1st Edition

Public Trust in Medical Research? Ethics, Law and Accountability

By Philip Cheung, S. H. Lee Copyright 2007

    It has been claimed by fertility experts that embryos can be screened for 6,000 diseases, thereby the risk of x-linked diseases can be minimised by 'cherry-picking' male embryos that do not carry the abnormal gene. If medical scientists continue to strive for cures, genetic aberrance in human could be a phenomenon of the past...This challenging book explores issues of professional integrity and ethics underpinning medical research. It includes real-life case studies where public trust in medical research has been misplaced and encourages medical professionals to adhere to professional codes of conduct and be informed about their decision making process. It is vital reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students of medicine, law, sociology and social policy, philosophy, health related research and ethics. Practising researchers in medicine and the pharmaceutical industry, and their managers will find it invaluable. The text provides motivation for academics and educators with an interest in research and governance. Healthcare policy makers and shapers, patient rights groups, campaigners and the general media will find the information enlightening. "Over the last four decades, medicine has given hope to many people and saved many lives as a result of the ability of the physicians and surgeons to develop new treatments and innovative surgical techniques. While we can celebrate the success of medical science, we should also critically examine some of these developments against principles and in the light of public opinion." - Philip Cheung.

    Medical progress and human costs. Issues of medical progress. Limits of medicine and medical research. Is medicine going astray? The role of the public. What is good and ethical medicine? The role of ethics in medical research. Ethics and the medical profession. Rules governing medical research. Personal integrity in medical research. Law, medical research and the public. Historical context. Acts of Parliament governing medical education, practice and Research. Public perceptions and law reforms. Non-compliance with the 1961 Human Tissue Act. The Human Tissue Act 1961 was not understood. Organ retention in context. Organ retention in children. Organ retention in adults. Issues of research governance and accountability. Misinterpreting rules of post mortem. Public perceptions of post-mortem examination. Defining hospital-based and coroners' post-mortem. Confusion amongst doctors when putting the law into practice. Certifying and investigating deaths in England, Wales and Northern Ireland - the Shipman Inquiry. Death Certification and investigation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland - the Fundamental Review. Ownership of and respect for the body. The validity of the 'no property in a dead body rule'. Legal implication of the 'no property rule' for the living. Past and present thinking in other EU countries. An insurmountable legal problem. Natural law and medical research. Natural law and its relevance. Violation of natural law. Respect for the dead. To do good in all circumstances. Issues of public trust. Erosion of trust. Negligence. Regaining trust. Ethics and the practice of informed consent. Consent issues - gaps between theory and practice. Improving the validity of consent. The medical profession and the public. Medical paternalism. Does medical paternalism have a place? Empowering the public. The contribution of the voluntary patient groups. The role of the public in the future. Empowering the public. Creating an ethical culture in medical research. Creating an ethical research community. Establishing more effective public control over science and medical research. Training to be ethical. Equitable resource distribution. Promoting public understanding of science and medical research - an innovative strategy.


    Philip Cheung, S. H. Lee