Sleep Deprivation: A Research Study

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Medical ethics have served as a strong protective force for human participants in biomedical and behavioral experimentation. Unless they are utilized, human participants are at risk of being injured or even dying. In the United States today, these ethics and processes to get an experiment approved are crucial to avoiding the re-occurrence of inhumane experimentation. A current example of a breach of medical ethics is occurring in a research study lead by iCOMPARE regarding the effects of sleep deprivation of patient mortality rates when resident medical nurses are overtired. Professor of epidemiology and population health, Ruth Macklin explains, “According to the study protocol, the primary hypothesis of the research… assumes that 30-day patient…show more content…
The company, iCOMPARE wishes to determine the errors during patient hand-offs between residents and discover the mistakes during this time. However, it is unnecessary to test this in a way that puts the patients at risk, especially when they have not given informed consent. They are unaware that this study is taking place and that they are at risk. Thus, the patients are used as test subjects whose lives mean less than the study being conducted; what’s more is they aren’t even informed of the dangerous study. Macklin sums up the immoral nature of the experiment by stating, “I conclude that this is an unethical study, based on risk–potential benefit considerations, and will follow up in a subsequent post to suggest that absence of informed consent from patients and medical residents signifies a dangerous trend in so-called ‘comparative effectiveness’ research” (Ruth Macklin). Institutional Review Boards and medical ethics are needed to avoid situations such as this where patients are put at risk without even being informed of the research study that is being performed on them. The safety of human participants relies on medical ethics and review boards in order to protect them. Although it is more work to gain approval from a review board, it ensures the safety of the participants and allows them to feel…show more content…
Biomedical and behavioral research done before a system of medical ethics was created prove the dangers to human participants if the laws in place are not followed. The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment left the men in the study untreated and many of the subjects died even when proper treatment had been discovered. The Nazi Experiments led to the torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners in concentration camps throughout a number of different medical experiments. The enactment of the Nuremberg Code, ethics laws, and Institutional Review Boards following these horrendous experiments ensures that present and future human subjects of medical research are protected and will be properly treated throughout the studies taking place. In trying to avoid the process of IRB review and finding loopholes in laws, more experiments such as the one conducted by iCOMPARE will lead to the immoral and inhumane treatment of human participants in future studies. The only possible way to avoid unethical experimentation on humans is to follow the standard ethics and review processes which have been established in the United States. Without conforming to these laws, the fate of human participants will remain as horrendous as they were during the Tuskegee and Nazi
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