Life as an Extreme Sport

all you need is a rubber stamp to have an ethics committee

I’d like to leave a comment on Stuart Rennie’s latest interesting post over on his Global Bioethics blog, but he’s one of those Google-account-only for commenting, and Google and I parted ways a while ago. So, you should go read his post about the continuing side show of research ethics, and then my comment will make some sense.

Oh, and here is my comment:

I’ll be the first to argue that there are issues with informed consent, but it seems to me that if you cannot explain what you are doing in a way that your patient population can understand, then perhaps you need to go back to the drawing board.

More importantly, though, is whether or not an ethics review committee is really doing anything, if the results can be so thoroughly rejected in commentary. Yes, ethics tends to be plagued with philosophers who like nothing more than to sit around and pick arguments with each other, but at the same time, one really has to question the function of an ethics review committee if such seemingly unethical behaviour is going to be approved. If the committee is just there to rubber stamp a proposal, is it really doing what it’s supposed to do?