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Articles on Medical indemnity

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Most people overestimate the benefits and underestimate the harms of medical intervention. Barbara M./Flickr

Great expectations: our naive optimism about medical care

“It might do me some good and it won’t hurt to give it a go.” How often have you heard a phrase like this? Most people have naïve optimism about medical care. That’s the finding of a systematic review…
A no-fault compensation scheme is already widely used for third-party motor vehicle accident claims. Paul Hocksenar/Flickr

Why don’t we create a no-fault scheme for medical injuries?

Lost among the many provocative recommendations of last week’s National Commission of Audit report was a proposal to phase out the Commonwealth’s A$100 million subsidy of medical indemnity insurance premiums…
Our legal system already has provisions in place capable of responding to criminal conduct by health-care workers. Image from

Health-care providers – a different class of criminal?

Should Australian health-care workers face criminal penalties if they wilfully or recklessly neglect or mistreat patients? The United Kingdom is currently grappling with this question after systemic failures…
Doctors are not morally obliged to ensure patients follow their advice. Image from

Drawing the line on doctors’ responsibility for patients

The NSW Supreme Court decision to overturn damages awarded to an obese man whose doctor failed to refer him for specialist care to help him lose weight has been widely welcomed by medical and legal experts…
Anaesthetist James Latham Peters transmitted the virus to his patients after he injected himself with the drug fentanyl. Image from

How was a drug-addicted doctor with hep C able to infect his patients?

Fifty-five women contracted hepatitis C after having abortions in Melbourne between 2008 and 2009. James Latham Peters, an anaesthetist with a drug dependence, has been prosecuted in Victoria for infecting…
Doctors shouldn’t be forced into policing the choices of their patients. Image from

Don’t blame doctors for patients’ failure to lose weight

The New South Wales Supreme Court recently awarded a morbidly obese man $364,372 in damages for developing terminal liver cancer as a consequence of his doctor’s failure to refer him for bariatric (gastric…
Adverse outcomes in health care have a deeply personal impact on patients and on medical practitioners. Zoriah/Flickr

Australia’s medical indemnity claims – why should we care?

Evidence-based medicine is the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of the best current evidence in making decisions about patient care. The same approach should be taken when patients are harmed…

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