Has the right to breach patient confidentiality created a common law duty to warn genetic relatives?

QUT Law Review Volume 17, Issue 1, pp.147–159
Author: Wendy Nixon
“This paper discusses the conflict between a medical practitioner’s duty of care and duty to maintain patient confidentiality, and their statutory right to inform a relative about a possible genetic condition. The statutory right arguably creates a Rogers v Whitaker type duty to provide the same information a patient might require in order to make informed choices about testing and treatment. In the event that reasonable clinical judgment is not applied to disclosure, the genetic relative ought to be offered the opportunity to seek redress through the common law if they suffer harm as a result.”
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When surgeons unwittingly don’t obtain informed consent

The BMJ Opinion, 6 October 2017
Authors: Fraser Smith and David Locke
“It is our belief that many patients with rectal cancer are (probably unwittingly) not being informed about potential treatment options which may be available to them that could allow them to avoid radical surgery and a stoma. In effect this is rendering informed consent invalid and represents a failure to safeguard patient autonomy.”
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Homeopathy company investigated over ebook advocating treatment of babies

The Guardian, 30 June 2017
Author: Melissa Davey
“Australia’s drug regulator is investigating the promotion of an ebook that advocates homeopathic treatment for babies and toddlers, against all scientific evidence. Brauer, one of Australia’s largest homeopathy companies, promotes the Little Book of Natural Medicines for Children on its website. The book is available for download, and the website promotes the efficacy of homeopathic products. In 2015 the National Health and Medical Research Council reviewed 225 research papers on homeopathy and found it was not effective for treating any health condition.”
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A Clinic Mix-Up Leaves Pregnant Woman In Dark About Zika Risk

KHN, 21 June 2017
Author: Jonel Aleccia
“Hospital officials in Washington state have apologized after failing for months to inform a pregnant woman she was likely infected with the Zika virus that can cause devastating birth defects. Andrea Pardo was tested for the virus in October, after becoming pregnant while living in Mexico. The results were ready by December, but she wasn’t notified until April just before she delivered her daughter. The delay, blamed on a mistake at the University of Washington clinic where Pardo received care, deprived her of the chance to make an informed choice about her pregnancy.”
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Ethics involved in life support decisions remain matter of debate

The Globe and Mail, 15 June 2017
Author: Wency Leung
“When doctors aren’t able to have end-of-life discussions with patients themselves, they often have to approach the delicate subject with the patient’s caregiver or family members. From a doctor’s perspective, these discussions typically involve presenting the evidence of what is known about the situation, what the likely outcomes may be, given that evidence, and most importantly, understanding the patient – what their values are, their expectations and ideology. To make a choice about whether to proceed with aggressive treatment, families should be informed about what those treatments are, the possible risks and benefits and what the ultimate outcomes are.”
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FDA Puts Brakes on Rule Requiring New ‘Nutrition Facts’ Label

MedicineNet, 13 June 2017
Author: E.J. Mundell
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced that the launch of an updated “nutrition facts” panel on foods, developed during the Obama administration, will now be delayed. The deadline for which the food industry must comply with the new labeling will be pushed back for an undisclosed time. the revamped label would make information on calorie counts more prominent, make serving sizes easier to understand, and point to the amount of added sugars a food or drink contains.”
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Physicians recognize new psychoactive substances as health threat

AMA, 12 June 2017
Author: Sara Berg
“New psychoactive substances (NPS) are quickly emerging, transient and difficult to track. While some coordinated public health responses have been used to combat NPS outbreaks, most strategies and solutions remain disconnected, lacking necessary information and data sharing capability. With the eruption of both illicit and synthetic drugs, as well as a lack of regulation, physicians are also searching for further education to aid in treating patients. Delegates at the 2017 AMA Annual Meeting voted to support multifaceted, multiagency approaches to combat NPS.”
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Medical device theft at SSM Health puts data on 836 patients at risk

Information Management, 30 May 2017
Author: Joseph Goedert
“A medical device that records physiological data was stolen on April 12 from SSM Health Orthopedics, which operates out of SSM Health-owned DePaul Hospital in St. Louis, potentially affecting the data of 836 patients. The organization said the medical device, which looks similar to a laptop computer, contained in its memory some physiological data as well as protected health information from patients who participated in a study between 2002 and 2017. The organization notified the patients that some of their protected health information has been compromised.”
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ACCC takes health insurer to court

Herald Sun, 30 May 2017
Author: Stuart Condie
“The consumer watchdog has launched legal action against Nib over allegations the health insurer failed to tell customers they were suddenly liable for some out-of-pocket costs. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on Tuesday said it believed Nib contravened Australian Consumer Law in 2015. At the time, the health insurer failed to give its members advance notice of a decision to remove certain eye procedures from a program where the ­insurer paid gap amounts to doctors. Elderly patients were among those most affected, the watchdog said.”
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