Comments on the Lambert case: the rulings of the French Conseil d’Etat and the European Court of Human Rights

Med Health Care and Philos (2017) 20:187
Author: Denard Veshi
“This study examines the decisions of the French Conseil d’Etat (Supreme Administrative Court) and the European Court of Human Rights in the Lambert case concerning the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatments. After presenting the facts of this case, the main legal question will be analyzed from an ethical and medical standpoint. The decisions of the Conseil d’Etat and then of the European Court of Human Rights are studied from a comparative legal perspective. This commentary focuses on the autonomous will of an unconscious patient and on the judicial interpretation of the right to life as recognized in article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Furthermore, it medically classifies artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH) as a ‘treatment’ which has ethical and legal implications.”
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Wales is leading the world with its new public health law

The Conversation, 31 May 2017
Author: Richard Owen
“Wales’s devolved government is close to enacting another innovative law aimed at bettering the health of its people. the new Public Health (Wales) Bill includes specific provisions for banning smoking in hospital grounds, placing a duty on the Welsh government to produce a national obesity strategy and making pharmacy services more responsive to community needs, the fact that it puts Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) on a statutory footing is the most interesting and important feature. HIAs are a pre-decision assessment of the effects of proposed action – regulations, policy, programmes or projects – by public bodies on human health. It’s a “health in all policies” approach.”
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I’ve seen first hand why we need safe access zones around abortion clinics

SMH, 29 May 2017
Author: Philip Goldstone
“Earlier this month, Dr Mehreen Faruqi’s private member’s bill seeking to decriminalise abortion in NSW was defeated by the NSW Legislative Council. Had it been successful, the bill, among other things, would have implemented 150-metre safe access zones around clinics that provide abortion services. The zones ensure patients can enter a clinic without being harassed by protesters and recorded without their permission. They provide a bubble of safety around a clinic so patients can have their privacy upheld and can access sexual and reproductive health services without being intimidated.”
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Navigating the ethical clash between access to health information and proprietary databases

MedicalXpress, 15 May 2017
Source: Baylor College of Medicine
“Sharing medical information, including genomic data, has the potential to benefit public health. However, companies that generate that information have a legal right to protect it as a trade secret. Legal and ethical conflict exists between individuals’ right to access their personal health information and the protection of these trade secrets. The data gathered from these genetic tests can provide important insights when making an individual diagnosis or pursuing clinical treatments, thereby having a direct impact on patient care. On the other hand, if companies and innovators are able to keep certain pieces of data and their processes secret, they are more easily able to recover their investment in the project and use it to finance new diagnostic tests.”
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Yes, Drug Laws Absolutely Hurt HIV Prevention and Treatment

NewsWeek, 17 May 2017
Author: Jessica Wapner
“When it comes to HIV risk factors, IV drug use is catching up to sex. Among people who inject drugs, an estimated 13 percent have HIV. About 30 percent of new infections outside of sub-Saharan Africa are the result of sticking dirty needles into vulnerable veins. In 2014, more than half of new HIV infections in Eastern Europe and central Asia were due to drugs. In the Middle East and northern Africa, nearly one-third of infections occurred by this route. A newly published report in Lancet HIV confirms the long-suspected assertion that the war on drugs is only making matters worse. The study provides concrete evidence that drug laws are harmful to preventing and treating HIV.”
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‘The system here is broken’: Secret recording reveals failures of offshore detention regime

SMH, 15 May 2017
Author: Michael Koziol
“Two refugees under Australia’s care in Nauru are desperately seeking medical evacuations to Australia to escape a health regime that a government-contracted doctor on the island has admitted is “broken”.”
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UK poverty has “devastating” effect on children’s health, doctors warn

BMJ, 11 May 2017
Source: BMJ 2017;357:j2285
“Poverty is damaging the health of children in the UK and must be urgently tackled by the next government. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Child Poverty Action Group, in a joint report based on an online survey of 266 paediatricians working at 90 NHS trusts in the UK, asked doctors for their views on how poverty is affecting the physical and mental health of the children they see. More than two thirds of the paediatricians surveyed said that poverty and low income contributed “very much” to ill health in children they treat.”
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Illinois lawmakers delay bill to expand abortion as veto looms

Reuters, 11 May 2017
Author: Timothy Mclaughlin
“Democratic lawmakers in Illinois on Thursday said they have placed on hold a bill that expands state-funded coverage of abortions for low-income residents and state employees but faces a likely veto from the state’s Republican governor. The bill also aims to keep abortions legal in Illinois. The Illinois’ Medicaid program covers abortions in cases of rape, incest and when a mother’s life or health is threatened. The expansion would enable poor women to obtain elective abortions. Also, the legislation would allow state employees to have the procedures covered under state health insurance.”
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Israeli doctors reject force-feeding prisoners on hunger strike

Al Monitor, 10 May 2017
Author: Daoud Kuttab
“Israeli doctors continue to reject attempts by prison authorities to participate in any force-feeding or forced treatment of Palestinian prisoners who are on a hunger strike. The Israeli executive director of Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI), told Al-Monitor that Israeli doctors see any force used in medical treatment as unethical. the Israeli Medical Association (IMA) has, for a number of years, refused to participate in any force-feeding of prisoners. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and The World Medical Association (WMA) also opposes force-feeding.”
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Venezuela’s infant mortality, maternal mortality and malaria cases soar

The Guardian, 10 May 2017
Source: Reuters
“Venezuela’s infant mortality rose 30% last year, maternal mortality shot up 65% and cases of malaria jumped 76%, according to government data, sharp increases reflecting how the country’s deep economic crisis has hammered at citizens’ health. The statistics also showed a jump in illnesses such as diphtheria and Zika. In the health sector, doctors have emigrated in droves, pharmacy shelves are empty, and patients have to settle for second-rate treatment or none at all. A leading pharmaceutical association has said roughly 85% of medicines are running short.”
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