This paper provides a description of the role of the clinical ethicist as it is generally experienced in Canada. It examines the activities of Canadian ethicists working in healthcare institutions and the way in which their work incorporates more than ethics case consultation. The Canadian Bioethics Society established a “Taskforce on Working Conditions for Bioethics” (hereafter referred to as the Taskforce), to make recommendations on a number of issues affecting ethicists and to develop a model role description. This essay carefully (...) assesses this model role description. (shrink)
Potential conflicts between the roles of physicians and researchers have been described at the theoretical level in the bioethics literature (Czoli, et al., 2011). Physicians and researchers are generally in mutually distinct roles, responsible for patients and participants respectively. With increasing emphasis on integration of research into clinical settings, however, the role divide is sometimes unclear. Consequently, physician–researchers must consider and negotiate salient ethical differences between clinical– and research–based obligations (Miller et al, 1998). This paper explores the subjective experiences and (...) perspectives of 30 physician–researchers working in three Canadian paediatric settings. Drawing on qualitative interviews, it identifies ethical challenges and strategies used by physician–researchers in managing dual roles. It considers whether competing obligations could have both positive and adverse consequences for both physician–researchers and patients. Finally, we discuss how empirical work, which explores the perspectives of those engaged in research and clinical practice, can lead the way to understanding and promoting best practice. (shrink)
Physician-researchers are bound by professional obligations stemming from both the role of the physician and the role of the researcher. Currently, the dominant models for understanding the relationship between physician-researchers' clinical duties and research duties fit into three categories: the similarity position, the difference position and the middle ground. The law may be said to offer a fourth.
The legal risks associated with health research involving human subjects have been highlighted recently by a number of lawsuits launched against those involved in conducting and evaluating the research. Some of these cases have been fully addressed by the legal system, resulting in judgments that provide some guidance. The vast majority of cases have either settled before going to trial, or have not yet been addressed by the courts, leaving us to wonder what might have been and what guidance future (...) cases may bring. What is striking about the lawsuits that have been commenced is the broad range of individuals/institutions that are named as defendants and the broad range of allegations that are made. The research community should take this early experience as a warning and should reflect carefully on practices where research involving human subjects is concerned. (shrink)
In this article, we examine how the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child can be useful in pediatric bioethics. Adopted in 1989, the CRC reflects norms that have been deliberated upon for a long period of time and endorsed by most nations. The United States is now the only country that has not ratified the CRC.1 International human rights law shares many key moral concepts with clinical pediatric bioethics, and the CRC provides a considered language common to many (...) jurisdictions that can assist bioethicists in their daily practice and help health-care organizations in their policy development and international interactions. There may, however, be practical challenges with using the CRC in the practice of.. (shrink)