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Articles on Medicolegal

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It’s not just women who are the losers following the latest TGA announcement. People with all types of medical devices need better regulatory protection. from

The TGA’s proposed breast implant ban exposes a litany of failures, and fails to protect women

The proposed Australian ban of some types of breast implants is too little, too late. It also reveals regulatory failures that need to be fixed if Australian consumers are to be protected.
Recent improvements in medical management of HIV infection are not well understood in the legal sector.

Australian law needs a refresher on the science of HIV transmission

HIV diagnosis is devastating for patients and their families. But the infection is no longer a death sentence, and should not be prosecuted as such say experts.
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…
The vulnerability of mentally disordered people warrants a range of strong protections to prevent wrongful convictions. Emmanuel Huybrechts/Flickr

Justice for all: how should the law deal with false confessions?

Confessions constitute strong evidence of wrongdoing, but not all of them are reliable. So what can the legal system do to ensure justice is done? A US judge is deciding on exactly this matter in a prominent…
People with life-threatening or incurable diseases may be willing to try experimental drugs and unproven treatments. juicyrai/Flickr

Do we need a law to help people try experimental drugs?

People with life-threatening or incurable diseases may be willing to try experimental drugs and unproven treatments, but they face the risk of exploitation. Is the law the best avenue to ensure that they…
The legal landscape around rights and responsibilities for home births is growing increasingly complex. Flickr: Thomas

Risks versus rights in home birthing: a legal view

The ongoing and sometimes emotive debate about risks and rewards of giving birth in hospital or at home is nothing new. What is new is the attention being given to the legal rights and responsibilities…
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…
Marlise’s husband and parents say her body is being used as an incubator. Image from

Brain death, pregnancy and ethics: the case of Marlise Munoz

In November, 33-year-old Texas woman Marlise Munoz collapsed at her Fort Worth home after suffering a suspected blood clot in her lungs. She was later declared brain dead. When the hospital determined…
Dr Jayant Patel (centre), walks with his wife Kishoree (right) and defence barrister Michael Byrne (left) to the Brisbane Supreme Court on Friday. Dave Hunt/AAP

High Court orders a retrial after upholding Jayant Patel’s appeal

The High Court has handed down its decision on Jayant Patel’s appeal against his conviction on three counts of manslaughter and one count of grievous bodily harm. It unanimously upheld Patel’s appeal on…
Vioxx was withdrawn from the Australian market in October 2004 and there’s an ongoing compensation case. DaGoaty/Flickr

Vioxx withdrawal: making sense of the fight for compensation in Australia

The enormous medical impact of modern pharmaceuticals has on occasion been matched by some large-scale litigation regarding adverse events. The Vioxx litigation in Australia and elsewhere is one such recent…
There aren’t any miracle cures but there are a number of treatments that can reduce its severity. Flickr/Algo

Monday’s medical myth: osteoarthritis can be ‘cured’

Switch on daytime television on any given day and you’d be forgiven for thinking there was a cure for the debilitating and dreaded condition, osteoarthritis. Unfortunately, there’s not. And that’s not…
A test case is slated to challenge Myriad’s claim for breast cancer genetic mutations next February. TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³/Flickr

Patent controversy: don’t let breast cancer gene genie out of the bottle

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has found Myriad Genetics is entitled to patents on two sets human genetic mutations used to predict if women have an increased risk of breast and ovarian…
Reimbursing for costs is standard in research but large payments present problems. Flickr/PACOM

Organs for sale? The ethics of paying living kidney donors

The Commonwealth Government is considering a proposal from Kidney Health Australia to reimburse living kidney donors for reasonable expenses incurred during the donation process, such as loss of income…
Transparency in the relationship between doctors and patients will lead to fairer outcomes for victims of medical mishaps. AAP

A healthy prescription: doctors, own up to medical mishaps immediately

An expansion of the fiduciary duties of doctors towards patients could provide better protection to those suffering from medical mishaps. Such an expansion would require doctors to promptly disclose adverse…

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