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Hospital negligent over amputation of child’s thumb

The plaintiff had sustained a severe complex crushing injury to his left thumb and was diagnosed with fractures. Following his presentation to the hospital, the plaintiff’s surgery for wound exploration, washout and fixation of his fractures was postponed until the next morning due to the later arrival of other emergencies that hospital staff had assessed as having higher priority. The plaintiff also received antibiotic therapy at the hospital....

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New AMA Code of Ethics for Doctors

For the first time since 2006, the Code has been substantially revised, culminating in the Code of Ethics 2004. Editorially Revised 2006. Revised 2016. AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, says that a Code of Ethics is essential for setting and maintaining the very high standards of ethical behaviour that society expects from the medical profession. The updated AMA Code of Ethics for the first time ...

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New Privacy Act Data Breach Obligations Update

Eligible Data Breaches The Act sets up a scheme for notification of ‘eligible data breaches’. An eligible data breach happens if: there is unauthorised access to, unauthorised disclosure of, or loss of, personal information held by an entity; and, the access, disclosure or loss is likely to result in serious harm to any of the individuals to whom the information relates., Examples ...

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Surgeon reprimanded and fined for permitting doctor not registered in Australia to perform operation

In a recent decision of the Professional Standards Committee Inquiry, a colorectal surgeon, Professor Morris, was found guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct for knowingly enabling an overseas based doctor, Dr Sugarbaker, who was not registered under the National Law, to perform surgery on a patient. Professor Morris was involved in organising a colorectal surgery conference in Sydney in 2014....

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Chiropractor convicted of unlawful advertising

A recent case in which a chiropractor was convicted of false advertising for claiming to be able to prevent, treat and cure cancer serves as a reminder for practitioners to make sure they properly understand their obligations and follow the National Boards’ guidelines for advertising. Section 133 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (National Law) bans advertising that creates an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment....

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What is the scope of cancellation of registration when a practitioner is registered in more than one health profession?

The HCCC sought deregistration of the practitioner as both a midwife and as a nurse. It argued that the findings concerning the practitioner's conduct as a midwife were equally applicable to her knowledge and skills in the practice of nursing. The Tribunal noted that the HCCC had referred only to the practitioner's conduct in midwifery in the complaints and had only raised the issue of cancellation ...

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When a doctor can disclose information in the public interest

The revised guidance provides useful clarification on when doctors can disclose information in the public interest to protect individuals or society from risks of serious harm. The benefits to an individual or to society of the disclosure must outweigh both the patient’s and the public interest in keeping the information confidential. For example, if a disclosure would be likely to be necessary ...

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GP ordered to repay $450,000 for inappropriate billing

Dr Nicholas Sevdalis maintained that he made handwritten records which he subsequently transferred to an electronic record. However, the Committee held that the handwritten documents which were tendered in evidence were not contemporaneous and were “recent fabrications”. Dr Sevdalis unsuccessfully appealed the Committee’s decision to the Federal Court, and ultimately appealed to the Full Bench of the Federal Court....

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Dentist sues for defamation for negative online review

A Melbourne dentist has taken defamation action against a patient who posted a negative online review. Many practitioners seek to use legal strategies to combat a negative online review and preserve their reputation and business.  A claim for defamation is complex, costly and can take years to resolve. Even if defamation is proved, it does not necessarily follow that the court will award very large damages....

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New WA Medicine and Poisons Regulations

A key aim of the regulations is to control the potential for the misuse of hard drugs by implementing a system to identify and regulate ‘doctor shopping’.   Health Minister John Day says the legislation “establishes the legal framework for the transfer of information about the prescribing and dispensing of controlled drugs such as morphine and dexamphetamine, through the use of real-time reporting systems....

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Hospital wins appeal in appendicitis case

The claim arose from the alleged negligent care the Plaintiff received as a patient at Fremantle Hospital (the Hospital) in 2009 when it was said that staff delayed in the diagnosis of his appendicitis. It was alleged that the Hospital was negligent by: failing to diagnose appendicitis on his admission on 31 July 2009;, incorrectly interpreting the CT scans of the Plaintiff's abdomen on 31 July ...

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Dependency tables used to assess damages in fatal accident claims to be updated

The late Mr Norris died from liver disease in 2011, at the age of 52. He was survived by his wife, Dr Norris, and their two teenage sons. In 2013 Dr Norris sued Dr Routley, her late husband’s treating specialist, who accepted that his negligent failure to refer Mr Norris for a liver transplant was a cause of his untimely death. At first instance, the trial judge awarded Dr Norris damages in sum of $21,757....

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