The Health News – 23 June 2016

Overview:
• Colleen Stefanyszyn died in December 2008, four days after elective hysterectomy surgery performed by Dr Oliver Brown at Newcastle Private Hospital. In the judgment handed down, the decision said: “The result was that the blockage caused by the suture material was not identified or addressed and infection set in.”

• Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s claim the Government wants to privatise Medicare. Mr Shorten’s assertion is based on the fact the Government had been considering outsourcing what Dr Michael Gannon has dubbed Medicare’s antiquated and rusty payments system. He said privatising the payments system n no way amounted to privatising Medicare, as Mr Shorten has claimed.

• Neuroscientists at the University of Wollongong have published the results of the first comprehensive study on the long term use of anti- psychotic medications in children. The study looked at three commonly prescribed drugs. They found using the drugs during childhood and adolescence could have significant lifelong impacts on levels of hyperactivity, depression and anxiety.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  23rd of June 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-22/court-finds-hospital-more-involved-in-newcastle-patient-death/7532296

The Supreme Court of New South Wales has found Newcastle Private Hospital had a greater contributory role in the death of a woman who died after vomiting faecal matter for days.

Colleen Stefanyszyn died in December 2008, four days after elective hysterectomy surgery performed by Dr Oliver Brown at Newcastle Private Hospital.

In a civil case, the Supreme Court heard, before Justice M Schmidt, that Mrs Stefanyszyn died, after a loop of suture material was inadvertently wrapped around her bowel.

The court heard the error was not discovered until after her death.

In the judgment handed down … the decision said: “The result was that the blockage caused by the suture material was not identified or addressed and infection set in.”

The hearings in May, 2016 focussed on several issues, including medical negligence, the roles of the surgeon and hospital staff, nature of duties owed to the patient and the hospital’s admitted breach of duty of care.

It also looked at the nature of the hospital’s breaches and whether they contributed to patient’s death.

In the decision it stated Dr Brown admitted negligence and took responsibility for two thirds of that … negligence.

But the decision noted the hospital only admitted responsibility for 5 per cent of the negligence.

Dr Brown challenged that in a cross-claim and the Supreme Court has found the hospital’s contribution must be assessed to have been 20 per cent.

The parties agreed that Mrs Stefanyszyn’s death could have been prevented, had available surgical steps been taken.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-22/election-2016-medicare-ama-bill-shorten/7531978

The new head of the Australian Medical Association has dealt a blow to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s claim the Government wants to privatise Medicare.

Mr Shorten’s assertion is based on the fact the Government had been considering outsourcing what Dr Michael Gannon has dubbed Medicare’s “antiquated” and “rusty” payments system.

He said privatising the payments system “in no way” amounted to privatising Medicare, as Mr Shorten has claimed.

“I’ve never seen, and nor do I see, a proposal to potentially privatise the payments system as … a way to privatise Medicare,” Dr Gannon said.

“The evidence just doesn’t stack up.

“We also understand how important Medicare is to voters and that’s why it’s such a potent claim from the Labor Party but the AMA will always call governments to account, they will call oppositions to account.”

Dr Gannon added he was pleased with “numerous” elements of Labor’s health policy.

“Most noticeably unravelling the freeze on patient rebates,” he said.

At the weekend Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ruled out privatising any aspect of Medicare, in the wake of what he dubbed a “disgraceful scare campaign” by Mr Shorten.

Dr Gannon — the head of obstetrics and gynaecology at St John of God Subiaco Hospital in Perth — took over the reins of the AMA in May from Sydney neurosurgeon Brian Owler.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-22/pyschotic-medication-for-children-could-have-lasting-effects/7530340

Researchers have found evidence that medicating children with behaviour problems could have an impact on levels of depression, anxiety and hyperactivity later in life.

Neuroscientists at the University of Wollongong have published the results of the first comprehensive study on the long term use of anti-psychotic medications in children.

The study looked at three commonly prescribed drugs …

They found using the drugs during childhood and adolescence could have significant lifelong impacts on levels of hyperactivity, depression and anxiety.

There has been growing concern about the rising use of such drugs among children because they are typically not approved for use in growing brains and are being prescribed “off-label”.

Michael De Santis, a PhD student who led the study, said researchers theorise using the drugs to repeatedly block receptors in a growing brain leads to more receptors, meaning mental health conditions could get worse later in life.

“[This] would then cause an opposite effect of what the drugs were used for,” he said.

The researchers used rats to study long-term impacts based on the abbreviated life span of rodents and said it was not clear how closely the results would translate to humans.

Mr De Santis said the study found the medicines had a more profound impact on males.

The study has been published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology and conducted as part of an Australian Rotary Health scholarship.

Professor Chao Deng heads the Antipsychotic Research Laboratory at Wollongong University and supervised the research.