Healthcare errors: Barriers to open disclosure

Patient safety is on the agenda for next year’s World Health Assembly, writes Melissa Sweet for the Crikey newsletter following a recent keynote address by Dr Margaret Chan,Dr Kate Bower and Professor Rick Iedema from the UTS Centre for Health Communication, report on some of their research findings, and invite patients, relatives, carers and clinicians to share their experiences of …

Confidentiality and the quality assurance committee system

The scope of protections for quality review processes was explored recently in the Australian Capital Territory. In Allatt & ACT Government Health Directorate [2012] ACAT 67, the Tribunal held that the names of the Quality Assurance Committee members who reviewed the treatment of a patient was not sensitive or protected information. The names were therefore available …

Designing Babies

The SBS Insight program recently addressed a range of ethical and legal issues regarding genetic testing and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis.The program is available online.The program summary appears below:Is there anything wrong with choosing your baby's health, sex, personality, even intelligence? Every day, mothers are being screened to see if their future children could be at risk …

Impairment & professional misconduct

In Reimers v Health Care Complaints Commission [2012] NSWCA 317, the NSW Court of Appeal confirmed that conduct flowing from an impairment may constitute professional misconduct. Justice Basten at [14] noted that while the proposition that impairment cannot be professional misconduct is true, that is only in the sense that an impairment is not conduct. An …

Not for resuscitation order made for 10 year old child

Profound disabilities afflicted a 10 year old girl in the proceedings Re Natalie [2012] NSWSC 1109. Soon after her birth she was diagnosed with a severe brain malformation where more than 90% of her brain cortex was replaced with cerebral spinal fluid.Natalie survived for longer than expected, but her functioning remained at that of a …

AIHW Medical Indemnity claims report

The latest AIHW report, Australia's medical indemnity claims 2010-11,  looks at the number, nature and costs of public sector (excluding Western Australia) and private sector medical indemnity claims. In 2010-11, there were more new claims in the public than the private sector (1,500 and 1,300 respectively) and similar numbers closed across the sectors (1,400 in …

Blood transfusion ordered for Jehovah’s Witness child

A two year old child whose parents refused consent to a blood transfusion was the subject of proceedings before the New Zealand High Court, authorising provision of a blood transfusion in the context of proposed kidney and liver transplants.Buddle Finlay Lawyers (NZ) report that in Re M; Auckland District Hospital Health Board v W & …

Post mortem sperm collection & preservation

A recent decision of the Supreme Court of South Australia provides another example of a decision permitting post mortem sperm collection, but for preservation only, pending further order of the court.In Re H, AE [2012] SASC 146, H died from injuries he sustained in a motor vehicle accident. Two days later his wife sought orders …