For a long time the Western world was in a state of denial about the human body. There were conventions governing its representation and it could be regarded as an element of discourse. Between 1636 and 1638, Peter Paul Rubens painted a portrait of his second wife, Helena Fourment, entitled The little fur. This may be a turning-point in the perception of the body. We see in this work that the skin of this 22-year-old woman has lost its elasticity, her (...) breasts are not symmetrical and her ankles are pink, contrasting with the pearly white of the rest of her body. The inside of her left thigh shows signs of a varicose saphenous vein. While today’s doctors can suggest the possibility of venous insufficiency and benign familial hyperelasticity, and talk of the consequences of breast-feeding, what this canvas is doing above all is showing the body of a real, named individual, “warts and all”. This may be one of the first portraits of a body in the history of European painting. (shrink)
Medical doctors appear in numerous Rembrandt paintings and reciprocally, physicians interested in art have used their diagnostic skills in dissecting the painter’s work, especially his lifetime of self-portraits. The possible existence of skin and eye diseases, hypothyroidism and Horton’s disease, and psychiatric and psychological traits has been a matter of everlasting debate, as summarised in the present paper. Most of all, the ageing process reveals itself over time in the continuity of the self-portraits. In the quest for signs of illness, (...) the slightest bump in the canvas can be considered a symptom, and the examination of Rembrandt’s self-portraits is a difficult exercise. However, the resulting published papers have given rise to a great number of diagnostic hypotheses. (shrink)
Breaking bad news to mothers whose children has disability is an important role of physicians. There has been considerable speculation about the inevitability of parental dissatisfaction with how they are informed of their child’s disability. Egyptian mothers’ preferences for how to be told the bad news about their child’s disability has not been investigated adequately. The objective of this study was to elicit Egyptian mothers’ preferences for how to be told the bad news about their child’s disability.
Ethics issues in the areas of science, technology and medicine have emerged during the last few decades. Many countries have responded by establishing ethics committees at the national level. Identification of National Ethics Committees (NECs) in the Eastern Mediterranean (EM) region and the extent of their functions and capacity would be helpful in developing capacity building programs that address the needs of these committees. Accordingly, we conducted a survey to determine the characteristics of existing NECs in the EM region.
A collection of dramatic accounts about doctors who have faced the moral dilemma of choosing between obeying rules and doing what is best for a patient offers insight into the essential principles of medical ethics and their impact on ...
How one goes about teaching medical ethics greatly depends upon one's interpretation of the discipline itself. Before discussing pedagogical isslIes, the primary focus ofthe paper, I will address the question of what "philosophical" medical ethics is and is not. I will then suggest some alternative approac:hes forincluding such material in a variety of different contexts, including courses geared toward philosophy students, those focusing on undergraduate students preparing for careers in one of the health care professions, and those actually within professional (...) schools, primarily medical schools, with which I am mostfamiliar. I will end with remarks on the implications of medical etllics for medicine and for philosophy. (shrink)
Medical humanities—history, literature, anthropology, ethics and fine arts applied to medicine—play an important role in medical education. For more than 20 years an effort has been made to obtain an academic identity for such a multidisciplinary approach. A distinction between humanitarianism and humanism is attempted here, the former being associated with medical care and the latter with medical education. In order more precisely to define the relationship between the arts and medicine, an alternative term “medical kalology”, as-yet-unsanctioned, coined after the (...) rules of medical terminology, is proposed. The Department of Medical Humanities in the School of Medicine, National University of La Plata, submits the following apologia: Don't cry for us Argentinians, since the teaching of medical humanities has helped our doctors to function more truly humanistically during the past two decades, and we intend to continue with this calling in the future. (shrink)
BackgroundWith a growing number of genetic tests becoming available to the health and consumer markets, genetic health care providers in Canada are faced with the challenge of developing robust decision rules or guidelines to allocate a finite number of public resources. The objective of this study was to gain Canadian genetic health providers' perspectives on factors and criteria that influence and shape resource allocation decisions for publically funded predictive genetic testing in Canada.MethodsThe authors conducted semi-structured interviews with 16 senior lab (...) directors and clinicians at publically funded Canadian predictive genetic testing facilities. Participants were drawn from British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. Given the community sampled was identified as being relatively small and challenging to access, purposive sampling coupled with snowball sampling methodologies were utilized.ResultsSurveyed lab directors and clinicians indicated that predictive genetic tests were funded provincially by one of two predominant funding models, but they themselves played a significant role in how these funds were allocated for specific tests and services. They also rated and identified several factors that influenced allocation decisions and patients' decisions regarding testing. Lastly, participants provided recommendations regarding changes to existing allocation models and showed support for a national evaluation process for predictive testing.ConclusionOur findings suggest that largely local and relatively ad hoc decision making processes are being made in relation to resource allocations for predictive genetic tests and that a more coordinated and, potentially, national approach to allocation decisions in this context may be appropriate. (shrink)
The habit of giving a gratuity became so frequent at the end of the 1950's that counter-measures were enacted. These have been completely ineffective. Although granting and accepting gratuities is forbidden by law, the wages of doctors have been fixed since 1954, for so long that accepting gratuities has come to be considered part of the wages, even in semi-official comments and in the media. The author is of the opinion that, in view of this anomaly, a fundamental transformation of (...) the health provision system (sickness insurance) is needed. The doctor should be paid according to the number of patients in his or her charge, instead of the mere number of the sick. By transforming the provision of medical care in this way, the giving and accepting of gratuities for doctors could be terminated, not only in law but also in the economy. Keywords: gratuity, Hungary, Marxism-Leninism, medical ethics, remuneration CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Recruiting minorities into research studies requires special attention, particularly when studies involve “extra-vulnerable” participants with multiple vulnerabilities, e.g., pregnant women, the fetuses/neonates of ethnic minorities, children in refugee camps, or cross-border migrants. This study retrospectively analyzed submissions to the Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Tropical Medicine (FTM-EC) in Thailand. Issues related to the process and outcomes of proposal review, and the main issues for which clarification/revision were requested on studies, are discussed extensively.
In Nigeria, medical education remains focused on the traditional clinical and basic medical science components, leaving students to develop moral attitudes passively through observation and intuition. In order to ascertain the adequacy of this method of moral formations, we studied the opinions of medical students in a Nigerian university towards medical ethics training. Self administered semi-structured questionnaires were completed by final year medical students of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. There were 82 (64.1%) male and 44 (34.4%) (...) female respondents. The median age was 26 years. Most students (80.5%) responded that they did not receive enough training in medical ethics. The ethics instructions they received did not sufficiently prepare them for the ethical challenges they came across as medical students. Though inadequate, the few hours of lecture and discussion on human values and professional etiquette which they received positively influenced their moral reasoning. They identified end-of-life issues, dealing with financial issues and handling socio-cultural beliefs of patients and relations as some challenges that medical doctors are ill-prepared for by their current training. Most, 85.9% believed that formal medical ethics education would be worthwhile as it would enhance the making of complete and better doctors. They recommended incorporating bioethics as a course in the medical school curriculum. Nigerian medical students encounter ethical challenges for which they have not been adequately trained to resolve. They recommended formal medical ethics training in their curriculum and a uniform bioethics programme in the country. (shrink)
Background Most studies on medical reasoning focus on contemporary allopathic practitioners. Here, the significance of diagnostic sense in Nizāmī ‘Arūzī’s Four Discourses (Chahār Maqāle), an influential text that circulated widely throughout the Islamic world, is explored. Methods After a brief introduction, key passages are translated on how doctors should cultivate analytical skills. Results Nizāmī ‘Arūzī cites three sources of diagnostic authority: (1) education in the texts of medical experts, (2) formal logic and (3) belief in the power of God. Conclusions (...) ‘Arūzī’s methods, though rooted in a religious faith that may seem foreign to contemporary doctors and educators, has much to recommend regarding its clarity of approach, its high ethical standards and expectations of doctors, and its commitment to best practices for the patient. Crosscultural studies of medical education and professionalism can offer valuable insights by demonstrating how doctors across history and geography have grappled with the common concerns of diagnosis and treatment. (shrink)
Background: Research activities in sub-Saharan Africa may be limited to delegated tasks due to the strong control from Western collaborators, which could lead to scientific production of little value in terms of its impact on social and economic innovation in less developed areas. However, the current contexts of international biomedical research including the development of public-private partnerships and research institutions in Africa suggest that scientific activities are growing in sub-Saharan Africa. This study aims to describe the patterns of clinical research (...) activities at a sub-Saharan biomedical research center. Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted with a core group of researchers at the Medical Research Unit of the Albert Schweitzer Hospital from June 2009 to February 2010 in Lambarene, Gabon. Scientific activities running at the MRU as well as the implementation of ethical and regulatory standards were covered by the interview sessions. Results: The framework of clinical research includes transnational studies and research initiated locally. In transnational collaborations, a sub-Saharan research institution may be limited to producing confirmatory and late-stage data with little impact on economic and social innovation. However, ethical and regulatory guidelines are being implemented taking into consideration the local contexts. Similarly, the scientific content of studies designed by researchers at the MRU, if local needs are taken into account, may potentially contribute to a scientific production with long-term value on social and economic innovation in sub-Saharan Africa. Conclusion: Further research questions and methods in social sciences should comprehensively address the construction of scientific content with the social, economic and cultural contexts surrounding research activities. (shrink)
In his article on poetry in health care education, Neil Pickering puts forward an argument of radical unpredictability: as we can never know in advance how a poem will be interpreted, it can be of no external use.1 It is, however, exactly this potential to give rise to multiple interpretations that makes the poem valuable. We hold that the poem should be read and discussed with no other intention than to discover and reflect on its possible meanings. Exactly this process, (...) preferably in dialogue with other readers, may very well serve as one of the ends of the poem, and the results of it hence constitute its external use. (shrink)
The Portraits of Care study used portraiture to investigate ideas about care and care giving at the intersection of art and medicine. The study employed mixed methods involving both qualitative and quantitative research techniques. All aspects of the study were approved by the Institutional Review Board. The study included 26 patient and 20 caregiver subjects. Patient subjects were drawn from across the lifespan and included healthy and ill patients. Caregiver subjects included professional and familial caregivers. All subjects gave their informed (...) consent for the study and the subsequent exhibition of artwork. The artist drew or painted 100 portraits during the 2-year study. A multi-disciplinary analysis team carried out the initial analysis of portraits and subject data. Findings from their qualitative analysis were used to develop a quantitative survey and qualitative journal tool that the public used to give feedback at the subsequent exhibition. Exhibition data confirmed the initial findings. Study results showed the introspection of subjects that revealed their sense of identity and psychological status. Patients appear as ‘whole people’, not fragmented by diagnosis. Caregivers' portraits reveal their commitment to care. There is also a sense of mutuality and fluidity in the background stories of subjects. Many patient subjects have been caregivers and, at times, caregivers are also patients. Public data emphasised the identity transformation of subjects, the centrality of the idea of mortality, the presence of hope despite adversity, and the importance of empathy and compassion in care. (shrink)
In Nigeria, as in other developing countries, access to training in research ethics is limited, due to weak social, economic, and health infrastructure. The project described in this article was designed to develop the capacity of academic staff of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria to conduct ethically acceptable research involving human participants.
BackgroundMost medical schools in Japan have incorporated mandatory courses on medical ethics. To this date, however, there is no established means of evaluating medical ethics education in Japan. This study looks 1) To develop a brief, objective method of evaluation for moral sensitivity and reasoning; 2) To conduct a test battery for the PIT and the DIT on medical students who are either currently in school or who have recently graduated (residents); 3) To investigate changes in moral sensitivity and reasoning (...) between school years among medical students and residents.MethodsQuestionnaire survey: Two questionnaires were employed, the Problem Identification Test (PIT) for evaluation of moral sensitivity and a portion of the Defining Issues Test (DIT) for moral reasoning. Subjects consisted of 559 medical school students and 272 residents who recently graduated from the same medical school located in an urban area of Japan.ResultsPIT results showed an increase in moral sensitivity in 4th and 5th year students followed by a decrease in 6th year students and in residents. No change in moral development stage was observed. However, DIT results described a gradual rising shift in moral decision-making concerning euthanasia between school years. No valid correlation was observed between PIT and DIT questionnaires.ConclusionThis study's questionnaire survey, which incorporates both PIT and DIT, could be used as a brief and objective means of evaluating medical students' moral sensitivity and reasoning in Japan. (shrink)
Background Ethics committees and their system of research protocol peer-review are currently used worldwide. To ensure an international standard for research ethics and safety, however, data is needed on the quality and function of each nation's ethics committees. The purpose of this study was to describe the characteristics and developments of ethics committees established at medical schools and general hospitals in Japan. Methods This study consisted of four national surveys sent twice over a period of eight years to two separate (...) samples. The first target was the ethics committees of all 80 medical schools and the second target was all general hospitals with over 300 beds in Japan (n = 1457 in 1996 and n = 1491 in 2002). Instruments contained four sections: (1) committee structure, (2) frequency of annual meetings, (3) committee function, and (4) existence of a set of guidelines for the refusal of blood transfusion by Jehovah's Witnesses. Results Committee structure was overall interdisciplinary. Frequency of annual meetings increased significantly for both medical school and hospital ethics committees over the eight years. The primary activities for medical school and hospital ethics committees were research protocol reviews and policy making. Results also showed a significant increase in the use of ethical guidelines, particularly those related to the refusal of blood transfusion by Jehovah's Witnesses, among both medical school and hospital ethics committees. Conclusion Overall findings indicated a greater recognized degree of responsibilities and an increase in workload for Japanese ethics committees. (shrink)
In recent decades antenatal screening has become one of the most routine procedure of pregnancy-follow up and the subject of hot debate in bioethics circles. In this paper the rationale behind doing antenatal screening and the actual and potential problems that it may cause will be discussed. The paper will examine the issue from the point of wiew of parents, health care professionals and, most importantly, the child-to-be. It will show how unthoughtfully antenatal screening is performed and how pregnancy is (...) treated almost as a disease just since the emergence of antenatal screening. Genetic screening and ethical problems caused by the procedure will also be addressed and I will suggest that screening is more to do with the interests of others rather than those of the child-to be. (shrink)
Background There have been different ethical approaches to the issues in the history of philosophy. Two American philosophers Beachump and Childress formulated some ethical principles namely 'respect to autonomy', 'justice', 'beneficence' and 'non-maleficence'. These 'Four Principles' were presented by the authors as universal and applicable to any culture and society. Mawlana, a great figure in Sufi tradition, had written many books which not only guide people how to worship God to be close to Him, but also advise people how to (...) lead a good life to enrich their personality, as well as to create a harmonious society and a peaceful world. Methods In this study we examined the major works of Mawlana to find out which of these 'Four Principles of Bioethics' exist in Mawlana's ethical understanding. Results We have found in our study that all these principles exist in Mawlana's writings and philosophy in one form or another. Conclusions We have concluded that, further to Beachump and Childress' claim that these principles are universal and applicable to any culture and society, these principles have always existed in different moral traditions in different ways, of which Mawlana's teaching might be presented as a good example. (shrink)
BackgroundBreaking bad news (BBN) to parents whose newborn has a major disease is an ethical dilemma. In Saudi Arabia, BBN about newborns is performed according to the parental preferences that have been reported from non-Arabic/non-Islamic countries. Saudi mothers' preferences about BBN have not yet been studied. Therefore, we aimed to elicit the preferences of Saudi mothers about BBN concerning newborns.MethodsWe selected a convenience sample of 402 Saudi mothers, aged 18-50 years, who had no previous experience with BBN. We selected them (...) via a simple number-randomization scheme from the premises of a level III Saudi hospital between October of 2009 and January of 2011. We used a hypothetical situation (BBN about trisomy 21) to elicit their preferences about BBN concerning newborns via a structured verbal questionnaire composed of 12 multiple-choice questions. We expressed their preferences as percentages (95% confidence interval), and we used the Kendall's W test (W) to assess the degree of agreement in preferences.ResultsThe Saudi mothers preferred that BBN be conducted with both parents together (64% [60-69]), albeit with weak levels of agreement (W = 0.29). They showed moderate agreement in their preferences that BBN should be conducted early (79% [75-83], W = 0.48), in detail (81% [77-85], W = 0.52), in person (88% [85-91], W = 0.58), and in a quiet setting (86% [83-90], W = 0.53). With extremely weak agreement, they preferred to have a known person present for support during BBN (56% [51-61], W = 0.01), to have close bodily contact with their babies (66% [61-70], W = 0.10), and to have no another patients present (64% [59-68], W = 0.08). They showed moderate levels of agreement in their desires to detail, in advance, their preferences about process of BBN by giving a reversible, written informed consent that could be utilized for guidance, if needed (80% [76-84], W = 0.36).ConclusionsIn our experience, Saudi mothers' preferences about BBN concerning newborns are varied, suggesting that a "one-size-fits-all" approach is inappropriate. A reversible, written informed consent detailing their preferences about BBN that would be kept in their medical records and utilized for guidance, if needed, may be the best solution, given this level of diversity. These findings merit further study. (shrink)
Errors have been the concern of providers and consumers of health care services. However, consumers' perception of medical errors in developing countries is rarely explored. The aim of this study is to assess community members' perceptions about medical errors and to analyse the factors affecting this perception in one Middle East country, Oman.
BackgroundConsenting for retrospective medical records-based research (MR) and leftover tissue-based research (TR) continues to be controversial. Our objective was to survey Saudis attending outpatient clinics at a tertiary care hospital on their personal preference and perceptions of norm and current practice in relation to consenting for MR and TR.MethodsWe surveyed 528 Saudis attending clinics at a tertiary care hospital in Saudi Arabia to explore their preferences and perceptions of norm and current practice. The respondents selected one of 7 options from (...) each of 6 questionnaires.ResultsRespondents' mean (SD) age was 33 (11) years, 42% were males, 56% were patients, 84% had ≥ secondary school education, and 10% had previously volunteered for research. Respectively, 40% and 49% perceived that the norm is to conduct MR and TR without consent and 38% and 37% with general or proposal-specific consent; the rest objected to such research. There was significant difference in the distribution of choices according to health status (patients vs. companions) for MR (adjusted Kruskal-Wallis test P = 0.03) but not to age group, gender, education level, or previous participation in research (unadjusted P = 0.02 - 0.59). The distributions of perceptions of current practice and norm were similar (unadjusted Marginal Homogeneity test P = 0.44 for MR and P = 0.89 for TR), whereas the distributions of preferences and perceptions of norm were different (adjusted P = 0.09 for MR and P = 0.02 for TR). The distributions of perceptions of norm, preferences, and perceptions of current practice for MR were significantly different from those of TR (adjusted P < 0.009 for all).ConclusionsWe conclude that: 1) there is a considerable diversity among Saudi views regarding consenting for retrospective research which may be related to health status, 2) the distribution of perceptions of norm was similar to the distribution of perceptions of current practice but different from that of preferences, and 3) MR and TR are perceived differently in regard to consenting. (shrink)
Background Research ethics guidelines are essential for conducting medical research. Recently, numerous attempts have been made to establish national clinical research documents in the countries of the Middle East. This article analyzes these documents. Methods Thirteen Arab countries in the Middle East were explored for available national codes, regulations, and guidelines concerning research ethics, and 10 documents from eight countries were found. We studied these documents, considering the ethical principles stated in the Declaration of Helsinki, the Council for International Organizations (...) of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) guidelines, and the International Conference of Harmonization - Guidelines for Good Clinical Practice (ICH-GCP). Our paper comprises a complete list of protections, such as confidentiality, informed consent, ethics committees, and others. Results This study found different levels and kinds of research ethics regulations and guidelines in the countries examined. Two groups can be distinguished: the countries in the first group have one or more research ethics regulations or guidelines, while the countries in the second group have not yet established any. Most of the documents showed various degrees of deficiencies in regard to ethical protection. The majority of the documents that were examined refer to one or more international documents on biomedical research ethics. Conclusions Recently, a lot of efforts have been made in many countries in the Middle East. However, compared with international documents, most of the research ethics documents in use in this region demonstrate numerous deficiencies. As it relates to these documents, extensive differences could be observed in regard to development, structure, content, and reference to international guidelines. (shrink)
Protecting confidentiality is an essential value in all human relationships, no less in medical practice and research.1 Doctor-patient and researcher-participant relationships are built on trust and on the understanding those patients' secrets will not be disclosed.2 However, this confidentiality can be breached in some situations where it is necessary to meet a strong conflicting duty.3Confidentiality, in a general sense, has received much interest in Islamic resources including the Qur'an, Sunnah and juristic writings. However, medical and research confidentiality have not been (...) explored deeply. There are few fatwas about the issue, despite an increased effort by both individuals and Islamic medical organizations to use these institutional fatwas in their research.Infringements on confidentiality make up a significant portion of institutional fatwas, yet they have never been thoroughly investigated. Moreover, the efforts of organizations and authors in this regard still require further exploration, especially on the issue of research confidentiality.In this article, we explore medical and research confidentiality and potential conflicts with this practice as a result of fatwas released by international, regional, and national Islamic Sunni juristic councils. We discuss how these fatwas affect research and publication by Muslim doctors, researchers, and Islamic medical organizations.We argue that more specialized fatwas are needed to clarify Islamic juristic views about medical and research confidentiality, especially the circumstances in which infringements on this confidentiality are justified. (shrink)
Desiderius Erasmus set out his views on medical ethics just over 500 years ago. Applying the characteristic approach of Renaissance Humanism, he drew upon a variety of classical sources to develop his own account of medical obligation. Of particular interest is Erasmus's attention to the patient's duties as well as the physician's. By treating this reciprocal relationship as a friendship between extreme unequals, Erasmus was able to maintain the nobility of the medical art and at the same time deal with (...) the culturally sensitive issue of payment for physicians' services. The use of physician-patient reciprocity as a principle of medical ethics has until recently been considered a novel feature of nineteenth-century medical codes. As Erasmus's treatment of physician-patient reciprocity arose from a classical conception of friendship, there may be grounds for reconsidering the role of friendship in other discourses on medical ethics from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century. (shrink)
This paper explores the historical context of the dramatic rise in surgery for glue ear in the mid-20th century, and questions the published assertion that this represented a manufactured ‘epidemic’. In examining historical sources, the reader's theoretical viewpoint greatly influences their conclusions: the sustained rise in treatment for glue ear may be seen as the advance of science in a golden age or the resistance of insular professionals to reason in the light of new scientific study methods. Current views on (...) the practice of medicine, consumerism, science and standardisation, rationing and the nature of ‘truth’ all affect the way that we see this period. Technological advances clearly allowed better diagnosis and more effective treatment, but these did not appear to drive an ‘epidemic’, rather they were developed to meet the pre-existing challenges of otological practice. The proposition that an ‘epidemic’ was created does not appear to have any solid grounding. Society's perception of what constitutes disease and what needs treatment may have evolved, but the prevalence of other important diseases changed dramatically over this time period, and a real change in the epidemiology of glue ear cannot be dismissed. In defining the case for and against surgical treatment, a solely positivist, quantitative worldview cannot give us a complete picture of benefit and risk to individuals, families and society at large. (shrink)
Large-scale whole genome sequencing (WGS) studies promise to revolutionize cancer research by identifying targets for therapy and by discovering molecular biomarkers to aid early diagnosis, to better determine prognosis and to improve treatment response prediction. Such projects raise a number of ethical, legal, and social (ELS) issues that should be considered. In this study, we set out to discover how these issues are being handled across different jurisdictions.