Advertising by health care institutions has increased steadily in recent years. While direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertising is subject to unique oversight by the Federal Drug Administration, advertisements for health care services are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and treated no differently from advertisements for consumer goods. In this article, we argue that decisions about pursuing health care services are distinguished by informational asymmetries, high stakes, and patient vulnerabilities, grounding fiduciary responsibilities on the part of health care providers and health (...) care institutions. Using examples, we illustrate how common advertising techniques may mislead patients and compromise fiduciary relationships, thereby posing ethical risks to patients, providers, health care institutions, and society. We conclude by proposing that these risks justify new standards for advertising when considered as part of the moral obligation of health care institutions and suggest that mechanisms currently in place to regulate advertising for prescription pharmaceuticals should be applied to advertising for health care services more broadly. (shrink)
In the clinical setting, questions of medical ethics raise a host of perplexing problems, often complicated by conflicting perspectives and the need to make immediate decisions. In this volume, bioethicists and physicians provide a nuanced, in-depth approach to the difficult issues involved in bioethics consultation. Addressing the needs of researchers, clinicians, and other health professionals on the front lines of bioethics practice, the contributors focus primarily on practical concerns -- whether ethics consultation is best done by individuals, teams, or committees (...) how an ethics consult service should be structured the need for institutional support and techniques and programs for educating and training staff -- without neglecting more theoretical considerations, such as the importance of character or the viability of organizational ethics. (shrink)
Since the Harvard Committees bold and highly successful attempt to redefine death in 1968 (Harvard Ad Hoc committee, 1968), multiple controversies have arisen. Stimulated by several factors, including the inherent conceptual weakness of the Harvard Committees proposal, accumulated clinical experience, and the incessant push to expand the pool of potential organ donors, the lively debate about the definition of death has, for the most part, been confined to a relatively small group of academics who have created a large body of (...) literature of which this issue of the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy is an example. Law and public policy, however, have remained essentially unaffected. This paper will briefly review the multiple controversies about defining death in an attempt to explain why they have and will remain unresolved in the academic community and have even less chance of being understood and resolved by politicians, legislators, and the general public. Considering this, we will end by suggesting the probable course of public policy and clinical practice in the decades ahead. (shrink)
: In this brief commentary, we reflect on the recent study by Siminoff, Burant, and Youngner of public attitudes toward "brain death" and organ donation, focusing on the implications of their findings for the rules governing from whom organs can be obtained. Although the data suggest that many seem to view "brain death" as "as good as dead" rather than "dead" (calling the dead donor rule into question), we find that the study most clearly demonstrates that understanding an individual's definition (...) of death is neither a straightforward task nor a good predictor of views about donation. Reflecting on the implications for ongoing debates over the dead donor rule, we suggest that perhaps it is not a change in policy that is warranted, but rather a change in the priorities that have garnered such intense focus on this issue within the field of bioethics. (shrink)
Institutional review boards are almost universally considered to be overworked and understaffed. They also require substantial commitments of time and resources from their members. Although some surveys report average IRB memberships of 15 people or more, federal regulations require only five. We present data on IRB meetings at eight of the top 25 academic medical centers in the United States funded by the National Institutes of Health. These data indicate substantial contributions from primary reviewers and chairs during protocol discussions but (...) little from other members, which implies that it may be possible for smaller IRBs to accomplish the same tasks with no reduction in the quality of review. (shrink)
Empirical research pertaining to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), clinician behaviors related to do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders and substituted judgment suggests potential contributions to medical ethics. Research quantifying the likelihood of surviving CPR points to the need for further philosophical analysis of the limitations of the patient autonomy in decision making, the nature and definition of medical futility, and the relationship between futility and professional standards. Research on DNR orders has identified barriers to the goal of patient involvement in these life and death (...) discussions. The initial data on surrogate decision making also points to the need for a reexamination of the moral basis for substituted judgment, the moral authority of proxy decision making and the second-order status of the best interests standard. These examples of empirical research suggest that an interplay between empirical research, ethical analysis and policy development may represent a new form of interdisciplinary scholarship to improve clinical medicine. (shrink)
The current policy of the National Institute of Health designed to increase the participation of women and minorities is radically different from previous policies designed to protect minorities from abuses in research studies. The principal arguments to support this policy are twofold: 1) Increased representation of minorities and women in research would increase the generalizability of research data and allow for valid analyses of differences in subpopulations; and 2) being in a clinical research study is advantageous to participants regardless of (...) the final research study results. It remains unclear whether minorities find these arguments compelling. Instead of telling minorities that participation in research is good for them, the research community should focus on understanding what minority communities want from clinical research and then tailoring the message to meet this need. Persuasive arguments to promote long-term increased representation of minorities in clinical research must come from within minority communities. (shrink)
MEDLINE offers the Core Clinical Journals filter to limit to clinically useful journals. To determine its effectiveness for searching and patient‐centric decision making, this study compared literature used for Morning Report in Internal Medicine with journals in the filter.