A woman takes her four month old baby to her local general practitioner for a severe rash he has developed on his chest. The doctor prescribes a cream that is suitable for a young infant, under Australian prescribing guidelines.
Once at home, the mother goes online to both Australian and American government websites to check the product information guide since it was not given with the cream. She finds out that the product is not recommended for use in the United States of America for infants under the age of two. This recommendation is based on the manufacturer’s own admissions that some patients have reported developing skin cancer and lymphoma after using the product. Further long term studies are required to confirm this relationship. The cream is permissible under Australian prescribing guidelines.
The mother discontinues use of the cream immediately because of a family history of skin cancer and prints out the information to take to the doctor at her next visit. The doctor advises that he was not aware of this possible adverse effect of this cream.
Should the doctor prescribe this cream to the next infant under two he sees with this condition?
We’d welcome your views on these and related medical ethics themes in Professor Stephen Leader’s recent Living Ethics Winter 2011 article Professional Power http://www.ethics.org.au/living-ethics/ ... onal-power