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‘Appalling’ standards at Mid-Staffs; ovarian transplants and how abdominal obesity could save your life

By Lilian Anekwe

Our roundup of news headlines on Thursday 25 February.

Oooh, where to start today's glorious slice of medical media mayhem? With a damning report on ‘appalling' standards of care at an NHS hospital trust? With the extraordinary birth of a miracle child? Or with societies' obsession with the pursuit of physical perfection?

What's that you say? I should get the serious stuff out of the way and then build to a mighty comedy crescendo? And you go on to say I should cut to the chase as this preamble is already way too long? Oh. Ok then.'

A damning report has either ‘slammed', ‘attacked', ‘condemned', ‘slated' or blasted' bosses at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, depending on which paper you read, for presiding over what the Daily Mail describes as 'worst ever NHS hospital scandal'.

Now I know I am occasionally a little hard on the Daily Mail and its love of hyperbole but given estimates of the number of avoidable deaths in today's papers range from 400 in The Times to 1,200 in the Daily Telegraph, I think the line is justified.

On to the medical breakthrough I mentioned. A Danish doctor is the first women to have two children from separate pregnancies after an ovarian transplant.

Dr Stinne Holm Bergholdt, 32, had her fertility restored by transplanting ovarian tissue that she had frozen before she had chemotherapy for a rare bone cancer that would otherwise have left her infertile in 2004.

Her first daughter Aviaja was born after IVF treatment in February 2007 and her second, Lucca, was born in September after a natural conception. There's a nice photo of them in The Independent. All together now: 'awwww!'.

And so we come on to the stories I affectionately call the sillies. The Daily Mirror's silly is a remarkable tale of heroism and death defied. 'My beer belly saved my life!', says a pub landlord who survived a vicious knife attack by virtue of being a bit tubby.

‘I could have died but my organs were protected by a bit of extra fat', he says. I look forward to the follow-up story featuring him standing side-on to the camera in a huge pair of trousers that used to be his fat man pyjamas.

And the Daily Mail's silly is just plain confusing. ‘Researchers' say the effect of a curvier women on a man's brain is comparable to that of beer and brandy, but in what sense?

Making men become boorish, obnoxious and loud? A tendency to slur ‘I blimmin love you I do, you're the greatest everrrrr' shortly before falling over? The belief that a 'pull my thumb' joke constitutes devastatingly witty social exchange? I could go on and on here.

And their explanation is frankly, bizarre. ‘This research explains things like sexual harassment and whistling at hot girls in the street.' So there you have it.

Spotted a story we've missed? Let us know and we'll update the digest throughout the day...

Daily Digest - 25 February 2010