What ethical problems may arise in research on humans? Right to privacy and confidentiality.

Topics: Human rights, Human, Universal Declaration of Human Rights Pages: 5 (1125 words) Published: May 5, 2007
What is ethics?The most common way of defining "ethics": they are norms for conduct that distinguish between or acceptable or unacceptable behavior. (http://www.apa.org/ethics/)Most people learn ethical norms at home, in school, in church, or in other social settings.

Human rights: The basic rights and freedoms, to which all humans are entitled, often held to include the right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and equality before the law.

I would like to talk to you about privacy and confidentiality. Privacy: the quality or condition of being secluded from the presence or view of others. (http://www.answers.com/topic ) Confidentiality: Containing information whose unauthorized disclosure could be injurious to either or both parties.

Not all the ethical issues have clear answers; some hinge on researcher's judgment and scruples.

Need for respect.

Privacy and confidentiality should be fairly self explanatory. We need to be sensible as medical practitioners and respect the need for the protection of personal privacy in data, and need to facilitate access to data for research purposes. Respect: The state of being regarded with honor or esteem. Respect has great importance in everyday life, as children we are taught (one hopes) to respect our parents, other people's feelings and rights.

Dramatic events of World War II.

Respect for patients as individuals prior to, during and after the research is one of the key issues of dramatic and horrifying events of World War II and the Nuremberg military tribunals highlight the degrading and inhuman consequences of research without respect for the individual.

History: When dignity was taken away from people.

History has played a large factor in the way people are treated and respected in present day. One particular incident is the Nuremberg military tribunals which played a major part in how human research is viewed concerning peoples rights. This code was formed in 1947 and still plays a big roll in research today. (Genocide. First relating to the Holocaust. It was not listed as a crime in the Nuremberg court's charter, but after pressure from Raphael Lempkin the scholar who had actually coined the term "genocide" prosecutors included it in indictments against some of the major Nazis on trial, and their closing remarks. http://iwpr.net/pdf/reporting_justice_p1_w.pdf ).

This was one scenario that took away, the rights and dignity of human beings. Another example of history that has disrespected human kind, was UNIT 731, this was biological warfare research on humans by the Japanese army. It is events like these that have shaped how ethics have come about in today's society.

Making decisions that wouldn't be damaging.

How's people's respect and dignity protected today? What if during the course of research, an investigator notices that a person seems to have a learning disability or some other treatable condition? The decision to share this information with guardians or other services that could help shouldn't be made lightly, since sharing information of uncertain validity may create damaging misconceptions about that person. On the other hand researchers need to know and inform participants of their legal responsibility to report abuse or neglect or any other illegal activity of which they become aware (Papalia, Olds, Feldman; Human Development p.56).

Privacy questions are also raised when employers expand the depth of their searches, sometimes including psychological, polygraph and even medical record checks. The privacy of medical records is of growing concern. Our medical history contains extremely sensitive information, and access to it should therefore be limited. However insurance providers, researchers, have an interest in obtaining and using our information.

Example from national nine news.

There was a story on the news about how private our personal details can be? (http:/aca.ninemsn.com.au/article, Fri 07/07/06)....
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