NHMRC releases updated assisted reproductive technology guidelines

NHMRC, 20 April 2017
“The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) today released the Ethical guidelines on the use of assisted reproductive technology in clinical practice and research, 2017 (ART guidelines). This update replaces the 2007 ART guidelines and provides contemporary ethical guidance for the conduct of ART in the clinical setting. The ART guidelines articulate ethical principles and, when read in conjunction with federal and state or territory legislation, create a robust framework for the conduct of ART in Australia.”
Find media release and guideline here.

A doctor’s sexual advances towards a patient are never ok, even if ‘consensual’

The Conversation, 20 April 2017
Author: Ron Paterson
“In a recent independent review, I recommended chaperones no longer be used as an interim protective measure to keep patients safe while allegations of sexual misconduct by a doctor are investigated. The Medical Board of Australia and AHPRA have accepted my recommendations that the current system of using chaperones is outdated and paternalistic. Sadly, cases of sexual misconduct are likely to continue. It’s important patients know the warning signs and where to seek help if they suspect their doctor is behaving inappropriately.”
Find article here.

Crackdown on migrants forces NHS doctors to ‘act as border guards’

The Guardian, 20 April 2017
Author: Amelia Gentleman
“A medical charity has launched a campaign against government guidance that “makes border guards of doctors” by allowing the Home Office to access details of undocumented migrants who seek NHS treatment. Doctors of the World runs clinics for undocumented migrants who are afraid of accessing NHS healthcare due to concerns that a visit to the doctor could lead to deportation. The organisation wants the government to “stop using NHS patients’ personal information to carry out immigration enforcement”.”
Find article here.

Patient privacy breach: over 1,400 medical letters found dumped in Sydney bin

SMH, 21 April 2017
Author: Kate Aubusson
“More than 700 public patients have had their privacy breached after more than 1000 medical letters were found dumped in Sydney bin. The incident has prompted Health Minister to launch an external review into the transcription services across all NSW public health facilities. This incident bolstered the case of an overhaul of the current paper-heavy health correspondence system and comprehensive switch to digital health record keeping.”
Find article here.

Lectures on Inhumanity: Teaching Medical Ethics in German Medical Schools Under Nazism

Ann Intern Med. 2017;166(8):591-595.
Authors: Florian Bruns; Tessa Chelouche
“Nazi medicine and its atrocities have been explored in depth over the past few decades, but scholars have started to examine medical ethics under Nazism only in recent years. Given the medical crimes and immoral conduct of physicians during the Third Reich, it is often assumed that Nazi medical authorities spurned ethics. However, in 1939, Germany introduced mandatory lectures on ethics as part of the medical curriculum.”
Find article here.

Discovering What Matters: Interrogating Clinician Responses to Ethics Consultation

Bioethics, 2017, 31: 267–276. doi:10.1111/bioe.12345
Authors: Finder, S. G. and Bartlett, V. L.
“Against the background assumptions that (a) knowing what clinical ethics consultation represents to those with whom ethics consultants work most closely is a necessary component for being responsible in the practice of ethics consultation, and (b) the complexities of soliciting and understanding colleague evaluations require another inherent responsibility for the methods by which ethics consultations are evaluated, in this article we report our experience soliciting, analyzing, and trying to understand retrospective evaluations of our Clinical Ethics Consultation Service.”
Find article here.

Evaluating the Quality of the Deliberation in Moral Case Deliberations: A Coding Scheme

Bioethics, 2017, 31: 277–285. doi:10.1111/bioe.12346
Authors: Jellema, H., Kremer, S., Mackor, A.-R. and Molewijk, B
“Moral Case Deliberation (MCD) is an up and coming form of ethics support wherein clinical professionals deliberate about moral questions they face in their work. So far, it has been unclear what quality of deliberation in MCD is entailed and how to evaluate this quality. This article proposes a coding scheme that fits the theoretical background of MCD and allows researchers to evaluate the quality of the deliberation in MCDs.”
Find article here.

Conscientious objection in healthcare and the duty to refer

Journal of Medical Ethics 2017; 43:207-212.
Author: Cowley C
“Although some healthcare professionals have the legal right to conscientiously object to authorise or perform certain lawful medical services, they have an associated duty to provide the patient with enough information to seek out another professional willing to authorise or provide the service (the ‘duty to refer’).”
Find article here.

Swedish stem cell “pioneers” are found guilty of research misconduct

BMJ 2017;357:j1808
Author: Owen Dyer
“Two Swedish professors, hailed as pioneers in the field of stem cell transplantation, have been found guilty of misconduct by their employer, Gothenburg University, after they falsely claimed to have obtained ethics approval for unproven operations that they carried out on three children.”
Find article here.

A critique of the regulation of data science in healthcare research in the European Union

BMC Medical Ethics 2017 18:27
Authors: John M. M. Rumbold, Barbara K. Pierscionek
“The EU offers a suitable milieu for the comparison and harmonisation of healthcare across different languages, cultures, and jurisdictions (albeit with a supranational legal framework), which could provide improvements in healthcare standards across the bloc. There are specific ethico-legal issues with the use of data in healthcare research that mandate a different approach from other forms of research. The use of healthcare data over a long period of time is similar to the use of tissue in biobanks. There is a low risk to subjects but it is impossible to gain specific informed consent given the future possibilities for research. Large amounts of data on a subject present a finite risk of re-identification.”
Find article here.