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Patient Rights and Ethical Issues: The Significance of the Nuremberg Code and Belmont Report - Essay Example

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Patient Rights and Ethical Issues: The Significance of the Nuremberg Code and Belmont Report Name Institution Abstract Patient rights and ethical issues were disregarded for a long time before the government decided to create a set of rules on medical researches involving human participants…
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Patient Rights and Ethical Issues: The Significance of the Nuremberg Code and Belmont Report
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Download file to see previous pages Current policies being implemented today by different agencies are also described. New issues regarding ethical concerns as evident in an AIDS-related research in developing countries is thoroughly presented. Furthermore, the impact of the Nuremberg Code and the Belmont Report on current clinical trial policies and how these affect special populations or group of people are also classified. Keywords: Nuremberg Code, Belmont Report, AIDS, patient rights, ethical issues. Patient Rights and Ethical Issues: The Significance of the Nuremberg Code and Belmont Report Biomedical and behavioral researches as embodied in clinical trials are essential in the development of new treatments and procedures of various diseases especially those that are considered as high risks. These studies provide information about the biology and nature of diseases which, in turn, give the researchers sufficient knowledge in creating prevention measures or cure. According to Dr. Eugene Passamani (1991), “Clinical trials have thus become a preferred means of evaluating an ever increasing flow of innovative diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers. The randomized, double-blind clinical trial is a powerful technique because of the efficiency and credibility associated with treatment comparisons involving randomized concurrent controls.” However, issues concerning disregard of patient rights and the unethical use of human participants in clinical research over the years gave rise to the evolution of guidelines such as the Nuremberg Code and the Belmont Report to ensure the welfare and safety of its voluntary participants. Until 1906, there were no known protocols or code of practice that are being followed concerning the ethical use of human participants in research studies. The aftermath of World War II intensified the appeal to develop a strict universal set of guidelines when the truth about the horrific medical exploration of Nazi German physicians conducted in concentration camps was exposed to the public. It was reported that thousands of prisoners were forcefully subjected to medical experiments, “which included subjecting the victims to extreme temperatures, mutilating surgeries and deliberate infection with lethal pathogens” (Stone, 2004, p. 8). Most of the victims either died or suffered irreparable damage physically, physiologically and mentally. In December 9, 1946, a trial was conducted against twenty-three German doctors and administrators by the American military tribunal for taking part in crimes against humanity and war crimes. This incident gave way to the creation of the Nuremberg Code in 1948 which is considered as “the first international normative framework regulating the standards of research clinical trials” (Lotte, 2005, p. 34). The code demands that the human participant in any clinical trial or research has voluntary consented to participate in the project and that the benefits of the research must be greater than the potential harm that it may bring. The first principle comprehensively clarified the need to create such guidelines, “The voluntary consent of the human subject was absolutely essential. The person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, deceit, or coercion; and should have sufficient ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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