Research FYI

  1. Periodically I do a presentation for nursing students about research mechanics and ethics.

    For the ethics part, we start with WWII medical experiments, the Tuskegee syphilis experiments, and end with a study done in the past 10 years (there's ALWAYS something).

    The one I found this time really has me bothered.

    A major medical school did a study in Baltimore which involved houses with lead paint with 3 stages of abatement, trying to figure out the MINIMAL lead abatement procedures needed to protect children from lead dust. The landlords, whose housing got the free lead abatement, were told to rent to families with children. The families understood they'd be part of a lead blood-level study but weren't told that the houses may have been minimally treated. As their children's lead levels rose, the families were not advised to move from the homes; parents were also not advised about the affect lead levels would have on their children.

    The medical school continues to state it did nothing wrong, that the children "probably would have been exposed anyway".

    As more and more research moves into hospitals, please be aware that ANYONE can blow the whistle on unethical research.

    Problems with research can start as early as the consent process, but can affect any part of the research, from patient selection to data gathering to methods and on and on. In addition to endangering patients, sloppy research means bad data. Bad data can ruin a good drug or promote a bad one.

    If you ever become aware of unethical research/researchers, DOCUMENT and report to your institution's Human Subjects or Institutional Review Board. If that doesn't get you anywhere, you can report to the Office of Research Rights and Protection of the US Government; you can find them on the web and a real person will answer the phone when you call (at least that was the case 2 years ago when I called for information for another class).
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   WashYaHands
    Researchrabbit, It's awesome that you do this presentation.

    Here's a few links for the Nuremburg Code and the Helsinki Declaration, ethics in research documents, if anyone is interested:

    http://ohsr.od.nih.gov/nuremberg.php3

    www.wma.net/e/policy/17-c_e.html

    Linda
  4. by   BrandyBSN
    very disturbing.
  5. by   Q.
    Very interesting. Thanks for posting.
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Makes me ill...I tell you . Thanks for shedding light on this disgraceful experimentation. It is almost unbelievable.
  7. by   researchrabbit
    It's bad enough that horrible things were done in the name of research YEARS ago. But it's worse that people just don't seem to learn. What WERE those researchers thinking? And WHY didn't anyone blow the whistle?

    My standard for doing a project is "Would I want to participate? Would I want my child/mom/best friend to participate?"

    Although I am very shy (not that you'd guess from my avatar ) I have dug my heels in on occasion and argued against a project until it's killed (luckily, 99% of the MDs/DOs I've worked with are VERY responsive to my concerns...and the ones that weren't to begin with, learned to be).
  8. by   live4today
    Great for you researchrabbit! That's the way to handle those old medical farts! :chuckle :kiss
  9. by   flowerchild
    Arrest the idiots for child endangerment. This is appalling to say the least!
    If a mother can be arrested for letting her kid get sunburned then why not arrest them? What were they thinking????????
  10. by   sjoe
    My guess is that what the research group left unsaid after their statement "they probably would have been exposed anyway" is "besides, these children were mostly minorities. What's the problem?"

    You'd never know this was the 21st Century! Hard to believe this kind of thinking still goes on, particularly in a setting where the participants couldn't help but know their work would be followed up. But some people in every field just seem to be totally out of touch with everything except their own theories (and money).
    Last edit by sjoe on Sep 14, '02
  11. by   Q.
    Originally posted by sjoe
    My guess is that what the research group left unsaid after their statement "they probably would have been exposed anyway" is "besides, these children were mostly minorities. What's the problem?"

    I think that might be taking it a bit far....the criteria for enrollment was not minorities, but people with children. Poverty knows no boundaries, sad to say. Even without poverty, there are plenty of older homes that are in good condition and in a suburban area that have lead based paint. My good friends had such a home.....
  12. by   sjoe
    Suzy K--You may be right, but I haven't seen the particular racial makeup of the study subjects as yet. If you run into the info, perhaps you will be kind enough to add it to this thread's information.

    It was just this general ATTITUDE to which I referred. And you are right, with all the culture-sensitive classes and theories floating around, these and many other kinds of healthcare problems are more those of economic class than anything else. (as well noted in the current thread "Managed Care?")
    Last edit by sjoe on Sep 14, '02

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