How ethical is it?

March 2nd, 2006

I’m sure that many will have seen this story by now, but I find it amazing to think that things like this still go on.

In a study of an experimental blood substitute, trauma victims receive the subsitute from paramedics instead of blood. The blood substitute is then administered well after the victim arrives at the hospital. The ethical sticking point is not that the victims are recieving the substitute in the first place because otherwise they would often simply receive saline, but that they don’t recieve a transfusion of regular blood once they get to the hospital. Being a trauma victim they don’t have the ability to consent to the therapy in the first place, but the idea is that the substitute should be better than just saline. However, not receiving a blood transfusion as soon as possibe at a hospital where blood is available is technically denying the person treatment.

I don’t see how any review board thought that this design was a good idea. It denies treatment to people who have not consented to being part of a study in the first place. Um, yea… someone screwed up. It’s too bad because it will probably reflect poorly on the company, the company stock will drop, the company will go out of business, and we still won’t have a good replacement for blood. And, we need a good replacement. Not enough people give blood (me among them). We are constantly lacking in supplies. Without blood, trauma victims are expected to make it on sugar water and blood thickeners that really don’t cut the mustard.

It’s just too bad that people didn’t think before starting this study. It could have been done so much better.

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

Name (required)

Email (required)


Speak your mind