Never sacrifice members of your study population for the benefit of other members (e.g., shifting resources to those patients who seem to be benefiting from the study intervention). [3], Researchers should apply the concept of beneficence to individuals within the patient/physician relationship or the research-participant/researcher relationship. A clinical study's potential benefits always should outweigh the risks. In patient education, beneficence can apply on both an individual and community basis. The process of negotiating conflict between the two principles is a function of several factors involved in clinical judgement: subject matter; probability of net medical benefit; availability of reasonable alternatives; and the ability of the patient to participate in the informed consent process. One is that there should be community consensus when determining best practices for dealing with ethical problems. Monash Bioethics Review. Joel E. Frader, Kelly Michelson, in Pediatric Critical Care (Fourth Edition), 2011. Similar reasoning might apply to cases of malignancy for which chemotherapy and other treatments have no or little likelihood of producing a cure or substantial life prolongation, whereas the treatments impose burdens, such as nausea, itching, extreme fatigue, and high risk of infection. 34: 117., A Series on the Four Principles of the Australian National Statement on Ethics Conduct in Human Research. You can also subscribe without commenting. Again, the idea may seem obvious, but the practical application involves considerable complexity. Beneficence is the obligation to act in the best interest of the client regardless of the self-interest of the health care provider. For example, when deciding whether to use extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for a desperately ill infant with a diaphragmatic hernia, you must consider the possibility that the technology will extend the life of the baby only by several days, that is, no long-term benefit will accrue. Individually, posting teaching materials within an electronic patient portal is one example of beneficence. For example, although most infants with trisomy 18 and heart disease die very early, between 5% and 10% live for more than a year, and no certain way is known at present of identifying the potential survivors.155 Some parents of such an infant, even when informed of the poor prognosis for intellectual development, do not feel justified in withholding cardiac or other surgical care. A subscription of only USD15/month (approx AUD21/month) provides access to a growing library of activity items, reflections on papers and news, and other resource items. Similar reasoning might apply to cases of malignancy for which chemotherapy and other treatments have no or little likelihood of producing a cure or substantial life prolongation, whereas the treatments impose burdens, such as nausea, itching, extreme fatigue, and high risk of infection. (2016) Beneficence as a Principle in Human Research. This is because technical matters largely concern the calculation of medical goods and harms for patients with a particular diagnosis and treatment plan. Retrieved from:

Carol A. Needham MA, JD, ... Keli Mu PhD, OTR/L, in Occupational Therapy with Aging Adults, 2016. In this issue of the Research Ethics Monthly, Ian Pieper and Colin Thomson continue their series of short summaries of each of their four co-authored articles on the principles that underpin the Australian National Statement, namely, research merit and integrity, justice, beneficence and respect. The principle of nonmaleficence reminds us to take potential pain and suffering seriously before recommending no-holds-barred medical intervention. However, in the real world, the knowledge database is very rarely that conclusive. For example, whenever the government shifts money from one endeavor to another, the population that loses funding suffers (e.g., cutting medical research funding to allot more money to transportation).

Ellen Zambo Anderson, in Complementary Therapies for Physical Therapy, 2008. Morality and ethical theory allows for judging relative costs, so in the case when a harm to be inflicted in violating #1 is negligible and the harm prevented or benefit gained in #2–4 is substantial, then it may be acceptable to cause one harm to gain another benefit. However, there is debate about the extent to which the interests of other parties, such as future patients and endangered persons, ought to be considered. The antonym of this term, maleficence, describes a practice which opposes the welfare of any research participant. So becoming an AHRECS patron not only helps AHRECS stay a constructive voice for change it’s a way to get access some terrific items for a great price. Ian Pieper, AHRECS Consultant, Ian’s AHRECS profile This month they revisit the paper exploring the principle of beneficence in the context of human research. Email [email protected] for further information. This guidance does not consider beneficence in isolation but places it within the context of the other principles and the National Statement as a whole. We use cookies to help provide and enhance our service and tailor content and ads. It can be found in the subscribers’ area ( These are shared on a creative commons basis, so you are free to use them internally without otherwise engaging AHRECS. Beneficence, and its corollary, lack of maleficence, is clearly a paramount concept. When food or medications are in short supply (e.g., in an underserved location), decision makers must choose who should receive these resources and whom should be denied. While applying beneficence in human research does involve consideration of risks and benefits to participants, consideration should also extend to individuals, groups, and communities not directly involved in the research.

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