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Journal of Law and Medicine

Justine E Rogers, Morris S Odell, Jason R Schreiber
When treating unconscious patients believed to have been victims of sexual assault, forensic physicians must decide whether to conduct physical examinations in order to collect evidence while patients are unconscious and cannot consent. The choice is urgent: potential evidence may be lost before the patient regains the ability to consent. The physician's choice affects not only the patient's bodily integrity, but also their ability to pursue criminal and potentially civil justice remedies if they were assaulted...
October 2018: Journal of Law and Medicine
Jodhi Rutherford
The Voluntary Assisted Dying Act Vic will commence operation on 19 June 2019. Doctors were highly visible in the debate which informed the recent law reform process, and Victorian legislators relied considerably on the diverse views of the medical profession. It is important to pay attention to the role played by doctors in the legalisation of assisted dying in Victoria, not only because the current political environment suggests that further reforms may be likely in other Australian jurisdictions, but also because doctors' knowledge and expertise visibly contributed to the outcome of that process in Victoria...
October 2018: Journal of Law and Medicine
Lindy Willmott, Ben White, Donella Piper, Patsy Yates, Geoffrey Mitchell, David Currow
Anecdotal evidence from Australia and abroad suggests that health professionals may fear potential legal and/or professional repercussions if their patient dies after receiving pain relieving medication at the end of life. As a result, patients may be under-medicated and their pain and other symptoms not adequately relieved. The regulatory repercussions from inappropriate administration of medications are potentially broad and include criminal charges, civil negligence claims, coronial investigations and disciplinary proceedings...
October 2018: Journal of Law and Medicine
Thomas Faunce, Andrew Ray, Christie Gardiner, Thomas Preiss, Gaetan Burgio
Recent technological breakthroughs in ribonucleic acid (RNA) research and the creation of synthetic gene drives using CRISPR/Cas9 have increased attention on the ethical and legal regulation of this field. RNA is now perceived as not merely a passive carrier of DNA information but especially through its propensity to mutate as a computation engine of cell biology, developmental biology and evolution. Synthetic Gene drives have been hailed as a potential strategy to reduce climate-change-mediated biosecurity threats such as spreading malaria and have attracted significant investment, with the Gates Foundation pledging US$75 million and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarding US$65 million...
October 2018: Journal of Law and Medicine
Tamara Treleaven, Bernard E Tuch
Technology is now available which facilitates gene editing and has recently been applied internationally to embryos in the laboratory. A 2002 law in Australia prohibits making heritable changes in embryos, regardless of whether the treated embryo is discarded thereafter. We sought to begin to understand public opinion in Australia about this matter, using a questionnaire given to the audience attending a Q and A panel of experts. We found majority support for allowing heritable changes for health purposes. If this is confirmed in a larger survey of the population, we suggest the existing law should be reviewed...
October 2018: Journal of Law and Medicine
Moira Paterson, Normann Witzleb
This article examines the Australian approach to handling the complex privacy issues raised by Big Data analytics in health research. It analyses the privacy challenges posed by Big Data analytics and considers the privacy-related issues pertaining to the secondary use of health data for research purposes. It also examines the Australian regulatory regimes governing secondary uses of health data for research purposes contained in privacy legislation and human research guidelines, and includes a critique of a new criminal offence for re-identification of de-identified datasets proposed by the Australian Government...
October 2018: Journal of Law and Medicine
Olasupo Owoeye, Oluwabusayo Owoeye
Biotechnology has been used by humankind for thousands of years and it remains a very important part of human medicine. Biotechnology is particularly relevant to the creation of new medicines and vaccines. Biotechnology drugs or biologics are becoming increasingly popular in the life sciences sector. Biologics were estimated to account for US$289 billion pharmaceutical sales in 2014 and are projected to reach US$445 billion in 2019. It is also anticipated that biologics' share of global prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical sales will rise to 26% by 2019...
October 2018: Journal of Law and Medicine
Jamie Walvisch
Mental health problems affect the majority of people who face the sentencing process. The fact that a convicted offender has mental health problems may be taken into account in various ways: it may mitigate or aggravate the penalty, or may affect the type of sanction that is imposed or its conditions. At present, sentencing judges use a two-stage process to determine the effect (if any) that an offender's mental health problems should have on the sentencing determination. First, they ascertain whether the offender has a relevant mental health problem...
October 2018: Journal of Law and Medicine
Craig Cumming, Stuart A Kinner, David B Preen, Ann-Claire Larsen
Many current and former prisoners experience significantly higher rates of physical and mental health problems than others in the community, and are among the most marginalised and disadvantaged people in society. This article argues that granting prison health services an exemption under s 19(2) of the Health Insurance Act 1973 Cth would make the Medicare Benefits Schedule and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme-funded services available to prisoners who meet the eligibility criteria. Australian prisoners would then receive a level of care at least equivalent to that offered by community health services...
October 2018: Journal of Law and Medicine
Gillian Jean, Alexander Holden, Marc Tennant
Recent amendments to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act adopt a number of recommendations published in the final report of the Independent review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme. The adopted recommendations are of interest because of their potential effect on the regulation of the dental profession and how they demonstrate the potential attenuation of the influence of the health professions in general in the arena of healthcare regulation. The wide-reaching effects of these changes and the impact they may have on the future direction of the dental profession in Australia are still uncertain, but are sure to be significant...
October 2018: Journal of Law and Medicine
Jayne E Hewitt
Australia spends nearly 10% of its gross domestic product on health services. With such a substantial financial commitment, even relatively minor improvements in efficiency, effectiveness and productivity can increase community welfare. Competition is a well-recognised policy lever implemented to achieve these goals in market economies. However, it has for many years struggled to gain traction in the health care sector. This article traces recent attempts to promote competition principles in Australia's health care sector...
October 2018: Journal of Law and Medicine
Jordan Sacco
Health-related advertisements should not mislead prospective patients. To do so may deprive patients of their ability to give or withhold consent to treatment and in the case of terminally ill patients, of the opportunity to accept and come to terms with the dying process. Patients should be able to expect that claims in health-related advertising are based on the most recent scientific evidence and are not predatory or exploitative. However, internet advertising and social media continue to provide opportunities for unscrupulous health practitioners to peddle their wares...
October 2018: Journal of Law and Medicine
Gabrielle Wolf
In 1937, the Medical Board of Victoria (the Board) declined to register Moritz Meyer to practise medicine in Victoria, Australia. Meyer was a Jewish doctor who had completed his medical degree in Germany and obtained postgraduate qualifications in Scotland. Meyer successfully challenged the Board's decision in the Supreme Court of Victoria and the Board's appeal against that decision to the High Court of Australia, which was dismissed. In response to Meyer's victory, the Board, under the influence and together with the British Medical Association, successfully lobbied the Victorian Parliament to prevent doctors from practising medicine in Victoria unless they had completed their studies in Victoria or in a country in which Victorian doctors, by virtue of their registration in Victoria, were entitled to practise medicine...
October 2018: Journal of Law and Medicine
Sarah Byrne, Angela Gock, Anne Cowling, Thomas Faunce
The first official pill testing at an Australian music festival was conducted at Groovin' The Moo in Canberra on 29 April 2018. As the trial was the first of its kind in Australia, it was not without legal hurdles and uncertainty. Primarily, there was concern over the legal consequences for patrons participating in the pill testing, as well as the legal liability of those facilitating and conducting the testing. This article will discuss the legal hurdles that were overcome in order to facilitate the trial, and the future consequences and position of pill testing at Australian festivals...
October 2018: Journal of Law and Medicine
Hannah Maslen, Stephen Rainey
Neuroprosthetic speech technologies are in development for patients suffering profound paralysis, such as can result from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. These patients would be unable to speak without intervention, but with neurotechnology can be offered the chance to communicate. The nature of the technology introduces a neuroprosthesis that mediates neural activity to generate synthesised speech. How word prediction coheres with speaker intentions requires scrutiny. Some future forms of prostheses, using statistical language models to predict word patterns, could be thought of as participating with communicative intent - not merely channelling it...
October 2018: Journal of Law and Medicine
David Ranson, Joseph Ibrahim
The rise in the population and the growth in the proportion of the elderly in our population are changing the structure of many of our communities and placing increasing demands on our social and health care services. "Scandals" regarding conditions and standards of care in residential aged care facilities have raised concerns about the regulation, assessment and auditing of these community services for the elderly. At the same time longer working lives change the age factors related to employment opportunities and the cadre of older employees presents a different range of human resource issues and occupational health and safety problems for employers...
October 2018: Journal of Law and Medicine
Danuta Mendelson
As a general rule, lawfulness of data processing under the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (EU 2016/679) (GDPR) is based on affirmative, unambiguous, voluntary, informed, and specific or "granular" consent to processing of their data, including health data, by individuals referred to as data subjects. The GDPR grants data subjects the legal right to specifically agree to (or refuse) having their data processed in any of the ways statutorily defined as "processing". Individuals also have the legal right to be fully informed about each and every intended use of their data by data processors and controllers, and the right to refuse such use...
October 2018: Journal of Law and Medicine
Ian Freckelton
The hearing rule of procedural fairness applies to coroners' investigations and the findings made by coroners. Decisions by Australian and New Zealand appellate courts starting from the 1980s and early 1990s suggest that this will require interested parties to be accorded the opportunity to respond to any adverse findings, and probably comments, which a coroner is minded to make by being alerted in advance to what is proposed by the coroner. This editorial scrutinises decisions by the Victorian Supreme Court and Court of Appeal on the issue between 2016 and 2018 against the backdrop of appellate decisions in South Australia and New Zealand, as well as in the context of the development of modern administrative law in both Australia and New Zealand...
October 2018: Journal of Law and Medicine
Gillian Jean, Alexander C L Holden, Marc Tennant, Estie Kruger
There are established standards for the management of infection control in private dental practices, but there is currently no proactive legislation to oversee correct adherence to those standards. The Australian Health Service Safety and Quality Accreditation Scheme (Scheme) promotes a quality and safety management program that includes attention to the prevention of healthcare acquired infections, but adoption of the Scheme is not compulsory for all. A recent case brought before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal demonstrated the seriousness of breaches of infection control standards and the considerable costs of managing the consequences...
July 2018: Journal of Law and Medicine
Alexander C L Holden
This article seeks to examine and compare the legal and professional positions of tooth whitening of three jurisdictions: the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Within each jurisdiction, a differing formula of legislation, case law and professional guidance dictates how tooth whitening is regulated and practised. Tooth whitening still holds curiosity as a procedure with regards to whether it does indeed warrant status as a professional activity and whether its practice should be limited to dental professionals...
July 2018: Journal of Law and Medicine
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