Health Care Complaints Commission v Harvey [2017] NSWCATOD 175

Decision date: 6 December 2017
“Unsatisfactory professional conduct – improper and unethical conduct. Breach of Conditions Imposed by Nursing and Midwifery Council of NSW. Whether conduct amounted to professional misconduct. Where practitioner does not attend the hearing.”
Find decision here.

Moral Choices for Today’s Physician

JAMA. 2017;318(21):2081-2082.
Author: Donald M Berwick
“The work of a physician as healer cannot stop at the door of an office, the threshold of an operating room, or the front gate of a hospital. The rescue of a society and the restoration of a political ethos that remembers to heal have become the physician’s jobs, too. Professional silence in the face of social injustice is wrong.”
Find article here.

Medical practitioner’s registration cancelled for serious and unethical misconduct

Medical Board of Australia, 29 November 2017
“A tribunal has cancelled medical practitioner Wijeneka Liyanage’s registration for serious and unethical misconduct, which included an inappropriate personal relationship with a patient, unsatisfactory professional performance in relation to two other patients, and for deleting and falsifying medical records with the intention of misleading an investigation into his practice.”
Find further detail here.

Ethical considerations in forensic genetics research on tissue samples collected post-mortem in Cape Town, South Africa

BMC Medical Ethics 2017 18:66
Authors: Laura J. Heathfield, Sairita Maistry et al.
“The use of tissue collected at a forensic post-mortem for forensic genetics research purposes remains of ethical concern as the process involves obtaining informed consent from grieving family members. Two forensic genetics research studies using tissue collected from a forensic post-mortem were recently initiated at our institution and were the first of their kind to be conducted in Cape Town, South Africa.”
Find article here.

The Real Problem With Human Head Transplantation

JME Blog, 4 December 2017
Author: Michael S. Dauber
“The medical community has resoundingly asserted that the procedure is extraordinarily unethical, given the current state of our medical technology and the unforeseen effects such a procedure might have on the patient, assuming the patient survived at all. While these are certainly serious issues, the real problem with this picture is with international regulations: none of the laws and policies designed to protect patients and human research subjects have been able to stop them Canavero and Ren, nor are they likely to do so.”
Find article here.

Roles and responsibilities of clinical ethics committees in priority setting

BMC Medical Ethics, 2017 18:68
Authors: Morten Magelssen, Ingrid Miljeteig, Reidar Pedersen, Reidun Førde
“Fair prioritization of healthcare resources has been on the agenda for decades, but resource allocation dilemmas in clinical practice remain challenging. Can clinical ethics committees (CECs) be of help? The aim of the study was to explore whether and how CECs handle priority setting dilemmas and contribute to raising awareness of fairness concerns.”
Find article here.

What to Do When a Patient Has a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Tattoo

The Atlantic, 1 December 2017
Author: Ed Yong
In Florida, patients can ask not to be resuscitated by filling in an official form and printing it on yellow paper. (Yes, it has to be yellow.) Only then is it legally valid. Clearly, a tattoo doesn’t count. And yet, the patient had clearly gone through unusual effort to make his wishes known. The team members debated what to do, and while opinions differed, “we were all unanimous in our confusion,” says Holt.
Find article here.

Distributive justice and the harm to medical professionals fighting epidemics

Journal of Medical Ethics 2017;43:861-864.
Authors: Andreas Albertsen, Jens Damgaard Thaysen
“The exposure of doctors, nurses and other medical professionals to risks in the context of epidemics is significant. While traditional medical ethics offers the thought that these dangers may limit the extent to which a duty to care is applicable in such situations, it has less to say about what we might owe to medical professionals who are disadvantaged in these contexts. Luck egalitarianism, a responsibility-sensitive theory of distributive justice, appears to fare particularly badly in that regard. If we want to maintain that medical professionals are responsible for their decisions to help, cure and care for the vulnerable, luck egalitarianism seems to imply that their claim of justice to medical attention in case of infection is weak or non-existent.”
Find article here.

Ethical issues in Alzheimer’s disease research involving human subjects

Journal of Medical Ethics 2017;43:852-856.
Author: Dena S Davis
“As we aggressively pursue research to cure and prevent Alzheimer’s disease, we encounter important ethical challenges. None of these challenges, if handled thoughtfully, would pose insurmountable barriers to research. But if they are ignored, they could slow the research process, alienate potential study subjects and do damage to research recruits and others.”
Find article here.