The Health News – 26 February 2016

Overview:
• An Adelaide man who was one of 10 cancer patients given the wrong dosage of chemotherapy has called for an urgent judicial inquiry into the chemotherapy bungle, and SA Health’s handling of patient records because he is worried many of them will not live long enough to see the matter dealt with properly.

•  E. coli has been detected in the drinking water supply at Strahan on Tasmania’s west coast, prompting a boil before use alert.

• The Cancer Council of Australia says Australian women should not be alarmed by a US court decision which has drawn a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 26th February 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-25/chemo-bungle-patient-calls-sa-health-judicial-inquiry/7200044

An Adelaide man who was one of 10 cancer patients given the wrong dosage of chemotherapy is worried many of them will not live long enough to see the matter dealt with properly.

Andrew Knox has called for an urgent judicial inquiry into the chemotherapy bungle, and SA Health’s handling of patient records.

“Our families need to know that it will be dealt with thoroughly and properly, otherwise they’ll spend the rest of their lives lamenting what wasn’t done,” Mr Knox said.

His call came after it was revealed 21 SA Health staff had been disciplined for inappropriately accessing patient medical records.

Mr Knox is also concerned his records have not been maintained correctly.

“Something’s not right … the authority to give me the prescriptions and the doses no longer exists,” he said.

“Whether that was destroyed or never existed I think is almost one and the same.

Mr Knox recently received a letter from the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) informing him an investigation into the chemotherapy bungle would be undertaken, but that it could take more than a year.

SA Health Minister Jack Snelling said the matter was of “sufficient seriousness to warrant a parliamentary inquiry”.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-25/ecoli-detected-in-water-supply-prompts-tasmania-west-coast/7199978

E. coli has been detected in the drinking water supply at Strahan on Tasmania’s west coast, prompting a boil before use alert.

TasWater said it found the bacteria during routine testing.

Water for drinking, brushing teeth and cooking needs to be boiled before use.

TasWater is investigating what caused the contamination and said it could be some time before the water is safe to drink.

The Department of Health and Human Services said consuming unboiled water could lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and a general feeling of being unwell.

In December, Wynyard was placed on a boil alert, after birds nesting in a nearby reservoir contaminated the supply.

Some residents complained that mailed notifications regarding the alert were delayed by up to five days.

TasWater acknowledged it could improve how it issued boiled water alerts, after widespread criticism for its handling of the contamination.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-25/cancer-council-responds-to-talcum-powder-case/7200220

The Cancer Council of Australia says Australian women should not be alarmed by a US court decision which has drawn a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer.

An American jury has awarded $100 million to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer and blamed her death on Johnson & Johnson talcum powder.

In a deposition, Jacqueline Fox blamed her use of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and Shower to Shower body powder for her cancer.

She said she had used the company’s products for 35 years.

Ms Fox was part of a class action of 1,200 women suing the company, but was the first to be awarded damages.

Her lawyer Jere Beasley said he has heard from women in Australia who claim to have ovarian cancer and are concerned about a link to their use of talc.

Johnson & Johnson is expected to appeal the decision.

In a statement the company wrote: “We have no higher responsibility than the health and safety of consumers and we are disappointed with the outcome of the trial.

“We sympathise with the plaintiff’s family but firmly believe the safety of cosmetic talc is supported by decades of scientific evidence.”

An advisor to the Cancer Council Australia, Professor Bernard Stewart from the Medical Faculty at the University of New South Wales, agrees that evidence of a link between ovarian cancer and the use of talc is slim at best.