My disappointment with an ethics committeeBMJ 2004; 329 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7469.807 (Published 30 September 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:807
- Siao Pei Tan, medical student (email@example.com)
- Edinburgh University
Four years ago my grandmother had a stroke. When my grandfather found out he took it very badly and had a major stroke himself. The doctors had to perform emergency surgery, but he could not give his consent because of his illness. It saved his life but left him severely disabled: unable to speak, bedridden, and paralysed for eight months before he died. Was the surgery a mistake? Knowing that the surgery carried such risk, would he have wanted it?
When I was a fourth year medical student I got the opportunity to study a topic I am passionate about: the factors that affect someone's desire for active medical intervention. I intended to describe to the research participants a stroke scenario very similar to my grandfather's and ask them would they have wanted the surgery if they were a member of the victim's family or if they themselves had had the stroke. I would then relate the participants' characteristics, such as age, social support, perception of health status, and social and financial background, to their …