Do case studies mislead about the nature of reality?
This paper attempts a partial, critical look at the construction and use of case studies in ethics education. It argues that the authors and users of case studies are often insufficiently aware of the literary nature of these artefacts: this may lead to some confusion between fiction and reality. Issues of the nature of the genre, the fictional, story-constructing aspect of case studies, the nature of authorship, and the purposes and uses of case studies as "texts" are outlined and discussed. The paper concludes with some critical questions that can be applied to the construction and use of case studies in the light of the foregoing analysis. (+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)
Role conflict and confidentiality in multidisciplinary athlete support programmes.
As medical and scientific staff have increasingly been called upon to provide multidisciplinary support to elite performers the potential for ethical, professional, and legal conflicts has also increased. Although this has been recognised, little guidance has been provided to help resolve such conflicts. This paper identifies key issues in the provision of effective support and specifically addresses the roles of medical and scientific staff and their relations to coaches and performers. An athlete charter is presented that has successfully been used to resolve ethical conflicts and clarify the lines of communication, confidentiality, and responsibility within a national governing body. (+info)
Ethical requirements for occupational health research--compliance arrangements for a single company in relation to a recent major nuclear industry study.
The media coverage given to occupational health studies in the field of ionizing radiation has, on occasion, been the cause of very real distress to radiation workers and their families. In response to this situation the Chief Medical Officers of the major UK nuclear companies developed an ethical policy for future involvement in research, based on the duty of care which researchers owe to a key customer of such studies: the worker. The policy consists of four principal elements: medical confidentiality; worker information; worker consent and the guarantee of the availability to the workers of pre-publication knowledge of the results. The policy issued in 1991/92 has achieved growing acceptance among researchers and medical journals, though the medical officers involved have been aware of some scepticism, particularly in relation to the practicalities of the dissemination of pre-publication information. The Record Linkage Study published in November 1997 marked a major piece of research work involving data from 120,000 radiation workers that had been carried out since the development of the policy. This paper reports on the successful compliance arrangements to meet the ethical requirements of that study within a single UK nuclear company, and is published to demonstrate that with commitment from researchers, the journal and occupational health staff such ethical requirements, and particularly the need for pre-publication information can be met in full. (+info)
Withholding/withdrawing treatment from neonates: legislation and official guidelines across Europe.
Representatives from eight European countries compared the legal, ethical and professional settings within which decision making for neonates takes place. When it comes to limiting treatment there is general agreement across all countries that overly aggressive treatment is to be discouraged. Nevertheless, strong emphasis has been placed on the need for compassionate care even where cure is not possible. Where a child will die irrespective of medical intervention, there is widespread acceptance of the practice of limiting aggressive treatment or alleviating suffering even if death may be hastened as a result. Where the infant could be saved but the future outlook is bleak there is more debate, but only two countries have tested the courts with such cases. When it comes to the active intentional ending of life, the legal position is standard across Europe; it is prohibited. However, recognising those intractable situations where death may be lingering and unpleasant, Dutch paediatricians have reported that they do sometimes assist babies to die with parental consent. Two cases have been tried through the courts and recent official recommendations have set out standards by which such actions may be assessed. (+info)
Power and the teaching of medical ethics.
This paper argues that ethics education needs to become more reflective about its social and political ethic as it participates in the construction and transmission of medical ethics. It argues for a critical approach to medical ethics and explores the political context in medical schools and some of the peculiar problems in medical ethics education. (+info)
Ethical considerations in international HIV vaccine trials: summary of a consultative process conducted by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
Research that is initiated, designed or funded by sponsor agencies based in countries with relatively high social and economic development, and conducted in countries that are relatively less developed, gives rise to many important ethical challenges. Although clinical trials of HIV vaccines began ten years ago in the US and Europe, an increasing number of trials are now being conducted or planned in other countries, including several that are considered "developing" countries. Safeguarding the rights and welfare of individuals participating as research subjects in developing countries is a priority. In September, 1997, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) embarked on a process of international consultation; its purpose was further to define the important ethical issues and to formulate guidance that might facilitate the ethical design and conduct of HIV vaccine trials in international contexts. This paper summarises the major outcomes of the UNAIDS consultative process. (+info)
Death--whose decision? Euthanasia and the terminally ill.
In Australia and Oregon, USA, legislation to permit statutory sanctioned physician-assisted dying was enacted. However, opponents, many of whom held strong religious views, were successful with repeal in Australia. Similar opposition in Oregon was formidable, but ultimately lost in a 60-40% vote reaffirming physician-assisted dying. This paper examines the human dilemma which arises when technological advances in end-of-life medicine conflict with traditional and religious sanctity-of-life values. Society places high value on personal autonomy, particularly in the United States. We compare the potential for inherent contradictions and arbitrary decisions where patient autonomy is either permitted or forbidden. The broader implications for human experience resulting from new legislation in both Australia and Oregon are discussed. We conclude that allowing autonomy for the terminally ill, within circumscribed options, results in fewer ethical contradictions and greater preservation of dignity. (+info)