Parents of children with terminal illness may try many different types of alternative and unproven treatment, not all recognised by the medical establishment. When active participation is requested difficult ethical dilemmas may arise. We present one such case, a child of five years with an inoperable posterior fossa brain tumour.
Treatment-resistant symptoms complicate the clinical course of schizophrenia, and a large proportion of patients do not reach functional recovery. In consequence, polypharmacy is frequently used in treatment-refractory cases, addressing psychotic positive, negative and cognitive symptoms, treatment-emergent side effects caused by antipsychotics and comorbid depressive or obsessive-compulsive symptoms. To a large extent, such strategies are not covered by pharmacological guidelines which strongly suggest antipsychotic monotherapy. Add-on strategies comprise combinations of several antipsychotic agents and augmentations with mood stabilizers; moreover, (...) antidepressants and experimental substances are applied. Based on the accumulated evidence of clinical trials and meta-analyses, combinations of clozapine with certain second-generation antipsychotic agents and the augmentation of antipsychotics with antidepressants seem recommendable, while the augmentation with mood stabilizers cannot be considered superior to placebo. Forthcoming investigations will have to focus on innovative pharmacological agents, the clinical spectrum of cognitive deficits and the implementation of cognitive behavioral therapy. (shrink)
Moral treatment refers to a psychological approach to treating mental disorder that arose across Europe and North America around the turn of the eighteenth century. It is mostly associated with the French physician Philippe Pinel (1745–1826) and the English Quaker philanthropist William Tuke (1732–1819). Pinel and Tuke each independently developed their own distinct models of the once popular therapy known as moral treatment. Although moral treatment is often considered to have been a successful therapy in its early (...) years, it was eventually replaced by custodial care on a mass scale and became a travesty of its earlier self. (shrink)
Modern medicine provides unprecedented opportunities in diagnostics and treatment. However, in some situations at the end of a patient’s life, many physicians refrain from using all possible measures to prolong life. We studied the incidence of different types of treatment withheld or withdrawn in 6 European countries and analyzed the main background characteristics.
Medical genetic interventions can be performed in two ways. First, genetic defects may be repaired (gene therapy). Secondly, a possible future individual (an embryo or a possible combination of gametes) may be preselected because of its favourable genetic make-up (by using genetic diagnostic methods and procedures from reproductive medicine so called Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis). The first kind of intervention means that someone gets medical treatment in the normal sense, however, the second kind does not. Rather, in that case, the (...) potential patient is exchanged for another individual who is in no need of treatment. The paper explores to what extent arguments for and against these kinds of genetic intervention apply equally to all of them. For example, may the benefits that can be achieved through gene therapy be equally well achieved through genetic preselection? Are fears of a resurrection of eugenic practices through gene technology more warranted regarding therapeutic interventions than regarding preselective ones (or vice versa)? Since genetic preselection is an intervention at the germ-line level and is presently clinically applied: How is it possible to motivate that clinical application of germ-line gene therapy is not similarily permitted? (shrink)
Aims. Currently, methylphenidate (MPH, trade name Ritalin) is the most widely prescribed medication for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We examined the ability of repeated MPH administration to produce a sensitized appetitive eagerness type response in laboratory rats, as indexed by 50-kHz ultrasonic vocalizations (50-kHz USVs). We also examined the ability of MPH to reduce play behavior in rats which may be partially implicated in the clinical efficacy of MPH in ADHD. Design. 56 adolescent rats received injections of either 5.0 mg/kg (...) MPH, or vehicle each day for 8 consecutive days, and a week later received a challenge injection of either MPH or vehicle. Measurements. Both play behavior (pins) and 50-kHz USVs were recorded after each drug or vehicle administration. Results. MPH challenge produced a substantial 73% reduction in play behavior during the initial treatment phase, and during the last test (1 week post drug), 50-kHz USVs were elevated approximately threefold only in animals with previous MPH experience. Conclusions. These data suggest that MPH treatment may lead to psychostimulant sensitization in young animals, perhaps by increasing future drug-seeking tendencies due to an elevated eagerness for positive incentives. Further, we hypothesize that MPH may be reducing ADHD symptoms, in part, by blocking playful tendencies, whose neuro-maturational and psychological functions remain to be adequately characterized. (shrink)
Apotex Pty Ltd v Sanofi-Aventis Australia Pty Ltd  304 ALR 1At the heart of some disputes regarding medical treatment is the conceptual difficulty of finding the appropriate legal framework. The diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions are clearly subject to professional standards and thus sit within the negligence framework, but what of those who develop and provide that diagnosis and treatment? Do innovative approaches give rise to a patentable interest and can the intellectual property in a (...) method of treatment be protected under existing patent law? This question was recently addressed by the High Court in Apotex Pty Ltd v Sanofi-Aventis Australia Pty Ltd  304 ALR 1.The technical arguments are clearly set out in the judgment and do not warrant repetition. For present purposes it is sufficient to highlight the central legal question, which was whether a method of medical treatment could be a “manner of manufacture” and therefore patentable.The DecisionThe High Court .. (shrink)
Soldiers returning from war have always exhibited signs of psychological and emotional distress. In this book, Bernard J. Verkamp argues that the contemporary response to such symptoms—psychiatric treatment and therapy—is only a partial solution, and that when dealing with soldiers’ emotions of guilt and shame we would benefit greatly from a consideration of the religiously grounded practices of the Middle Ages. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including Reinhold Niebuhr, Michael Walzer, and the long tradition of just war (...) theory, Verkamp offers a stirring—and timely—call to reconsider our assumptions in light of historical understanding. “A wonderful book. The author’s erudition is staggering and the analysis is equally impressive.”—Stanley Hauerwas, Duke University. (shrink)
This article presents a philosophical framework for physician-family ethical decision-making for the controversial cases of withdrawal, initiation, or continuation of treatment for spina bifida infants. The well-known criteria for selective treatment proposed by Lorber are shown to be ethically sub-optimal on the grounds that they are based on a general conception of the decision framework that is open to serious criticisms and questioning.We propose a model of joint physician-family decision-making that we think represents a more rational method of (...) balancing patient autonomy with the professional expertise and international moral norms of physicians. We raise serious reservations about the wisdom of allowing the state to intervene too strenously in this type of decision, in many cases. (shrink)
Herbert, Dilinie The Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa is a tragedy of mass proportions. It has afflicted a region with poor public health infrastructure, communities fearful of medical intervention due to past atrocities, and in a situation where the people are protective of themselves and their families. As the death toll continues to rise, experimental treatments are being offered as a solution. The widespread use and management of these treatments is a challenge due to the social and cultural (...) structures that exists in these communities. An approach that is sensitive to these experiences needs to be observed. (shrink)
_Covert treatment raises a number of ethical and practical issues in psychiatry. Viewpoints differ from the standpoint of psychiatrists, caregivers, ethicists, lawyers, neighbours, human rights activists and patients. There is little systematic research data on its use but it is quite certain that there is relatively widespread use. The veil of secrecy around the procedure is due to fear of professional censure. Whenever there is a veil of secrecy around anything, which is aided and abetted by vociferous opposition from (...) some sections of society, the result is one of two: 1) either the activity goes underground or 2) it is reluctantly discarded, although most of those who used it earlier knew it was needed. Covert treatment has the dubious distinction of suffering both such secrecy and disapproval. Covert treatment has a number of advantages and disadvantages in psychotic disorders. The advantages are that it helps solve practical clinical problems; prevents delays in starting treatment, which is associated with clinical risks and substantial costs; prevents risk of self-destructive behaviour and/or physical assault by patient; prevents relapse; and prevents demoralization of staff. The disadvantages are that it maybe used with malafide intent by caregivers with or without the complicity of psychiatrists; it may be used to force conformity in dissenters; and the clinician may land himself in legal tangles even with its legitimate use. In addition, it may prevent insight, encourage denial, promote unhealthy practices in the treating staff and prevent understanding of why noncompliance occurs in the first place. Some support its use in dementia and learning disorders but oppose it in schizophrenia. The main reason is that uncooperative patients of schizophrenia (and related psychoses) are considered to be those who refuse treatment but retain capacity; while in dementia and severe learning disorder, uncooperative patients are those who lack capacity. This paper disputes this contention by arguing that although uncooperative patients of schizophrenia (and related psychoses) apparently retain capacity, it is limited, in fact distorted, since they lack insight. It presents the concept of insight-unconsciousness in a patient of psychosis. Just as an unconscious patient has to be given covert medical/surgical treatment, similarly an insight-unconscious patient with one of the different psychoses (in the acute phase or otherwise) may also have to be given covert treatment till he regains at least partial insight. It helps control psychotic symptoms and assists the patient in regaining enough insight to realize he needs treatment. Another argument against covert treatment is that people with schizophrenia have the capacity to learn and therefore can learn that they are required to take medications, but if medications are given covertly it may well fuel their paranoia. However, it should be noted that the patient who has lack of insight cannot learn unless he regains that insight, and he may need covert treatment to facilitate this process. Covert treatment can fuel the paranoia, true, but it can also control the psychotic symptoms sufficiently so that regular treatment can be initiated. In a patient who refuses to accept that he is sick and when involuntary commitment is not an option to be considered, covert treatment is the only option, apart from physical restraint. Ultimately, a choice has to be made between a larger beneficence (control of symptoms and start of therapy) and a smaller malevolence (necessary therapy, but without the patient's knowledge and consent). A number of practical clinical scenarios are outlined wherein the psychiatrist should adopt covert treatment in the best interests of the patient. Ethical issues of autonomy, power, secrecy and malafide intent arise; each of these can be countered only by non-malfeasance (above all, do no harm) under the overarch of beneficence (even above that, dare to care). An advance directive with health care proxy that sanctions covert treatment is presented. Questions raised by the practical clinical scenarios are then answered. The conclusions are as follows: covert treatment, i.e, temporary treatment without knowledge and consent, is seldom needed or justified. But, where needed, it remains an essential weapon in the psychiatrist's armamentarium: to be used cautiously but without guilt or fear of censure. However, the psychiatrist must use it very judiciously, in the rarest of rare cases, provided: i) he is firmly convinced that it is needed for the welfare of the patient; ii) it is the only option available to tide over a crisis; iii) continuing efforts are made to try and get the patient into regular psychiatric care; iv) the psychiatrist makes it clear that its use is only as a stop-gap; v) he is always alert to the chances of malevolence inherent in such a process and keeps away from conniving or associating with anything even remotely suspicious; and vi) he takes due precautions to ensure that he does not land into legal tangles later. The need of the hour is to explore in greater detail the need and justification for covert treatment, to lay out clear and firm parameters for its legitimate use, follow it up with standard literature and, finally, to establish clinical practice guidelines by unconflicted authors. The term "covert treatment" is preferable to "surreptitious prescribing"; they should not be used synonymously, the latter term being reserved for those cases where there is malafide intent._. (shrink)
This article reports in detail an ethics case consultation involving a decision to forgo life-sustaining treatment for a middle-aged man following a massive cerebral bleed resulting in profound brain damage, but not unconsciousness. An unusual feature of this case is that, despite normal intelligence, caring family relationships and a history of life-threatening cardiac disease, vigorous and sustained inquiry could not elicitany indications of this patient's values, perceptions or preferences regarding end of life care.Other than a deliberately autobiographical methodological prologue (...) and a few brief comments at the end, the case is presented straightforwardly and without intercurrent analysis. (shrink)
This article raises serious concerns regarding the widespread use of unproven interventions with juveniles who sexually offend and suggests innovative methods for addressing these concerns. Dominant interventions (i.e., cognitive-behavioral group treatments with an emphasis on relapse prevention) typically fail to address the multiple determinants of juvenile sexual offending and could result in iatrogenic outcomes. Methodologically sophisticated research studies (i.e., randomized clinical trials) are needed to examine the clinical and cost-effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral group interventions, especially those delivered in residential settings. The (...) moral and ethical mandate for such research is evident when considering the alternative, in which clinicians and society are willing to live in ignorance regarding the etiology and treatment of juvenile sexual offending and to consign offending youths to the potential harm of untested interventions. Encouraging signs of a changing ethical climate include recent federal funding of a randomized clinical trial examining treatment effectiveness with sexually offending youths and the introduction of separate (i.e., developmentally informed) clinical and legal interventions for juvenile versus adult sexual offenders. (shrink)
:Statisticians have proposed formal techniques for evaluation of treatments, often in the context of models that do not explicitly specify how treatments are generated. Under such procedures they run the risk of attributing causation in settings where the implementation neutrality condition required for causal interpretation of parameter estimates is not satisfied. When treatment assignments are explicitly modelled, as economists recommend, these issues can be formally analysed, and the existence of implementation neutrality, and therefore quantifiable causation, can be determined. Examples (...) are given. (shrink)
This chapter argues that the conditions under the umbrella “personality disorders” actually constitute two very different kinds of theoretical entities. In particular, several core personality disorders are actually moral, and not medical, conditions. Thus, the categories that are held to represent them are really moral, and not medical, theoretical kinds. The chapter works back from the possibility of treatment to the nature of the kinds that are allegedly treated, revisiting 18th-century ideas of moral treatment along the way. The (...) discussion closes with a reflection on how the ambiguous medical status of personality disorders and their treatment today is reminiscent of the ideological tug of war that pits alienist “mad doctors” like Pinel against their lay counterparts such as Tuke as they battled over who should be in charge of treating the mad. (shrink)
The outcomes of psychoanalysis, as with other psychotherapies, vary considerably. _Psychoanalytic Treatment in Adults _examines the results of a longitudinal study of change during psychoanalysis, illuminating the characteristics of patients, analysts and analyses which can help to predict outcomes of treatment. Written by experienced psychologists and psychoanalysts, chapters in the book draw upon sixty case studies to consider how patients with very different analytic outcomes respond at both the beginning and end of their analysis. Psychoanalysts used a clinician (...) report measure, the Shedler-Westen Assessment Procedure, to describe a patient at the beginning of psychoanalysis and every six months until the analysis ended. This allowed the authors to learn about changes over analysis and, in turn, improved treatment planning and practice for the well-being of other patients. Chapters explore five outcomes: a negative therapeutic reaction; attrition when the patient drops out; attrition due to external events; mutual agreement between patient and analyst without maximum benefits; and mutual agreement between patient and analyst with maximum benefits. The findings from these chapters will be of interest to researchers and academics in the fields of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, psychodynamic therapy, psychoanalytic education, psychiatry and psychology. The results should also help clinicians recognize potential problems early in analytic treatments so that they can work more effectively with patients. (shrink)
Opioid treatment agreements are written agreements between physicians and patients enumerating the risks associated with opioid medications along with the requirements that patients must meet to receive these medications on an ongoing basis. The choice to use such agreements goes beyond the standard informed consent process, and has a distinctive symbolic significance. Specifically, it suggests that physicians regard it as important to hold their patients accountable for adhering to various protocols regarding the use of their opioid medications. After laying (...) out a taxonomy of accountability relationships between physicians and patients, I argue that opioid treatment agreements are only justifiable for physicians to use in their provision of care if they improve public health outcomes, which has yet to be demonstrated. (shrink)
This book offers an in-depth analysis of the wide range of issues surrounding "passive euthanasia" and "allow-to-die" decisions. The author develops a comprehensive conceptual model that is highly useful for assessing and dealing with real-life situations. He presents an informative historical overview, an evaluation of the clinical settings in which treatment abatement takes place, and an insightful discussion of relevant legal aspects. The result is a clearly articulated ethical analysis that is medically realistic, philosophically sound, and legally viable.
I recently heard a presentation by E. V. Semenov, the director of the Russian State Science Foundation. He said that culturology has not been included in the Foundation's rubrication. There are grants, but there is no rubric, because so far culturology is an extremely fluid area, and very diverse topics are relegated to it. Aleksei Iur'evich [Shemanov] is quite right when he says that "the process of shaping culturology into a special discipline" is still under way. In such conditions, it (...) would be premature to offer any definitions of culturology that claim to be complete. So perhaps it is better to approach the problem of defining culturology by developing its notions and concepts. Therefore, I support the version of the dictionary proposed by its authors, although implementing it will be fairly difficult. As an initial idea, however, it is quite suitable. (shrink)
Objective Explore parents’ point of view about forgoing life sustaining treatment in terminal critically ill children and factors affecting their decisions. Method This was a qualitative study using in-depth interviews with parents whose child died between 6–12 months old in pediatric intensive care unit of a university-affiliated teaching hospital. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. Data were analyzed using interpretive description method. Result A total of 7 parents of 5 children decided to withhold or withdraw LST. Five parents from 4 (...) children decided to sign the do not attempt resuscitation, and none choose to withdrew the LST, including mechanical support. Factors influenced their decision were communication, value of children, child best interest, intuition, religious belief, and emotions. Economic factors did not influence the decision-making. Conclusion Most parents decided to sign the DNAR, none choose to withdrew mechanical support. Communication was the most important factor that influenced parents to make a forgoing LST decision. (shrink)
This article considers proposals to reform the law in response to recent high profile cases concerning the medical treatment of children, currently before Parliament in the Access to Palliative Care and Treatment of Children Bill 2019–21. It considers the proposed procedural change, to introduce a requirement for mediation before court proceedings, and argues that dispute resolution processes should be a matter of good practice rather than enshrined in law. It argues that the proposed substantive change to determination of (...) best interests would not result in different outcomes because the best interests analysis co-exist with the legal and professional duties of doctors to children in their care. It argues that if there is to be reform of the law it needs to follow from a comprehensive review of all the issues in which the minimum standards imposed by law fit together with good practice standards and not in response to individual cases. (shrink)
The Internet has quickly gained popularity as a major source of health-related information, but its impact is unclear. Here, we investigate the extent to which advocacy websites for three neurodevelopmental disorders—cerebral palsy (CP), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)—inform stakeholders about treatment options, and discuss the ethical challenges inherent in providing such information online. We identified major advocacy websites for each disorder and assessed website accountability, the number, attributes, and accessibility of treatments described, and the (...) valence of treatment information. With the exception of FASD websites, we found that advocacy websites provide a plethora of information about a wide variety of readily available products and services. Treatment information is primarily targeted at families and is overwhelmingly encouraging, regardless of the type or conventionality of treatments. Many websites acknowledge corporate sponsors. While the majority do not overtly advertise or endorse specific brands, they also do not prominently display disclaimers about the nature and intent of treatment information. Thus, while advocacy websites are organized to serve as information clearinghouses, they implicitly appear to provide endorsement of selected treatments and services. We conclude with recommendations for new partnerships between government-funded health organizations, advocacy and investigators to make more transparent the role of online information in informing treatment options and improving the evaluation of information. (shrink)
Descartes’ “natural light” has been interpreted as a faculty of the mind, the sense-imagination-reason-under-standing composite, the principle of intellectual integrity and growth, or even God himself. In Meditations III and IV in particular, the meaning of lumen natural depends on recognizing how light and nature define one another and how “my nature” serves as the basis for pointing to what is beyond the domain of natural reason, including religious faith and natural belief (especially regarding morality).
Based on therapeutic meetings with individuals who have experienced sexual violence and abuse, the challenge is how do we help these couples to establish sexual relationships on their own terms, without interference of defence or coping strategies they have used to protect themselves against the overwhelming experiences of violence or abuse in the past? This article will focus on therapeutic work with such couples and how to interact with them and support their efforts to establish satisfying sexual relationships, based on (...) sexological experience as well as experience from work with traumatisation. The basis for our treatment is a modified version of William Masters and Virginia Johnson’s approach. The technique of sensate focus is central, modified by trauma theory, including the understanding of dissociation, and the need to integrate memories from different levels: somatic, emotional, and cognitive. The traumatised client needs special attention to the experiences of predictability and safety and respect due to their history of being transgressed against. The therapists must be aware of the issue of dissociation; different dissociated inner parts can play different roles in the interaction between client and therapist. While couples therapy is a necessary frame for this therapy, the therapist often needs to work with issues unique to each individual. Each partner must be able to identify their own responses and their own sexual needs and preferences. It may therefore be valuable to have a co-therapist. The central goal is for the clients to identify responses to stimulation as a here and now experience in a setting that feels safe and welcome. (shrink)
Because of historical mistreatment of ethnic minorities by research and medical institutions, it is particularly important for researchers to be mindful of ethical issues that arise when conducting research with ethnic minority populations. In this article, we focus on the ethical issues related to the inclusion of ethnic minorities in clinical trials of psychosocial treatments. We highlight 2 factors, skepticism and mistrust by ethnic minorities about research and current inequities in the mental health care system, that researchers should consider when (...) developing psychosocial interventions studies that include ethnic minorities. (shrink)
The main goal of intensive care medicine is helping patients survive acute threats to their lives, while preserving and restoring life quality. Because of medical advancements, it is now possible to sustain life to an extent that would previously have been difficult to imagine. However, the goals of medicine are not to preserve organ function or physiological activity but to treat and improve the health of a person as a whole. When dealing with medical futilities, physicians and other members of (...) the care team should be aware of some ethical principles. Knowing these principles could make decision-making easier, especially in cases where legal guidelines are insufficient or lacking. Understanding of these principles can relieve the pressure that healthcare professionals feel when they have to deal with medical futility. Efforts should be made to promote an ethics of care, which means caring for patients even after further invasive treatment has been deemed to be futile. Treatments that improve patients’ comfort and minimize suffering of both patients and their families are equally as important as those aimed at saving patients’ lives. (shrink)