Mistakes at U.S. lab force hundreds of Zika tests to be repeated

Reuters, 17 February 2017
Author: Julie Steenhuysen
“Officials in Washington, D.C.’s public health laboratory had to repeat Zika tests for nearly 300 pregnant women, including two women who were mistakenly told they tested negative for the mosquito-borne virus that has been shown to cause birth defects.”
Find article here.

Unproven alternative medicines recommended by third of Australian pharmacists

The Guardian, 13 February 2017
Author: Melissa Davey
“Nearly one third of pharmacists are recommending complementary and alternative medicines with little-to-no evidence for their efficacy, including useless homeopathic products and potentially harmful herbal products.”
Find article here.

ACT Health Minister announces data collection review after concerns about accuracy

SMH, 14 February 2017
Author: Katie Burgess
“The accuracy of ACT Health’s performance figures are again under scrutiny, more than five years after an employee was stood down for doctoring emergency service data. ACT health minister Meegan Fitzharris has ordered an urgent review into ACT Health’s data collection after the department failed to provide figures on its emergency department to the Productivity Commission for its annual comparison of the performance of states and territories.”
Find article here.

Making headway against low value services

MJA Insight, 13 February 2017
Author: Nicole Mackee
“The push to address the use of low value, or potentially harmful, medical services is continuing to gain pace in Australia, say experts, after the Lancet published an article describing the overuse of medical services worldwide. Professor Adam Elshaug, professor of Health Policy at the University of Sydney, codirector of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy and a coleader of a Lancet series, Right Care, said Australia’s clinical community had pulled together to drive initiatives aimed at tackling inappropriate care.”
Find article here.

Weak Reporting System Let Risky Surgical Device Stay in Use

NYT Health, 8 February 2017
Author: Denise Grady
“Doctors and hospitals failed to tell the Food and Drug Administration about cases in which cancer was spread around inside women’s bodies by a surgical tool used to operate on the uterus, according to a report issued on Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office.”
Find article here.

The doctor’s dilemma: is it ever good to do harm?

The Guardian, 9 February 2017
Author: Gwen Adhsead
“Medical knowledge changes swiftly, and technological changes make new and expensive investigations and treatments possible that were only theoretical a few years ago. Life has been extended in length, but not in quality, and the debates about end?of?life decisions show us how much the notion of a “good life” is bound up with the absence of disease, illness and suffering.”
Find article here.

Ethical framework for the detection, management and communication of incidental findings in imaging studies, building on an interview study of researchers’ practices and perspectives

BMC Medical Ethics 2017 18:10
Authors: Eline M. Bunnik, Lisa van Bodegom, Wim Pinxten, Inez D. de Beaufort, Meike W. Vernooij
“As thousands of healthy research participants are being included in small and large imaging studies, it is essential that dilemmas raised by the detection of incidental findings are adequately handled. Current ethical guidance indicates that pathways for dealing with incidental findings should be in place, but does not specify what such pathways should look like.”
Find article here.

Thousands of pacemakers and defibrillators ‘at risk of hacking’

SMH, 6 February 2017
Author: Julia Medew
“Thousands of Australians with pacemakers and defibrillators in their hearts are at risk of cyber security breaches that could allow somebody to kill them, doctors say. Some cardiologists are also concerned that the multi-billion dollar medical device industry has too much control over devices being implanted in Australians, and that this could lead to over-servicing to boost profits.”
Find article here.

Inspectors’ ethical challenges in health care regulation: a pilot study

Med Health Care and Philos (2017). doi:10.1007/s11019-016-9736-z p1-20
Authors: Seekles, W., Widdershoven, G., Robben, P. et al.
“There is an increasing body of research on what kind of ethical challenges health care professionals experience regarding the quality of care. In the Netherlands the Dutch Health Care Inspectorate is responsible for monitoring and regulating the quality of health care. No research exists on what kind of ethical challenges inspectors experience during the regulation process itself. In a pilot study we used moral case deliberation as method in order to reflect upon inspectors’ ethical challenges. The objective of this paper is to give an overview of the ethical challenges which health care inspectors encounter in their daily work.”
Find article here.