How physician executives and clinicians perceive ethical issues in Saudi Arabian hospitals.
OBJECTIVES: To compare the perceptions of physician executives and clinicians regarding ethical issues in Saudi Arabian hospitals and the attributes that might lead to the existence of these ethical issues. DESIGN: Self-completion questionnaire administered from February to July 1997. SETTING: Different health regions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. PARTICIPANTS: Random sample of 457 physicians (317 clinicians and 140 physician executives) from several hospitals in various regions across the kingdom. RESULTS: There were statistically significant differences in the perceptions of physician executives and clinicians regarding the existence of various ethical issues in their hospitals. The vast majority of physician executives did not perceive that seven of the eight issues addressed by the study were ethical concerns in their hospitals. However, the majority of the clinicians perceived that six of the same eight issues were ethical considerations in their hospitals. Statistically significant differences in the perceptions of physician executives and clinicians were observed in only three out of eight attributes that might possibly lead to the existence of ethical issues. The most significant attribute that was perceived to result in ethical issues was that of hospitals having a multinational staff. CONCLUSION: The study calls for the formulation of a code of ethics that will address specifically the physicians who work in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As a more immediate initiative, it is recommended that seminars and workshops be conducted to provide physicians with an opportunity to discuss the ethical dilemmas they face in their medical practice. (+info)
Can we learn from eugenics?
Eugenics casts a long shadow over contemporary genetics. Any measure, whether in clinical genetics or biotechnology, which is suspected of eugenic intent is likely to be opposed on that ground. Yet there is little consensus on what this word signifies, and often only a remote connection to the very complex set of social movements which took that name. After a brief historical summary of eugenics, this essay attempts to locate any wrongs inherent in eugenic doctrines. Four candidates are examined and rejected. The moral challenge posed by eugenics for genetics in our own time, I argue, is to achieve social justice. (+info)
Indigenous peoples and the morality of the Human Genome Diversity Project.
In addition to the aim of mapping and sequencing one human's genome, the Human Genome Project also intends to characterise the genetic diversity of the world's peoples. The Human Genome Diversity Project raises political, economic and ethical issues. These intersect clearly when the genomes under study are those of indigenous peoples who are already subject to serious economic, legal and/or social disadvantage and discrimination. The fact that some individuals associated with the project have made dismissive comments about indigenous peoples has confused rather than illuminated the deeper issues involved, as well as causing much antagonism among indigenous peoples. There are more serious ethical issues raised by the project for all geneticists, including those who are sympathetic to the problems of indigenous peoples. With particular attention to the history and attitudes of Australian indigenous peoples, we argue that the Human Genome Diversity Project can only proceed if those who further its objectives simultaneously: respect the cultural beliefs of indigenous peoples; publicly support the efforts of indigenous peoples to achieve respect and equality; express respect by a rigorous understanding of the meaning of equitable negotiation of consent, and ensure that both immediate and long term economic benefits from the research flow back to the groups taking part. (+info)
Protective truthfulness: the Chinese way of safeguarding patients in informed treatment decisions.
The first part of this paper examines the practice of informed treatment decisions in the protective medical system in China today. The second part examines how health care professionals in China perceive and carry out their responsibilities when relaying information to vulnerable patients, based on the findings of an empirical study that I had undertaken to examine the moral experience of nurses in practice situations. In the Chinese medical ethics tradition, refinement [jing] in skills and sincerity [cheng] in relating to patients are two cardinal virtues that health care professionals are required to possess. This notion of absolute sincerity carries a strong sense of parental protectiveness. The empirical findings reveal that most nurses are ambivalent about telling the truth to patients. Truth-telling would become an insincere act if a patient were to lose hope and confidence in life after learning of his or her disease. In this system of protective medical care, it is arguable as to whose interests are being protected: the patient, the family or the hospital. I would suggest that the interests of the hospital and the family members who legitimately represent the patient's interests are being honoured, but at the expense of the patient's right to know. (+info)
Research, ethics and conflicts of interest.
In this paper, I have tried to develop a critique of committee procedures and conflict of interest within research advisory committees and ethical review committees (ERCs). There are specific features of conflict of interest in medical research. Scientists, communities and the subjects of research all have legitimate stakeholdings. The interests of medical scientists are particularly complex, since they are justified by the moral and physical welfare of their research subjects, while the reputations and incomes of scientists depend on the success of their science. Tensions of this kind must at times produce conflict of interest. It is important to recognise that conflicts of interest may unwittingly lead to manipulation of research subjects and their lay representatives on research committees. It is equally important to recognise distinctions between the legal and moral aspects of conflict of interest. Some practical suggestions are made which may go some way towards resolving these difficulties. They indicate what might be needed to ensure the validity of ethical discourse, and to reduce the risks associated with conflict of interest. (+info)
Defending diversity: affirmative action and medical education.
Affirmative action programs of all types are under attack legally and politically. Although medical schools have not been specifically targeted, their affirmative action programs, like others in higher education, are potentially in danger. This article examines the current legal status of affirmative action in medical education and concludes that a refurbished defense of such programs is essential if they are to survive impending judicial and political scrutiny. An analysis of existing case law and available evidence suggests that a carefully reinvigorated diversity argument is the tactic most likely to pass constitutional muster, as well as the justification most likely to blunt growing public and political opposition to admissions policies that take race and ethnicity into consideration. (+info)
Family consent, communication, and advance directives for cancer disclosure: a Japanese case and discussion.
The dilemma of whether and how to disclose a diagnosis of cancer or of any other terminal illness continues to be a subject of worldwide interest. We present the case of a 62-year-old Japanese woman afflicted with advanced gall bladder cancer who had previously expressed a preference not to be told a diagnosis of cancer. The treating physician revealed the diagnosis to the family first, and then told the patient: "You don't have any cancer yet, but if we don't treat you, it will progress to a cancer". In our analysis, we examine the role of family consent, communication patterns (including ambiguous disclosure), and advance directives for cancer disclosure in Japan. Finally, we explore the implications for Edmund Pellegrino's proposal of "something close to autonomy" as a universal good. (+info)
Interpersonal processes of care in diverse populations.
Persons of lower socioeconomic status and members of racial and ethnic minority groups experience poorer health and increased health risk factors. A framework of interpersonal processes of care specifies distinct components and incorporates the perspective of diverse racial and ethnic or socioeconomic groups. Its dimensions, each with several domains, are communication (general clarity, elicitation of and responsiveness to patient concerns, explanations, empowerment), decision making (responsiveness to patient preferences, consideration of ability and desire to comply), and interpersonal style (friendliness, respectfulness, discrimination, cultural sensitivity, support). All the domains, except cultural sensitivity, were validated through a survey of 603 ethnically diverse, low-income adults. Confirmation of the framework's usefulness should enable researchers to explore how interpersonal processes might account for observed ethnic and social class differences in health care and health. (+info)