The News – 30 June 2014

Overview

  • Researchers have found evidence of a banned antibiotic in chickens for sale in major supermarkets and butchers.
  • Queensland doctor Antonio Vega, Vega wins appeal to have licence reinstated. The conditions meant he could only practice medicine under supervision and was required to have his professional competence reviewed monthly.
  • The Tasmanian Government has given mixed signals about cannabis being used for medicinal purposes in the state.


Stories Discussed
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 30th June 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-29/concern-over-banned-antibiotic-superbug-found-in-chicken/5556068

Researchers have found evidence of a banned antibiotic in chickens for sale in major supermarkets and butchers.

Scientists from the School of Biology from the Australian National University took 281 samples from three major supermarkets and a butcher around Canberra.

In those chicken samples contaminated with the common bacteria E.coli, almost two thirds of the bugs were resistant to some form of antibiotic.

Therefore if a human were to get sick from the contaminated chicken meat, doctors would find the illness difficult to treat.

Researchers were particularly concerned to find four samples resistant to fluoroquinolone antibiotics, which are banned from use in Australian food-producing animals.

The strong antibiotics have never been approved for such uses in Australia, and the country is highly regarded for having low levels of fluoroquinolone resistance.

Researchers Belinda Vangchhia and Professor David Gordon from the ANU says their findings suggest that the food people consume is a significant source of antibiotic resistance.

“E.coli is known to cause common infections like urinary tract and other blood stream infections like septicaemia,” Ms Vangchhia said.

“Just by consuming the meat we can be exposed to the antibiotic as well.”

They suspect the contamination is happening somewhere in the production process.

“It would be worth the relevant authorities going back through the steps of the processing to see where the introduction of antibiotic resistant bacteria might have occurred.”

Antibiotics generally are used widely on farms for both preventing and treating illness.

They are also used in some cases for “sub-therapeutic” treatments where farmers administer antibiotics to help fatten up animals.

The theory is the drugs affect microbes in the gut which allow the animals to absorb more of their food and get fatter.

University of Sydney academic Dr Stephen Page, a veterinarian and clinical pharmacologist who consults for the Australian chicken industry, says it is highly unlikely Australian chickens are being fed banned fluoroquinolones at farm level.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-27/queensland-surgeon-antonio-vega-vega-wins-appeal/5554530?section=qld

A tribunal has ruled a central Queensland doctor who removed the wrong kidney from a patient poses no serious threat to the public and can continue to practice without restrictions.

Spanish-trained urologist Antonio Vega Vega was suspended from practice last month after the botched surgery.

Dr Vega Vega was also alleged to have previously misdiagnosed a twisted testicle, ultimately causing it to be removed, nicked another surgical patient’s artery, and wrongly positioned a stent in a separate operation.

The Medical Board of Australia (MBA) lifted its suspension on Dr Vega Vega last week but imposed strict conditions and monthly competence reviews.

The conditions meant he could only practice medicine under supervision and was required to have his professional competence reviewed monthly.

But Dr Vega Vega wanted those conditions removed, arguing the kidney surgery was highly complex because of the patient’s spina bifida, and that he had the confidence and respect of his colleagues.

The Civil and Administrative Tribunal today heard the patient in question had an abnormal anatomy, where her kidney had shifted across her body.

The tribunal ruled Dr Vega Vega posed no serious threat to the public and can continue practice without restrictions.

The judge ruled that compliance with the conditions set out by the Medical Board would not have avoided the same outcome.

An investigation is continuing into the matter.

In a statement, Dr Vega Vega said he “deeply regrets the adverse result of the operation” and not telling the patient or her family when it happened.

Despite the order, the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service said earlier today it would not reinstate Dr Vega Vega until the completion of the external investigation.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-29/tasmanian-government-open-to-medical-cannabis-trials/5558208?section=tas

The Tasmanian Government has given mixed signals about cannabis being used for medicinal purposes in the state.

Tasmania has had a successful pharmaceutical poppy industry for decades and advocates say that makes the state an ideal home for a medicinal cannabis industry.

A company called Tasman Health Cannabinoids hopes to run a research trial in conjunction with the University of Tasmania.

On Saturday State Growth Minister Matthew Groom said it was not on the Government’s radar.

A day later Health Minister Michael Ferguson said he would consider allowing medical cannabis trials.

Mr Ferguson is meeting company representatives on Tuesday, and is also expected to be lobbied by a cross party delegation of New South Wales MPs on Thursday.

Opposition spokeswoman Lara Giddings said Labor supported the idea but getting through regulatory hurdles would be tough.

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