It's your right-but do you really want to know?
Dr Yvonne Skinner is a consultant psychiatrist in private practice. She has held numerous positions on Government boards and committees in the mental health area. She was a member of the Pituitary Hormones Trust Account Advisory Board set up by the Commonwealth Government. You wouldn't know it from the title ? with words like "trust account" in it, you think of other things ? but the task of that committee was to consider claims in relation to psychiatric illness contracted due to patients? being informed of their increased risk of contracting Cruetzfeld-Jacob disease as a result of injections of pituitary hormones, which they had received in the 1970s. It was a pretty hot topic a few years ago.
Dr Skinner's practice includes assessing and treating patients who have suffered psychological reactions to being informed of the risk of contracting diseases or experiencing medical problems. This has led to her developing an interest in the ethical issues surrounding the disclosure of information to patients, balancing the duty to inform against the psychological impact on the patient of bad news.
Julie Hamblin is a partner in the health law group of Ebsworth & Ebsworth. She acts for a large number of hospitals and health care providers in the defence of medical negligence claims and advises on health policy, clinical risk management, health ethics and privacy. She has held numerous government appointments in the health area. She works as a consultant to the United Nations Development Programme on legal and human rights issues associated with the HIV epidemic in developing countries.
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