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Health: News In Brief

Wednesday, August 4, 1999 Published at 17:03 GMT 18:03 UK

Fatal blood clot 'dismissed as panic'

A young woman who died from a blood clot was told the pains in her chest were part of a panic attack, her family has claimed.

Claire Feltham, a 24-year-old mother, died in a side room at Shotley Bridge Hospital, Durham, on Sunday.

Her family said they would demand an inquiry. They said that when they arrived at the hospital, staff made them phone the reception, even though they were already there.

Claire's mother Pat said: "We must have wasted five or six minutes trying to find a phone in which time poor Claire was in agony in the waiting room."

A spokesman for Durham Health Authority said: "We obviously express our condolences to the family and can only wait for them to talk to us before we say whether an investigation will be carried out."

36-hour hospital wait for 87-year-old

An 87-year-old cancer patient had to endure a 36-hour wait before being admitted to a ward at one of Britain's top hospitals, it was claimed on Wednesday.

Great-grandmother Phoebe Booker was even forced to spend five hours on a porter's trolley while awaiting an emergency blood transfusion at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital.

She then spent a further 31 hours waiting in casualty, before being found a bed in one of the wards.

The hospital has faced an unprecedented rush of emergency patients in the last week, described as the biggest influx in its 20-year history, leading to a chronic shortage of beds throughout wards.

Tricia Hart, director of nursing for the Oxford Radcliffe Hospital Trust, said: "It is a very complex picture and there are no easy remedies. If 100 patients are admitted, obviously we need to discharge 100 to accommodate them, and this does take time."

Protein good for hearts, says study

A diet rich in protein may actually reduce the risk of heart disease, says a new study which contradicts previous advice suggesting it is harmful.

A 14-year study of more than 80,000 women, conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School, found that women with the highest protein intakes were 26% less likely to develop heart disease as those who ate the least.

It has been said previously that diets with high levels of animal products could be harmful.

Dr Frank Hu, who led the study, suggests that mixing more proteins with carbohydrates may help boost the levels of so-called "good" cholesterol, which protects against the disease.

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