In standard probability theory, probability zero is not the same as impossibility. But many have suggested that only impossible events should have probability zero. This can be arranged if we allow infinitesimal probabilities, but infinitesimals do not solve all of the problems. We will see that regular probabilities are not invariant over rigid transformations, even for simple, bounded, countable, constructive, and disjoint sets. Hence, regular chances cannot be determined by space-time invariant physical laws, and regular credences cannot satisfy seemingly reasonable (...) symmetry principles. Moreover, the examples here are immune to the objections against Williamson’s infinite coin flips. (shrink)
The use of charged-particle radiation therapy (CPRT) is an increasingly important development in the treatment of cancer. One of the most pressing controversies about the use of this technology is whether randomised controlled trials are required before this form of treatment can be considered to be the treatment of choice for a wide range of indications. Equipoise is the key ethical concept in determining which research studies are justified. However, there is a good deal of disagreement about how this concept (...) is best understood and applied in the specific case of CPRT. This report is a position statement on these controversies that arises out of a workshop held at Wolfson College, Oxford in August 2011. The workshop brought together international leaders in the relevant fields (radiation oncology, medical physics, radiobiology, research ethics and methodology), including proponents on both sides of the debate, in order to make significant progress on the ethical issues associated with CPRT research. This position statement provides an ethical platform for future research and should enable further work to be done in developing international coordinated programmes of research. (shrink)
Misattributed paternity or ‘false’ paternity is when a man is wrongly thought, by himself and possibly by others, to be the biological father of a child. Nowadays, because of the progression of genetics and genomics the possibility of finding misattributed paternity during familial genetic testing has increased. In contrast to other medical information, which pertains primarily to individuals, information obtained by genetic testing and/or pedigree analysis necessarily has implications for other biologically related members in the family. Disclosing or not a (...) misattributed paternity has a number of different biological and social consequences for the people involved. Such an issue presents important ethical and deontological challenges. The debate centres on whether or not to inform the family and, particularly, whom in the family, about the possibility that misattributed paternity might be discovered incidentally, and whether or not it is the duty of the healthcare professional (HCP) to disclose the results and to whom. In this paper, we consider the different perspectives and reported problems, and analyse their cultural, ethical and legal dimensions. We compare the position of HCPs from an Italian and British point of view, particularly their role in genetic counselling. We discuss whether the Oviedo Convention of the Council of Europe (1997) can be seen as a basis for enriching the debate. (shrink)
Community Engagement (CE) has been presented by bio-ethicists and scientists as a straightforward and unequivocal good which can minimize the risks of exploitation and ensure a fair distribution of research benefits in developing countries. By means of ethnographic fieldwork undertaken in Kenya between 2007 and 2009 we explored how CE is understood and enacted in paediatric vaccine trials conducted by the Kenyan Medical Research Institute and the US Centers for Disease Control (KEMRI/CDC). In this paper we focus on the role (...) of paid volunteers who act as an interface between villagers KEMRI/CDC. Village Reporters’ (VRs) position of being both with the community and with KEMRI/CDC is advantageous for the conduct of trials. However it is also problematic in terms of exercising trust, balancing allegiances and representing community views. VRs role is shaped by ambiguities related to their employment status and their dual accountability to researchers and their villages. VRs are understandably careful to stress their commitment to self-less community service since it augments their respectability at community level and opens up opportunities for financial gain and self-development. Simultaneously VRs association with KEMRI/CDC and proximity to trial participants requires them to negotiate implicit and explicit expectations for material and medical assistance in a cultural setting in which much importance is placed on sharing and mutuality. To ensure continuity of productive interactions between VRs, and similar community intermediaries, and researchers, open discussion is needed about the problematic aspects of relational ethics, issues concerning undue influence, power relations and negotiating expectations. (shrink)
International health research in malaria-endemic settings may include screening for sickle cell disease, given the relationship between this important genetic condition and resistance to malaria, generating questions about whether and how findings should be disclosed. The literature on disclosing genetic findings in the context of research highlights the role of community consultation in understanding and balancing ethically important issues from participants’ perspectives, including social forms of benefit and harm, and the influence of access to care. To inform research practice locally, (...) and contribute to policy more widely, this study aimed to explore the views of local residents in Kilifi County in coastal Kenya on how researchers should manage study-generated information on sickle cell disease and carrier status. (shrink)
Fulford has argued that (1) the medical concepts illness, disease and dysfunction are inescapably evaluative terms, (2) illness is conceptually prior to disease, and (3) a model conforming to (2) has greater explanatory power and practical utility than the conventional value-free medical model. This ‘reverse’ model employs Hare's distinction between description and evaluation, and the sliding relationship between descriptive and evaluative meaning. Fulford's derivative ‘Values Based Medicine’ (VBM) readjusts the imbalance between the predominance of facts over values in medicine. VBM (...) allegedly responds to the increased choices made available by, inter alia, the progress of medical science itself. VBM attributes appropriate status to evaluative meaning, where strong consensus about descriptive meaning is lacking. According to Fulford, quasi-legal bioethics, while it can be retained as a kind of deliberative framework, is outcome-based and pursues ‘the right answer’, while VBM approximates a democratic, process-oriented method for dealing with diverse values, in partnership with necessary contributions from evidence-based medicine (EBM). I support the non-cognitivist underpinnings of VBM, and its emphasis on the importance of values in medicine. But VBM overstates the complexity and diversity of values, misrepresents EBM and VBM as responses to scientific and evaluative complexity, and mistakenly depicts ‘quasi-legal bioethics’ as a space of settled descriptive meaning. Bioethical reasoning can expose strategies that attempt to reduce authentic values to scientific facts, illustrating that VBM provides no advantage over bioethics in delineating the connections between facts and values in medicine. (shrink)
Recent work has defended “Euclidean” theories of set size, in which Cantor’s Principle (two sets have equally many elements if and only if there is a one-to-one correspondence between them) is abandoned in favor of the Part-Whole Principle (if A is a proper subset of B then A is smaller than B). It has also been suggested that Gödel’s argument for the unique correctness of Cantor’s Principle is inadequate. Here we see from simple examples, not that Euclidean theories of set (...) size are wrong, but that they must be either very weak and narrow or largely arbitrary and misleading. (shrink)
Should those who work on ethics welcome or resist moves to open access publishing? This paper analyses arguments in favour and against the increasing requirement for open access publishing and considers their implications for bioethics research. In the context of biomedical science, major funders are increasingly mandating open access as a condition of funding and such moves are also common in other disciplines. Whilst there has been some debate about the implications of open-access for the social sciences and humanities, there (...) has been little if any discussion about the implications of open access for ethics. This is surprising given both the central role of public reason and critique in ethics and the fact that many of the arguments made for and against open access have been couched in moral terms. In what follows I argue that those who work in ethics have a strong interest in supporting moves towards more open publishing approaches which have the potential both to inform and promote richer and more diverse forms of public deliberation and to be enriched by them. The importance of public deliberation in practical and applied ethics suggests that ethicists have a particular interest in the promotion of diverse and experimental forms of publication and debate and in supporting new, more creative and more participatory approaches to publication. (shrink)
BackgroundIncrease in global health research undertaken in resource poor settings in the last decade though a positive development has raised ethical concerns relating to potential for exploitation. Some of the suggested strategies to address these concerns include calls for providing universal standards of care, reasonable availability of proven interventions and more recently, promoting the overall social value of research especially in clinical research. Promoting the social value of research has been closely associated with providing fair benefits to various stakeholders involved (...) in research. The debate over what constitutes fair benefits; whether those that addresses micro level issues of justice or those focusing on the key determinants of health at the macro level has continued. This debate has however not benefited from empirical work on what stakeholders consider fair benefits. This study explores practical experiences of stakeholders involved in global health research in Kenya, over what benefits are fair within a developing world context.Methods and resultsWe conducted in-depth interviews with key informants drawn from within the broader health research system in Kenya including researchers from the mainstream health research institutions, networks and universities, teaching hospitals, policy makers, institutional review boards, civil society organisations and community representative groups.The range of benefits articulated by stakeholders addresses both micro and macro level concerns for justice by for instance, seeking to engage with interests of those facilitating research, and the broader systemic issues that make resource poor settings vulnerable to exploitation. We interpret these views to suggest a need for global health research to engage with current crises that face people in these settings as well as the broader systemic issues that produce them.ConclusionGlobal health research should provide benefits that address both the micro and macro level issues of justice in order to forestall exploitation. Embracing the two is however challenging in terms of how the various competing interests/needs should be balanced ethically, especially in the absence of structures to guide the process. This challenge should point to the need for greater dialogue to facilitate value clarification among stakeholders. (shrink)
Failings in patient care and quality in NHS Trusts have become a recurring theme over the past few years. In this paper, we examine the Care Quality Commission’s Guidance about Compliance : Essential Standards of Quality and Safety and ask how NHS Trusts might be better supported in fulfilling the regulations specified therein. We argue that clinical ethics committees (CECs) have a role to play in this regard. We make this argument by attending to the many ethical elements that are (...) highlighted in the Commission’s Regulations and by providing practical examples of how CECs can (and in some case already do) provide ethics support to health professionals and trusts. Although CECs have been traditionally associated with case consultation, i.e., discrete problems caused by individual circumstances, in the previous 10 years the literature suggests that clinical ethics services have become more integrated into the life of the health care organization and are increasing construed as proactive agents of systematic change. We provide evidence from a recent survey of UK clinical ethics services that this trend is present in the UK. (shrink)
Shanachie and Norm Content Type Journal Article Category Case Studies Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s11673-012-9356-0 Authors Malcolm Parker, School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, 288 Herston Road, Herston, QLD 4006, Australia Journal Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Online ISSN 1872-4353 Print ISSN 1176-7529.
Background: Seeking consent for genetic and genomic research can be challenging, particularly in populations with low literacy levels, and in emergency situations. All of these factors were relevant to the MalariaGEN study of genetic factors influencing immune responses to malaria in northern rural Ghana. This study sought to identify issues arising in practice during the enrolment of paediatric cases with severe malaria and matched healthy controls into the MalariaGEN study. Methods: The study used a rapid assessment incorporating multiple qualitative methods (...) including in depth interviews, focus group discussions and observations of consent processes. Differences between verbal information provided during community engagement processes, and consent processes during the enrolment of cases and controls were identified, as well as the factors influencing the tailoring of such information. Results: MalariaGEN participants and field staff seeking consent were generally satisfied with their understanding of the project and were familiar with aspects of the study relating to malaria. Some genetic aspects of the study were also well understood. Participants and staff seeking consent were less aware of the methodologies employed during genomic research and their implications, such as the breadth of data generated and the potential for future secondary research.Moreover, trust in and previous experience with the Navrongo Health Research Centre which was conducting the research influenced beliefs about the benefits of participating in the MalariaGEN study and subsequent decision-making about research participation. Conclusions: It is important to recognise that some aspects of complex genomic research may be of less interest to and less well understood by research participants and that such gaps in understanding may not be entirely addressed by best practice in the design and conduct of consent processes. In such circumstances consideration needs to be given to additional protections for participants that may need to be implemented in such research, and how best to provide such protections.Capacity building for research ethics committees with limited familiarity with genetic and genomic research, and appropriate engagement with communities to elicit opinions of the ethical issues arising and acceptability of downstream uses of genome wide association data are likely to be important. (shrink)
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) provide a powerful means of identifying genetic variants that play a role in common diseases. Such studies present important ethical challenges. An increasing number of GWAS is taking place in lower income countries and there is a pressing need to identify the particular ethical challenges arising in such contexts. In this paper, we draw upon the experiences of the MalariaGEN Consortium to identify specific ethical issues raised by such research in Africa, Asia and Oceania.
BackgroundThe concept of benefit sharing to enhance the social value of global health research in resource poor settings is now a key strategy for addressing moral issues of relevance to individuals, communities and host countries in resource poor settings when they participate in international collaborative health research.The influence of benefit sharing framework on the conduct of collaborative health research is for instance evidenced by the number of publications and research ethics guidelines that require prior engagement between stakeholders to determine the (...) social value of research to the host communities. While such efforts as the production of international guidance on how to promote the social value of research through such strategies as benefit sharing have been made, the extent to which these ideas and guidelines have been absorbed by those engaged in global health research especially in resource poor settings remains unclear. We examine this awareness among stakeholders involved in health related research in Kenya.MethodsWe conducted in-depth interviews with key informants drawn from within the broader health research system in Kenya including researchers from the mainstream health research institutions, networks and universities, teaching hospitals, policy makers, institutional review boards, civil society organisations and community representative groups.ResultsOur study suggests that although people have a sense of justice and the moral aspects of research, this was not articulated in terms used in the literature and the guidelines on the ethics of global health research.ConclusionThis study demonstrates that while in theory several efforts can be made to address the moral issues of concern to research participants and their communities in resource poor settings, quick fixes such as benefit sharing are not going to be straightforward. We suggest a need to pay closer attention to the processes through which ethical principles are enacted in practice and distil lessons on how best to involve individuals and communities in promoting ethical conduct of global health research in resource poor settings. (shrink)
Next SectionBackground There is an established link between depression and interest in hastened death in patients who are seriously ill. Concern exists over the extent of depression in patients who actively request euthanasia/physician-assisted suicide (PAS) and those who have their requests granted. Objectives To estimate the prevalence of depression in refused and granted requests for euthanasia/PAS and discuss these findings. Methods A systematic review was performed in MEDLINE and PsycINFO in July 2010, identifying studies reporting rates of depression in requests (...) for and cases of euthanasia/PAS. One author critically appraised the strength of the data using published criteria. Results 21 studies were included covering four countries. There was considerable heterogeneity in methods of assessing depression and selecting patients. In the highest quality studies, in the Netherlands and Oregon, 8–47% of patients requesting euthanasia/PAS had depressive symptoms and 2–17% of completed euthanasia/PAS cases had depressive symptoms. In the Netherlands, depression was significantly higher in refused than granted requests, and there was no significant difference in the rate of depression between euthanasia cases and similar patients who had not made a request for euthanasia. Conclusion It is unclear whether depression increases the probability of making a request for euthanasia/PAS, but in the Netherlands most requests in depressed patients are rejected, leaving a depression rate in cases that is similar to the surrounding population. Less evidence is available elsewhere, but some level of depression has been identified in patients undergoing euthanasia/PAS in all the countries studied. Whether the presence of depression is ever compatible with an ethical decision on euthanasia/PAS is discussed. (shrink)
The importance of communities in strengthening the ethics of international collaborative research is increasingly highlighted, but there has been much debate about the meaning of the term ‘community’ and its specific normative contribution. We argue that ‘community’ is a contingent concept that plays an important normative role in research through the existence of morally significant interplay between notions of community and individuality. We draw on experience of community engagement in rural Kenya to illustrate two aspects of this interplay: (i) that (...) taking individual informed consent seriously involves understanding and addressing the influence of communities in which individuals’ lives are embedded; (ii) that individual participation can generate risks and benefits for communities as part of the wider implications of research. We further argue that the contingent nature of a community means that defining boundaries is generally a normative process itself, with ethical implications. Community engagement supports the enactment of normative roles; building mutual understanding and trust between researchers and community members have been important goals in Kilifi, requiring a broad range of approaches. Ethical dilemmas are continuously generated as part of these engagement activities, including the risks of perverse outcomes related to existing social relations in communities and conditions of ‘half knowing’ intrinsic to processes of developing new understandings. (shrink)
Seeking consent for genetic and genomic research can be challenging, particularly in populations with low literacy levels, and in emergency situations. All of these factors were relevant to the MalariaGEN study of genetic factors influencing immune responses to malaria in northern rural Ghana. This study sought to identify issues arising in practice during the enrolment of paediatric cases with severe malaria and matched healthy controls into the MalariaGEN study.
Lennard Davis’s Biocultural Critique of the alleged certainty of diagnosis (Davis Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 7:227−235, 2010) makes errors of fact concerning psychiatric diagnostic categories, misunderstands the role of power in the therapeutic relationship, and provides an unsubstantiated and vague alternative to the management of psychological distress via a conceptually outdated model of the relationships between physical and psychological disease and illness. This response demonstrates that diagnostic knowledge vouchsafes legitimate power to physicians, and via them relief to patients who suffer (...) from psychological distress. The history of medicine and psychiatry demonstrates that psychiatric diagnosis shares many features with physical diagnosis, while there is also reason to believe that the two types will continue to be distinct in some respects. Diagnostic categories in psychological medicine, like those in physical medicine, are provisional, probabilistic, and often uncertain. These features do not detract from the dependence on diagnosis of therapeutic efficacy in both domains. (shrink)
Design: Qualitative interview study. Participants: Fifty-nine patients with a family history of cancer who attend a regional cancer genetics clinic in the UK were interviewed about their current and previous research experiences. Findings: Interviewees gave a range of explanations for research participation. These were categorised as (a) social—research participation benefits the wider society by progressing science and improving treatment for everyone; (b) familial—research participation may improve healthcare and benefit current or future generations of the participant’s family; and (c) personal—research participation (...) provides therapeutic or non-therapeutic benefits for oneself. Conclusions: We discuss the distinction drawn between motives for research participation focused upon self (personal) and others (familial/social), and observe that personal, social and familial motives can be seen as interdependent. For example, research participation that is undertaken to benefit others, particularly relatives, may also offer a number of personal benefits for self, such as enabling participants to feel that they have discharged their social or familial obligations. We argue for the need to move away from simple, static, individualised notions of research participation to a more complex, dynamic and inherently social account. (shrink)
Aims: To describe individuals’ perceptions of the activities that take place within the cancer genetics clinic, the relationships between these activities and how these relationships are sustained. Design: Qualitative interview study. Participants: Forty individuals involved in carrying out cancer genetics research in either a clinical (n = 28) or research-only (n = 12) capacity in the UK. Findings: Interviewees perceive research and clinical practice in the subspecialty of cancer genetics as interdependent. The boundary between research and clinical practice is described (...) as vague or blurred, and this ambiguity is regarded as being sustained by a range of methodological, ethical and economic factors. The implications of these findings for the “therapeutic misconception” are explored. It is argued that while research participation is seen as having therapeutic benefit for individual patients, the interviewees are not labouring under any misconceptions about the relationship between research and clinical care. It is suggested that concepts such as the “therapeutic misconception” may have less relevance in highly technological specialities that are characterised by a developing evidence base. (shrink)
The turn to empirical ethics answers two calls. The first is for a richer account of morality than that afforded by bioethical principlism, which is cast as excessively abstract and thin on the facts. The second is for the facts in question to be those of human experience and not some other, unworldly realm. Empirical ethics therefore promises a richer naturalistic ethics, but in fulfilling the second call it often fails to heed the metaethical requirements related to the first. Empirical (...) ethics risks losing the normative edge which necessarily characterizes the ethical, by failing to account for the nature and the logic of moral norms. I sketch a naturalistic theory, teleological expressivism (TE), which negotiates the naturalistic fallacy by providing a more satisfactory means of taking into account facts and research data with ethical implications. The examples of informed consent and the euthanasia debate are used to illustrate the superiority of this approach, and the problems consequent on including the facts in the wrong kind of way. (shrink)
We examine a case in which non-computable behavior in a model is revealed by computer simulation. This is possible due to differing notions of computability for sets in a continuous space. The argument originally given for the validity of the simulation involves a simpler simulation of the simulation , still further simulations thereof, and a universality conjecture. There are difficulties with that argument, but there are other, heuristic arguments supporting the qualitative results. It is urged, using this example, that absolute (...) validation, while highly desirable, is overvalued. Simulations also provide valuable insights that we cannot yet (if ever) prove. (shrink)
We consider an approach to some philosophical problems that I call the Method of Conceptual Articulation: to recognize that a question may lack any determinate answer, and to re-engineer concepts so that the question acquires a definite answer in such a way as to serve the epistemic motivations behind the question. As a case study we examine “Galileo’s Paradox”, that the perfect square numbers seem to be at once as numerous as the whole numbers, by one-to-one correspondence, and yet less (...) numerous, being a proper subset. I argue that Cantor resolved this paradox by a method at least close to that proposed—not by discovering the true nature of cardinal number, but by articulating several useful and appealing extensions of number to the infinite. Galileo was right to suggest that the concept of relative size did not apply to the infinite, for the concept he possessed did not. Nor was Bolzano simply wrong to reject Hume’s Principle (that one-to-one correspondence implies equal number) in the infinitary case, in favor of Euclid’s Common Notion 5 (that the whole is greater than the part), for the concept of cardinal number (in the sense of “number of elements”) was not clearly defined for infinite collections. Order extension theorems now suggest that a theory of cardinality upholding Euclid’s principle instead of Hume’s is possible. Cantor’s refinements of number are not the only ones possible, and they appear to have been shaped by motivations and fruitfulness, for they evolved in discernible stages correlated with emerging applications and results. Galileo, Bolzano, and Cantor shared interests in the particulate analysis of the continuum and in physical applications. Cantor’s concepts proved fruitful for those pursuits. Finally, Gödel was mistaken to claim that Cantor’s concept of cardinality is forced on us; though Gödel gives an intuitively compelling argument, he ignores the fact that Euclid’s Common Notion is also intuitively compelling, and we are therefore forced to make a choice. The success of Cantor’s concept of cardinality lies not in its truth (for concepts are not true or false), nor its uniqueness (for it is not the only extension of number possible), but in its intuitive appeal, and most of all, its usefulness to the understanding. (shrink)
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority have recently granted a licence to perform preimplanation genetic diagnosis (PGD) for the homozygous form of familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH), explicitly excluding its use for the heterozygous form. The grounds for such decisions centre on how serious a condition is thought to be as well as on the availability of effective treatment, and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. The case for licensing homozygous FH is discussed and compared with other cases, and the case (...) for making a distinction between PGD for homozygous and heterozygous FH is also examined. Testing for homozygous FH raises difficult issues of non-disclosure of results for heterozygous FH. Fears that this decision may represent a ‘slippery slope’ to more widespread testing are argued to be overstated. (shrink)
The aim of this study is to assess patients' recall of their previous research participation. Recall was established during interviews and compared with entries from clinical notes. Participants were 49 patients who had previously participated in different types of research. Of the 49 patients, 45 (92%) interviewees recalled 69 of 109 (63%) study participations. Level of recall varied according to the type of research, some participants clearly recalled the details of research aims, giving consent and research procedures. Others recalled procedures (...) (e.g. DNA testing) but were unclear about their purpose. There was no significant effect of time on recall. Some types of research participation (e.g. DNA testing) may be recalled as clinical care. We argue that such misunderstandings may have the potential to undermine participants' ongoing consent, particularly in ongoing/longitudinal studies. Valid consent may be best achieved by re-assessing the scope of consent and relating it to the nature of the interventions themselves rather than the reasons for undertaking them. (shrink)
The objective of this study is to describe researchers', health-care providers' and other stakeholders' views of ethical review and research governance procedures. The study design involved qualitative semi-structured interviews. Participants included 60 individuals who either undertook research in the subspecialty of cancer genetics (n = 40) or were involved in biomedical research in other capacities (n = 20), e.g. research governance and oversight, patient support groups or research funding. While all interviewees observed that oversight is necessary to protect research participants, (...) ethical review and research governance (ERG) arrangements were described negatively throughout these interviews. Interviewees identified a number of problems with ERG, including: over-bureaucratization, over-standardization of information requirements for different types of research, a lack of standardization in the types of information required by different committees for the same research and a lack of consistency in different committees' responses. A number of solutions were proposed including streamlining application procedures and harmonizing committees' responses and information requirements. Recent reports suggest that ethical review procedures and research governance arrangements threaten the possibility of undertaking clinical research in the UK, hence the introduction of the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS) is long overdue. However, while IRAS may solve some of the problems identified by interviewees, it remains to be seen to what extent it will impact upon the very negative perceptions of ethics and research governance procedures reported here. (shrink)
Julian Savulescu argues for two principles of reproductive ethics: reproductive autonomy and procreative beneficence, where the principle of procreative beneficence is conceptualised in terms of a duty to have the child, of the possible children that could be had, who will have the best opportunity of the best life. Were it to be accepted, this principle would have significant implications for the ethics of reproductive choice and, in particular, for the use of prenatal testing and other reproductive technologies for the (...) avoidance of disability, and for enhancement. In this paper, it is argued that this principle should be rejected, and it is concluded that while potential parents do have important obligations in relation to the foreseeable lives of their future children, these obligations are not best captured in terms of a duty to have the child with the best opportunity of the best life. (shrink)
In that Case Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11673-010-9261-3 Authors Malcolm Parker, School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia Journal Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Online ISSN 1872-4353 Print ISSN 1176-7529.
Republication: In That Case Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11673-010-9264-0 Authors Malcolm Parker, School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia Journal Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Online ISSN 1872-4353 Print ISSN 1176-7529.
The convergence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and evidence-based medicine (EBM) is a prominent feature of healthcare in western countries, but it is currently undertheorised, and its implications have been insufficiently considered. Two models of convergence are described – the totally integrated evidence-based model (TI) and the multicultural-pluralistic model (MP). Both models are being incorporated into general medical practice. Against the background of the reasons for the increasing utilisation of CAM by the public and by general practitioners, TI-convergence is (...) supported and MP-convergence is rejected. MP-convergence is epistemologically and clinically incoherent, and it cannot be regulated. It is also inconsistent with developments in the legal determination of the standard of care for both diagnosis/treatment and disclosure. These claims concerning MP-convergence are justified by the fact that science is not a member of the group of perspectives or world-views which postmodernism treats as equally valid, and this is especially important for healthcare. (shrink)
The UK Genethics Club was established in November 2001 in order to provide a national forum of ethics support for the profession of clinical genetics in the UK. The forum brings together health professionals, medical ethicists and lawyers and support is provided through detailed discussion of cases and sharing of good practice. Clinical genetics professionals had previously voiced concerns about making extremely difficult ethical decisions, with profound implications, in something of a vacuum. Professionals saw a lack of guidance in the (...) area and lack of time for discussion of difficult cases as reasons for this. This paper describes the origins of the group and gives (anonymized) examples of some of the types of issues discussed. (shrink)
Stewart and DeMarco’s economic theory of patient decision-making applied to the case of diabetes is flawed by clinical inaccuracies and an unrealistic depiction of patients as rational traders. The theory incorrectly represents patients’ struggles to optimize their management as calculated trade-offs against the costs of care, and gives an unrealistic, inflexible account of such costs. It imputes to physicians the view that their patients’ lack of compliance is unreasonable, but physicians are accustomed to the variety of human factors which contribute (...) to suboptimal compliance, and work with patients to minimize their influence. By depicting patients as rational traders rather than human beings with a range of motivations and burdens, the economic theory distorts the proper function of informed consent. (shrink)