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?”
Find article here.

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.”
Find judgment here.

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.

NDIS safeguards

Bill Madden blog, online 15 June 2016
“The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will hold a public hearing in Sydney commencing Monday 11 July 2016 including a focus on the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework under the National Disability Insurance Scheme, in relation to preventing and responding to allegations of child sexual abuse.”
Find post here. Find Royal Commission statement ‘Public hearing into disability service providers’ here.

Dementia medical test rules slammed in Germany

DW, 2 June 2016
Source: Deutsche Welle
“Amendments to Germany’s Medicines Act planned by Health Minister would allow clinical testing if prior to the onset of dementia the person had signed a consent form. The draft German law has been slammed by former Health Minister Ulla Schmidt as “highly dangerous.” Clinical testing is a highly sensitive topic in Germany because of murderous experiments conducted during Hitler’s 12-year Nazi regime. The legislative change stems from a modernized EU regulation.”
Find article here.

GPs told to end “chemical restraint” of people with learning disabilities

BMJ 2016;353:i3137
Author: Anne Gulland
“GPs have been urged to cut the number of inappropriate prescriptions of psychotropic drugs for people with learning disabilities. New guidance from NHS England and the Royal College of General Practitioners encouraged GPs to review prescriptions for patients with learning disabilities or autism, and make sure that psychotropic drugs were only continued where the person posed a severe risk to themselves or others, and all other alternatives had been exhausted.1”
Find extract here.

Buksh by his next friend Buksh v South Western Sydney Local Health Network [2016] NSWSC 649

Decision 20 May 2016
“Catchwords: PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – application for approval of settlement of personal injury proceedings commenced on behalf of person under legal incapacity – whether proposed settlement is in the interests of the plaintiff”
Find decision here.

Prenatal screening and prenatal diagnosis: contemporary practices in light of the past

J Med Ethics doi:10.1136/medethics-2016-103623
Author: Ana S Iltis
“The 20th century eugenics movement in the USA and contemporary practices involving prenatal screening (PNS), prenatal diagnosis (PND), abortion and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) share important morally relevant similarities. I summarise some features of the 20th century eugenics movement; describe the contemporary standard of care in the USA regarding PNS, PND, abortion and PGD; and demonstrate that the ‘old eugenics’ the contemporary standard of care share the underlying view that social resources should be invested to prevent the birth of people with certain characteristics. This comparison makes evident the difficulty of crafting moral arguments that treat some uses of PNS, PND, abortion and PGD as licit and others as illicit.”
Find abstract here.

Blight v Women’s & Children’s Health Network[2016] SAEOT 3

Decision 3 May 2016
“HUMAN RIGHTS – DISCRIMINATION Complaint issued pursuant to s 93 of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 against Women’s and Children’s Health Network (WCHN) alleging unlawful discrimination on the grounds of disability, sex and requirement for a driver’s licence – complainant alleged discrimination in 2011-2013 during her training for admission to Fellowship of Royal Australian College of Physicians as a Consultant Paediatrician. HELD: Complainant has not demonstrated that WCHN unlawfully discriminated against her – Complaint dismissed.”
Find decision here.