Italy to Allow Living Wills and the Refusal of End-of-Life Care

NYT, 14 December 2017
Author: Elisabetta Povoledo
“Italian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday allowing adults to decide, in concordance with their doctors, their end-of-life medical care, including the terms under which they can refuse treatment. The law permits Italians to write living wills and refuse medical treatment, artificial nutrition and hydration.”
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The no correlation argument: can the morality of conscientious objection be empirically supported? the Italian case

BMC Medical Ethics 2017 18:64
Authors: Marco Bo, Carla Maria Zotti, Lorena Charrier
“The legitimacy of conscientious objection to abortion continues to fuel heated debate in Italy. In two recent decisions, the European Committee for Social Rights underlined that conscientious objection places safe, legal, and accessible care and services out of reach for most Italian women and that the measures that Italy has adopted to guarantee free access to abortion services are inadequate. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Health states that current Italian legislation, if appropriately applied, accommodates both the right to conscientious objection and the right to voluntary abortion.”
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Scores of women say top UK surgeon left them with traumatic complications

The Guardian, 25 November 2017
Author: Hannah Devlin
“A group of 100 women are considering legal action against Britain’s most influential pelvic surgeon, claiming that operations he conducted left them with traumatic, life-altering complications. They claim that Anthony Dixon, a consultant colorectal surgeon at Southmead hospital in Bristol and the private Spire Bristol hospital, was too quick to recommend invasive surgical procedures to deal with pelvic problems.”
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After 50 years of legal abortion in Great Britain, calls grow for further liberalisation

BMJ 2017; 359: j5278
Author: Sally Howard
“Despite these shifts and many countries having moved to liberal models of social “abortion on demand,” the 1967 Act remains largely unchanged. An increasingly vocal lobby of medical practitioners and campaigners, including the BMA, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), say that the act is outdated: it excludes social abortions; it restricts abortions to registered medical premises but not primary care settings; and, perhaps most controversially, it does not extend to Northern Ireland.”
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“Hyped” papers by disgraced Karolinska surgeon should be retracted, says ethics board

BMJ 2017; 359:j5060
Author: Nigel Hawkes
“Sweden’s top ethical review board has called for six papers published by the disgraced surgeon Paolo Macchiarini to be retracted. They include a key 2011 paper published in the Lancet in which Macchiarini and colleagues claimed success in transplanting an artificial trachea seeded with the patient’s own cells into a 36 year old man. The operation took place at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm.”
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Full statutory inquiry to be held into tainted blood scandal

The Guardian, 4 November 2017
Author: Peter Walker
“An inquiry into how contaminated blood transfusions infected thousands of people with hepatitis C and HIV has been moved from the Department of Health to the Cabinet Office after pressure from families, Downing Street has announced. The inquiry, ordered in July after years of pressure from MPs and campaign groups, will be held as a statutory public inquiry under the 2005 Inquiries Act, Theresa May’s spokesman said.”
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GMC is criticised for failing to properly investigate case against cosmetic surgeon

BMJ 2017; 359: j5002
Author: Clare Dyer
“A cosmetic surgeon accused of improperly anaesthetising a patient and lying to cover it up has been exonerated on all charges by a medical practitioners tribunal, which also strongly criticised the conduct of the General Medical Council in bringing the case.”
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Dutch geriatrician faces charges over euthanasia case

BMJ 2017; 359: j4639
Author: Tony Sheldon
“A specialist in elderly care medicine could face prosecution under the Netherlands’ euthanasia laws after ending the life of a 74 year old nursing home patient with advanced dementia. The woman was considered no longer competent to consent but had previously signed a living will requesting euthanasia. Yet Dutch public prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation, claiming a “serious suspicion” that a criminal offence had been committed. This is the Netherlands’ first such investigation under the reporting arrangements established in the 2002 euthanasia law.”
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