Manslaughter by gross negligence, or systemic failure? Implications of the Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba case

8 November 2018



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Manslaughter by gross negligence, or systemic failure? Implications of the Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba case for Australia

Keynote Presentation: Professor Ian Freckelton QC

About the Seminar

On Friday morning, 18 February 2011, six-year-old Jack Alcock was admitted to the Leicester Royal Infirmary Hospital in England in a limp and unresponsive state, following 12 hours of vomiting and diarrhoea.
By 9.20pm that night he was dead, due to sepsis and organ failure arising from pneumonia, which remained undiagnosed during the day. Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba was the doctor on duty in the Children's Assessment Unit at the hospital, where Jack remained for most of the day.

On 4 November 2015, Dr Bawa-Garba was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence. She was also suspended and then erased from the Medical Register until a decision of the Court of Appeal, sparking criticism worldwide.
On the day of the tragedy, Dr Bawa-Garba was covering the Children's Assessment Unit because she had volunteered to fill in for a colleague who was absent. She worked a double shift, without any breaks, also covering cases in the general paediatrics ward, and the Emergency Department. In a letter of support for Dr Bawa-Garba, 159 pediatricians condemned the punitive approach taken against one doctor "against a background of numerous systemic failures", adding that they would be confident to employ Dr Bawa-Garba upon her re-instatement to the medical register.

In this seminar, Professor Ian Freckelton QC will review the Bawa-Garba case and consider its implications for medical practice in Australia. Was Dr Bawa-Garba treated unfairly, and how should the Medical Board of Australia (and in NSW, the NSW Medical Council) and other professional bodies respond in such cases? How should community expectations be met in tragic cases like this one? Are there solutions to the staffing challenges that place unreasonable demands on medical practitioners?

Keynote Presentation: Professor Ian Freckelton QC

A panel of experts will respond to Professor Freckelton's address:

Dr Penny Browne, Chief Medical Officer, Avant Mutual
Dr Andrew McDonald, Associate Professor in Paediatrics, Western Sydney University School of Medicine
Ms Jane Bulter, Senior Associate, Catherine Henry Lawyers.
Chair: Professor Cameron Stewart, Sydney Law School

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CPD Points: 1.5

This event is proudly hosted by the Sydney Health Law, Sydney Law School, The University of Sydney in partnership with the Menzies Centre for Health Policy at The University of Sydney

Time: 6-7.30pm

Location: Law Foyer, Level 2, New Law Building (F10), Eastern Avenue, Camperdown, University of Sydney

Cost: Free, however registration is essential. See registration link at top of the page

Contact: Professional Learning & Community Engagement

Phone: 93510248

Email: 1426246d2b1e02394325091c1712581f526f0927015b3722