The Health News – 16 September 2015

Overview:
• Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy says her department will listen to any recommendations made by the Hazelwood mine fire inquiry board. And she said that “We absolutely intend to initiate changes that arise from any of the recommendations.” She wants to build trust between her department and the Latrobe Valley community.

•  A 54-year-old Spanish cancer patient is the first person in the world to receive a titanium 3D-printed sternum and rib cage, designed and manufactured by an Australian company. The CSIRO said chest prosthetics were “notoriously tricky” to create due to the complex customised geometry and design for each patient.

•  It is not yet known if the $50 million Macksville Hospital upgrade will see the existing building demolished, or incorporated into the new structure. NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner said clinicians and special interest groups will play a major role in the planning process of the new hospital. And the NSW Government has committed to redeveloping the hospital in this term of Government, and allocating $1.5 million for planning in the 2015-2016 Budget.News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 16th September 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-14/vic-health-minister-promises-change-after-hazelwood-mine-fire/6772774

Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy says her department will listen to any recommendations made by the Hazelwood mine fire inquiry board.

At public hearings into the health impacts of the fire in Morwell, the inquiry’s counsel assisting, Peter Rozen, asked the board to make adverse findings against the Department of Health.

Mr Rozen told the inquiry, the department published selective and misleading data about deaths in the Latrobe Valley and said it may have breached the Health Act.

Ms Hennessy said she wants to build trust between her department and the Latrobe Valley community.

“We absolutely intend to initiate changes that arise from any of the recommendations,” she said.

“We want to get all of the answers and when we’ve got all of those answers we’ll be taking the appropriate action.”

Community group Voices of the Valley said the Minister did not need to wait until the inquiry report was published in December to make changes.

The group’s president, Wendy Farmer, said the inquiry hearings showed the Government needed to make changes.

“They have been legitimate and they have reopened the Hazelwood mine fire inquiry to listen to communities’ concerns,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Asbestos Council of Victoria is calling on the State Government to create a buffer zone around the Hazelwood Mine.

In a written submission to the mine fire inquiry, the council said there needed to be a planning strategy to deal with how close the mine was to the Morwell community.

The council’s chief executive, Vicki Hamilton, said the Government needed to consider buying houses that were across the road from the freeway, as well as the football and bowling club grounds.

She said there needed to be plans in place for future fires.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-14/cancer-patient-receives-3d-printed-rib-cage/6773188

A Spanish cancer patient is the first person in the world to receive a titanium 3D-printed sternum and rib cage, designed and manufactured by an Australian company.

The 54-year-old needed his sternum and a portion of his rib cage replaced.

The CSIRO said chest prosthetics were “notoriously tricky” to create due to the complex customised geometry and design for each patient.

Thoracic surgeons typically use flat and plate implants in the chest, but they can come loose over time and create complications, the CSIRO said.

A 3D-printed implant was a safer option for the patient because it can identically mimic the intricate structures of the sternum and ribs.

Almost a fortnight since the surgery, the CSIRO confirmed the patient was discharged and had recovered well.

Anatomics, the company who made the implant, used an electrum beam metal printer to create the part.

Alex Kingsbury, additive manufacturing research leader at … CSIRO, explained how the part was created.

“3D-printing works by imputing a 3D digital cad file into a computer and then that computer talks to the machine.

“The machine then puts down layer upon layer of material and each layer is fused.

“As each layer is fused you then start to build up a part as your layers increase.”

The implant has a titanium plate that will sit over the sternum and the mimicked parts of the ribs are screwed into the bones of the rib cage, securing the implant with the bone.

“3D-printing was the most desirable method because the implant needed to be customised to the patient. No human body is the same,” Ms Kingsbury said.

The idea of 3D-printing prosthetics is considered the way of the future amongst medical professionals, and this surgery is not the first time the human body has been turned into a titanium masterpiece.

Earlier this year, in an Australian-first operation, surgeons successfully implanted a titanium 3D-printed prosthetic jaw.

It is expected that hospitals will eventually start using 3D-printing to replicate and replace broken bones and damaged tissue.

Research carried out at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane is aiming to help surgeons print 3D models of areas of the body they are to operate on; and printing a “scaffold” that can be implanted as a replacement.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-15/planning-well-underway-for-macksville-district-hospital/6776322

It is not yet known if the $50 million Macksville Hospital upgrade will see the existing building demolished, or incorporated into the new structure.

The NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner said clinicians and special interest groups will play a major role in [the] planning process the new hospital.

The NSW Government has committed to redeveloping the hospital in this term of Government, and [allocating] $1.5 million for planning in the 2015-2016 Budget.

Ms Skinner visited the site yesterday, and said a clinical services plan for the upgrade is almost finished.

She said she will listen to expert advice on the final design.

“I’ll leave it up to the local health experts, whether we demolish and rebuild or whether we rebuild part of it but keep and refurbish another part of it,” she said.

“That’s what we’ve done at Kempsey, next to the old hospital we’ve built a brand new $80m building.”

She said the input of clinicians is crucial to Macksville’s final design.


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