South African officials were “negligent and reckless” in transfer of vulnerable patients to cut costs

BMJ 2017; 356: j632
Author: Pat Sidley
“At least 94 patients with mental illnesses and disabilities died in appalling circumstances after a contract between a private mental hospital and the Gauteng provincial government was cancelled last year.”
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Autism, intellectual disability, and a challenge to our understanding of proxy consent

Med Health Care and Philos, 2016, 1-8
Author: Abraham Graber
“While disability rights activists have generally criticized mainstream bioethics from within the confines of competing theoretical orientations, consideration of disability can highlight inadequacies internal to the principlist framework. In what follows I will argue that, in an important range of cases, we lack a satisfactory account of informed consent for treating individuals with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities.”
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National Consultation Paper: Shaping our future: discussions on disability rights

Australian Human Rights Commission, October 2016
“The Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Alastair McEwin, will be conducting a national consultation to help progress and guide development of his priorities and seek input from the disability community on how he can most effectively work to advance the rights of people with disability.”
Find paper here.

Rothonis v Lattimore [2016] NSWSC 1409

5 October 2016
“The plaintiff alleges the defendant negligently failed to carry out sufficient investigations and failed to diagnose or to prescribe treatment for a patent foramen ovale (“PFO”). On 7 June 2007 the plaintiff suffered a stroke which has left her significantly disabled. The plaintiff claims damages for alleged negligence upon the ground that the defendant failed to identify the PFO in September 2006 and allowed it to go untreated and to cause the stroke.”
Find decision here.

Our special treatment of patients in a vegetative state is a form of cruel and unusual punishment

Journal of Medical Ethics Blog, 23 September 2016
Author: Dominic Wilkinson
“Our society has good reason to provide special treatment to people with severe brain injuries and their families. But our current “special treatment” for a group of the most severely affected people with brain injuries leads to devastating, agonising, protracted and totally preventable suffering.”
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Foetal surgery and using in utero therapies to reduce the degree of disability after birth. Could it be morally defensible or even morally required?

Med Health Care and Philos (2016). doi:10.1007/s11019-016-9727-0
Author: Constantinos Kanaris
“In 2008 the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act amendments made deliberately choosing to bring disability into the world, using assisted reproduction, a criminal offence. This paper considers whether the legal prohibition above, should influence other policy areas concerning the welfare of future children such as new possibilities presented by foetal surgery and in utero gene therapy. If we have legal duties to avoid disability in one context should this influence our avoidance of disability in this other context?”
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Hinton v Alpha Westmead Private Hospital [2016] FCAFC 107

Judgment 22 August 2016
“An appeal arising from an allegation that a hospital had (in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) refused to provide sign language interpreting services to the appellant’s husband, who is deaf, in respect of the scheduled birth of the child of the appellant and her husband at the hospital. The primary judge had summarily dismissed the application. On appeal the court overturned that ruling and remitted the matter for hearing. The appellant ultimately gave birth at another hospital which provided the appellant’s husband with an Auslan interpreter.”
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Rae by his tutor Rae v South Western Sydney Local Health Network [2016] NSWSC 1176

Decision 25 August 2016
“Required consideration of a claimant’s request to amended a statement of claim to add new allegations of negligence, referencing an expert’s report served sometime earlier. The court took the view that the the arguably “new” particulars are no more and no less than a slightly more detailed description of the case as already particularised. The amendments were allowed.”
Find decision here.

Childbirth not the same as ‘buying a bag of chips’: disability discrimination case

SMH, 24 August 2016
Author: Rachel Browne
“A Central Coast woman launched a case against Westmead Private Hospital after it was unable to provide a sign language interpreter for her husband Anthony, who is deaf, to help him communicate with medical staff during the birth of their first baby last year. The decision of a judge to dismiss the disability discrimination case has been overturned on appeal in a development described as a victory for the rights of people with disabilities.”
Find article here.