Tuesday, August 29, 2017

German Nurse Found to Have Murdered At least 90 Patients During His Practice!

Police say they have found evidence that Niels Högel, who was jailed for killing two patients, murdered more with lethal drug.
Niels Hoegel appearing on court. Photo credit Bild

At least 90 people were killed at the hands of a German nurse who injected patients with cardiovascular medication in order to show off his resuscitation skills, a three-year police investigation has found.
Niels Högel, 40, was jailed for life in February 2015 for two murders and several attempted murders of intensive care patients at Delmenhorst hospital in northern Germany.
But police have found evidence of another 88 murders after analysing scores of patient files and exhuming more than 130 bodies in Germany, Poland and Turkey, starting during his employment at another hospital and continuing after he was caught in the act by a colleague.

Since several of Högel’s patients were cremated, police said the real figure could be higher.
“The death toll is unique in the history of the German republic,” said the chief police investigator, Arne Schmidt, adding that Högel had killed randomly and preyed on those in a critical condition.
There was “evidence for at least 90 murders, and at least as many [suspected] cases again that can no longer be proven”, he told a press conference, declaring himself “speechless” at the outcome.
Police believe that the man whom the Bild newspaper is calling “Germany’s worst serial killer” carried out his first murder in February 2000, when he was still employed at a clinic in Oldenburg in Lower Saxony, close to the Dutch border.

After killing at least another 35 patients, he moved in 2002 to a hospital in Delmenhorst near the north-western city of Bremen, where he resumed his grisly practice within a week of starting his new job.
Högel would inject patients’ veins with a cardiovascular drug in order to orchestrate medical emergencies that would require him to step in and resuscitate them in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

The nurse used five different drugs including ajmaline, sotalol, lidocaine, amiodarone and calcium chloride, police said on Monday. Overdoses can lead to life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia and a drop in blood pressure, causing a rapid decline in an already ill patient.
During Högel’s time in Delmenhorst, the number of deaths at the hospital’s intensive unit doubled from about 5% to 10%, though the issue was not raised with authorities.
On 22 June 2005, a colleague at Delmenhorst hospital witnessed Högel injecting ajmaline into a patient, who died a day later. However, management decided not to call the police or raise the issue with their employee directly until two days later, allowing the nurse to kill another patient, his last, at 7pm on 24 June.

Six employees of the Delmenhorst clinic have been charged with manslaughter through failure to render assistance, while an investigation into neglect at the Oldenburg hospital is continuing.
“The murders could have been prevented,” said Oldenburg’s head of police, Johann Kühme. He added that those in charge could have acted faster to stop further loss of life. Instead, the nurse was given a spotless report that allowed him to continue his killing spree at another institution. “People at the clinic in Oldenburg knew of the abnormalities.”

When Högel was sentenced in 2008 to seven and a half years in prison for attempted murder, a woman who had followed the case in the media contacted police with suspicions that her mother could have also fallen victim to him.
The case was brought back to court, and in January 2015 Högel confessed to administering 90 unauthorised injections, of which 30 had been fatal because he had been unable to resuscitate the patients. At the time, he said he felt “fully responsible” for the 30 deaths but denied any further killings.

Konstantin Karyofilis, a psychiatrist, said last year that Högel was aware he had caused many people, including his patients and their families, “huge damage, suffering and anxiety”. He said the former nurse wanted it to be known that he was not “basking in the limelight” of his case. “This is not so. He is deeply ashamed,” he told the court.
As the extent of the nurse’s crimes has emerged, there have been calls for tighter controls on the use of drugs at clinics. The Högel case is the most extreme and bleakest of a number of similar instances that have shaken Germany’s healthcare system in recent decades.
In 2006, a male nurse was sentenced to life for the murder of 29 patients at a hospital in Sonthofen, Bavaria. In 2007, a nurse was sentenced for the murder of five of her patients at Charité hospital in Berlin.

Otto Dapunt, a former head of heart surgery at the Oldenburg clinic who worked with Högel for almost three years, told the court last year that the nurse had participated with an “above average regularity” in cases where resuscitation was necessary.
He said that while he had never considered this to be suspicious – particularly as the nurse was regularly on call and often had to deal with serious cases – he had often found Högel to be “overly zealous” in wanting to take care of the more critical patients.
He was also often unusually moved by the deaths of his patients, Dapunt said, recalling one occasion when the accused took two patients who had died to the morgue and returned in a “completely distraught state”.

“But he was factually competent, perhaps more competent than others,” Dapunt told the court.
Though Högel has already been sentenced to life in prison, the latest police findings mean it is likely he will face court again, with charges expected to be filed by spring next year.

Source: The Guardian 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Somali Government in Mogadisho Confirmed That No Polio Cases Seen in Somalia in The Last Three Years!

Photo credit the Guardian
MOGADISHU - Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo praised efforts by the Ministry of Health and partners, UNICEF and WHO to eradicate polio from Somalia, according to a statement released by the office of the President.

Speaking at the National Polio-Free Anniversary, the president said Somalia has remained free of polio the last three years.

"This news is cause for praise and celebration in Somalia, because  Just 3 years ago, we recorded the highest number of new polio cases in the world…now, it's down to zero, thanks to the efforts of the ministry of health and partners”

The reason for this is stepped up preventative measures. The President said the Federal Government would continue with such preventive actions.

"Two drops of vaccine is all it takes to protect against polio……just two drops, I call on all our mothers and parents to make sure that health officials and paramedics are welcomed..and allow our children to be vaccinated against polio”

The ministry of Health has a regular immunization campaign for children under the age of five, efforts that have already shown remarkable results in the fight against polio

President Farmajo assured that the immunization campaign would be expanded to ensure that polio never returns to Somalia again.

According to World Health Organization, Polio was detected in Somalia in May 2013, for the first time in six years, after the parents of a two-year-old girl in Mogadishu found she was unable to walk. 

However the number was contained to just five cases in 2014, one of them an adult who died, all in the remote Mudug region of Puntland, north-eastern Somalia. The last case was reported in Hobyo district, Mudug on 11 August 2014.

The original publication of this article appeared at Horn Observer

Friday, August 11, 2017

In memory of Dr. Ruth Pfau: A Physican Who Poineered in the Fight Against Leprosy in Pakistan and Public Health Expert


Dr Ruth Pfau was a German origin Lady, who by Profession a Doctor who sacrificed her whole life for fighting against Leprosy in Pakistan passed away in Karachi on Wednesday night, August 9th, 2017 aged 88Salute Dr Ruth Pfau!!!


The Leprosy work was started in 1956 by a group of ordinary people in the slum quarters of McLeod Road behind the present JANG press. The leading names of the first volunteer group were Mrs. Beatrix Menezes, Sr. Bernice Vargas, Dr. Anne Rochs and Sr. Mary Doyale. The living condition of the Lepers Colony was sub-human. There were no proper drugs to treat Leprosy, no facilities, no electricity, no water but a small dispensary which the group had established with the help of wooden crates, sewage water mixed with all the garbage and stench overflowing from the open drains and the long lines of people who had lost their dignity because of being affected by Leprosy, and to add to the sorrow were some patients whose hands and feet became nutritional supplements for rats. Despite all these challenges the group started the fight against Leprosy. The group used to conduct all their work from the dispensary. Help used to come, in the form of bandages and food for patients from various donor agencies.

Dr. Ruth examining one of her clients
In 1960, Dr. Ruth Pfau arrived and joined the core group. On her very first visit to the Leprosy patients’ colony, she got depressed with the situation and ultimately decided to stay in Pakistan to help the affected Leprosy patients. She quickly reorganized the rough-hewn dispensary into a proper hospital building – a full service Leprosy treatment and rehabilitation center, free to patients.

As the news of the work spread, there were some doctors who came forward and offered their voluntary services at regular intervals, amongst them was Dr. Zarina Fazelbhoy, who till 1997 was associated with them in their work and very active with fund raising activities of the Centre. Due to her serious illness was unable to continue and expired in February 1999. We are ever grateful for her contribution to the cause of Leprosy.

Dr. Pfau visualized the need to establish a Leprosy hospital in order to cater to the needs of the many patients visiting the dispensary. With the help of funds from Germany in 1963 a small clinic was acquired in Saddar area close to the Passport Office. While shifting dispensary to Saddar we met a lot of opposition from the neighbours due to the stigma of Leprosy in the society but thanks to the persistence of Dr. Pfau and our supporters like Dr. Zarina the small start in a one storied building mushroomed into a 8 storied Medical Building.

Death announcement release
In 1968, Dr. Pfau persuaded the Government of Pakistan to undertake a National Leprosy Control Programme in partnership with MALC and began setting up Leprosy-control centers across the country. Today, Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre is the hub of 157 Leprosy control centers, with over eight hundred staff members.

In 1996, Leprosy was controlled in Pakistan. The prevalence of the disease reduced to the extent that the World Health Organization declared the disease to be under control in Pakistan, one of the first countries in EMRO Region to achieve this goal.

After controlling Leprosy, she moved to Leprosy elimination taking along other health disciplines like TB and Blindness control to utilize the free capacity and ensure presence in the field for Leprosy. The strategy was termed as Triple Merger. While implementing the new strategy, it was soon clear that even this falls short of the need of the affected population group, and the program was further developed into "ELCP"= Extended Leprosy Control Program in 2002. First trials with community empowerment proved successful, thus opening the road to Community Development – a vision for future growth and sustainability of the programme.

Dr Ruth counseling and treating a patient

Awards she achieved :

1968: The Order of the Cross from Germany.

1969: Sitara-e-Quaid-e-Azam from Government of Pakistan

1979: Hilal-e-Imtiaz from Government of Pakistan

1985: The Commanders Cross of the Order of Merit with Star from Germany

1989: Hilal-e-Pakistan from Government of Pakistan

1991: Damien-Dutton Award from USA

1991: Osterreischische Albert Schweitzer Gasellschaft from Austria

2002: Ramon Magsaysay Award from Government of Philippines

2003: The Jinnah Award from the Jinnah Society Pakistan

2003: In The Name of Allah Award by Idara Wiqar-e-Adab Pakistan

2004: Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) from Aga Khan University

2004: Life-time Achievement Award from the Rotary Club of Karachi

2005: Marion Doenhoff-Prize, Germany

2006: Life-time Achievement Award from the President of Pakistan

2006: Woman of the Year 2006 Award by CityFM89

2006: Certificate of Appreciation from the Ministry of Health

2009: Nesvita Women of Strength Awards by TVONE

2009: Life-time Achievement Khidmat Award by Al-Fikar International.
  • On 8th March 2010 she completed her 50 years in Pakistan. Her dedicated services and commitment to eradicate Leprosy and uplift of Marginalized groups in Pakistan gratefully acknowledged and honoured by both her national and international friends and by patients and staff at MALC. 
  • 19th February 2010 – The Hamdard University Karachi organized a grand function in honor of Dr. Pfau at their University Campus which attended by renowned celebrities. 
  • 6th March 2010 – The Consulate General of Germany in Karachi organized a music concert by Carolina Eyck and her ensemble in honour of Dr. Ruth Pfau at his residence. 
  • 7th March 2010 – Patients and Staff celebrated an evening with Dr. Pfau 
  • 8th March 2010 – Supporters and well wishers celebrated the day with Dr. Pfau 
  • 10th March 2010 – The Health Minister Sindh hosted a lunch and presented a shield
  • 19th February 2010 – Hamdard University (Madinat-al-Hikmah) to acknowledge her lifetime selfless services to the people of Pakistan.
  • 11th March, 2010 – Shield presented by Dr. Saghir Ahmed, Minister Health, Government of Sindh for completion of 50 years of Selfless and Meritorius Service for the Patients of Leprosy.
  • 12th March, 2010 – Shield presented by Staff & Students of Happy Home School in appreciation of 50 years of meritorius services for the Eradication of Leprosy in Pakistan.
  • 12th March, 2010 – Shield presented by Dawood Capital Management Limited on winning the LADIESFUND Woman of the Year Award.
  • 2nd February, 2011 – Lifetime Achievement Award 2011 presented by the International Schools Educational Olympiad, orgaised by Karachi High School.
  • 12th February, 2011 – LADIESFUND woman of the Year Award.
  • 23rd March, 2011 - "Nishan-i-Quaid-i-Azam" Award presented by the President of Pakistan.

Personal Information

Dr. Ruth Katharina Martha Pfau was born on September 9, 1929 in Leipzig, Germany.
She grew up seeing the horrors of the Second World War (1939-1945) during which her city was bombed and her home destroyed. When the war ended, millions of people had been killed or went missing. Her country, in a state of ruins was finally divided into East Germany and West Germany.

In 1948 she had to cross the demarcation line illegally from East Germany (then under Russian occupation) to West Germany to pursue her education as a medical student.

In the 1950s she studied medicine at the universities of Mainz and Marburg in West Germany.

After her graduation she joined the catholic order of the 'Daughters of the Heart of Mary'.

She left her native country Germany and stopped in Karachi on her way to India on 8th March 1960. She was being sent to a Mission Station in India by her Congregation but due to some visa problems she broke journey in Karachi and here she was introduced to the leprosy work. On her first visit to the Leprosy patient’s colony at McLeod Road (now I. I. Chundrigar Road) she got so depressed with the situation that she resolved on the spot to join the group and help the affected Leprosy patients.

In 1961 she went to Vellore, South India to acquire training in the management of Leprosy. She then returned to Karachi to organize and expand the Leprosy Control Programme.

In 1965, she and Dr. Zarina Fazelbhoy, a Pakistani dermatologist initiated the training programme for paramedical workers.

1971, she had, in cooperation with the Provincial Governments, completed the network of treatment and control units in the Leprosy affected Provinces (Balochistan, Sindh, NWFP), Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir, traveling to every nook and corner of the country.

1979, she was appointed Federal Advisor on Leprosy to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Government of Pakistan.

In 1996, she managed to control Leprosy in the country.

In 2006, she gave over to her successor, the Chief Executive Officer of MALC.

She has authored four books in German about her work in Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan, where she first went in 1984. One of these books, 'To Light a Candle' was translated into English in 1987.

 Source:  ProPakistani

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Death of Dr. Mohamed Jama Salad: A 'Hero' Lost in Somalia and His Contribution to His Society Will Remain Visible for years!

Dr. Mohamed Jama Salad,  the first Somali to be trained as neurosurgeon who has been working recently at Mudug Regional Hospital and PuntlandUniversity of Science and Technology (PUST) has passed away yesterday in Roma, Italy.

Dr. Mohamed has been long one of the only two Somali doctors trained to treat people with neurological diseases and neurosurgery and has been practicing in Somalia since the collapse of the central government in 1991 where many of his counterpart professionals had joined International organizations or went to abroad for better opportunity.

  Dr. Salad got his primary medical education at Bologna University, school of Medicine and Surgery with his Medical Degree (MD), and pursued his education in Italy, where he received his post-graduate training at University of Napoli, School of Neurosurgery with his Certificate of Neurosurgery Specialization in 1979.

Dr. Salad had served as a President for the Puntland University of Science and Technology in 2003-2011 and then worked as Vice-chairman of the Board of Director in the same university from June 2004 until his death.   

His work portfolio includes, but not limited to the following posts, a former member Board of Editors Panafrican Journal of Neulogical Sciences; former Professor at Faculty of Medicine, Somali National University; former Head Deprtment of Neurosciences, Mogadishu General Hospital, former Consultant Neurosurgeon at Medina Hospital, Mogadishu, Somalia; former Consultant Neurosurgeon Aurelia Hospital, Roma, Italy; former Professor of  Neurotraumatolgy Emergency Medicine, Post-graduate school,Tor Vergata University,Roma, Italy, former Consultant Neurosurgeon of the  Department of Heart surgery, European Hospital, Faculty of Medicine,Tor Vergata University, Roma, Italy. Former Director and Head Department of Surgery Villa Eva, Crotone Italy, former member of Medical Commission Somali Ministry of Health, Mogadishu, former Advisor for Minister of Higher Education, Mogadishu,Somalia.

He has published various papers & research on Epilepsy in Somalia; Traumatology, Tuberculomas, Hydrocephalus, Discal Herniation, Hypophysis. Also Dr. Salad has been a Correspondent Member of Societa Italiana Di Neurochirurgia, Member Ordine Dei Medici Chirurghi della provincia di Bologna. Panafrican Association of Neurological Sciences and Member of Puntland Medical Association. 

This interview by Ali Nuur (SomaliPortalTV) with Dr. Mohamed Jama Salad

Source of the news for the death: PuntlandMirror

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Miracle: Newborn Baby Starts Walking Just Few Minutes After Birth

Newborn tot ‘Walks’ after birth; video goes viral on the web
As per latest reports, a video recording of a newborn infant walking right away after delivery has kept the web and all social sites busy.
The video recording that turned too popular on the popular site, Facebook demonstrates the baby, who is in the hands of a nanny trying to grapple and take steps freely.
Even though information about the infant is yet to be identified, the video recording has already fetched more than 50 million viewers and around 1.3 million people had already shared the recording.
But, the number of views is still increasing at a fast pace.
Whilst it is common for newborn babies to take around 13 to 14 month period to learn how to walk on their own, the infant’s footmarks demonstrated in the recording is completely a miracle.
The report stated that the said video recording doing the rounds on the social site got reported in Brazil on last Friday.

The recording got posted by Arlete Arantes on May 26.
The nurse, who has put on surgical robes with a doctor face mask, started weeping out in shock: “Oh my gosh, the girl is walking. Good gracious!”
Another person in the room who was making the video recording of the special moment on camera stated: “Wait let me film this.”
They then shout for one more fellow worker named Ju, probably short for Julia, to come to see the incredible moment.
“Ju, Ju move toward and witness this,” they weep.
The midwife witnessed in the video recording, explains she has been making attempts to give the infant a bath however the kid just wishes to stand up and stroll.
“Merciful father. I was attempting to wash her here and she keeps getting up to walk,” she elucidates pointing with one hand to where she primarily attempted to put the tot down to give the kid her initial bath upon entering the globe.
“She has walked from here to here,” she adds indicting the area the child has already covered.
A lot of users have concluded on why the infant is taking steps, and it is not any wonder. It is known as the primitive instinctive reflexes or step reflexes present in infants during the time of birth.
As per its description – “The walking or stepping reflex is present at birth, though infants this young cannot support their own weight. When the soles of their feet touch a flat surface, they will attempt to walk by placing one foot in front of the other.”

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Study Finds That Breastfeeding for Two Years Reduces Heart Diseases and Stroke

By Sharon Begley

Andy Wong

Gut Check is a periodic look at health claims made by studies, newsmakers, or conventional wisdom. We ask: Should you believe this?

The claim:
Breastfeeding may reduce a mother’s chances of developing heart disease or suffering a stroke by about 10 percent, says a study published on Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Tell me more:
Lots of research has shown that being breastfed is good for a baby’s immune system. As for mom, lactation can postpone when she resumes ovulating and reduce her risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer. But the effect on her cardiovascular health — including heart attacks and strokes — is less clear.
The latest study, based on 289,573 women in China (average age 51), finds that those who said they had breastfed had a 9 percent lower risk of heart disease and an 8 percent lower risk of stroke over the eight years they were followed compared to mothers who said they had never breastfed.

That conclusion jibes with some earlier studies but not others; previous research has reached conflicting conclusions. A famous U.S. study found a statistically significant reduction in coronary heart disease only in women who breastfed for at least two years (total for all their children); for women who breastfed for shorter times, the risk was also mostly lower but more likely due to chance. The China study finds no such threshold effect.

In contrast, a Norwegian study found that mothers who breastfed for seven to 12 months had half the risk of dying of cardiovascular disease compared to women who breastfed for two years or more — that is, more was worse. But the China study finds that more is better: Each additional six months of breastfeeding was associated with 4 percent less risk of heart disease and 3 percent less risk of stroke, so that mothers who breastfed for two years or more had an 18 percent lower chance of heart disease risk and a 17 percent lower chance of stroke compared to those who never breastfed.

One drawback of the China study is that it relied on women’s recollections of whether and how long they breastfed, sometimes decades earlier. Memories are fallible, and sometimes people give the answers they think scientists want, making this study design less rigorous than, say, real-time health records.
The biggest caveat, however, is that the study was observational. Women weren’t assigned to breastfeed or not; they made their own choices. That always means the reasons for what they did, not their actual behavior, might have caused the outcome.

For instance, women with high BMIs are less likely to start breastfeeding and to stick with it, said Dr. Alison Stuebe, of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, who was not involved in the China study but has co-authored research reporting a cardiovascular benefit with breastfeeding. Women who are anxious or depressed, or who have not bonded with their newborn, are also less likely to breastfeed. Obesity, anxiety, depression, and low levels of oxytocin (the “love hormone”) all raise the risk of cardiovascular disease. “Healthier women find breastfeeding easier and less healthy women find it harder,” Stuebe said.
Those confounding factors can be so powerful that what seems like a maternal benefit from breastfeeding might not be. For instance, research has suggested it reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, but Stuebe showed in a 2015 analysis that it’s quite possible that women with such underlying diseases (or even risks for them) are less likely to breastfeed. That is, disease causes non-breastfeeding, rather than non-breastfeeding causing disease.

Because of such potential confounding, the China study could not prove cause and effect, said epidemiologist Sanne Peters of the University of Oxford, the co-first author: “Women who breastfeed may be more likely to engage in other beneficial health behaviors that lower their risk of cardiovascular diseases than women who do not.”
She and her colleagues tried to take account of sociodemographic, lifestyle, and biological differences among women who breastfed for long periods, short periods, or not at all, but the findings might nevertheless be explained by factors they didn’t measure. For instance, they did not collect data on cardiovascular risk factors such as gestational diabetes or BMI before, during, or after pregnancy, she said, though those might affect both a women’s likelihood of breastfeeding “as well as her future risk of cardiovascular diseases,” Peters said.

Such caveats notwithstanding, there is some physiological validity for a cardiovascular benefit from breastfeeding. The resulting release of oxytocin can lower the stress response, Stuebe said, while lactation itself can lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels after pregnancy — all good for cardiovascular health — and quickly get rid of stored fat. “If the breast isn’t pouring fat into the baby, it’s staying in the mom,” she said.

The verdict:
With so many reasons why mothers who breastfed had a lower chance of heart disease and stroke than mothers who didn’t, the evidence that breastfeeding itself deserves the credit is weak.

Source: STAT News