Case Study Examines Ethics of Experimental Surgical Procedure

January 23, 2013 | Strategic Insights for Health System


The question of whether a surgeon’s attempt at innovation constitutes research arises when a surgeon with limited experience with robotic surgery wishes to gain experience by performing an elective surgical procedure robotically and without charge to the patient, who is poor, uninsured, and poorly educated but is nonetheless a good candidate for a procedure that would otherwise be performed through routine laparoscopy. An article addressing the various ethics dilemmas that arise in this scenario is published in the February 2013 issue of Surgery. The scenario addresses consideration of whether it is possible to obtain a valid informed consent for an untested surgical procedure that may be beyond the scope of a patient’s understanding.

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