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4.4.7 Injuries Resulting from Medical Treatment

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Medical treatment provided during service

During a person's service, medical treatment is provided for all injuries and illnesses at the expense of the Defence Department whether or not such injury or illness is related to service. The treatment that is covered by these provisions is related to conditions that:

  • affect the member's efficiency, or
  • make the member a danger to others.
Necessary treatment

In the case of Brown, (AAT 1 August 1989), the Tribunal quoted the former Defence Regulation 435 which stated: 'Any member may be required to undergo such medical treatment as is deemed by a medical officer, and such dental treatment as is deemed by a dental officer, to be necessary to cure, remove, prevent or to reduce the likelihood of any disease or infirmity which in the opinion of the medical officer or the dental officer affects or is likely to affect the efficiency of the member in the performance of their duties, or to endanger the health of any other members'.

Reference was also made to Australian Military Regulation 203(1)(xxxi) in which wilful misconduct or disobeying orders, whether in hospital or otherwise, that results in aggravating the disease or infirmity, or delaying the cure is listed as an offence.

Injury or disease during necessary treatment is defence-caused

If a member is undergoing necessary treatment and injury, disease or death results, this would be defence-caused as the member was required to undergo such treatment. In some circumstances, a member could not be charged for failing to undergo treatment, if it does not affect the member's duty. In such cases, it is a domestic matter and injury, disease or death resulting from treatment is not defence-caused.

Example - treatment not necessary and not defence-caused

A female member becomes pregnant and it is suggested that she have an abortion. As the result of the abortion, she is rendered sterile. Pregnancy is not a disease or an injury so it does not need to be 'cured'. The member's efficiency would have been impaired at times during her pregnancy but it would not have been permanently affected. There is provision for members of the Defence Force to take maternity leave so it is recognised that pregnancies occur. As there are specific laws governing when an abortion can take place and as a number of people have moral objections to abortions being carried out, the member could not have been directed to have an abortion. The effects of the abortion would not be defence-caused.


According to subsection 5D(1), an injury means any physical or mental injury (including the recurrence of a physical or mental injury) but does not include:

  • a disease, or
  • the aggravation of a physical or mental injury.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

 

 

According to subsection 5D(1), an injury means any physical or mental injury (including the recurrence of a physical or mental injury) but does not include:

  • a disease, or
  • the aggravation of a physical or mental injury.

According to subsection 5D(1), disease means:

  • any physical or mental ailment, disorder, defect or morbid condition (whether of sudden onset or gradual development), or
  • the recurrence of such an ailment, disorder, defect or morbid condition,

but does not include:

  • the aggravation of such an ailment, disorder, defect or morbid condition, or
  • a temporary departure from:

the normal physiological state, or

the accepted ranges of physiological or biochemical measures,

that results from normal physiological stress (for example, the effect of exercise on blood pressure) or the temporary effect of extraneous agents (for example, alcohol on blood cholesterol levels).