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.”
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Palliative care and voluntary-assisted dying: the common ground

MJA Insight, 6 February 2017
Author: Ian Maddocks
“Advocates for palliative care and voluntary-assisted dying (VAD) have been formidable warriors, on opposite sides in the public debate about the legalisation of euthanasia. Now, when there is the prospect of the introduction of VAD legislation in Victoria in the foreseeable future, is it time to explore ways to affirm them both, and to ask whether they are, in some way, complementary?”
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Syme v Medical Board of Australia (Review and Regulation) [2016] VCAT 2150

Date of order: 20 December 2016
“The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Tribunal) reviewed the Medical Board of Australia’s (Board) decision to take immediate action against Dr Rodney Syme by imposing a condition that he not provide medical care or engage in professional conduct with the primary purpose of ending a person’s life. The Board considered that action by a practitioner which has the primary purpose of ending a person’s life constitutes a significant departure from accepted professional standards and presents a serious risk to the person, requiring immediate action to protect both the patient and the public.”
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The Ethics of Interventional Procedures for Patients Too Ill for Surgery

JAMA. 2017; 317(4): 359-360
Authors: Michael Nurok, Raj Makkar, Bruce Gewertz
“Nonoperative interventional procedures are increasingly viable options for patients considered too ill for surgery. The long-term benefits of catheter-based interventions such as aortic valve replacements or stents for aortic aneurysms and dissections are favorable and continue to be elucidated. In particular, the substantially reduced morbidity attributable to catheter-based interventions makes these procedures compelling options for high-risk patients who may not survive open operations.”
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Increase in distance to nearest abortion facility in Texas associated with decline in abortions

EurekAlert, 19 January 2017
Source: The Jama Network Journals
“In Texas counties without an abortion facility in 2014, an increase in distance to the nearest facility was associated with a decline in abortions between 2012 and 2014, according to a study published online by JAMA. Texas House Bill 2, enacted in 2013, was one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2016 that two provisions were unconstitutional. Following introduction and passage of the bill, the number of Texas facilities providing abortions declined, from 41 in 2012 to 17 in June 2016. Overall, abortions declined 14 percent in Texas between 2013 and 2014.”
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Anti-abortion report challenges law reform in Northern Ireland

The Guardian, 18 January 2017
Author: Henry McDonald
“A report by anti-abortion campaigners in Northern Ireland has claimed that 100,000 people were born in the region because the 1967 Abortion Act was never extended to the province. The Both Lives Matter report published on Wednesday comes as the former justice minister in Northern Ireland confirmed this week that he will resubmit his private member’s bill in the next Stormont assembly calling on the new devolved parliament to legalise abortions in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities where the pregnancies are doomed.”
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Voluntary euthanasia laws to come before NSW Parliament this year

SMH, 16 January 2017
Authors: Sean Nicholls, Kate Aubusson
“NSW is set to debate whether to allow terminally ill adults to legally end their lives, with a voluntary assisted dying bill expected to come before Parliament this year. A cross-party working group is finalising draft legislation that it intends to release for public consultation as early as next month.”
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Texas Abortion Provider Calls Fetal Burial Rule ‘Offensive’

Time, 3 January 2017
Author: Will Weissert
“Abortion providers told a federal judge Tuesday that Texas’ attempt to require burial or cremation of fetal remains was “government interference” without public health benefits. The question of what becomes of tissue left over from abortions and miscarriages is the latest legal battle over abortion in Texas.”
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