The Unusual Case of Ian Paterson and Criminally Harmful Surgery

BMJ Blog, 9 May 2017
Author: Iain Brassington
“The “obscure motives” that compelled Paterson may forever remain a mystery but it is interesting that the charges against him relate only to patients he treated in his private practice. This enabled the prosecution to create a narrative that suggested that financial gain could have been the motivating factor for Paterson’s crimes. Without greed as a possible motive his actions are baffling, and the prosecution’s case, in alleging that surgery which Paterson argued was performed in the patient’s best interests actually constituted GBH or unlawful wounding, would be more challenging because of the medical context of the allegations. Importantly, the medical exception to the criminal law – the principle that consensual surgery carried out by qualified professionals is legitimate (“proper medical treatment”) – means that there is an assumption that harm caused by surgery is not a matter for the criminal law because it is a risk that we accept in order to enjoy the benefits of surgical medicine.”
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Lectures on Inhumanity: Teaching Medical Ethics in German Medical Schools Under Nazism

Ann Intern Med. 2017;166(8):591-595.
Authors: Florian Bruns; Tessa Chelouche
“Nazi medicine and its atrocities have been explored in depth over the past few decades, but scholars have started to examine medical ethics under Nazism only in recent years. Given the medical crimes and immoral conduct of physicians during the Third Reich, it is often assumed that Nazi medical authorities spurned ethics. However, in 1939, Germany introduced mandatory lectures on ethics as part of the medical curriculum.”
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Jung v R [2017] NSWCCA 24

Decision date: 6 March 2017
“CRIMINAL LAW – sentence appeal – 10 indecent assault offences under s.61L Crimes Act 1900 – two further offences taken into account on a Form 1 – offences committed by physiotherapist against six female patients during treatment – aggregate sentence of imprisonment for five years with non-parole period of three years and six months – claim of error in sentencing Judge’s approach to evidence of offender’s mental condition at time of offences – error not demonstrated – claim that aggregate sentence manifestly excessive – repeated offences committed against patients during treatment – abuse of trust – good character a precondition to registration as a health practitioner – offences involved gross breaches of offender’s ethical obligations – need for appropriate punishment – role of general deterrence – aggregate sentence not manifestly excessive – appeal dismissed.”
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Interrupting the Mental Illness–Incarceration-Recidivism Cycle

JAMA. 2017; 317(7): 695-696.
Authors: Matthew E. Hirschtritt, Renee L. Binder
“This Viewpoint offers ways people with serious mental illness can be diverted from prison by preventing court involvment, developing mental health courts, mandating police training, providing housing, and developing outpatient treatment progams.”
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Novartis is under investigation for allegedly bribing thousands of Greek doctors

BMJ 2017; 356:j130
Author: Owen Dyer
“Greece’s financial police have raided the Athens headquarters of Novartis, and a team of agents from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation have flown in to study seized company records, as part of an expanding probe into claims that the drug company has bribed over 4000 Greek doctors to prescribe or support the reimbursement of its drugs.”
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UK university launches inquiry into links to work of controversial surgeon

The Guardian, 12 December 2016
Author: Hannah Devlin
“It was the case of the superstar surgeon, the prestigious Swedish institute and the ill-fated windpipe transplants that escalated into allegations of misconduct, dismissal and a criminal investigation. Now, a leading British university has launched an inquiry into its own links with the endeavours of Paolo Macchiarini, the surgeon at the centre of the trachea operations following which six patients died.”
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Billionaire’s Former Protege Arrested For Bribing Doctors To Prescribe Fentanyl

Forbes, 8 December 2016
Author: Matthew Herper
“Michael Babich, the former chief executive of Insys Therapeutics and a protege of its founder, the billionaire John Kapoor, was arrested and charged today with conspiring to bribe doctors to prescribe Insys’ mouth-spray version of fentanyl unnecessarily, potentially harming patients and defrauding insurers.”
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Egypt busts organ trading racket, arrests 45 people

Reuters, 6 December 2016
Author: Mahmoud Mourad, Lin Noueihed
“Egypt has uncovered a network accused of illicit international trafficking in human organs, arresting 45 people and recovering millions of dollars in a dawn raid on Tuesday, the health ministry said. Among those held were doctors, nurses, middlemen and organ-buyers, involved in what the ministry described as the largest organ-trafficking network exposed in Egypt to date.”
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