Tag Archives: Cerebral Palsy

Will the UK follow America and abandon people with disabilities to die of coronavirus?

A ventilator: The NHS in the UK doesn’t have enough of these to cater for the number of people likely to need them. Will people with disabilities be passed over because of Tory prejudice?

Boris Johnson and his Tories like to copy what happens in the United States – and they already have a record for persecuting disabled people.

So what would you give for the chances of people with Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism or any of the other reasons for receiving Personal Independence Payment, knowing that the US is letting them die of coronavirus?

Read:

New guidance published Alabama officials says that ‘persons with severe mental retardation, advanced dementia or severe traumatic brain injury may be poor candidates for ventilator support.’

It goes on to say that ‘persons with severe or profound mental retardation, moderate to severe dementia, or catastrophic neurological complications such as persistent vegetative state are unlikely candidates for ventilator support.’

Similar guidance has been issued in Washington and Arizona, with medics in the latter state instructed to ‘allocate resources to patients whose need is greater or whose prognosis is more likely to result in a positive outcome with limited resources.’

Disability advocacy groups have now filed complaints against the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for further clarification on the often vague guidance, and are seeking assurance that disabled people will not be discriminated against when it comes to receiving emergency care.

Too late – the discrimination is already happening.

In the United Kingdom, the NHS doesn’t have enough ventilators to go around so it is entirely logical to expect the Tories to ration them.

This Writer has a terrible feeling disabled people are already being passed over – or the orders may already be in place – in the UK.

I would appreciate any information from people who experience such prejudice.

Source: People with Down syndrome could be left to die of coronavirus to ‘save’ supplies | Metro News

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Tory treatment of this Down’s Syndrome teen shows their attitude to disability is as evil as ever

Whenever the Conservatives tout new policies they claim will help people with disabilities, I’d like you to think about their treatment of Declan Kemp.

For me, it is reminiscent of an image I used to run on This Site, of a quadruple amputee. The caption stated that the DWP would interview the subject of the image every few months, “in case they’ve grown back”.

That is the level of ignorance and idiocy that the Conservatives show to people with disabilities, every single day.

No wonder so many disabled people have died.

Now we have Declan Kemp. He’s 19 and, besides Down’s Syndrome, he has cerebral palsy, a hole in his heart and scoliosis of the spine.

He visits a day centre three times a week and sometimes has to go into respite care.

His family applied for Universal Credit, making it clear that he would need a home appointment. He didn’t get it.

Instead, heartless DWP authorities summoned him to Job Centre interviews – two so far.

They said Mr Kemp, who could not speak for himself and fell asleep within 15 minutes of the first interview’s start, had to provide evidence from a doctor that he could not work.

He had already provided this evidence for a prior – successful – claim for Personal Independence Payment.

As his family members asked: why should he have to provide this information again?

Worse still, his mother was told to fill in a Universal Credit journal for him – an online record of what claimants are doing to find a job.

He has multiple – progressive – conditions that mean he will never be able to work, as any DWP employee working with people who have disabilities should know.

Challenged to justify its behaviour, the DWP has apologised for mishandling the case and said there was no delay in processing the claim.

That’s what the department says when its habitually harmful treatment of the UK’s most vulnerable people is discovered.

And we’ve had a succession of Tory ministers, who have announced policy after policy they claimed would make it easier for people with serious disabilities to navigate the benefit system and live in comparative comfort.

And nothing has changed.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has been asked to investigate discrimination against disabled people by the DWP – and in This Writer’s opinion, it can’t happen soon enough.

We’re currently in the run-up to a general election, and the Tories have already announced a plan for a £10 million fund to help disabled people claim Universal Credit – that, it seems, is only open to those who are capable of holding down a job.

Declan Kemp would not benefit from it at all.

We have a government that deliberately persecutes people whose health is perceived to be less-than-perfect.

I have stated before that it is as though the Tories were running their own eugenics policy – a plan to remove what a certain kind of people still call “useless eaters” from the benefit system by depriving them of the financial means to survive.

Back in 2015 I managed to force the Tories to publish figures – incomplete figures – that showed an average of 99 people claiming incapacity benefits died every day between January 2011 and February 2014.

The full details were likely to have been much, much worse, even then. Can you imagine how shocking they must be by now?

And the Tories are seeking re-election so they can continue this grisly work.

Anybody who votes for them is supporting this cruelty.

Source: Disabled teen with Down’s syndrome made to attend Jobcentre assessment | Metro News

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Dean’s story exposes the failures of our system

Dean: Homeless for five years, he has cerebral palsy and is a living symbol of what is wrong with the UK today.

Dean: Homeless for five years, he has cerebral palsy and is a living symbol of what is wrong with the system in the UK today. The government won’t help him. Charities won’t help him. Will you?

Last night (January 30), Vox Political had reason to thank its readers on Facebook after that page’s weekly reach topped one million readers – that’s a lot of people. Now it’s time to see if we can all achieve something together.

This site was contacted yesterday by a reader who wanted to highlight the plight of Dean. He’s a 25-year-old man who has cerebral palsy and – here’s where the system has failed him – is homeless.

She wrote: “The week before Christmas, my Mum, myself and twin 10 year old nephew and niece, took Christmas presents around the Charring Cross area to give to the homeless.

“It was while doing this that we came across a young homeless man, and while no one should be homeless in this day and age, as the kids gave him his present it became clear that something was very, very wrong. He could barely speak, the thin red top he was wearing was covered in stains, he was sitting all by himself with a sleeping bag that someone must have given him at some point.

“He wasn’t interested in the present at all, just kept hand signalling that he was hungry and my Mum went straight to buy him some extra food and drinks from the little kiosk that was close by while the kids helped him to open the parcel so that he could at least start with the chocolate bar inside. He had trouble opening it, as well as the drink so we loosened the cap for him and put all his things together in a bag and stayed trying to talk to him, trying to find out if he was lost but the only answers he was giving to anything was ‘no…’

“This guy should not ever have been on the streets and we were truly worried that he wasn’t going to survive [bolding mine].”

It turned out that his name was Dean and he had cerebral palsy – and really should not be on the streets. But he had been there for five years because, as another concerned person (who had taken him to a street kitchen) explained, none of the homelessness charities would help.

Shortly after that, our correspondent’s mother found a picture of Dean on the campaigning site IndieGoGo. It seems that another person, Vanessa Threadgold, had set up the page as a fundraiser to keep Dean off the streets, and had also found a legal aid solicitor to take on Dean’s case and get him the help he should have had all along.

“Watch this video and you will see for yourself why I am so incredibly angered by our not failing, but failed system, and if anyone can contribute to help Dean in any way possible… you will not only be helping Dean himself, but also to highlight how this treatment of the most vulnerable just simply cannot be allowed to continue any longer,” wrote our original correspondent. “It is the most appalling sign of the times.”

Here’s the video:

http://youtu.be/Q2VfKcoaeIk

The IndieGoGo site adds the following: “Dean will eventually be supported and funded by the the government which is exactly what we pay our taxes for.. To help genuinely vulnerable people. However it will still take a few months to get something into place.

“We are hoping to get a short term let that is suitable for Dean’s needs and then we will be able to slowly introduce him into his own place with around the clock support. This will be the quickest way for his housing and care to be sorted and it means no government funding will be available until he has been assessed by the last council whose care he was under.

“There are huge flaws in homelessness laws. These are even more evident in situations like Dean’s. He should never have been on the street in the first instance, let alone have to wait now that he is having help to get into a home.”

The IndieGoGo appeal metre shows that it has passed its target, but it seems likely that this is because the target was set too low. More is needed.

If all of the one million people reached by the Vox Political Facebook page contributed a little towards the IndieGoGo appeal, Dean would be set up for life – but we know that’s not going to happen; not everybody who reads these stories actually does anything about them.

This writer knows there are plenty of you, reading this, who are willing to help, and who will contribute. If just one per cent of the one million people who read VP material on Facebook contributed, Dean would have support – hopefully – for as long as it takes to get him off the streets forever.

I’m sick and tired of writing stories about people who have lost their lives because the authorities who should have helped, using public money – our money – couldn’t be bothered.

I’d like to see if Vox Political can help make a difference – even if only to one life – and shame the government – local and national – and the charities, who should be carrying out this work in our name.

I can put a fiver to that cause quite happily. Will you help, too?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Who will Labour choose to follow Gordon Brown?

Gordon Brown: Even in retirement he'll be a better prime minister than David Cameron.

Gordon Brown: Even in retirement he’ll be a better prime minister than David Cameron.

It seems Gordon Brown is to retire from his career as a member of Parliament at the 2015 general election.

This presents a challenging dilemma for the current Labour leadership, which has announced that it wants to take over the selection process for replacement Parliamentary candidates if MPs stand down late.

You see, Mr Brown is MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath – in Scotland.

Labour is extremely unpopular in Scotland at the moment, where the SNP has whipped up a belief (rightly or wrongly) that the party betrayed the people by siding with the Conservatives – even though, as a supporter of the union, Labour could not do anything else. Mr Brown, who raised concerns over the future of state pensions in an independent Scotland, has been singled out for special criticism.

In these circumstances, will Labour’s London-based leadership really be so insensitive as to ‘parachute’ an ally of the leader’s office into the constituency? This would be someone who is unlikely to bear any resemblance to a traditional Labour candidate, and is more likely to be a privately-educated Oxbridge graduate who has spent their entire career at a thinktank or working as a SPAD (special adviser) for a sitting MP.

Such an appointment would be entirely inappropriate and would signal that Labour is not interested in retaining the seat; the mood in Scotland means voters would take it as an incentive to support another party, most probably the SNP.

It is possible that Labour would leave the selection open to the constituency party, as its declared intent was to take over selections from the middle of next month; again, the course of action that is chosen will determine the response from the local electorate.

Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath would be far better-off with a Labour candidate chosen from local residents, with a deep knowledge and understanding of the area and what it needs, having lived and worked there for his or her entire life.

This strategy succeeded with Liz Mckinnes, the newly-elected MP for Heywood and Middleton and should offer the best chance of success elsewhere.

Postscript: Readers are reminded that Gordon Brown is the other recent prime minister who has had a disabled child.

We all know how David Cameron rose to the challenge of his late son Ivan’s cerebral palsy and epilepsy – he used it in a series of photo opportunities and then, after Ivan’s death at a tragically young age, went on to use his memory as a shield whenever his ill-treatment of the National Health Service or disability benefits were raised in Parliamentary debate.

In contrast, Mr Brown chose to suffer in comparative silence. His daughter, Jennifer Jane, died after suffering a brain haemorrhage, on January 7, 2002, just 10 days after her birth. His son James Fraser (born in 2006) was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, but Mr Brown would have kept this information private if The Sun had not published an intrusive report. Years later, he said the publication had left him “in tears“.

Whose behaviour would you describe as more dignified; more prime ministerial; more statesmanlike?

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Sincerity in the face of adversity (Mr Cameron, take note)

Shiny and insincere: Maybe. But Bob Monkhouse spoke from the heart about the loss of his son, something that seems beyond David Cameron's abilities.

Shiny and insincere: Maybe. But Bob Monkhouse spoke from the heart about the loss of his son, something that seems beyond David Cameron’s abilities.

Do you ever have moments when you think you’ve said something the best way you can, and then someone else comes along and does it better? In this case, the words come from an unexpected source – and from beyond the grave.

Last week this blog ran a couple of articles attacking the way David Cameron, in his speech to the Conservative Party conference, used the memory of his late son Ivan to attack the Labour Party’s stance on the National Health Service.

Some readers took exception, and it is to these that the following is addressed.

In a Mail on Sunday interview back in January, Cameron himself expressed his displeasure with people who said he would eventually find a way to take something positive from his loss: “Even though Ivan was very disabled and very ill, it was all just a total shock. We had no idea he was going to suddenly die in the way he did,’ he said.

“But the person who says to you, ‘There’s a silver lining to all this,’ or ‘Some good will come of all this,’ you actually want to thump. It’s the most annoying thing anybody can possibly say.”

It seems Cameron did find a way to make something of his son’s death, though – by attacking Labour. Here’s the Daily Telegraph‘s coverage of this part of his speech last week: “In the most emotional passage of his keynote address, Mr Cameron expressed outrage that Labour was trying to position itself as the party of the NHS and undermine the Conservatives’ record.

“‘They were spreading complete and utter lies – and I just think, how dare you! It was the Labour party that gave us the scandal of Mid-Staffs, elderly people begging for water.’*

“He added: ‘For me this is personal. I know what it’s like to have a sick child in hospital and know that when I get there are people who will care for it like it was their own child.

“’How dare they suggest I would ever put that risk for other people’s children? How dare they frighten those who rely on our National Health Service.'”

In both the remarks quoted above, Mr Cameron’s son hardly gets a mention. He’s there as a device for Cameron to talk about himself or Labour.

This is something that was brought home to Yr Obdt Srvt in the most unexpected place over the weekend, when BBC Four ran a documentary about, of all people, the late Bob Monkhouse.

During his life, Bob gained a reputation for being shiny and insincere – all gloss and no substance. It’s a reputation that may be partly deserved. He also shared two important characteristics with Cameron – he was a Conservative (or at least a Conservative supporter, back in the 1980s), and he had a son with Cerebral Palsy who died young (although considerably older than Cameron’s son).

And there was nothing insincere about Bob when he said this about his son Gary: “I think most parents of a grossly handicapped child will see [it] not as their tragedy, but as their child’s tragedy. And then, as in the case of my son, you begin to learn from the child.

“He was such a – a straight arrow. He was a source of great inspiration to me and, and I think of him every day, and if I grieve – as I do – I grieve not for his death but for his life, which was a very difficult fight for him.”

The difference between Bob’s words and Cameron’s should be clear. If so, then there is nothing to add.

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