News in 5: Investigation after baby born “brain dead”; P&O disaster; A snake sleeping in toy box.

Taylor Scott. Image via Facebook.

1. QLD hospital investigated after a baby was born “brain dead” because his mum wasn’t given an appointment.

Young mum Taylor Scott in Queensland was 20 weeks pregnant with her second son, Jaxson, when she tried booking an antenatal appointment at Gladstone Hospital in October last year.

The 19-year-old called the hospital concerned because her waters had leaked. But, speaking to Nine News, she says she was told by hospital staff they were busy and “would call me back”.

It turned into a months-long fight to be seen, Scott alleges, and resulted in Jaxson being born a “dead baby” with brain damage after an emergency C-section was performed in January this year.

After that first phone call, Scott says she phoned the hospital “quite a few times” over the following fortnight and always received the same response:

“They said they would ring me back”, the mother-of-two told Nine News, but they never did.

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It was only after she went to the hospital herself at 31 weeks pregnant, that hospital staff scheduled her in for a priority appointment to take place on January 16, Scott claims.

Still, it wasn’t soon enough, and Jaxson was delivered on January 7 when Scott rushed herself to the hospital saying, “Something is wrong, I’m in pain and can’t feel my baby move”.

Jaxson was delivered in an emergency caesarean on January 8 after doctors saw his heart rate was weakening in the womb. He was dead at delivery, Scott says, and it took eight minutes for a paediatrician to revive him.

“They are investigating what happened to help us find out why they ignored us and to improve the hospital,” she said.

“I don’t want any compensation from them as it takes funds out of the hospital I just want them to learn their lesson and do better so this never happens again.”

After the birth, Jaxson was moved to a hospital in Brisbane where they put him on life support. Thankfully, he started regaining strength and moving his legs and arms when his breathing tubes were eventually removed.

Still, the road ahead is not easy.

A recent MRI has shown Jaxson’s brain cortex function is “100 per cent gone”, Nine News reports, but Scott is convinced Jaxson is progressing well and will look for a second opinion.

“I need to be reassured if he is going to have problems but personally I think nothing is going to be wrong with him as he is doing so well and progressing like a full-term baby,” she said.

Meanwhile, an investigation into the actions of staff at Gladstone Hospital is underway, with Sandy Munro, executive director Nursing, Midwifery and Safety and Quality, Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service telling Nine News:

“A root cause analysis (RCA) into this case is almost complete. This is where an independent team analyses the incident to determine the facts and to make recommendations for service improvements where appropriate, or to share lessons learnt,” she said.

“When the RCA is finalised, which I expect will be by the end of this week, we will arrange to meet with Ms Scott to discuss the outcomes, and work through any of her concerns.”

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2. A woman has fallen overboard from a P&O cruise ship and is still missing in wild seas.

P&O Australia's Pacific Dawn in open waters off Sydney, Australia on December 13, 2014.

Rough conditions are hampering the search for a woman who fell overboard from the cruise ship Pacific Dawn.

A crew member saw the woman fall over the side of the ship about 4pm AEST, 150 nautical miles west of New Caledonia, the ship's owner P&O said, AAP reports.

"A crew member notified the bridge straight away and the 'man overboard' incident response was activated immediately," spokesman David Jones said in a statement.

"In line with this response, Pacific Dawn turned around to follow the course it was on at the time of the incident."

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority and New Caledonian authorities have issued a call for nearby vessels to assist in the search.

A passenger, who requested not to be named, described the atmosphere on the ship as "very sad, solemn and quiet".

A Brisbane man holidaying on the ship with his family, who also requested not to be identified, told AAP conditions in the search area are rough, with 3-to-4 metre swells.

He said little information was being given to passengers about the situation other than they were searching for the missing woman.

An AMSA spokeswoman described the conditions as "poor", saying there were 30-knot winds and it was pitch black.

Another passenger, Jonathan Trevithick, posted an image on Twitter of a life ring floating in the water and said the situation was "horrendous".

He told AAP the captain had announced the search would continue until midnight.

The ship was on a week-long cruise of Pacific islands, leaving Brisbane last Saturday.

3. Red-bellied black snake found coiled up between girl's toys in Brisbane home.

Red-bellied black snake in kid's toys. Image via Andrew's Snake Removal Facebook.
Red-bellied black snake in kid's toys. Image via Andrew's Snake Removal Facebook.

"It's something you don't want in the kid's room," are the words of Queensland snake catcher Andrew Smedley, and aren't they the truth?

This comes after Smedley was called to a house in Peaks Crossing, south-west of Brisbane, on Tuesday afternoon to remove a red-bellied black snake from a child's toy box.

It was lucky the girl's father spotted the 1.2-metre long snake on the windowsill before it dropped into the box to hide among the stuffed animals.

If he hadn't seen the venomous reptile, the little girl might have been in extreme danger.

"Things could've gotten a little ugly had no-one noticed the snake and the child was in there playing and put her hands in there," Smedley told the ABC.

"It's funny, they said it was her little zoo area. So they got a real life animal in the zoo," Smedley said.

Posting a video of the snake to Facebook, Smedley said the girl's father did the "right thing" after spotting the snake by "shutting the door and placing a towel at bottom of door to keep the snake contained until I got there".

4. You're no longer allowed to "vape" in public in NSW.

Image via Getty.

Smokers of e-cigarettes could be fined up to $550 if caught vaping in public spaces or on public transport across NSW.

The ban will come into effect in July after state parliament passed new laws on Wednesday night, AAP reports.

"Put simply, where you are not allowed to smoke cigarettes, you now cannot vape either," Health Minister Brad Hazzard said in a statement on Thursday.

That includes shopping centres, cinemas, libraries, trains, buses, public swimming pools, near children's play equipment, sports grounds, public transport stops and outdoor dining areas.

NSW's chief health officer said there's evidence of potential health risks from e-cigarette vapours - even if there's no illegal nicotine in the e-liquid.

Vapours can contain chemicals, toxins and metals, and some of these substances, like formaldehyde, are known to cause cancer, Dr Kerry Chant said.

Cancer Council NSW welcomed the ban, which already exists in Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT.

"It is great to see NSW government bringing NSW in line with other states," tobacco control manager Scott Walsberger said.

"There is conclusive evidence that e-cigarette vapour increases particulate matter and nicotine in the air which may be a risk to bystanders who are exposed to the vapour."

The new laws also force retailers to notify NSW Heath they are selling e-cigarettes.

5. "He had a history of watching violent porn." Rapist and serial assaulter in Victoria pleads guilty.

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An ice user with a history of watching violent porn has admitted raping and choking a German au pair after she stopped to go to the toilet at a Melbourne reserve, AAP reports

Michael Dempsey pleaded guilty in the Victorian County Court on Thursday to raping the 19-year-old at Seaford North Reserve in April 2017, as she was returning from a night out.

During the assault, Dempsey shoved his hand inside her mouth and against the back of her throat, making her gag, prosecutor Diana Piekusis told the court.

The 26-year-old also pleaded guilty to assaulting and intentionally causing injury to two other women during separate incidents at Hawthorn in July.

He dragged his second victim, aged 25, by her hair from a train stopped at Hawthorn station before being chased away by other commuters.

On the same night Dempsey dragged another woman, 34, along a road and into nearby bushes, where he choked her and punched her in the face and head.

The court was told Dempsey had a history of watching violent pornography, including simulated rape scenes, and that his crimes were linked to use of the drug ice.

His mother was led weeping from the court as her son's offending was detailed to Judge Paul Lacava.

In statements to the court, all three woman said the attacks had left them frightened of being out alone after dark.

"I just can't talk about it. I feel emotionally cold, like an ice block," the German woman, who has since returned home, wrote.

"I am sad because I no longer feel strong. I'm sad because I should feel safe but I don't," the statement from the 34-year-old woman read.

Judge Lacava reserved his decision, with Dempsey to be sentenced at a later date.

6. The more fat you eat, the more fat you think you need. Science says so.

Image via Getty.

A person's insatiable appetite for greasy fried chips and other fatty foods can not be blamed on their genes, according to new research.

An Australian study of 44 set of twins has found a high-fat diet decreases the human body's sensitivity to the taste for fat, irrespective of body weight or genetics.

Essentially fat becomes "invisible" the more it is consumed, meaning more is needed to satisfy the body, explained Professor Russell Keast, Director of Deakin's Centre for Advanced Sensory Science.

"There's this idea that maybe some people are just not as good at sensing high levels of fat, and that they're born that way," Professor Keast said.

"But what we found is that genetics does not provide any protection against the dietary influence of fat. If we eat a high fat diet, we lose our ability to sense fat," he said.

For the study, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), one twin from each pair was randomly allocated to a low-fat diet (less than 20 per cent of their energy from fat) or high-fat diet (more than 35 per cent of their energy from fat) for eight weeks.

Those on the high-fat diet were encouraged to eat more dairy, meat and oil. But each consumed the same number of overall kilojoules and were monitored to keep within their normal weight range.

Their taste for fat was tested at the beginning, middle and end of the trial.

At each test, each twin was given three small unmarked cups of liquid, and had to identify which of the cups contained a fatty acid. If they were unable to do so, the concentration of fatty acid was increased.

At four and eight weeks, the twins on the low-fat diets were able to identify the fatty acid at a lower concentrations than their twin on a high-fat diet.

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