Australian Doctors Admit Helping Patients Die

Professor Spigelman said the survey responses, made anonymously by mail, “indicate the extent to which doctors work in an invidious environment.” “In some ways it is a climate of fear because of inadequate guidance on how to negotiate decisions in terminal cases,” he said, adding that the results were “not surprising but are at the upper limits of our expectations.” Dr. Roger Hunt, a specialist in palliative medicine whose comments accompany the report, said in an article: “If the criminal code was applied many surgeons could be charged with murder. That would be unjust in many terminal care situations in which doctors compassionately accede to patients’ requests. The duty of doctors to satisfy the wishes of patients can conflict with the law.” Dr. Michael Ashby, a professor of palliative care who reviewed the findings, said that if doctors were “really intending to hasten patients’ deaths, then the community needs to know.” The results of the survey — answered by two-thirds of the roughly 1,000 general surgeons in Australia — were published a few weeks after the acquittal in Fremantle, in Western Australia, of Dr. Daryl Stephens, who was charged with the willful murder of a patient, Freeda Hayes. A Superior Court jury took only 10 minutes on Oct. 23 to free Dr. Stephens, and Ms. Hayes’s brother and sister, who were accused of homicide and assisting a suicide. Ms.

basics http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/03/health/03AUST.html

Australian Doctor Uses Household Drill To Save Boy

The doctor on duty, Rob Carson, quickly recognized the boy was experiencing potentially fatal bleeding on the brain and knew he had only minutes to make a hole in the boy’s skull to relieve the pressure. But the small hospital was not equipped with neurological drills _ so Carson sent for a household drill from the maintenance room. “Dr. Carson came over to us and said, ‘I am going to have to drill into (Nicholas) to relieve the pressure on the brain _ we’ve got one shot at this and one shot only,'” Michael Rossi told The Australian newspaper. Carson called a neurosurgeon in the state capital of Melbourne for help, who talked Carson through the procedure _ which he had never before attempted _ by telling him where to aim the drill and how deep to go. “All of a sudden the emergency ward was turned into an operating theater,” Michael Rossi told Fairfax Radio on Wednesday. “We didn’t see anything, but we heard the noises, heard the drill. It was just one of those surreal experiences.” The procedure took just over a minute, said anesthetist Dr. David Tynan, who assisted Carson. “It was pretty scary. You obviously worry, (are) you pushing hard enough or pushing too hard, but then when some blood came out after we’d gone through the skull, we realized we’d made the right decision,” Tynan told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

url post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/20/australian-doctor-uses-ho_n_205761.html

Could Australian doctors be doing more to tackle health inequities?

costarica

For example, childrens wellbeing is better and levels of trust are higher in more equal rich countries, while the more unequal rich countries have longer working hours and a higher prevalence of mental illness. This slide comparing Costa Rica and US is a corker; it shows that better health and happiness is not all about more money, or even more spending on health services. The evidence that Baum presented was compelling, but the question lingering afterwards was: what can be done? Public health consultant Rebecca Gordon has been investigating whether Australias medical powerbrokers have been doing enough to advance action on the social determinants of health and health equity. Rebecca Gordon writes: In June this year, the Royal College of Physicians in England released a policy statement How doctors can close the gap: Tackling the social determinants of health . The RCP points out that many doctors have not paid enough attention to health promotion, preventing ill health and reducing health inequalities, and unequal access to care. As some of the most trusted professionals in society, doctors at all levels can join forces to advocate for health equality. Doctors can advocate on a personal, community or national level. The statement includes recommendations and suggestions for actions across the health sector. These range from considering the impact of day-to-day practice on health inequalities to advocating policies and programmes that could benefit the physical and mental health of socially disadvantaged groups and also result in reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. In Australia, colleges and professional organisations have made government submissions and public statements on issues such as health reform, Indigenous health, mental health, refugee health and climate change. Individual doctors have spoken up on the same issues. Mental health professionals have been active in advocating for change in mental health care and to address factors which influence the development and course of mental disorders including social inclusion, early intervention and community versus hospital based care.

the full details http://blogs.crikey.com.au/croakey/2010/10/02/could-australian-doctors-be-doing-more-to-tackle-health-inequities/

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