September 29, 2007
1. What were some of the events that caused the Belmont report to be written?
The Belmont report was written to establish basic ethical principles that would assure and protect human subjects involved in biomedical and behavioral research. Judging physicians and scientists will have to conduct research in accordance with the principles. Some events that caused this report to be written were the abuses of concentration camp prisoners in biomedical experiments during the Second World War, and the involvement of vulnerable human subjects like certain groups. These group are for example racial minorities, the economically disadvantage, the very sick, and the institutionalized. These groups of people are sought out for their easy availability, their manipulability, or their compromised positions.
2. What are the "Basic Ethical Principles" cited in the Belmont Report?
The “Basic Ethical Principles” cited in the Belmont Report are respect for persons, beneficence, and justice. The respect for persons involves two ethical convictions, one is to acknowledge autonomy of an individual and the second one is to protect those with diminished autonomy. For beneficence there are two guidelines, one is “do not harm.” The second is to maximize possible benefits and reduction of risks. For justice there are several ways to distribute burdens and benefits of a research. The report mentions five ways: to each person equal share, individual need, individual effort, societal contribution, and merit.
3. How are the "Basic Ethical Principles" assured in research practice?
The “Basic Ethical Principles” are assured by several ways. The first is an informed consent which gives the individual the opportunity to choose. The second is sufficient information. The third is that the subjects have comprehended the information. The fourth is the voluntariness of the subjects, which means they should not be influenced or forced. The fifth, the sixth, and the seventh involve the assessment, nature and systematic assessment of risks and benefits. For the research there should be enough data to inform of risks and benefits and what are the types of risks and benefits involves in the research. Finally the selection of subjects is another consideration. The selection should be fair and not based on selecting vulnerable groups like racial minorities, economically disadvantage, and institutionalized people.