Professor Kevin Aquilina, Professor Pierre Mallia and Dr Bridget Ellul, Contemporary Issues in Medical Ethics and Law: Conference Proceedings 2012-2015, Medicine and Law Programme, Faculty of Laws, and Bioethics Research Programme, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, 2017, pp. 268.
The Medicine and Law Programme of the Faculty of Laws and the Bioethics Research Programme of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, both Programmes of the University of Malta, have teamed up, since 2012, to organise a number of conferences and seminars on the theme of ‘Medicine and the Law’. These events are essentially aimed at students carrying out their studies at the University of Malta in the realm of medical ethics and law. Now that a good number of these seminars and conferences have been organised, it was thought proper to collect the main contributions which resulted from these discussions and publish them in a book setting out the papers in question. The result of these conferences is a publication entitled Contemporary Issues in Medical Ethics and Law: Conference Proceedings 2012-2015 co-edited by Professor Kevin Aquilina, Professor Pierre Mallia and Dr Bridget Ellul.
The first activity consisted in a seminar held on 17 October 2012, dealing with the topic of Confidentiality and Treatment of Young Adults: Proposals for Amendment. The Bioethical Research Programme of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery and the Medicine and Law Programme of the Faculty of Laws collaborated with the Office of the Commissioner for Children to organise this seminar. The first speaker was Professor Pierre Mallia who discussed the ‘Attitudes of Family Doctors attached to the Department of Family Medicine towards consulting and treating young adults’. Dr Ann Marie Mangion, a lawyer by profession, presented a paper on ‘Confidentiality and Treatment of Young Adults – Proposals for Amendment’. The same topic formed the subject of the talk delivered by Dr Donatella Frendo Dimech, then Assistant Attorney General, in representation of Dr Peter Grech, Attorney General. Ms Helen D’Amato, Commissioner for Children, read a paper on ‘Child’s Access to Health Services without Parental Control’ and Professor Pierre Mallia spoke about the theme of ‘Should Family Physicians Counsel 14 Patients on Genetic Testing and Screening and Incidental Findings of Genetic Research? Point-of-care Genetic Counselling’.
The second event was a conference held by the two Programmes in collaboration with the Faculty of Theology of the University of Malta and discussed End of Life Decisions. It was held on 25 March 2013. The keynote speaker was Professor John Saunders, Chairman, Ethics Committee, Royal College of Physicians, London. It was opened by Professor Godfrey LaFerla, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery. Professor Pierre Mallia, Coordinator of the Bioethics Research Programme and Chairman of the Medicine and Law Programme introduced the subject. The conference was chaired by Dr Bridget Ellul, Member of the Bioethics Research Programme and the Medicine and Law Programme. The panel consisted of Dr Mario Vassallo, Chairman Medical School Research Ethics Committee, Rev. Professor Emmanuel Agius, Dean, Faculty of Theology, University of Malta, and Dr Daniela Cassar, lawyer and legal practitioner.
The third convocation consisted in a conference on the theme of ‘Ethical Issues in Disaster Situations’ and was held on 29 October 2013. It was introduced by Professor Pierre Mallia. The conference was chaired by Dr Denis Vella Baldacchino, Director Health Care Provision and Consultant in Public Health and Emergency Preparedness. Dr Michael Spiteri addressed the conference’s subject by reference to a case study, that of Mater Dei Hospital. Professor Saviour Formosa addressed the issue of ‘Post-Disaster Preparedness: Implementing Techno-Genetic Approaches in a Socio-Technic Environment’.
The next convocation was held on 11 February 2015 in the form of a seminar with the subject of Research Ethics and was introduced by Professor Pierre Mallia. Dr Neville Calleja spoke on the role and functions of the National Health Ethics Committee within the EU framework and Dr Bridget Ellul gave a presentation on reviewing a proposal. Finally the seminar was addressed by the guest speaker, Dr Michael E. Bone.
The penultimate part of this publication consists of three papers authored by Dr Bridget Ellul and Professor Kevin Aquilina on the subject of ‘Organ Donation and Transplantation’. The first paper is penned by Dr Bridget Ellul, ‘Organ Donation in Malta. What’s New?’ and was published first in The Journal of the Malta College of Family Doctors. The other two papers are authored by Professor Kevin Aquilina – ‘The E.U. Standards Directive on Human Organ Transplantation: A Maltese Law Evaluation’ published in the Malta Medical Journal and ‘Legislation Regulating Organ Donation and Transplantation: The Main Issues’ published in the Chamber of Advocates’ Law and Practice.
The final part deals with reproductive technology consisting in a paper authored by Professor Pierre Mallia on an ‘Update of Developments in Reproductive Technology in a Catholic Country’.
The book can be purchased at the price of fifty euro from the Faculty Office, Faculty of Laws, University of Malta.