News in brief: HS underdiagnosed in paediatric patients; Plastic surgeon wins $450k damages for malicious reviews; Skin cancer specialist investigated for lockdown party

19 Aug 2021

HS underdiagnosed in paediatric patients

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) in paediatric patients is often undiagnosed and managed in high-cost Emergency Department settings whereas young people would be better treated as an outpatient by dermatologists, according to US clinicians.

In what they describe as the largest ever study of HS, a review of 1094 paediatric patients showed that they were likely to see pediatricians, emergency department staff, and family physicians and receive diagnoses of folliculitis and comedones before HS diagnosis.

The findings, published in JAMA Dermatology confirmed that most children with HS were female (86%), with the mean age of symptom onset at 15 years. Pediatric patients with HS had high rates of comorbid acne vulgaris, acne conglobata, obesity, and anxiety.

“Early recognition, prompt intervention, and referral to a dermatologist may be the key to managing the complications and comorbidities of paediatric HS. Ultimately, this may prevent the utilisation of high-cost care settings, such as the ED or inpatient hospitalisation,” the study authors said.

Skin cancer specialist investigated for lockdown party

A Victorian skin cancer clinic doctor is one of several health professionals being investigated by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency for allegedly attending a Melbourne party with dozens of family and friends in breach of strict lockdown regulations.

The doctor, named in the Mail Online, was one of 70 guests who allegedly attended an engagement party, at which his son is reported to have joked about the gathering being legal because it was a mental health group session attended by doctors.

‘We are aware that Victoria Police have stated that they intend to take action with respect to individuals who attended the event,’ an APHRA spokesperson said.

‘We will liaise with them in relation to any registered health practitioners who were present.’

On his website, the doctor is listed as a Fellow of the Skin Cancer College of Australasia (SCCA) and a senior lecturer in skin cancer medicine at the School of Medicine, University of Queensland.

Plastic surgeon wins $450k damages for malicious reviews

A Sydney plastic surgeon has been awarded $450,000 in defamation damages from a woman who mounted a campaign of online abuse and false claims against him after he refused to operate on her.

Dr Warwick Nettle, a Bondi-based plastic and reconstructive surgeon, became the target of virulent abuse, falsehoods and negative reviews from Catherine Cruse in 2018 when he declined to perform surgery on her, based on warnings from another surgeon who had previously treated her.

Dr Nettle took his case to the Federal Court of Australia, which found that his behaviour was professionally appropriate and justifiable, and that the online comments and maliciously false reviews reviews had seriously damaged both his professional reputation and his thriving practice.

As a results of Ms Cruse posting negative reviews, Dr Nettle’s “Google rating” fell from 5 to 3.5 stars and his workload declined significantly.

The court awarded damages of $450,000 to Dr Nettle and granted permanent injunctions barring Ms Cruse from posting further false and defamatory material about him. However Ms Cruse did not take part in the proceedings and could not be traced, having apparently deliberately concealed her whereabouts, the court was told.


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