AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

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AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. November 2004, Volume 6, Number 11.

Test Questions

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Test Questions: Research Ethics

Research Ethics


A patient is faced with the choice between an experimental therapy or hospice-based comfort care because current treatment options are no longer able to combat her fatal disease. When the patient asks the doctor what to do, the doctor has an ethical obligation to:

A. Discuss the pros and cons of both options.
B. Refrain from discussing the pros and cons of the experimental therapy because doing so may give the patient false hope.
C. Encourage the patient to talk to those closest to her about her future and her options.
D. A and C.


It is considered ethically permissibile to use a placebo control for clinical trials under what circumstances?

A. Where there is no known treatment for the condition.
B. Where the subject has failed to respond to first and second line standard treatments.
C. Where a new treatment is considered an "add on" to a regimen of standard treatments and all study participants will receive standard treatments.
D. For minor conditions in which receiving "no treatment" is consistent with competent medical care.
E. All of the above.


Mrs. Sanchez has given written informed consent allowing representatives from a fetal monitoring manufacturing firm to be in the delivery room when she gives birth. At the last moment she changes her mind. Mrs. Sanchez's doctor should:

A. Remind Mrs. Sanchez that she signed a binding agreement and focus on a potentially difficult delivery.
B. Dismiss the representatives from the equipment manufacturer without reminding Mrs. Sanchez of the consent she signed.
C. Remind Mrs. Sanchez about the informed consent piece she signed and respect her right to change her mind and request that the company representatives leave her room.
D. Tell Mrs. Sanchez that the unfamiliar faces belong to medical students who are on their OB clerkship.


According to Drs Maizes and Horwitz, a physician can ethically recommend a complimentary or alternative therapy that lacks substantial scientific evidence for efficacy if:

A. The potential benefit to the patient is based on theoretical grounds.
B. The potential benefit to the patient is based on clinical experience.
C. The risk to the patient is negligible.
D. No satisfactory conventional therapy has been effective.
E. All of the above.


According to the Health Law Case, the FredHutchinson Center may have violated the AMA Code of Ethics because:

A. It did not reasonably inform the patients of the GVHD t-cells trials.
B. It did not fully disclose the relationship between the investigators and the antibody suppliers.
C. There was no opportunity for patients and their families to discuss risks and concerns.
D. The clinical recommendations, while formally made, were presented in a way that patients could not understand.


Which of these reasons is NOT a valid argument for creating a central registry for all clinical trials?

A. A centralized registry allows physicians, researchers and the public to gain immediate access to all clinical research on any given drug or therapy.
B. A central registry allows all interested to view the negative results that otherwise may have remained unpublished.
C. A central registry would deter research.
D. A central registry would help make reporting certain statistics (eg, hypothesis, synopsis of key time points, funding sources) uniform for all research, making for stricter universal standards.


In their article about DNA donation for genetics research, Berens and Marchant emphasize the importance of which of the following:

A. Adequate financial support by the federal government.
B. Public trust in the integrity of genetic research.
C. Keeping patients uninformed about the potential uses of blood samples.
D. A clinical trials registry.


The Olivieri case clearly serves as an example of the ethical challenges posed by:

A. Academia-industry collaborations.
B. Obtaining informed consent from minors.
C. Protecting patient autonomy in vulnerable populations.
D. Medical research with international partnerships.


One way that medical schools can help students gain a better grasp of research protocols in clinical research according to Leapman and Moe is by:

A. Offering more ethics classes.
B. Opening IRB meetings so that students can attend either as active listeners or participants.
C. Requiring all students to enroll in a clinical trial to experience the system first hand.
D. Requiring all students to read the FDA standards of clinical research.


One problem that continues to confront equipoise as a standard for ethically sound research is :

A. Informed consent.
B. The level of involvement for patient as research subjects.
C. Disagreement between individual physicians and the medical
D. All of the above.
E. B and C.

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