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Medical Ethics Advisor – March 1, 2012

March 1, 2012

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  • Should post-transplant quality of life determine patient's eligibility?

    Recently ripped from the headlines is the heartbreaking story of a 3-year-old girl in dire need of a kidney transplant. Additionally, she was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease called Wolf-Hirschhorn, which is characterized by a distinctive facial appearance, delayed growth and development, diminished intellectual disability, and epileptic-like seizures.
  • Study evaluates use of 'debriefing' statements

    A new study looks at an intriguing strategy for improving study subjects' understanding and knowledge of clinical research. After subjects finished participating in the study, they were given a "debriefing" statement that explained more fully what the study was about and how it would contribute to scientific knowledge.
  • Dispatching advocates to inform the public

    When investigators seek an exception from informed consent (EFIC) for emergency research, they must show that they have engaged in community consultation and public disclosure, informing the public that they might encounter an experimental intervention while being treated in an emergency setting.
  • Seniors lack access to lifesaving organs

    Thousands more American senior citizens with kidney disease are good candidates for transplants and could obtain them if physicians would move past outdated medical biases and put them on transplant waiting lists, according to a new study1 by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.
  • Study: Spirituality may improve quality of life

    According to the results of a study1 in Psychiatry Research, spirituality and religiousness might contribute to improved quality of life (QOL) in patients who have been diagnosed with residual schizophrenia.
  • New hospice facts and figures

    The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization's (NHPCO) annual report, Facts and figures: hospice care in America, shows the number of patients served remains fairly constant at 1.58 million in 2010 (a slight rise from 1.56 million served in 2009). Yet a statistic of concern to hospice and palliative care professionals is the drop in median and average length of service.
  • Role of ethics consults for research

    In the past decade, a growing number of academic medical centers have begun offering research ethics consultation services in which bioethics experts help scientists address the ethical and societal implications of their laboratory and clinical experiments.
  • Palliative care in the ICU

    The importance and potential benefits of palliative care to ease suffering and improve quality of life for patients being treated in hospital intensive care units (ICUs) has received increasing recognition but is not without significant challenges, as discussed in a roundtable discussion in a recent issue of the Journal of Palliative Medicine.
  • Improving consent in organ donation

    Research published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia suggests that organ donation rates in the United Kingdom (UK) could be increased if the issues affecting declined consent are improved. At present, only 30% of the UK population is registered on the National Health Service (NHS) Organ Donor Register (ODR).
  • News Briefs

    A Massachusetts appeals court has overturned a ruling by Norfolk probate judge Christina L. Harms who ordered that a 32-year-old mentally ill woman, known as "Mary Moe," have an abortion against her will even if it meant she had to be coaxed, bribed, or even enticed into a hospital. Additionally, Harms ordered that the Moe be sterilized.