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University Degree: Medical Law
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Euthanasia. Despite the fact that euthanasia is classified as a criminal act and law takes no account of the motive of the doctor, instances where doctors are charged and prosecuted for having performed active euthanasia upon a patient are few
Despite numerous attempts to legalize active voluntary euthanasia, e.g. the 2004 "Assisted Dying Bill"4, reform efforts have failed in the UK where the traditional belief remains that "I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel" ... The Hippocratic Oath.5 Statistics suggest that doctors in the UK are hardening their attitude towards euthanasia "just 2.6% of doctors said changing the law would benefit patients", however more than "80% of the people back the move". 6 Despite the fact that euthanasia is classified as a criminal act and law takes no account of the motive of the doctor, instances where doctors are charged and prosecuted for having performed active euthanasia upon a patient are few, e.g.
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The term 'miscarriage' was used instead of abortion in this legislation and under section 58 of this act, every women who is intending to procure her own miscarriage should possess any poison or other noxious thing unlawfully, or shall use any other harmful substance with the like intent unlawfully, and if convicted thereof shall be liable to be kept in penal servitude for life.4 The section 59 of this act furthermore states that whoever supply or procure any poison or other harmful thing knowing that the same thing is intended to be used for the miscarriage of any women unlawfully,
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However, under the section 2(1) of the Suicide Act, 'A person who aids, abets, counsels or procures the suicide of another or an attempt by another to commit suicide, shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years'.2 Furthermore, the Medical Treatment (Prevention of Euthanasia) Bill was presented in the House of Commons on 15th of December 1999 which suggested a prohibition for the doctors to intentionally cause a death of the patient by withdrawing the medication.
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Within the context of professional ethics, observing the principle of confidentiality means keeping information given by or about an individual in the course of a professional relationship secure and secret from others. In Hunter v Mann
The Court balanced the public interest in freedom of the press against the public interest in maintaining hospital records confidential. The Court found that lack of publication of the information would be of minimal significance since there was a wide ranging public debate about AIDS generally. In balancing these competing interests it should be noted that disclosure should in any event only be made to a relevant party - there should be no blanket disclosure. Subsequently the scope of medical confidentiality was considered by the Court of Appeal in W v Egdell3.
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"In establishing the standard of professional conduct that ought be reasonably adopted by doctors, common law does little more than articulate standards adopted by doctors themselves, it does not impose those of its own" Discuss
This statement could be taken as a contradiction to what LJ McNair stated above, it could be seen that doctors are articulating their own standards, because judges do not want to get involved. Difficulties The first difficulty in application of the Bolam Test arises when applied to junior doctors, who may lack expertise. In this case the courts have felt the need to follow the reasoning given in Nettleship v Weston  3ALL ER 581.Where a learner driver was held subject to the same standard to that of the reasonably competent driver.
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Professional Standard and Reasonable Test The legal test applied to the standard of care afforded to a patient by his doctor has historically been the professional standard or the "bolam test" after it was described by McNair, J in the case of Bolam v. Friern Hospital Management Board . The essential dictum from this case was that: ".....a doctor is not negligent of he acts in accordance with a practice accepted at the time as proper by a responsible body of medical opinion."
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The law empowers doctors with the rights and responsibilities to decide on matters pertaining abortion. This can be seen as an anomaly as the statute was enacted to mitigate problems of illegal abortion, which was prevalent in the UK prior to the Act. It has been argued by Sheldon, drawing from the analysis of Michel Foucault?s analysis, that the Act merely reflects the immense moral turmoil of encouraging female irresponsibility, emotional instability and draws an assumption of a female?s sexual morality. The law does not legalise abortion, rather it has laid down numerous exceptions to the illegality of abortion.
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Justice Alito spoke on the hypothetical typical healthy 27 year old worker who on average consumes less than $900 annually on healthcare services. Under the PPACA that same healthy 27 year old worker will be required to spend more than 5 times that amount for a healthcare policy that gives a low deductable and pediatric services. Two services that a healthy 27 year old normally wouldn?t choose.4 Regulations prevent small businesses to grandfather their health insurance plans, further driving up healthcare spending as small businesses search for new plans.1 When those same small businesses purchase new health insurance plans they are going to find a soggy sandwich in their lap.
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