Does justice require genetic enhancements?
It is argued that justice in some cases provides a pro tanto reason genetically to enhance victims of the genetic lottery. Various arguments--both to the effect that justice provides no such reason and to the effect that while there may be such reasons, they are overridden by certain moral constraints--are considered and rejected. Finally, it is argued that justice provides stronger reasons to perform more traditional medical tasks (treatments), and that therefore genetic enhancements should not play an important role in a public health care system. (+info)
Paying research subjects: participants' perspectives.
OBJECTIVE: To explore the opinions of unpaid healthy volunteers on the payment of research subjects. DESIGN: Prospective cohort. SETTING: Southern Alberta, Canada. PARTICIPANTS: Medically eligible persons responding to recruiting advertisements for a randomised vaccine trial were invited to take part in a study of informed consent at the point at which they formally consented or refused trial participation. Of 72 invited, 67 (62 trial consenters, 5 trial refusers) returned questionnaires at baseline and 54 at follow-up. OUTCOME MEASURES: Proportions of persons who agreed or disagreed with three close-ended statements on the payment of research subjects; themes and categories identified by content analysis of responses to an open-ended question. RESULTS: A minority (43.3%) agreed with paying either patient or healthy volunteer participants. Opinions did not change over time. Participants' comments addressed: benefits and drawbacks to research participation; benefits and drawbacks to paying research participants; conditions under which payment of research subjects would be acceptable, and the nature of acceptable recognition. Acceptable conditions were to improve problematic recruitment, to reimburse costs, and to recognise participants, particularly for their time investment. Both non-monetary and monetary recognition of volunteers were thought to be appropriate. CONCLUSIONS: Most unpaid volunteers disagreed with paying research participants. The themes arising from their comments are similar to those that have been raised by ethicists and suggest that recognising the time and effort of participants should receive greater emphasis than presently occurs. (+info)
Compensation for and prevention of occupational disease.(3/129)
Recruitment and motivation of semen providers in Sweden.
BACKGROUND: Legislation in Sweden requires that semen providers are prepared to be identified to offspring (at maturity) should this be requested. This study presents views of semen providers in Sweden regarding factors associated with their recruitment and motivation. METHODS: All semen providers (n = 30) in two clinics in different parts of Sweden participated in a questionnaire survey and both quantitative and qualitative data are reported. RESULTS: While there were some important demographic differences between the two clinic populations, there was total agreement that the desire to assist infertile couples was the sole or main motivating factor in becoming a semen provider. Monetary reward was not reported by respondents to be an important motivator, although at least 50% of the providers in both clinics thought that payment should be made and reimbursement of expenses was reported as being important. Men responded to both advertising and personal experiences or contacts they had with infertile couples. The involvement and support of the semen provider's partner was regarded as important. CONCLUSIONS: Semen providers can be recruited within a system that requires them to be prepared to be identified to offspring in the future. The characteristics of such providers vary, but are typified by a strong desire to assist infertile couples. (+info)
Developing scientific and policy methods that support precautionary action in the face of uncertainty--the Institute of Medicine Committee on Agent Orange.
To be precautionary, decisions must be made to prevent the impacts of potentially harmful activities even though the nature and magnitude of harm have not been proven scientifically. The Institute of Medicine's Committee on the Health Effects in Vietnam Veterans of Exposures to Herbicides provides a novel example of science and policy structures that support precautionary action in the face of uncertainty. What makes this example unique is the clear set of precautionary decision rules that lowered the standard for evidence, which formed the basis for policy. These rules, established by Congress, strongly influenced the way scientific information was weighed and the subsequent compensation decisions. They encouraged committee members to think outside the confines of their disciplines and develop new tools and methods to fit their unique mandate. The result was a methodology, supported by strong institutional structures, that allowed scientists to discuss the evidence as a whole, reach decisions as a group, and clarify uncertainties. (+info)
Predictors and severity of injury in assaults with barglasses and bottles.
BACKGROUND: Although glasses and bottles are frequently used as weapons in assaults, there is little knowledge on which prevention strategies can be based. DESIGN: Scrutiny of a random sample of 1288 criminal injury compensation applications. OBJECTIVE: To identify predictors and relative severity of glass and bottle injury. METHOD: Injury site, severity, treatment, and demographic characteristics of victims and assailants were studied with reference to awards from the UK national Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Gender of victims and assailants, injury sites, treatment, and award (UK pounds) as indices of injury severity. RESULTS: Annual CICA awards to all victims of assaults in licensed premises during 1996-98 amounted to pound 4.08 million (for all glass/bottle assaults: pound 1.15 million = 28%). The mean cost of 746 glass assaults was pound 2347, compared with pound 2007 for 542 injuries from bottle assaults (mean difference pound 340; p<0.01). This difference largely reflected more eye injuries with glasses (26 cases: 3% of all glass assaults) than with bottles (eight cases: 1% of all bottle assaults). Bottle assault was significantly associated with unidentified assailants and scalp injuries; whereas glass injury was significantly linked to pub opening hours (midday to midnight), Thursdays, eye and face injuries, and treatment requiring sutures. Mean age of bottle assault victims (26.1 years) was lower than of glass victims (27.3 years; p<0.01), and same gender assaults were more frequent than between gender assaults for both bottle (p<0.001) and glass (p<0.001) assaults. Female victims were allocated to lower compensation awards more frequently than male victims; this was the case for both bottle (p<0.05) and glass (p<0.01) assaults. CONCLUSIONS: Assaults with bottles caused less serious injury and resulted in lower compensation costs. Injury distribution was linked to victim gender and weapon choice, but not to assailant gender. Prevention strategies should focus on both bottle and glass assaults and should take account of the setting and time in which drinking occurs. (+info)
Surgical adverse events, risk management, and malpractice outcome: morbidity and mortality review is not enough.
OBJECTIVE: To review all admissions (age > 13) to three surgical patient care centers at a single academic medical center between January 1, 1995, and December 6, 1999, for significant surgical adverse events. SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: Little data exist on the interrelationships between surgical adverse events, risk management, malpractice claims, and resulting indemnity payments to plaintiffs. The authors hypothesized that examination of this process would identify performance improvement opportunities overlooked by standard medical peer review; the risk of litigation would be constant across the three homogeneous patient care centers; and the risk management process would exceed the performance improvement process. METHODS: Data collected included patient demographics (age, gender, and employment status), hospital financials (hospital charges, costs, and financial class), and outcome. Outcome categories were medical (disability: <1 month, 1-6 months, permanent/death), legal (no legal action, settlement, summary judgment), financial (indemnity payments, legal fees, write-offs), and cause and effect analysis. Cause and effect analysis attempts to identify system failures contributing to adverse outcomes. This was determined by two independent analysts using the 17 Harvard criteria and subdividing these into subsystem causative factors. RESULTS: The study group consisted of 130 patients with surgical adverse events resulting in total liabilities of $8.2 million US dollars. The incidence of adverse events per 1,000 admissions across the three patient care centers was similar, but indemnity payments per 1,000 admissions varied (cardiothoracic = $30 US dollars, women's health = $90 US dollars, trauma = $520 US dollars). Patient demographics were not predictive of high-risk subgroups for adverse events or litigation. In terms of medical outcome, 51 patients had permanent disability or death, accounting for 98% of the indemnity payments. In terms of legal outcome, 103 patients received no indemnity payments, 15 patients received indemnity payments, four suits remain open, and in eight cases charges were written off ($0.121 million US dollars). To date, no cases have been adjudicated in court. Cause and effect analysis identified 390 system failures contributing to the adverse events (mean 3.0 failures per adverse event); there were 4.7 failures per adverse event in the 15 indemnity cases. Five categories of causes accounted for 75% of the failures (patient management, n = 104; communication, n = 89; administration, n = 33; documentation, n = 32; behavior, n = 23). The current medical review process would have identified 104 of 390 systems failures (37%). CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates no rational link between the tort system and the reduction of adverse events. Sixty-three percent of contributing causes to adverse events were undetected by current medical review processes. Adverse events occur at the interface between different systems or disciplines and result from multiple failures. Indemnity costs per hospital day vary dramatically by patient care center (range $3.60-97.60 US dollars a day). The regionalization of healthcare is in jeopardy from the burden of high indemnity payments. (+info)