BackgroundNational guidelines require programmes use subjective assessments of social support when determining transplant suitability, despite limited evidence linking it to outcomes. We examined how transplant providers weigh the importance of social support for kidney transplantation compared with other factors, and variation by clinical role and personal beliefs.MethodsThe National survey of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons and the Society of Transplant Social Work in 2016. Using a discrete choice approach, respondents compared two hypothetical patient profiles and selected one for transplantation. (...) Conditional logistic regression estimated the relative importance of each factor; results were stratified by clinical role and beliefs.ResultsFive hundred and eighy-four transplant providers completed the survey. Social support was the second most influential factor among transplant providers. Providers were most likely to choose a candidate who had social support, always adhered to a medical regimen, and had a 15 years life expectancy with transplant. Psychosocial providers were more influenced by adherence and quality of life compared with medical/surgical providers, who were more influenced by candidates' life expectancy with transplant. For providers concerned with avoiding organ waste, social support was the most influential factor, while it was the least influential for clinicians concerned with fairness.ConclusionsSocial support is highly influential in listing decisions and may exacerbate transplant disparities. Providers’ beliefs and reliance on social support in determining suitability vary considerably, raising concerns about transparency and justice. (shrink)
A history of injustices to diverse groups of human subjects in medical research has resulted in concerted efforts by U.S. policymakers in the second half of the twentieth century to provide greater protection for future subjects. However, in the context of patient populations demanding better therapies, potential medical advances, and greater attention to issues of social justice, Kahn, Mastroianni, and Sugarman set out to reconceptualize the principle of justice in human subjects research to address these urgent concerns. In BeyondConsent, Kahn (...) and colleagues advance a framework of justice in terms of access to participation in research, instead of protection. Their worthy cause, developed out of collaboration on the White House Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, aims to demonstrate how previously unaddressed notions of justice now require greater consideration in research. Specifically, they emphasize how fairness requires a greater distribution of risks and benefits, and that The volume does not report new research findings but rather draws on multidisciplinary approaches, including law, medicine, philosophy, history, and health policy, to argue that justice must go beyond informed consent. The editors posit that this challenge to protectionism is necessary given the heightened urgency for patients to benefit from investigational therapies although they incur increased risks. (shrink)
Despite a growing awareness within American biomedicine and bioethics that the social category “race” is of limited use in describing patients, some fields of medicine continue to use it interchangeably with, or instead of, the term “ethnicity.” Doing so reflects the assumption that social categories have a basis in physiology.
Much attention has been devoted to ethical issues related to randomized controlled trials for HIV treatment and prevention. However, there has been less discussion of ethical issues surrounding families involved in observational studies of HIV transmission. This paper describes the process of ethical deliberation about how best to obtain informed consent from sex partners of injection drug users (IDUs) tested for HIV, within a recent HIV study in Eastern Europe. The study aimed to assess the amount of HIV serodiscordance among (...) IDUs and their sexual partners, identify barriers to harm reduction, and explore ways to optimize intervention programs. Including IDUs, either HIV-positive or at high risk for HIV, and their sexual partners would help to gain a more complete understanding of barriers to and opportunities for intervention. (shrink)
Understanding why individuals opt out of living donation is crucial to enhancing protections for all living donors and to identify modifiable barriers to donation. We developed an ethical approach to conducting research on individuals who opted out of living kidney donation and applied it in a small-scale qualitative study at one US transplant centre. The seven study participants had varied reasons for opting out, the most prominent of which was concern about the financial burden from lost wages during the postoperative (...) period. Several reported feeling alone during their decision-making process. Although no participants used an alibi, a centre-provided statement of non-eligibility to donate, all believed that centres should offer alibis to help preserve donor autonomy. Given the complexity of participants' decisions and the emotions they experienced before and after deciding not to donate, we suggest approaches for independent living donor advocates to support this population. This study demonstrates that research on individuals who opt out of donation is feasible and yields valuable insight into methods to improve the evaluation experience for potential living donors. (shrink)