• Bonnie Venter

The Worldly Gavel

Welcome to the February edition of the Worldly Gavel!

Another month has come and gone, and it’s time for another Worldly Gavel update on medical news from around the world.

This month, I find myself at the airport waiting to board a flight to London to present my first paper at an International Congress hosted by the BTS (British Transplantation Society) and NHSBT (National Health Services Blood and Transplant). I’ll be presenting on the legal context of the groundbreaking transplantation which was announced last year where a liver was transplanted from a mother living with HIV to her HIV-negative child. To say I’m a tad nervous would be an understatement.

But, enough about that for now you came here to read about legal developments so let’s jump right into it. In no particular order of importance here are the latest medical law developments.

February ended on a high note when the UK Parliament passed a new opt-out organ donation law that will automatically opt people in England as potential organ donors from 2020. Everyone will still be provided with the option of adding their details to a register if they do not wish to be donors. (NHS)

Following the late 2018 news that the first babies were born after having their genomes edited by the genetics tool, CRISPR, the Chinese legislature have tightened the regulations of some human gene editing procedures. Strict legal penalties which include warnings, fines and a lifetimes ban of participating in clinical research can be expected if these regulations are not obeyed. (Science)

Soon after New York City faced an international lashing for their new abortion laws, Governor Cuomo proposed to legalise commercial surrogate motherhood. (LifeSiteNews)

The Irish Association of Social Workers (ISAW) called for an urgent reform of the Mental Health Act claiming that their current laws do not comply with international human rights law. (Irish Examiner)

Australia passed a controversial refugee evacuation bill which will give doctors more power to decide whether asylum seekers should be able to enter Australian borders for medical treatment. (ABC News)

Social media platforms, Pinterest, Facebook and YouTube, have adopted a zero-tolerance policy for the circulation of anti-vaccination posts. (EuroNews)

That’s it from Worldly Gavel for the month of love. Check in with the Patient Project later this month for more posts focused on organ donation and transplantation.

Have you come across any thought-provoking medical law news this month? What’s your opinion on the opt-out organ donation system – do you reckon we can try this in South Africa? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or on our social media pages:




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The Patient Project is made available for educational purposes only. The website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a practicing legal professional. The information presented may not necessarily reflect the most current legal developments or judgments. The website materials may be changed, improved, or updated without notice. The author is not responsible for any errors or omissions. All views expressed on the website are the author’s own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which the author has been, am now or will be affiliated with in the future.

© 2023 Bonnie Venter

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