Voluntary euthanasia under control? Further empirical evidence from The Netherlands.
Nineteen ninety-six saw the publication of a major Dutch survey into euthanasia in the Netherlands. This paper outlines the main statistical findings of this survey and considers whether it shows that voluntary euthanasia is under effective control in the Netherlands. The paper concludes that although there has been some improvement in compliance with procedural requirements, the practice of voluntary euthanasia remains beyond effective control. (+info)
Should Zelen pre-randomised consent designs be used in some neonatal trials?
My aim is to suggest that there is a case for using a randomised consent design in some neonatal trials. As an example I use the trials of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in neonates suffering pulmonary hypertension. In some trials the process of obtaining consent has the potential to harm the subject, for example, by disappointing those who end in the control group and by creating additional anxiety at times of acute illness. An example of such were the trials of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in neonates suffering pulmonary hypertension. Pre-randomised consent could avoid or lessen these harms. However, a number of ethical objections are made to these research designs. They involve denial of information, using people, denial of choice, and "overselling" of allocated treatment. Furthermore, they are the wrong response; better communication might be the answer, for example. I argue that these objections are not completely persuasive. However, they are enough to suggest caution in the use of such designs. (+info)
Should childhood immunisation be compulsory?
Immunisation is offered to all age groups in the UK, but is mainly given to infants and school-age children. Such immunisation is not compulsory, in contrast to other countries, such as the United States. Levels of immunisation are generally very high in the UK, but the rates of immunisation vary with the public perception of the risk of side effects. This article discusses whether compulsory vaccination is acceptable by considering individual cases where parents have failed to give consent or have explicitly refused consent for their children to be immunised. In particular, the rights of: a parent to rear his/her child according to his/her own standards; the child to receive health care, and the community to be protected from vaccine-preventable infectious disease are considered. The conclusion of the article is that compulsory vaccination cannot, with very few exceptions, be justified in the UK, in view of the high levels of population immunity which currently exist. (+info)
Parental consent to publicity.
The problems presented by the use of named child patients and their medical histories in television, radio and newspapers is discussed. It is suggested that it is not acceptable to regard this as comparable to their participation in non-therapeutic research, and that no one, not even the parent has the authority to give consent to such use. (+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)
The family rule: a framework for obtaining ethical consent for medical interventions from children.
Children's consent to treatment remains a contentious topic, with confusing legal precepts and advice. This paper proposes that informed consent in children should be regarded as shared between children and their families, the balance being determined by implicit, developmentally based negotiations between child and parent--a "family rule" for consent. Consistent, operationalized procedures for ethically obtaining consent can be derived from its application to both routine and contentious situations. Therefore, use of the "family Rule" concept can consistently define negligent procedure in obtaining consent from children, and could be used as a unifying framework in the development of new professional guidelines. A "guideline"-based approach to children's consent to treatment may offer greater individuality than a "rights"-based approach, though careful training and oversight will be needed for it to be effective. (+info)
Immunization and the American way: 4 childhood vaccines.
Childhood immunization constitutes one of the great success stories of American public health in the 20th century. This essay provides a historical examination of this topic through 4 particularly important examples: diphtheria, pertussis, polio, and measles. Each case study illustrates how new vaccines have posed unique challenges related to basic science, clinical trial methodology, medical ethics, and public acceptance. A brief comparison of each story to the experience of Great Britain, however, suggests an underlying unity connecting all 4 examples. Whereas the British led the way in introducing formal clinical trial methodology in the field of immunization development, the Americans excelled in the rapid translation of laboratory knowledge into strategies suitable for mass application. Although this distinction appears to have diminished in recent years, it offers insight into the sources of creativity underlying American vaccine development and the corresponding difficulties sometimes created for utilizing vaccines fruits rationally. (+info)
Parental consent to cosmetic facial surgery in Down's syndrome.
It is suggested that the practice of attempting to normalise children with Down's syndrome by subjecting them to major facial plastic surgery has no therapeutic benefit, and should be seen as multilating surgery comparable to female circumcision. (+info)