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Medical Board “Bonk Ban”: what you need to know

It has always been essential for doctors to maintain professional boundaries and not establish or pursue any sexual, exploitative or other inappropriate relationship with someone under their care. Such relationships are always unethical and usually harmful to patients and the wider community because of issues surrounding power imbalance, trust, safety and quality of health care. However, the new ...

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Varicose veins: risks and benefits of undergoing elective surgery

The then 58-year-old patient attended upon the vascular surgeon in April 2014 on referral from her GP regarding her varicose veins. The patient’s friend had suffered a blood clot caused by varicose veins which had broken apart and resulted in a serious condition requiring hospitalisation. In July 2014, the patient underwent varicose vein stripping surgery and later developed right hip and buttock pain requiring ongoing therapy and pain management....

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Failure to warn gives rise to wrongful birth claim: Nouri v Australian Capital Territory [2018] ACTSC

Saba Nouri was born on 3 November 2011 to the plaintiffs with severe disabilities. Saba’s disabilities were characterised as VACTERL association – a collection of vertebral, anorectal, cardiac, tracheo-oesophageal, oesophageal, renal and limb abnormalities. The plaintiffs submitted that the hospital should have informed them about concerns for Saba’s health that arose during the pregnancy....

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Report of the Joint Select Committee on End of Life Choices

The report recommends the introduction of a bill for voluntary assisted dying, which should be drafted in consultation with a panel of experts, including health and legal professionals and health consumers. The framework proposed by the report differs from the Victorian legislation in that eligibility for assisted dying is not dependent on a timeframe in which it is anticipated that the person will ...

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Court orders brain surgery on 12-month-old baby against parents’ wishes

Baby K was born on 22 July 2017 with cortical dysplasia in the left hemisphere of his brain. As a consequence, K suffers from a form of epilepsy that is unresponsive to medication. He has spent 10 of his 12 months of life in Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane due to his severe and frequent seizures. K has undergone various treatments, including anticonvulsive drugs, a trial of cannabis oil and ketogenic diet, which have proved largely ineffective....

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Doctor denied procedural fairness by Tribunal

Proceedings had been commenced in the Tribunal by the Medical Board alleging a breach of professional boundaries, sexual misconduct, misleading entries in clinical notes and making false statements to AHPRA and the Board. Following conferral between the parties, a document entitled "Minute of Proposed Orders" was signed by the solicitors acting for the parties. The Minute took the form of an order ...

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No obligation on Tribunal to make all or any combination of protective orders available

Following the making of findings of professional misconduct against a registered nurse who had commenced a sexual relationship with a patient under his care in a psychiatric facility, the nurse consented to a package of orders which included (1) cancellation, (2) disqualification and (3) prohibition. Despite the nurse's consent and the absence of any argument about protective orders, the Tribunal made only one of the protective orders, being (1) cancellation....

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Hospital, obstetrician sued for negligence after stillbirth of baby

Background On 13 January 2011, KS was admitted to Calvary Private Hospital. She was a patient of Dr Foote, an obstetrician and gynaecologist, and was pregnant with her first child. By 13 January 2011 the baby was one week overdue and it had been agreed that KS would be induced. After arriving at hospital at about 4:30 pm, she was attached to a foetal heart rate monitor. By 4.58 pm abnormalities ...

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Peer professional opinion and irrationality

In South Western Sydney Local Health District v Gould [2018] NSWCA 69, the NSW Court of Appeal overturned the District Court decision in which the appellant had been found liable in negligence for the treatment of an 8 year old boy’s open fracture to his left thumb – specifically, for failing to administer an additional antibiotic drug (gentamicin). Ultimately, the boy developed osteomyelitis and gangrene in his thumb, which consequently required amputation....

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GP Obstetrician's conduct not widely accepted practice

Background At 8:25am on 24 August 2009, Cooper’s mother was induced and progressed normally until she reached full dilatation at 8:40pm. There had been no recorded foetal head movements from 4:30pm, and there was clinical evidence of disproportion between the foetal head and maternal pelvis. At 8:45pm she had entered the second stage of labour. She was pushing with each contraction and there was no sign of foetal distress....

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Competent professional practice does not require evidence of “a practice”

In Sparks v Hobson; Gray v Hobson [2018] NSWCA 29, the Plaintiff suffered from Noonan Syndrome, a genetic disorder that prevents normal development in various parts of the body. Due to this disorder, his ability to fill his lungs with air, and hence to breathe, was restricted. Surgery to correct this problem was arranged to take place in two stages. The first operation was successful. The second ...

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Inexact evidence on causation sufficient to demonstrate material contribution

The Plaintiff suffered from epilepsy from six years of age. In 2010, at the age of 20, the Plaintiff underwent electroencephalographic monitoring, a telemetry testing procedure requiring sleep deprivation and the withdrawal of medication to induce a seizure to determine if surgery would be suitable to address her epileptic episodes. During the telemetry procedure the Plaintiff experienced a prolonged ...

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