Navigating individual and collective interests in medical ethics

Journal of Medical Ethics 2018;44:1-2.
Author: J Pugh
“In medical ethics, we are often concerned with questions that pertain predominantly to the treatment of a particular individual. However, in a number of cases it is crucial to broaden the scope of our moral inquiry beyond consideration of the individual alone, since the interests of the individual can come into conflict with the interests of the wider community.”
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HCCC v Sundarajah [2017] NSWCATOD 182

Decision date: 22 December 2017
“PROFESSIONS AND TRADES — health practitioner — whether contravention of a condition of a health practitioner’s registration amounts to professional misconduct. PROFESSIONS AND TRADES — health practitioner — whether practitioner has an impairment — whether practitioner is not competent to practise.”
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The Ebola clinical trials: a precedent for research ethics in disasters

Journal of Medical Ethics 2018;44:3-8.
Author: P Calain
“The West African Ebola epidemic has set in motion a collective endeavour to conduct accelerated clinical trials, testing unproven but potentially lifesaving interventions in the course of a major public health crisis. This unprecedented effort was supported by the recommendations of an ad hoc ethics panel convened in August 2014 by the WHO. By considering why and on what conditions the exceptional circumstances of the Ebola epidemic justified the use of unproven interventions, the panel’s recommendations have challenged conventional thinking about therapeutic development and clinical research ethics.”
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A Federal Ban on Making Lethal Viruses Is Lifted

NYT, 19 December 2017
Author: Donald G McNeil Jr
“Federal officials on Tuesday ended a moratorium imposed three years ago on funding research that alters germs to make them more lethal. Such work can now proceed, said Dr. Francis S. Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, but only if a scientific panel decides that the benefits justify the risks.”
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Latest Report on Health Effects of Climate Change

JAMA. 2017; 318(23): 2287
Author: M J Friedrich
“The report notes that the delayed response to climate change over the last 25 years has put human lives in jeopardy. It also emphasizes that health professionals have a responsibility to communicate the health threats from climate change to the public and to policy makers and that progress in mitigating these threats is essential to human well-being.”
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Sandra Battersby v Allan; Darrel Battersby v Allan [2017] NSWSC 1724

Decision date: 15 December 2017
“EVIDENCE – Expert evidence – Proceedings alleging negligence by a Neurosurgeon – Where plaintiff sought to rely upon the evidence of a Neurologist – Whether Neurologist had the requisite specialised knowledge based upon training study and experience to express an opinion regarding surgery – Opinion admissible.”
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Health record details exposed as ‘de-identification’ of data fails

SMH, 18 December 2017
Author: Ben Grubb
“One in 10 Australians’ private health records have been unwittingly exposed by the Department of Health in an embarrassing blunder that includes potentially exposing if someone is on HIV medication, has terminated a pregnancy, or is seeing a psychologist.”
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Too Many Older Patients Get Cancer Screenings

NYT, 19 December 2017
Author: Liz Szabo
“A growing chorus of geriatricians, cancer specialists and health system analysts say that for the best quality of life, she’d be better off skipping the screening. Such testing in the nation’s oldest patients is highly unlikely to detect lethal disease. It is also hugely expensive and more likely to harm than help, since any follow-up testing and treatment is often invasive.”
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