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IT flaws lead to medical mishaps, drug shortages

A recent event that occurred in the Australian territory of Christmas Island has shed light on how dangerous it can be for a hospital or healthcare facility when their IT systems malfunction.

In many cases, this could be be so severe it results in medical negligence cases, considering IT system maintenance is up to the facility.

On Christmas Island, the problem is especially pronounced among those who are kept in detention seeking asylum. A new report shows that these individuals are often misdiagnosed with serious outcomes because of a complicated and outdated IT network. This system has also led to shortages of very critical medicines. The problem was outlined in a letter signed by 15 doctors and obtained exclusively by Guardian Australia.

The "letter of concern" provides a glimpse into the appalling medical care inside detention centres, and says the Australian government has not done enough to care for these men and women.

"[There are] numerous unsafe practices and gross departures from generally accepted medical standards which have posed significant health risk to patients and caused considerable harm," the letter read.

Several potential medical negligence cases

The letter's authors contended that asylum seekers often undergo medical evaluation when they are exhausted, dehydrated and dirty. When they arrive, the patients are begging for medical treatment that may never be given to them.

It often takes as long as three hours for patients to stand in line to receive medication, and many patients must do this four times a day.

Moreover, a number of the doctors confessed they feel their professional integrity may be at risk, and they have already been paid to set their medical ethics aside.

"We have concerns that decisions made by IHMS [International Health and Medical Services] regarding the provision of care to patients have been compromised by their relationship with the DIBP[Department of Immigration and Border Protection] . As a result, these decisions are not always in the best interest of the patient," the authors wrote in the letter.

"It is of concern that practitioners working within IHMS may be putting any registration they have with Ahpra [Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency] at risk by participating in unethical conduct and in gross departures from clinical standards."

Anyone who feels they may have been a victim of medical negligence is encouraged to get in touch with a compensation lawyer to determine what legal action can be taken.

© 2013 
Gerard Malouf & Partners
 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

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