California doctor convicted of murder in overdose deaths is sentenced to 30 years

BMJ 2016;352:i854
Author: Michael McCarthy
“A California doctor who had been found guilty of second degree murder for overprescribing drugs that caused the deaths through overdose of three of her patients has been sentenced to 30 years to life in state prison. Under the sentence, handed down by the Los Angeles County Superior Court judge George Lomeli on 5 February, the doctor will have to serve 30 years in prison before she is eligible for parole.”
Find extract here.

Can the Courts force the doctor’s hand? St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust V P [2015] EWCOP 42

Med Law Rev (Winter 2016) 24 (1): 99-111. doi: 10.1093/medlaw/fwv042
Author: Jonathan C.W. Youngs
“In the recent case of Re P1, Newton J ordered and directed that renal replacement therapy (RRT) continue for a patient who lacked capacity. This was notwithstanding that the trust had sought a declaration permitting them to withdraw RRT and so appears to be an instance of the Court of Protection (COP) forcing doctors to provide a treatment.
The ruling sits in tension with the principle laid down in Re J (1993),2 namely that the court cannot compel medical professionals to provide treatment contrary to their professional judgement.”
Find extract here.

Landmark medicinal cannabis legislation introduced today

Australian Government Minister for Health, statement 10 February 2016
“The Australian Government will introduce landmark legislation providing the “missing piece” for Australian patients and their doctors to access a safe, legal and reliable supply of medicinal cannabis products for the management of painful and chronic conditions.”
Find statement here, including links to background and information papers.

Public funding of uterine transplantation

J Med Ethics doi:10.1136/medethics-2015-103232
Author: Jacques Balayla
“The recent success of uterine transplantation (UTx) leading to a viable birth has provided the first evidence for the treatment and cure of absolute uterine factor infertility.1 Indeed, while its clinical and scientific merits have been recently established,1 a number of social, economic and ethical concerns remain.2–4 In particular, the question whether uterine transplants should be publicly funded remains a source of debate and controversy.5”
Find extract here.

Fetal Risks, Relative Risks, and Relatives’ Risks

The American Journal of Bioethics, Volume 16, Issue 2, 2016
Authors: Howard Minkoff & Mary Faith Marshall
“Several factors related to fetal risk render it more or less acceptable in justifying constraints on the behavior of pregnant women. Risk is an unavoidable part of pregnancy and childbirth, one that women must balance against other vital personal and family interests. Two particular issues relate to the fairness of claims that pregnant women are never entitled to put their fetuses at risk: relative risks and relatives’ risks. The former have been used—often spuriously—to advance arguments against activities, such as home birth, that may incur risk; the latter implicate the nature of relationships in determining the acceptability of coercing or precluding activities. Motivated reasoning by clinicians and judges leads to inaccurate risk assessments, and judgments based on false claims to objectivity. Such judgments undermine the moral and legal standing of pregnant women and do not advance the interests of fetuses, pregnant women, families, or states.”
Find abstract and links to related commentaries here.

Health Care Complaints Commission v Ghannoum (No.2) [2016] NSWCATOD 17

Decision 8 February 2016
“Catchwords: Medical practitioner- stage 2 decision – prescribing drugs, medical records, breach of conditions of registration, health problems – extensive conditions imposed.”
Find decision here.

Health Care Complaints Commission v Talmadge [2016] NSWCATOD 16

Decision 3 February 2016
“Catchwords:  Psychology – sexual relationship between practitioner and patient – patient very vulnerable – patient with complex mental health presentation – Dissociative Identity Disorder – appropriateness of diagnostic process and treatment plan – failure to seek expert supervision – Gender Identity issues – failure to support referral for psychiatric review prior to surgical procedures –- failure to maintain professional boundaries in treatment – failure to maintain professional boundaries in telephone communication out of session – home visits – failure to refer for other mental health support at termination of therapeutic relationship – allegation of destruction of clinical records – failure to keep clinical records – application to dispense with hearing as complaints conceded – important particulars not conceded”
Find decision here.

Johns Hopkins becomes first center in country to offer HIV-positive to HIV-positive organ transplants

The Washington Post, 9 February 2016
Author: Ariana Eunjung Cha
“Johns Hopkins announced this week that it had received approval from the nation’s organ-sharing authority to become the first hospital in the United States to conduct transplants involving HIV-positive donors and HIV-positive recipients.”
Find article here.