R dot plots for Maternal mortality for WHO nation data 2008

Queens hospital in Romford and King Georges in Goodmayes were recently criticised by the health watchdog for extremely poor standards of care, and this quote from the guardian article suggests a level of nasty, that is beyond simple incompetence:

"The CQC report highlighted verbally abusive staff in the maternity unit. One of the midwives was heard to say to a woman in labour: "Hurry up, or I'll cut you." - http://is.gd/dxVosz
Surely this person should be arrested, or did i miss something?

The BBC and Guardian both covered the report from the care commission, and its makes for pretty grim reading given that they are my 2 nearest general hospitals.

The article in the Daily-Mail mentions a statistic that they may well have pulled out of their collective arse (who knows they seem to just lie about everything), that the maternal death rate at Queens hospital is 3 times the national average.

So I thought it would be worth to see graphically how that would look on the global charts if that was representative of the UK as a whole. The WHO data provides an age-standardized rate of 12/100,000 births, hence the chart is plotted with 2 lines at 12 and 36.

This is the maternal mortality dataset currently available on the WHO datasets websites. The 2 lines are first the United Kingdom, and where the United Kingdom would be if Queens hospital in Romford and King Georges in Goodmayes were representative of the UK as a whole.

UK Stats: Deaths during "Pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium"

I was fairly surprised how badly the UK fares in the Cancer Mortality statistics compared to our continental and Transatlantic cousins. So when I heard that some UK hospitals were reputed to have a very poor comparative record for maternal survival rates, I thought it might be informative to dig out the national numbers, given I had the spread sheet downloaded already.

Basically, the Office of National Statistics collates data from the causes of death as certified by a doctor or coroner and releases the data periodically. Typically there is good quality coverage in the UK, and the data is classified using ICD-10 disease codes for helpful comparative purposes. The last full year was 2010, for the which the data was released in Oct-2011.

So the head-line numbers for this rather unfortunate way to perish are as follows;

Of the 236,732 women whose deaths were registered in 2010 there were 35 for whom the final cause of death was recorded in the category "Pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium".  (Def. "puerperium" Medline)

The absolute counts of deaths (other age segments are zero):

TotalUnder 11-45-910-1415-1920-2425-2930-3435-4940-44

XV Pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperiumF 35----23121233

Mars should be right there on the list of things to do...

I ended up on the wrong end of an argument where I was forced to defend myself against the accusation that I am "opposed to the principle of expanding human knowledge" or something like that.

I totally think that sending a Person to Mars would be a good thing, also it would be very cool to put on your CV. So it should be right there on the list of things Humans should be doing.

artists impression of "manned" mars mission.

Right there next after "Cure cancer".

That's actually pretty high on the list.

"Cure cancer" is already at number 2.

Behind number 1) "Save all those people who are dying from things - that WE ALREADY KNOW HOW TO CURE or prevent" like malaria, TB, etc etc


This is a very basic set of troubleshooting steps for remote TCP services, which include a couple of tests to determine the important thing in these situations...


So its not working.

What is not working? Just some random TCP service on the network, MySQL-port 3306, MS SQL 1433, tomcat 8080, apache 80, you can check the IANA database of registered port assignments for 57333 million other examples.

(in fact this has run a bit long, so this is just Part 1 - the common error messages, the payoff, ie who to blame has got pushed back to part 2, or 3...)

Money for old drugs

The wikipedia article on drug trial phases which indicates sizes and groups types is an interesting starter on clinical trials, and there are some links to approval and success rates.

This is a table of clinical trial approval rates at each stage:

Stage of Development               Probability of Approval
  • Phase 1                                                       9%
  • Phase 2                                                     15%
  • Phase 3                                                    44%
  • Submission                                            80%
So basically only 9% of candidate drugs make it through the phase 1 trial, so there is massive attrition. my rudimentary calculations make that if you start with 1000 phase 1 trials then 90 make it to phase 2, of those 13.5 make it to phase 3, and then .44 of those.

Hence only ~6 make it to the application for approval to the FDA (this is US data, but its broadly similar over here)

Tools for debugging DNS fuckup-ery

If you have a hang-over, and you are trying to show someone who is not a command-line freak, why their web-site is down for DNS reasons, you can do worse than this on-line graphical tool;

Looks to have been setup by Bjorn Isaksson some time in the ancient past internet terms, i.e. before last Tuesday.

"Whitelisting applications" - I think we already have it.

"The firm is marketing its brand of trust-based application control and whitelisting as a better way of tackling the growing malware menace posed by targeted attacks on security suites from the likes of Symantec and McAfee."

I think we already have it, its;

yum  --disablerepo="*" --enablerepo=fedora --enablerepo=updates list

Respiratory disease in the UK during the Clinton administration?

What is going on in the middle of this chart?

One of the comments was:
Hmmmm… what’s up with respiratory disease in the UK during the Clinton administration?