News in brief: Concussion clinic opens in NSW; GP’s arrest linked to neurological ‘mercy killing’ allegation; Hospital-acquired complications not so preventable

7 Feb 2022

Concussion clinic for NSW

A new Sydney concussion clinic is being set up for children and young adults who have ongoing symptoms.

The Royal North Shore Hospital will operate clinics run by a multidisciplinary team including adult and paediatric neurologists, clinical nurse specialists and a neuropsychologist.

The clinic will accept referrals for school aged children who have symptoms of concussion that continue for more than 10 days after diagnosis. An under 25’s clinic will also operate for those who have a sports-related concussion.

Concussion Clinical Nurse Specialist at RNSH Vicki Evans said the new clinic would aim to not just improve symptoms, but also help patients understand concussion and prevent longer term complications.

She said feedback from concussed patients and their parents and carers before the clinic, was a lack of understanding and certainty as to when it was safe to resume regular activities like return to school and sport.

“It was important for them to understand the mood disorders that often accompany lingering concussions and which are sometimes downplayed or not well recognised when managing patients with this type of head injury,” she said.

GP’s arrest linked to neurological ‘mercy killing’ allegation

A GP in Albany, WA, has been arrested by police who will allege he supplied insulin to a mother who intended to use it to kill her six year old child who has a severely disabling neurological condition.

The 40-year old woman said her daughter had a condition that meant she was unable to move her body voluntarily and found difficult to eat, chew and swallow. She had allegedly been trying to raise money to pay for Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration (MNRI) treatment.

According to the West Australian, the woman has been taken into custody along with a 47-year old GP.

“It will be …  alleged that person left the appointment with a prescription from the GP in order to be able to access a drug to be used to end the child’s life, and that the GP was aware of the intended use of the drug,” a WA Police spokesperson said.

It is alleged the child was treated for overdose at Albany Health Campus where she was stabilised.

Hospital-acquired complications not so preventable

Complications are common in hospitalised patients but rates are driven more by patient factors rather than aspects of hospital care quality that can be modified, new Australian research shows.

A review of 1.5 million admissions at 38 major public hospitals in South Australia and Victoria between 2015–2018 found that almost one in ten patients (9.7%) had a complication episode.

However the variations between hospitals were determined mostly by patient factors (overall correlation coefficient 0.55) whereas hospital factors accounted for only 5% of the variation.

The findings have important implications for the interpretation of hospital‐acquired complication reports and implementation of mitigation programs, the study authors said.

“Failure to differentiate between the two groups of factors may lead to practice changes that are clinically sound but ineffective in reducing complication rates. Increasing the funding of health care, improved clinical guidelines, and training and education may reduce rates of complications attributable to hospital factors and health care errors, but are unlikely to reduce those linked with patient‐related factors,” they wrote in the MJA.

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