procedure (presumably because to do so costs money and would involve medical staff being confronted with their mistakes), by which time the Claimants lawyers have spent tens of thousands which NHS insurers end up having to pay.

The reality is that, in an era where massive NHS failures are routine news items (a major one only last week), the fear of litigation exerts a powerful pressure on Trusts to raise standards.  Get rid of that if you like.  But don’t complain when clinical standards fall.

And by the way, no-fault insurance for medical accidents has been tried in other countries.  And abandoned as too expensive.

 
CM 9 days ago

 
 

Why in early can’t doctors and nurses be required to purchase their own insurance so insurance companies cover the costs? Do we even require this of our vastly over paid locums? It really is time to get rid of the vast state monolith and move to the perfect competition of multiple private suppliers paid by health insurance to drive up standards. I’d happily spend more on healthcare like they do in France if I knew the money followed the patient instead of creating loads of pointless back office non jobs for labour voters. The NHS is third world healthcare. No one who actually uses it regularly thinks it’s great except our many third world health tourists who really do get it for free, unlike the taxpayer, who pays over the odds for a third world service. I want healthcare as good as France’s or Germany’s. That means choosing and copying one of the several superior continental models. Get on with it.

Bobo08 9 days ago

 
 

@CM Insurance is business model that generates profit from premiums. So if doctors etc had to buy their own cover, then they’d ask for more pay to do so and the cost would actually increase. By self insuring, the NHS is saving money. It is as the article demonstrates, the ‘somebody must pay culture’ that drives these claims. My own wish would be that mistakes are recognised, lessons are learnt and corrections made to the process. 

Bryan Attewell 9 days ago

 
 

This lady deserves great credit for her stance on compensation culture. 

While there are no doubt some deserving cases, people in genuine need of financial support due to an error, too often this is seen as a route to easy money with cynical legal professionals stoking the fire. 

 
stella hollis 9 days ago

 
 

It is the level of damages which is the problem not the nmber of cases. Actual provable loss is no longer the yardstick. Huge damages are awarded for people’s feelings and the like. Future loss is assessed and handed over and not repaid if the recipient dies. And this extends as a problem far beyond the NHS to the military and insurance and everyday purchases. And it is all the time being encouraged by adverts on television .

To view the original article CLICK HERE
As I have known and followed Susanne Cameron-Blackie for a number of years and colluded on certain issues, particularly in her personna of Anna Raccoon, a link to her site can be found on CLICK HERE
I totally endorse her sentiments regarding suing the NHS, having refused to sue for considerable damage done to me during my nephrectomy and subsequently, damage that has given me both disability and pain every day since the operation in Sep-2001!
Every penny piece I might have been paid by way of compensation would have been money denied to other patients for their medical treatment, not to mention the obscene percentage that would have vanished in costs and fees!
I whole heartedly endorse Susanne’s stance and would commend to you her heartfelt and selfless essay on the subject CLICK HERE
Think of Susanne and join with me in wishing her a pain free final journey having fulfilled so many challenges, acting ethically and with courage to the end in a reflection of her style through her lifetime. When the time comes I will miss her humour and the razor sharp ethical manner she always had to cut to the chase – I do so hope she will continue to out live both the odds and predictions, with her usual stoic determination, for a prolongued period until it suits her to avoid the risk of further pain and indignity.
Long before her diagnosis with cancer I never really thanked her for her compassion and encouragement in my battle with cancer, that most penicious and unwelcome visitation on ones body, life and loved ones.

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

~~~~~~~~~~#########~~~~~~~~~~
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 44 (0)1594 – 528 337
Calls from ‘Number Withheld’ phones Are Blocked

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