|Book||Health Care & the Law 5th Edition||05/02/2010||9780455227030||$104.01|
Health Care & the Law is a highly regarded text for health care professionals and others associated with training and administration in this area. As with previous editions, this fifth edition explains the legal process as it relates to the decisions and actions required of those working in this area. In every situation, they have available to them a range of potential actions. Some of these actions are acceptable, while others are detrimental. This book provides the tools for dealing with the legal and ethical consequences of those actions, assisting them to form their own procedures for best practice.
This new edition reflects the rapid pace of change in the area of health law and therefore has been updated to include new material in respect of the courts’ consideration of the civil liability legislation as it applies to negligence; further developments in end-of-life decision-making, including recent major decisions; Fair Work Australia and the new national workplace relations tribunal; and the current treatment of public health law.
Health Care & the Law, 5th Edition is structured around five Parts, each dealing with an essential aspect of the law. Each Part also includes abstracts, summarised case law, procedural checklists and guidelines, which are all designed to enhance the reader’s knowledge of the subject matter under consideration.
- Part 1 outlines general legal theory.
- Part 2 discusses patient relationships, including negligence, access to patient information and consent to care.
- Part 3 reviews employment contracts, registration and injuries in the workplace.
- Part 4 outlines the regulatory requirements for health care professionals, including the reporting of State requirements, drug control and coronial inquiries.
- Part 5 discusses public health law, ethics and current legal issues, including human tissue transplants, reproductive technology and the expanding recognition of human rights.
This illuminating, easy-to-read text is an essential resource not only for health care professionals, but also for teachers and lecturers, students, practitioners and administrators.
Reviewed by: The Health Advocate April 2011
MCILWRAITH AND MADDEN’S book, Health Care and the Law, has been written in the tradition and style of law texts. As such, many healthcare workers will find it a tough read, both because of its technical nature and their lack of familiarity with the subject. Notwithstanding this, it is clearly intended for healthcare workers seeking to understand the law. It makes concessions to this group by providing clear but thorough and non-technical explanations of legal concepts and thumbnail introductions into each area of law considered. So, for example, it provides synopses of tort and property law at relevant points. Where possible these are illustrated with health care examples. As a doctor who has studied general law, I found these synopses useful. It may be, however, that they are of less interest and application to healthcare workers who have not studied law and they may prefer to skim over these introductions to the bulk of the book, which considers the specific application of law to aspects of health care.
The text is well structured and covers all the areas of law that I have found relevant in healthcare administration: torts, privacy, employment, regulation, public health and transplant law. The depth of consideration of these areas varies: it is in-depth in those areas such as torts where the structure of Australian law allows this, but is necessarily more cursory and episodic where the law varies across jurisdictions, as in public health. There is good coverage of areas of particular importance in health law, such as abortion, end-of-life care and advanced care directives, although I would also have liked more detailed coverage of the application of apprehended violence orders to protect the workplace. It is scrupulous in its consideration of jurisdictional differences and is thereby relevant across Australia. Different sections focus on the interests of administrators, employees, doctors and nurses, 50 that the needs of each of these significant perspectives are addressed, The last chapter considers ethical issues, This does not consider these issues in depth and I felt it did not fit well with the overall book,
The authors balance the application of law to health care with practical advice intended to assist healthcare workers in real situations. For example, the section on chemical restraints recognises the difficulty that health care workers face managing disturbed and sometimes violent patients, and the problems that this engenders in balancing patient and staff needs and safety with the requirements of the law. This demonstrates a level of understanding of the impact of legal issues on health service delivery on the ground. Checklists are provided, for example to assess the standard of care or to deal with a patient’s property on admission. A useful flowchart on consent in the impaired adult is also provided.
Health Care and the Law is certainly up-to-date, but the evolving nature of both common law and statute mean that there are areas where the law has developed even since publication. The most important of these is probably the emergence of AHPRA, the Australian Health Practitioners’ Registration Authority, the associated Good Medical Practice: A Code for Conduct for Doctors in Australia, and legislation, which is foreshadowed appropriately. It notes the evolution of the common law doctrine of loss of chance in Gett vTabet without being able to provide the outcome of the appeal to the High Court in that case. Hunter New England Area Health Service v A is discussed, but the more recent South Australian case of H Limited v J is not included. Material then for the sixth edition is already accruing.
This is a generally well-written, comprehensive and up-to-date text. I imagine that it has been written with the intention of being the substantive text for a university course in health law, and it will serve this purpose well. It would serve equally as a reference for health workers who require specialist guidance about specific situations or reminding about finer aspects of the law.
This book review will also appear in the AHHA’s journal, Australian Health Review(Vo135 No 2, May 2011).
Table of Contents
1 What is Law?
2 The Legal Structure
3 The Legal Process
Pt II Patient relationships
4 Consent to Health Care by a Competent Adult
5 Consent to Health Care by a Legally Incompetent Person
7 Patient Information and Privacy
8 Patients’ Property
Pt III Employment
10 Contracts to Provide Health Care Services
11 Accidents and Injuries Related to
12 Registration and Practice
Pt IV Regulatory
14 Criminal Law and Health Care
15 Public Health Law: Registration of Birth and Death and Coronial Inquiries
16 Public Health Law: Communicable Diseases, Child Abuse and Domestic & Family
Pt V Ethical/Legal Issues
17 Human Tissue Transplants and Reproductive Technology
18 Expanding Recognition of Human Rights
19 Decision Making, Law and Ethics: A Discussion