Discussion:Ethical Dimensions of Research Studies
Ethical principles are implemented to protect the rights of allparticipants. The study hoped to enroll over 1,800 premature infants(Knox, 2013). Tests would involve the provision of blood transfusionsto treat anemia. In this paper, I will argue that the study can beimproved by informing parents of the full scale of risks faced bytheir children.
The study violated the ethical principle of informed consent. In thisregard, parents of premature infants were not told about the resultsof previous studies. Infants who were transfused late had a higherincidence of brain injury (Knox, 2013). They also required emergencytransfusions since the infants had greater likelihood of sufferingdeath. The ethical principle of informed consent requires researchersto provide comprehensive details about any procedure. Hence, theparticipants would make informed decisions about voluntaryparticipation (Fouka & Marianna, 2011). Furthermore, the consentforms provided misleading information. Parents were notified that thestudy had no additional risks to the baby (Knox, 2013). Theresearchers stated that there were no current risks regardingparticipation in the study. Parents were also told that the currentmedical practice posed similar risks to the study.
In addition, the study violated the ethical principle of beneficence.The researchers planned to wait until some infants experiencedadverse health before administering blood transfusions. The infantswould be harmed if the disorder became too severe (Knox, 2013). Theethical principle of beneficence seeks to ensure that practitionerspursue actions that do not cause harm (Fouka & Marianna, 2011).The welfare of the participants was the ultimate goal for eachresearcher. The research might have been conducted differently byinforming parents of the risks faced by the premature infants.Research on sensitive issues can protect the rights of subjects byfulfilling the ethical principle of beneficence. Therefore,practitioners would avoid any practices that could endanger thesafety of participants.
Indeed, the research could have been conducted better by informingparents of the risks faced by their children. The practitioners haveto show concern for the welfare of the premature infants. The studyviolated the ethical principles of informed consent and beneficence.Hence, the researchers could inform parents of all risks to reducethe potential for harm.
Fouka, G. & Marianna, M. (2011). What are the major ethicalissues in conducting research? Is there a conflict between theresearch ethics and the nature of nursing? Health Science Journal,5(1), 3-14.
Knox, R. (2013, August 23). Another Study Of Preemies Blasted OverEthical Concerns. NPR. Retrieved fromhttp://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/08/23/214800726/another-study-of-preemies-blasted-over-ethical-concerns