Balancing ethical principles in emergency medicine research

Science and Engineering Ethics 13 (3):281-288 (2007)
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Abstract

This paper attempts to provide a broader view into the ethical issues surrounding the field of emergency medicine (EM) research. It starts from defining bioethically relevant features of EM and presents this field in the context of different models of health care provider–patient relationship. The paper also provides a short overview of the “post-Nuremberg” evolution of the main international research ethics guidelines relevant to EM research which demonstrates a tendency of liberalization of research on incapable persons. This tendency culminates with the exceptions to informed consent for EM research which is supposed to be balanced by other research ethics principles, especially a careful rationing of risks and benefits. This finally brings us towards a critical analysis of the minimal risk standard which is one of the main fundamental safeguards in EM research.

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