Clinical ethicists encounter the most emotionally eviscerating medical cases possible. They struggle to facilitate resolutions founded on good reasoning embedded in compassionate care. This book fills the considerable gap between current texts and the continuing educational needs of those actually facing complex ethics consultations in hospital settings. 28 richly detailed cases explore the ethical reasoning, professional issues, and the emotional aspects of these impossibly difficult consultations. The cases are grouped together by theme to aid teaching, discussion and professional growth. The (...) cases inform any reader who has a keen interest in the choices made in real-life medical dilemmas as well as the emotional cost to those who work to improve the situations. On a more advanced level, this book should be read by ethics committee members who participate in ethics consultations, individual ethics consultants, clinicians who seek education about complex clinical ethics cases, and bioethics students. (shrink)
Neil Levy offers the most prominent moral principles that are specifically and exclusively designed to apply to neuroethics. His two closely related principles, labeled as versions of the ethical parity principle , are intended to resolve moral concerns about neurological modification and enhancement . Though EPP is appealing and potentially illuminating, we reject the first version and substantially modify the second. Since his first principle, called EPP , is dependent on the contention that the mind literally extends into external props (...) such as paper notebooks and electronic devices, we begin with an examination of the extended mind hypothesis and its use in Levy’s EPP . We argue against reliance on EMH as support for EPP . We turn to his second principle, EPP , which is not dependent on EMH but is tied to the acceptable claim that the mind is embedded in, because dependent on, external props. As a result of our critique of EPP , we develop a modified version of EPP , which we argue is more acceptable than Levy’s principle. Finally, we evaluate the applicability of our version of EPP. (shrink)
Vulnerability is an important criterion to assess the ethical justification of the inclusion of participants in research trials. Currently, vulnerability is often understood as an attribute inherent to a participant by nature of a diagnosed condition. Accordingly, a common ethical concern relates to the participant’s decisionmaking capacity and ability to provide free and informed consent. We propose an expanded view of vulnerability that moves beyond a focus on consent and the intrinsic attributes of participants. We offer specific suggestions for how (...) relational aspects and the dynamic features of vulnerability could be more fully captured in current discussions and research practices. (shrink)
As neural implants transition from engineering design and testing into human subjects research, careful consideration must be paid to the ethical elements in developing research protocols. Although these ethical aspects may be framed by the design choices of the engineering, a number of challenging choices arise. In spite of many ethical considerations for neural implant technologies being shared with generic research ethics questions, there are subsets needing special attention. Even in considerations requiring increased attention, substantial overlap can be found with (...) research ethics questions for general medical implants and for psychiatric pharmaceuticals. The special attention to specific ethical questions in neural implants exists because of the value placed on preserving cognition and control as well as our continued memory of significant past research abuses in neurosurgery. This paper focuses on three issues of particular saliency to neural implant testing: inclusion/exclusion of subjects with psychiatric conditions, consent withdrawal of research subjects, and enhancement as a goal. (shrink)
Approaches to clinical ethics dilemmas that rely on basic principles or rules are difficult to apply because of vagueness and conflict among basic values. In response, casuistry rejects the use of basic values, and specification produces a large set of specified rules that are presumably easily applicable. Balancing is a method employed to weigh the relative importance of different and conflicting values in application. We argue against casuistry and specification, claiming that balancing is superior partly because it most clearly exhibits (...) the reasoning behind moral decision-making. Hence, balancing may be most effective in teaching bioethics to medical professionals. (shrink)
An ethics consultant’s scope of practice is best understood as equipping stakeholders to achieve closure over time following after the ethics consultation. This is in contrast to Autumn Fiester’s position in the article, “Neglected Ends: Clinical Ethics Consultation and the Prospects for Closure,” where she claims that moral closure is a necessary condition for the proper completion of an ethics consultation case.
Researchers designing a clinical trial may be aware of disputed evidence of serious risks from previous studies. These researchers must decide whether and how to describe these risks in their model informed consent document. They have an ethical obligation to provide fully informed consent, but does this obligation include notice of controversial evidence? With ACCORD as an example, we describe a framework and criteria that make clear the conditions requiring inclusion of important controversial risks. The ACCORD model consent document did (...) not include notice of prior trials with excess death. We develop and explain a new standard labeled risk in equipoise. We argue that our approach provides an optimal level of integrity to protect the informational needs of the reasonable volunteers who agree to participate in clinical trials. We suggest language to be used in a model consent document and the informed consent discussion when such controversial evidence exists. (shrink)
Seven specific challenges in patient vulnerability related to neurosurgical advancement highlight needed augmentations for standards in innovation and research that do not unduly inhibit access to potential therapies while assuring just treatment of patients.
This is a follow-up article toPhilip Brey's ``The ethics of representation andaction in Virtual Reality'' (published in thisjournal in January 1999). Brey's call for moreanalysis of ethical issues of virtual reality(VR) is continued by further analyzing issuesin a specialized domain of VR – namelymulti-user environments. Several elements ofBrey's article are critiqued in order to givemore context and a framework for discussion.Issues surrounding representations ofcharacters in multi-user virtual realities aresurveyed in order to focus attention on theimportance of additional discussion andanalysis of (...) specialized aspects of VR. (shrink)
Once a neural implant has shown some efficacy during initial research trials, it begins to enter the world of clinical application. This culminates when the implant becomes approved for a particular indication. However, the ethical challenges continue as the technology is adopted as a standard of practice. Patient eligibility criteria, as documented by inclusion and exclusion criteria with any new treatment, are not always clearly quantified and defined. These vagaries can result in considerable debate regarding who should or should not (...) proceed with surgery. There is often considerable room for clinical judgment that can result in extension of the treatment to a wider range of patients. The ethical questions that arise in clinical decisionmaking differ significantly from those inherent in engineering design and research development. (shrink)
In “Potential Subjects’ Responses to an Ethics Questionnaire in a Phase I Study of Deep-Brain Stimulation in Early Parkinson’s Disease,” Finder, Bliton, Gill, Davis, Konrad, and Charles undertake informed consent research on what they describe as a Phase I trial of deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease. We argue that the authors should have more carefully characterized the nature of the DBS study at the start of their clinical study.