Ethical Treatment of School Children in Research: Assuring Informed Consent
Author(s)Cowell, Julia Muennich
Informed Consent or Human Experimentation
Research on Newborns and Minors
Minors / Parental Consent
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The Journal of school nursing : the official publication of the National Association of School Nurses 2011 Aug; 27(4): 247-8
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Acil Tip'ta Aydinlatilmi? OnamErsoy, Nermin; Ozcan Senses, Müesser; Aydin Er, Rahime (2016-01-09)Informed consent is a prerequisite for the ethical and legal validity of the emergency intervention in emergency medicine, since it protects the fiduciary relationship between the physician and patient; the principle of honesty that grounds this relationship; the principle of autonomy that necessitates right of self-determination; and the principle of respect for persons. Informed consent in emergency medicine, which is supposed to include the nature, benefits and risks of emergency medical intervention, differentiates with respect to definite groups of patients: (1) conscious patients, (2) unconscious patients, and (3) children and mature minors. In addition, informed consent differentiates between medical, psychological and even social circumstances of the patients, referred to as valid consent, expressed-explicit consent, blanket consent, presumed consent, tacit consent, proxy consent, and parental consent. There are a few exceptions in which emergency medical intervention is administered without informed consent. In addition to the exceptions of life-saving interventions, when a patient can not decide for herself/himself, intervention of the physician in the best interest of the patient or children is based on the "therapeutic privilege" of the physician. As an ethically defensible right, since therapeutic privilege may open a door to hard paternalistic approaches, in those situations, emergency physicians should be cautious not to violate a patient's autonomy.
Questioning the need for informed consent: a case study of California's experience with a pilot newborn screening research projectFeuchtbaum, Lisa; Cunningham, George; Sciortino, Stan (2011-07-12)California provides mandatory newborn screening for disorders that cause irreversible, severe disabilities if not identified and treated early in life. Parental consent is not required. In 2001, the Genetic Disease Branch was mandated to pilot test a new technology that could identify many additional disorders using the same blood specimen already collected. Study participation required informed consent, which was obtained for 47% of births during the study timeframe. The inability of hospitals to carry out the consent procedure for all newborns resulted in denial of testing and missed cases. If informed consent were waived, all newborns could have been tested. Several empirical questions are posed and each is examined from the perspective of society, the parents and the newborn. It is concluded that the legitimate needs of society and the interests of newborns should not be sacrificed to respond to the autonomy interests of the few parents who did not wish their infant to participate in the study, and that in the future, parental consent should be waived for projects evaluating new screening technologies.
Handling ethical, legal and social issues in birth cohort studies involving genetic research: responses from studies in six countries.Ries, Nola M.; LeGrandeur, Jane; Caulfield, Timothy (2011-07-12)BACKGROUND: Research involving minors has been the subject of much ethical debate. The growing number of longitudinal, pediatric studies that involve genetic research present even more complex challenges to ensure appropriate protection of children and families as research participants. Long-term studies with a genetic component involve collection, retention and use of biological samples and personal information over many years. Cohort studies may be established to study specific conditions (e.g. autism, asthma) or may have a broad aim to research a range of factors that influence the health and development of children. Studies are increasingly intended to serve as research platforms by providing access to data and biological samples to researchers over many years.This study examines how six birth cohort studies in North America and Europe that involve genetic research handle key ethical, legal and social (ELS) issues: recruitment, especially parental authority to include a child in research; initial parental consent and subsequent assent and/or consent from the maturing child; withdrawal; confidentiality and sample/data protection; handling sensitive information; and disclosure of results. METHODS: Semi-structured telephone interviews were carried out in 2008/09 with investigators involved in six birth cohort studies in Canada, Denmark, England, France, the Netherlands and the United States. Interviewees self-identified as being knowledgeable about ELS aspects of the study. Interviews were conducted in English. RESULTS: The studies vary in breadth of initial consent, but none adopt a blanket consent for future use of samples/data. Ethics review of new studies is a common requirement. Studies that follow children past early childhood recognise a need to seek assent/consent as the child matures. All studies limit access to identifiable data and advise participants of the right to withdraw. The clearest differences among studies concern handling of sensitive information and return of results. In all studies, signs of child abuse require reports to authorities, but this disclosure duty is not always stated in consent materials. Studies vary in whether they will return to participants results of routine tests/measures, but none inform participants about findings with unknown clinical significance. CONCLUSIONS: Analysis of how cohort studies in various jurisdictions handle key ELS issues provides informative data for comparison and contrast. Consideration of these and other examples and further scholarly exploration of ELS issues provides insight on how best to address these aspects in ways that respect the well-being of participants, especially children who become research subjects at the start of their lives.