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The Ethics of Emergency Medicine Research

Tue 5 Feb 2013, 8pm The Showroom, Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX

If any of us has the misfortune to suffer a medical emergency, such as a heart attack, a stroke or a serious injury, we will want to receive timely and effective treatment. However, we can only be sure that treatment is effective if it has been tested in a trial involving people with the medical emergency in question. A fundamental principle of the Declaration of Helsinki, which was drawn up in the aftermath of human experiments conducted by the Nazis, is that people should only be a subject of medical research if they have given informed consent. But how can someone with a medical emergency, who may be distressed, confused or even unconscious, give informed consent to take part in research? Steve Goodacre is Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Sheffield and a Senior Faculty Investigator for the National Institute of Health Research. He has extensive experience of undertaking research in emergency medicine. In this talk he will describe the challenge of balancing the need to develop and test new treatments for medical emergencies against the need to respect the autonomy of critically ill or injured people to decide whether or not they take part in research. A talk open to the public, organised by the Sheffield Humanist Society, all welcome.

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