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medico-legal issues in the ED

general issues

drugs, poisons and controlled substances


Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)

Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)

  • doctor must:
    • consider patient's right of consent
    • respect patient's dignity and privacy
      • thus photographs, particularly, sensitive photographs should NOT be shown to third parties who are not involved in the patient's care unless the patient has consented to this, and preferably, all identifying features have been removed.

medical certificates

  • it is NOT acceptable to provide certificates for time off work just on request (employers may lodge a complaint if their employee is found working elsewhere or involved in recreational activities when they have been certified as being sick!) - the doctor should feel confident that the patient's medical condition warrants time off work. If the condition does not warrant time off work, the doctor can offer to write a letter detailing reported symptoms or encourage the patient to write a statutory declaration.

death certificates, Coroner's issues

jury duty

  • in the past, doctors were excused from jury duty but legislation has now changed so that all occupations are represented.
  • if you respond to the summons and list sufficient and logical reasons for being excused you may be excused.
  • to be excused as an ED doctor, you would need to show that you are an essential member of the emergency department on that day and cannot be replaced and that your absence will significantly impair the functioning of the department and add risk to patients. It would be prudent to obtain a letter confirming this from the Director of the ED.



medicolegal.txt · Last modified: 2016/11/03 07:01 by gary1