- Tobacco giant British American has been lobbying the Therapeutic Goods Administration to introduce an electronic cigarette into Australia, describing it as a “medicine”.
- Prominent Australians including the Prime Minister are depicted on dialysis in a Darwin exhibition about the escalating rate of kidney disease among Aboriginal people.
- Repeated reassurances from a community midwife led a woman to choose a home birth over the hospital delivery recommended by a doctor, an inquest into the baby’s death has heard.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 3rd October 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.
Tobacco giant British American has been lobbying the Therapeutic Goods Administration to introduce an electronic cigarette into Australia, describing it as a “medicine”.
The information emerged in documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws by the ABC.
Health advocates are worried that allowing big tobacco companies into the e-cigarette market could unleash a wave of seductive advertising that would lure young people into taking up the habit.
Electronic cigarettes are a multi-billion dollar business overseas, but in Australia they remain largely unregulated and legally contentious.
Long-time tobacco opponent Professor Simon Chapman, from Sydney University, said describing e-cigarettes as medicine was “Orwellian” and destructive to society.
Royal Australasian College of Physicians president Professor Nicholas Talley has reviewed the evidence on electronic cigarettes.
“There is no evidence, no convincing evidence that using e-cigarettes leads to people quitting, there’s not even convincing evidence it leads to people smoking less, although that might be possible,” he said.
But other health academics have disagreed and have written to the World Health Organisation describing e-cigarettes as potentially life-saving.
Professor Talley said if e-cigarettes were not properly regulated they would lead to young people taking up the habit.
Prominent Australians including the Prime Minister are depicted on dialysis in a Darwin exhibition about the escalating rate of kidney disease among Aboriginal people.
Artists Chips Mackinolty and Therese Ritchie said the 14 prints, also featuring John Howard and Cate Blanchett, were a call to action for treating and preventing the disease, which is especially prevalent in remote Indigenous communities.
“Aboriginal people are always being depicted as poor buggers and victims because their life experiences are very grim,” said Mr Mackinolty, a well-known Darwin identity who has worked with Aboriginal primary health care services.
“This is about turning the tables to see how it would be if prominent influential people had end-stage kidney disease, and they all had to spend five hours a day three days a week on dialysis.
“Aboriginal people in their early 20s are on dialysis. Short of a transplant it is a death sentence.”
In April this year Kidney Health Australia said diabetes was “out of control”.
From 2001 to 2008 the number of Indigenous Australians receiving treatment for end-stage kidney disease increased by 72 per cent.
A recent ABS survey found Indigenous adults experience diabetes 20 years earlier than non-Indigenous adults. One in five Aboriginal adults had chronic kidney disease.
Aboriginal people living in remote areas were 2.5 times more likely to have chronic kidney disease, compared with those in urban areas.
Kidney-related disease kills more people – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous – each year than breast cancer, prostrate cancer or even road traffic accidents.
The 2011 Central Australian Renal Study looked at problems facing the Northern Territory, South Australia, and Western Australian governments allocating resources to increasing numbers of dialysis patients in Central Australia.
Repeated reassurances from a community midwife led a woman to choose a home birth over the hospital delivery recommended by a doctor, an inquest into the baby’s death has heard.
The woman, who cannot be identified, gave birth to a boy in May 2010, but he was unresponsive and not breathing when born.
He was rushed to hospital but diagnosed with brain damage and died nine days later.
Coroner Sarah Linton was examining the death of the child and two other babies, in an effort to find ways to prevent further deaths after home births.
The woman testified that when she became pregnant she wanted a home birth, and so contacted the community midwifery program and was assigned a midwife.
However, at 31 weeks she was advised by an obstetrician that a home birth was too high risk because of complications she had during the birth of her first child in 2006.
The woman testified that later when she spoke to her community midwife she was told a home birth would be fine.
The woman said she trusted the midwife, who was very confident, and believed things were going to go perfectly.
The woman testified she also believed the obstetrician had been told about her plans to have a home birth, however the inquest heard he was not informed of the decision not to have the child in hospital.
Under questioning from Coroner Linton, the woman said it was the reassurances and support from the midwife that encouraged her to have a home birth, and without that she would have had a hospital birth.
The woman testified she had since had another baby.
“I did everything differently. It was the complete opposite. I had an elective caesarean in hospital,” she said.
Fighting back tears she said, “I was not going to risk another one”.
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