94 e-Letters

published between 2007 and 2010

  • Refusal to biobank: patients VS general population
    professor viroj wiwanitkit

    Editor, I read the recent publication by Melas et al with a great interest [1]. Melas et al concluded that "the results suggest a need for guidelines on benefit sharing, as well as trustworthy and stable measures to maintain privacy, as a means for increasing personal relevance and trust among potential participants in genetic research [1]." Indeed, Johnsonn et al recently published a paper in BMJ and mentioned that "Refusal...

    Show More
  • Coercion undermines autonomy regardless of patient preference
    Daniel J R Harvey

    Dear Editor,

    We read with interest the paper by Chenaud and colleagues. Patient preferences regarding consent for research into critical illness are an important and poorly researched area and they are to be congratulated for their work.

    The poor response rate in their study is a serious limitation the authors acknowledge but even accepting this we would draw different conclusions.

    As the...

    Show More
  • Focus on autonomy neglects the essential role of personal interconnectedness
    Shanil Ebrahim

    Informed consent involves several challenges in palliative care including patient autonomy, patient competency, advanced directives, and interpreting the family's role. The goal at the end of the day is the same --providing a quality death served under the best interests of the patient.[1] Dreyer et al. presented key findings in their study including relatives' lack of understanding of their role in decision-making, lack...

    Show More
  • Public opinion is a key component to debate on animal experiments
    Michelle Thew

    Dear Sir

    The article by Dr Hobson-West (The role of public opinion in the UK animal research debate) contains an interesting discussion about the extent to which public opinion should guide the ethical debate about animal research (and indeed other controversial issues).

    Our view is that it is a key component in the debate. The cost:benefit test which lies at the heart of the UK legislation is a value-lad...

    Show More
  • Response to McLachlan
    David M Shaw

    The quote in the response by Hugh McLachlan is taken slightly out of context: the full sentence is "If we accept that it is bad for people to end their life with a period of suffering, it does not matter whether that period lasts 100 years, 100 days or 100 minutes: we should help them to die as soon as possible." This argument was aimed only at those who already agree that we should help people avoid prolonged periods of...

    Show More
  • Diagnosing death
    Matt Thomas

    Dr Miller's argument is based on the premises that (1) doctors must not kill patients; (2) brain-dead patients are alive; (3) procuring vital organs from brain-dead patients would cause their death (p618). As Dr Miller acknowledges, it is by no means certain that premise (1) stands, as doctors intentionally kill patients every day and this is accepted and acceptable to societies in which it takes place. The second premis...

    Show More
  • It does not follow that we ought to help those who want to die to die
    Hugh V McLachlan

    David Shaw has written a very good, erudite article on euthanasia, which is a pleasure to read. However, he is mistaken when he says: ‘If we accept that it is bad for people to end their life with a period of suffering … we should help them to die as soon as possible’. (p. 531) This does not follow. From the premise that it would be good were something or other to happen, we cannot validly conclude that we – in general or...

    Show More
  • Response to Patrone
    Christopher J Ryan

    Body integrity identity disorder is a very rare condition where sufferers experience longstanding anguish because there is a mismatch between their bodies, and their internal image of how their bodies should be. Most typically, the person is deeply distressed by the presence of what they openly acknowledge as a perfectly normal leg. Some sufferers request their limb be amputated.1 We and others have argued that such req...

    Show More
  • Students' attitudes towards abortion are not comparable
    Souhail Alouini

    Rosie Steele (1) reports that medical students without religious affiliation of Oslo and Belfast universities are mainly pro-choice. However, it is surprising that 48% of Norwegian students do not have religious affiliation, whereas only 4.7% of Irish students do not have it. Why was the rate of religious affiliation approximately ten times superior in Irish students' group than in the Norwegian one? An explanation needs to b...

    Show More
  • Premature Neonates, Vegetative State and Nutrition: Political Power Clashes with Medical Autonomy
    Giuseppe Gristina

    PREFACE Recently, escalating controversy has been generated in Italy concerning end-of-life dilemmas. As a result, some recent health policies adopted by the Italian government in compliance with the official point of view of the Roman Catholic Church have rejected published scientific evidence. This article shows three examples of this situation where doctor's autonomy in Italy is undermined by political power.

    THE "...

    Show More