Ethics, Law and Medical Practice

Front Cover
What exactly constitutes informed consent? What happens if I'm asked to give evidence in court? What is ethically acceptable research? What are the current requirements for medical records? No medical practitioner can afford to concentrate on medicine and ignore the ethical and legal aspects of practice. Ethical principles lie at the core of the doctor-patient relationship, and from medical records to malpractice suits, the law has a bearing on all aspects of professional work. This is an authoritative and comprehensive handbook for practitioners which emphasises the importance of communication skills, maintaining professional competence and good practice management.

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The section on Medicare is well explained.


Communication skills
Confidentiality and disclosure
Medical records reports and certificates
Professional liability and negligence
Causes of actions against doctors NegligenceDoctors duty
Health complaints commissions Health care professionals covered
Personal health of the doctor
Ethics and the allocation of health care resources
The law and courts of law in Australia
The adversary systemEvidenceinchiefCrossexamination
The certification of death
Issues at the beginning and end of life
The law and the mentally ill
Definition of mental illnessMental health legislation Admission
Infectious diseases which are not sexually transmitted Doctors and
NHMRC Statement on human experimentation

Maintenance of professional competence
Entering practice and practice management
Codes of ethics in clinical research What constitutes clinical research
NHMRC General guidelines for medical practitioners
NHMRC Recommendations for the donation of cadaveric
Table of statutes

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 26 - Every human being of adult years and sound mind has a right to determine what shall be done with his own body; and a surgeon who performs an operation without his patient's consent commits an assault, for which he is liable in damages.
Page 64 - Every person who enters into a learned profession undertakes to bring to the exercise of it a reasonable degree of care and skill. He does not undertake, if he is an attorney, that at all events you shall gain your...
Page 168 - The nurse holds in confidence personal information and uses judgement in sharing this information.
Page 87 - If it is shown that a medical man in the pursuit of his profession, has done something with regard to it which would be reasonably regarded as disgraceful or dishonourable by his professional brethren of good repute and competency...
Page 64 - He does not undertake, if he is an attorney, that at all events you shall gain your case, nor does a surgeon undertake that he will perform a cure nor does he undertake to use the highest possible degree of skill. There may be persons who have higher education and greater advantages than he has, but he undertakes to bring a fair, reasonable, and competent degree of skill...
Page 281 - I think those words ought to be construed in a reasonable sense, and, if the doctor is of the opinion, on reasonable grounds and with adequate knowledge, that the probable consequence of the continuance of the pregnancy will be to make the woman a physical or mental wreck, the jury are quite entitled to take the view that the doctor who, under those circumstances and in that honest belief operates, is operating for the purpose of preserving the life of the...
Page 157 - The degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge.
Page 284 - Act of 1938 provides that where a woman by any wilful act or omission causes the death of her child being a child under the age of twelve months, but at the time of the act or omission the balance of her mind was disturbed by reason of her not having fully recovered from the effect of giving birth to the child or by reason of the effect of lactation consequent upon the birth of the child...
Page 43 - A licensed physician or surgeon cannot without the consent of his patient, be examined in a civil action as to any information acquired in attending the patient, which was necessary to enable him to prescribe or act for the patient...

About the author (1997)

Dr Kerry Breen is Chairman of Division of Medicine, St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne and President of the Medical Practitioners' Board of Victoria; Professor Vernon Plueckhahn is Associate Professor of Forensic Medicine at Monash University and past president of the AMA (Victorian branch); Professor Stephen Cordner is Foundation Professor of Forensic Medicine at Monash University and Director of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine.

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