The Health News – 9 August 2016

Overview:
• Bronte Higham, 67, was one of 10 patients given an incorrect dosage of a chemotherapy drug by an Adelaide hospital during a six-month period. Mr Higham and Mr Andrew Knox’s emotional testimony forced the South Australia Government to offer $100,000 compensation payments to those affected.

• Health Minister Michael Ferguson admitted the State Government would not reach its deadline for commencing the consolidated birthing service for the North West Regional Hospital in Burnie.

• A team at the University of Western Australia (UWA) is now seeking hundreds of women aged between 18 and 40 to participate in the study. UWA senior research fellow Jennifer Stone said researchers wanted to identify factors associated with increased breast density in young women.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  9th of August 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-08/bronte-higham’s-death-to-be-investigated-by-coroner/7700336

The death of another patient involved in SA Health’s chemotherapy under-dosing bungle will be investigated by South Australia’s deputy state coroner.

Bronte Higham, 67, was one of 10 patients given an incorrect dosage of a chemotherapy drug by an Adelaide hospital during a six-month period.

He died in the early hours of Sunday after relapsing with leukaemia earlier this year.

… the Coroners Court heard Mr Higham’s death would be added to the coronial inquest looking into the deaths of two other patients.

Fellow patient Andrew Knox said he feared the investigation would not provide families with closure.

“The only way for closure and the safety of the public is for the Premier to immediately call a judicial inquiry and stand aside and let the truth come out,” he said.

He said he was concerned the deputy coroner would only be able to investigate the medical side of the bungle and not the Government’s handling of the matter.

Mr Knox said he was the only patient who received an incorrect dosage after SA Health became aware of the matter.

The inquest is not expected to start until next year.

Mr Higham joined Mr Knox in May to give evidence to a South Australian parliamentary committee about the impact the errors had on them and their families.

The emotional testimony forced the South Australia Government to offer $100,000 compensation payments to those affected.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-08/mayors-disappointed-about-birthing-service-delay/7699304

Mayors in north-west Tasmania are disappointed there is still no official date for the beginning of a restructured birthing service in the region.

Health Minister Michael Ferguson admitted the State Government would not reach its deadline for commencing the consolidated birthing service for the North West Regional Hospital in Burnie.

The Government flagged in early 2015 that the Mersey Community Hospital at Latrobe would lose maternity services, meaning expectant mothers in the region would need to travel to Burnie to give birth.

The Government’s 2016 agenda outlined July-September as the period the new system would begin operating, but Mr Ferguson has now said that will not happen.

“We will be very close to meeting that timeframe,” he said.

“Some of the negotiations that have been involved have taken a little longer than expected.”

Staff have been guaranteed eight weeks’ notice before the new system is operational, and with negotiations still underway it will be at least October before Burnie becomes the region’s birthing centre.

Latrobe Mayor Peter Freshney said the ongoing uncertainty was not ideal.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-07/uwa-breast-density-study-targets-cancer-link-and-prevention/7698370

A pilot study into breast density among young women is being launched by West Australian researchers in the hope of reducing cancer risk later in life.

Increased breast density is one of the strongest predictors of breast cancer risk in older women, however not much is known about it in younger populations.

A team at the University of Western Australia (UWA) is now seeking hundreds of women aged between 18 and 40 to participate in the study.

UWA senior research fellow Jennifer Stone said researchers wanted to identify factors associated with increased breast density in young women.

“Women [aged over 40] with extensive breast density for their age are four to six more times more likely to develop breast cancer than women of the same age but with very little or no mammographic density,” she said.

“Factors like modifiable behaviours such as smoking, alcohol use, contraceptives, all those things we know that are potential risk factors for breast cancer that could also potentially change breast density.”

Dr Stone said identifying factors linked to breast density could help inform primary prevention strategies against cancer and assist in early detection.

Dr Stone emphasised that dense breasts were quite common and, while they were a risk factor for cancer, they alone did not indicate a woman would develop the disease.

The study has been funded by the National Breast Cancer Foundation

Young women have been invited by UWA to register their interest.

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