Ethics of using Human Test Subjects of Medical or Scientific Research

Part A The Belmont Report
The Belmont Report talks about the importance of the subject when it comes to research and experiments. They report categorized its discussions to into three parts. The first part distinguishes three very important concepts when it comes to the field of medicine, namely practice, research and experimental. Practice refers to actual interventions that are widely known and standardized in the field and applied to patients. Research on the other hand is an activity that is designed to test and validate claims and hypothesis in order to be able to generate conclusions and to contribute to the pool of knowledge. Experiments are the act of using new or radical methods in order to address certain problems and circumstances. It does not follow that experiments are automatically Researches. Clinical researchers still have to follow basic protocol when conducting research or implementing experimental procedures.

The second part explains the 3 basic ethical principles involved when talking about using humans as test subjects. These three are respect to persons, beneficence and justice.  Respect to persons means respecting their autonomy or their right for self-determination.  The report especially pushed for the protection of those who have diminished ability for autonomy. The second ethical principle is the Beneficence which related to the Hippocratic Oath especially the phrase Do not harm as well as the idea of maximizing possible benefits and minimizing possible harm to other people. The third concept is the concept of justice. This concept raises the questions of who deserves and whether or not there is fairness in distribution. It is important to note here that there are instances where people who do not necessarily deserve to be used as test subjects are used as test subjects. Here we can also talk about the inequalities present in our society in where circumstances predict who test subjects become and who are those that are not.

Also included in the report is an overview on how to properly invite possible test subjects for the study. The report here tells us the requirements before conducting the experiments on the test subjects. The report tells of imparting necessary information about the study to the potential test subject in a way that they can properly understand what will transpire during the course of the procedure. Researchers should explain to the patient the Nature and the scope of both benefits and risks that are scientifically determined. The most important part in this portion is the voluntary consent of the test subject where they should be given the option to reject the proposal as well as terminate the experiment in any time they choose to.

Part B Guidelines for Writing Informed consent documents
This part simply outlines a guideline to make sure that all the important parts of informed consent when preparing these kinds of documents. It is an exposition of the Application portion of the Belmont Report. Any document should disclose specific and necessary information comprehensible for to the patient or their representative in order for them to properly make a decision of participating or not.  The general principles important to a good Informed consent document are that it should reflect in writing the researchers intentions(s). It should also show in writing, that they are willing participants in which everything about the procedure from its advantages, disadvantages, risks and benefits and the probable courses of action in case the test subject actually suffers any kind of side-effects or injuries. These documents should always be prepared and should also be always properly explained to them in a way that the test subjects and their representatives properly understand its implications.

Informed consent documents should give people a good idea of what they are going to going to expect during the experimental procedures as well as include the studys justification of having to use human test subjects especially if there is more than minimal risk to the subject. It should also explicitly state whether or not the test subjects will be given some kind of compensation one way or another.

The important part to remember here is that the document should show a detailed and clear description of the experiment as a means to get the subjects informed consent as well as create a means for legal accountability for the researchers of the study.  Documentation is also seen here as requirement that is as necessary as that of the voluntariness of the test subject since it will stand as the proof of having adequately satisfying the requirement of informed consent.

Part C Benefits of the Many does justify the sacrifice of the few
The chance to benefit thousands and millions of lives as a result of using and sacrificing a few people is justified. The fact of the matter is there is that though these experiments and procedures may seem a little bit unethical and indeed there are also instances in which it sometimes becomes immoral, it is also for the benefit of the people. In this regard I will be stating my arguments in three fronts The test subject voluntarily gave informed consent and thus understand the implications of being involved in the study together with its risks and benefits, with the option of rejecting or terminating the procedure in any time they wish. The second is that test subjects are somehow compensated, and the third argument I will be making involves the understanding that slow or indeed no medical discoveries was ever made possible without a certain kind of risk.

Test subjects are given all the information that they need to properly make the decision and they themselves are the ones to decide whether or not the y will participate in the study. This means that they know exactly what they are going into and that they have the option of not accepting the proposal. A possible test subject andor their representatives are rational people who are capable of self-determination where they are able to know, understand and make important decisions for themselves. When a person gives their informed consent, this means that they know the possible outcomes of being involved in this kind of research and are prepared to face its consequences.

The second argument comes from the fact of the people having justly compensated for their contributions. Though providing compensation is another way of saying that they are commodities and that their potential sufferings are given a price. Let us understand before we go further into the argument that there are also benefits in store for the test subject. Experimental procedures are usually done to individuals who can be benefitted by the new experimental method or procedures. This is seen when standard intervention is not enough and is already useless. This may be the compensation referred to and not necessarily the monetary compensation. If there is a chance that the person to be treated for an illness presumed to be a hopeless case in terms of the standard procedures, then the only hope lies with experimental and radical procedures.

The third argument will deal with the fact that in the larger view of the medical field there is little or no development without certain sacrifices. Various treatments we enjoy now are the result of, having in one way or another sacrificed the few. If this is not done then these certain sicknesses will not be treated adequately and thus the same millions of lives that could have been saved now will until now not be sufficiently addressed.

If it is not moral or ethical to be able to sacrifice yourself for the sake of the greater good, then what is moral What is the use of morality if it means the sacrifice and turning a blind eye to the pleas and cries of the people who are suffering now and those who will suffer in the future


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