The Basic Concept of Health Care Research

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Introduction Every healthcare professional is bound to encounter ethical dilemmas in his or her day to day practice. For this reason, a number of ethical theories have been developed in the past to not only guide our decision making but to also inform out thinking. In this text, I make use of both the relevant literature and my understanding of ethical theories to explore whether the need to acquire knowledge should be granted priority over the legal requirement of consent to healthcare research. Discussion In the words of Elliott, Aitken, and Chaboyer (2006), "in principle, any procedure that involves intentional contact by a healthcare practitioner with the body of a patient is considered an invasion of the patient's bodily integrity, and as such requires the patient's consent." Healthcare research is one such procedure and for that reason, there is a specific legal requirement of consent that seeks to govern healthcare research. Informed consent as Niles (2012) points out plays a critical role when it comes to the protection of human subjects. Indeed, conducting healthcare research without a valid patient's consent effectively "gives rise to the possibility of a subject suing in negligence or civil assault" (Forrester and Griffiths, 2010). Respect for persons or autonomy (which serves as the basis for informed consent) is a deontological notion. Deontology according to Morrison (2009) "is concerned with behaving ethically by meeting our duties." Those arguing from a
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