The Health News – 24 March 2017

Overview:
• West Australian Government might introduce the “No Jab, No Play” policy, a law that bans unvaccinated children from childcare centres and preschools.

• Paramedics were cleared of any wrongdoing over the death of Stacey Louise Yean, who died hours after she was told she did not require hospital treatment.

• Pregabalin, a drug commonly used to treat the painful condition sciatica, is no more effective than a placebo.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  24th of March 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-23/wa-likely-to-ban-unvaccinated-children-from-childcare-centres/8381572

The West Australian Government is likely to introduce laws banning unvaccinated children from childcare centres and preschools.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said he agreed with a push by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who wrote to state and territory leaders earlier this month encouraging them to adopt the so-called “no jab, no play” policy.

Currently, unvaccinated children can enrol in childcare centres in WA and some other jurisdictions.

Queensland, NSW and Victoria require children to be fully immunised or on an approved catch-up program, a position Mr Turnbull wants other states and territories to adopt.

Mr McGowan said his new Government was likely to adhere to that.

Mr McGowan said parents who did not get their children vaccinated were “to a degree irresponsible”.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-23/ambulance-paramedics-not-to-blame-for-death-of-stacey-yean/8379808

A coronial inquest has cleared paramedics of any wrongdoing over the death of a 23-year-old Ballarat woman who died hours after she was told she did not require hospital treatment.

Stacey Louise Yean became violently ill with stomach pains and began vomiting profusely at her home in central Victoria in January last year.

She was found dead in her bed the following morning, but the cause of her death remains a mystery despite an autopsy.

On the day Ms Yean fell ill, her family and friends made two triple-0 calls.

During the first call, Ms Yean’s mother, Adrienne Yean, spoke to a paramedic who said she did not need an ambulance, but suggested calling back if her daughter’s condition deteriorated.

An hour later, a family friend called back and reported that Ms Yean’s breathing was abnormal, prompting an ambulance to be dispatched.

Paramedics checked Ms Yean’s vital signs twice and, finding they were within normal range, advised she likely had a “gastric bug” and would not need to be taken to hospital.

At the inquest, paramedic Jessica Handley testified she then told Ms Yean she would probably be more comfortable at home than in a hospital waiting room.

“Stacey chose to not go to hospital. I didn’t see the need to make her go,” she said.

… coroner Phillip Byrne found the paramedics had acted properly.

“Their performance did not depart from a norm or standard, nor did it fall short of a recognised duty.

Outside the coroner’s court, the lawyer representing Ms Yean’s family, Shari Liby, said they were bitterly disappointed.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-23/sciatica-drug,-pregabalin,-no-more-effective-than-placebo:-study/8380210

A drug commonly used to treat the painful condition sciatica is no more effective than a placebo, researchers have found.

Sciatica is an uncomfortable condition that causes searing pain, tingling or numbness to shoot along the sciatic nerve, and is usually felt in the lower back and limbs.

The drug used to treat the condition, Pregabalin, has been available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) since 2013, and has been successfully used to treat certain nerve conditions.

However, its effectiveness in treating sciatica was unknown, a fact that worried researchers, especially given its popularity.

Researchers at the George Institute for Global Health recruited a group of patients for a test to uncover its effectiveness.

“We randomly gave half of those people the active medication, and half of the people the inactive medication,” Associate Professor Christine Lin said.

“What we found was that in both groups of people, they improved over time.

Professor Lin estimated that between 200,000 and 400,000 Australians are affected by sciatica.

“I think this speaks to the unfortunate situation that most treatments we’ve used for sciatica don’t actually work,” she said.

“So when this drug first came onto the Australian market it became the new hope.”

Professor Lin said one of the concerns they had, which led them decide on conducting the study, was that when the drug became available in Australia it turned out to be more popular than anyone had expected.

Twice as many people from the group taking the active medicine reported side effects, compared to those on the placebo.

Dizziness was the most common side effect, though in rare cases the drug has also been associated with suicidal thoughts and actions.

Professor Lin said it was important that patients currently taking Pregabalin do not take themselves off the medication cold turkey, or without consulting their doctor first, as it needs to be done in a controlled environment.

The study has been published in …[the recent] edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.