News Brief Blog March 2017


Australian Medical News Brief March 2017.pngWelcome to Medshop Australia’s monthly series, News Brief, where we talk about what you may have missed. These are mostly articles we’ve posted in our social media news feeds. We consider them the most newsworthy events in Australian health and medicine from the last month. You will find links to the original articles. Let’s look back and review the top stories from March.


Canberra company Aspen Medical at the forefront of Mosul mercy bid


As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, Canberra based company Aspen medical are delivery life-saving medical services in war-torn Iraq, through humanitarian aid and intervention.

At the request of the Iraqi government, Aspen medical were engaged by the World Health Organisation to manage and run a 48-bed hospital. They are now in the process of recruiting over 70 employees to assist them.

The city of Mosul, Iraq is an active conflict zone, on top of casualties from conflict, they are contending with disease from poor sanitation, malnutrition, and dehydration.

Despite being a war-torn city, life goes on and there is a strong need for increased maternity services to aid women and children. The facility is geared up to provide trauma care, maternity, and paediatric services.

Concerns for staff welfare have been addressed through strict security measures and a close working relationship with the Iraqi armed forces. An inspiring and encouraging example of humanitarian virtue triumphing in spite of the horrors of war.


Doctor ignores threat while working to save man who had been shot


As reported by Courier Mail, A 33-year-old Doctor from Queensland, Dr. Attique Zafra is being commended for his courageous spirit that helped save a life.

Dr. Zafra was on his way to perform a routine home visit when he was alerted to a seriously injured man in the back of a car. The man had a head wound and was bleeding profusely after being shot, he warned Dr. Zafra that the gunman was still in the area.

This did not deter the brave doctor from helping the man. He alerted some passers-by to call the police and an ambulance while he proceeded to treat the patient using his medical kit. The ambulance and the police arrived and the patient was transferred to hospital.

To cap off his heroic actions, the doctor also treated an injured SWAT officer at the scene of the crime. The police later arrested and charged the gunman with attempted murder.


Survey Shows Some Epilepsy Sufferers Prefer Medical Cannabis


As reported by the Huffington Post, a survey conducted by the Lambert Initiative at the University of Sydney has revealed that as many as 9 out of 10 people who use medicinal cannabis as a treatment for epilepsy, have found it more effective than any other conventional treatment.

The survey was conducted amongst adults and parents of children who are suffering from treatment resistant epilepsy. Despite medicinal cannabis having recently been made legal in Australia, it is still very early days with few medical practitioners actually licensed to prescribe it.

There are also medical practitioners who are not yet comfortable with the idea of medicinal cannabis and may opt to not prescribe it to their patients.

At present, many people who are utilising medicinal cannabis are obtaining the drug through illegal channels out of desperation. The hope is that with more research and information becoming available about the drugs significant benefits to patients, the stigma will be decreased and patients can obtain the drug safely and legally.


Australia will lead world in medical technology, says Bill Ferris


As reported by the Australian Financial Review, Bill Farris, Australia's chairman for Innovation and Science believes that Australia is well positioned to become a global leader in medical technology and genomic medicine.

They are looking towards where Australia will be positioned as a world leader in innovation and science by 2030. Digital health services delivery, medical documentation and history platforms are pitched to be a huge area for growth, with Australia already at the forefront of developing these technologies.

There is also a great interest in pushing towards growth and development within the field of precision medicine. This includes research into gene sequencing, pathology analysis, and pharmacogenomics, which examines how a person's genes affect their response to certain drugs.

Quantum computing technology is also an area where there is potential for Australia to contribute significantly. There is a push for greater funding towards "moonshot" projects, pushing the boundaries towards increasing Australia's position as a medical world leader and providing exciting opportunities for researchers, innovators and scientists alike.


Can you haggle for cheaper medical treatment? This man saved himself $3000


As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, 70 year old Australian male, Graham Lonnie has haggled his way to more affordable medical treatment and saved himself $3,000.00 in the process.

Mr. Lonnie required a hip replacement operation, the sixth one in his life following an initial injury from a traumatic car accident in his youth.

As a pensioner, Mr. Lonnie was concerned about his ability to afford to see his trusted private surgeon for the operation, despite having health insurance cover. It was an issue which he discussed with her openly and honestly.

To Mr. Lonnie's surprise, the surgeon offered to do the surgery for free, stating she had made enough money from him already. This story has raised the idea of being able to discuss costs and fees with surgeons and the value of getting a second, or even a third quote or opinion.

There is great variance in some surgical fields, with regards to the fees that individual surgeons charge. The differences can be quite significant, in the range of thousands of dollars.

Chief executive of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, states that often specialists don't state their price lists on their websites, and GP's then refer patients to specialists without being aware of their pricing details.

A recent rise in price comparison websites is set to change this, with websites such as and publishing specialist doctors fees.

So the next time you need to have an expensive surgical procedure, keep these things in mind and perhaps you might be able to save a significant amount of money for yourself.

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