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Medical Research vs. Patient Treatment

LexRunner
Posts: 7
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3/2/2014 11:49:48 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Should medical research be prioritized over patient treatment?
I am doing a argumentative paper for my AP English 4 class on this topic and need some more insight into this argument because there is very limited information on this topic online. If someone can provide the benefits and negatives of both sides, it would be greatly appreciated. Currently, I am siding for prioritizing patient treatment.

Prioritizing patient treatment should always be the primary interest of the doctor. Although medical research benefits the future of society, patient care exemplifies the morality of medical practices. People come to doctors to seek medical attention and trust doctors to make decisions and judgement calls based on the interest of the patients.
The primary purpose of medicine is to relieve the suffering of the patient. By performing tests on the patient to advance medical research, the doctor may cause more pain. Also, by testing on the patient in the interest of advancing medical research without the consent of the patient is known as medical exploitation. The patient is at the mercy of the doctor when he/she is ill. The patient depend on the knowledge of the doctor to recover and a corrupt doctor may take advantage of this situation and perform unnecessary test in order to benefit his/her research.
You also need to put into account the question, "why do people seek medical attention?". The creation of medicine is to treat the ill. People come to health care facilities hoping to be cured. It is unethical for the doctor to take advantage of this situation and exploit the patient.
GarretKadeDupre
Posts: 2,023
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3/3/2014 1:25:02 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Patient Treatment is a form of Medical Research, so I don't think you're posing a fair question.
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LexRunner
Posts: 7
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3/3/2014 6:30:25 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Patient treatment is solely the purpose of treating the patient with the best interest of the patient kept in mind. Advancing medical research involves exploitation of the patient; however, it is for the "benefit of all". Should we follow the ethical codes to treat patient with no intention of furthering the knowledge of medicine or should we break a few ethical codes in order to gain new knowledge into the medical field. An example includes the primitive heart surgeries. In the early 1900s, heart surgery yielded little successes; however, by examining the errors made in those heart surgeries, we were able to improve our method and success in heart surgeries are much higher today. That being said, heart surgeons in the early 1900s were not 100% sure that the operation were safe however, due to their efforts, we are able to treat patients with abnormal heart conditions today.
Sswdwm
Posts: 1,398
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3/3/2014 6:57:35 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/2/2014 11:49:48 PM, LexRunner wrote:
Should medical research be prioritized over patient treatment?
I am doing a argumentative paper for my AP English 4 class on this topic and need some more insight into this argument because there is very limited information on this topic online. If someone can provide the benefits and negatives of both sides, it would be greatly appreciated. Currently, I am siding for prioritizing patient treatment.

Prioritizing patient treatment should always be the primary interest of the doctor. Although medical research benefits the future of society, patient care exemplifies the morality of medical practices. People come to doctors to seek medical attention and trust doctors to make decisions and judgement calls based on the interest of the patients.
The primary purpose of medicine is to relieve the suffering of the patient. By performing tests on the patient to advance medical research, the doctor may cause more pain. Also, by testing on the patient in the interest of advancing medical research without the consent of the patient is known as medical exploitation. The patient is at the mercy of the doctor when he/she is ill. The patient depend on the knowledge of the doctor to recover and a corrupt doctor may take advantage of this situation and perform unnecessary test in order to benefit his/her research.
You also need to put into account the question, "why do people seek medical attention?". The creation of medicine is to treat the ill. People come to health care facilities hoping to be cured. It is unethical for the doctor to take advantage of this situation and exploit the patient.

It is seldom that simple, the ethics of drug/medical testing. Very seldom is it that simple. One could literally write an archive on the issues involved in the testing of these. A good case study is AIDS in Africa.

In that case, the current HAART treatments are prohibitive expensive, and therefore offer prime test subjects for a new drug, whereas the patient would not have access to anything else.

However it's not that simple for treatments where an existing medicine is available to the patient, there are ways to get around this however. Whilst the ideal test case is to compare the efficacy against a placebo (vs no drug at all), often the placebo is the current best treatment instead, and the new treatment needs to demonstrate significantly improved reactivity very quickly in a trial otherwise it is pulled from clinical trials.

Any testing however should, and as far as I know, is done with the consent of the patient/family. The family will be given very clear assessment of the putative benefits, and drawbacks.

The following TED video I can across a couple of months ago highlights some of he issues of exploitation however. Do look up 'ethics of clinical trials' in your studies to find what you are looking for.

http://www.ted.com...
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LexRunner
Posts: 7
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3/3/2014 7:22:19 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
@Sswdwm
Thank you for the reply. I have looked up "exploitation in clinical trials" weeks ago. The problem I have right now is to make a connection between prioritizing patient treatment vs. advancing medical treatment. At first, when I first choose this topic, it seemed like a very good and original topic. However, weeks later, after doing research on this limited topic, I realize that the two sides are basically synonymous. For example, when a person goes to the hospital to get treated, 99% of the time, the typical doctor would treat the patient with known methods of treatment, no doctor would conduct unnecessary tests on the patient to "advance medical research". However, in clinical research, the purpose of the clinical trials is to create drugs or treatments beneficial to humans, thus the main purpose is not the treat the current patient but to advance medical research. Therefore, I cannot find a situation where both sides occur in the same area. In the typical doctors office or hospital, doctors prioritize treatment of patient. In clinical trials, doctors focus on "advancing medical research" instead of prioritizing treatment of the tested patient. How do I argue this topic if the two sides do not occur in a situation?
LexRunner
Posts: 7
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3/3/2014 7:31:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
@Sswdwm
Your contribution has been helpful. However, I can't see where exploitation of clinical trials can fit into my argument other than to refute the idea that clinical trial, a component of medical research, in some cases can exploit patients; thus, some clinical trials, a component of medical research, are unethical.
Sswdwm
Posts: 1,398
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3/3/2014 7:55:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/3/2014 7:22:19 PM, LexRunner wrote:
@Sswdwm
Thank you for the reply. I have looked up "exploitation in clinical trials" weeks ago. The problem I have right now is to make a connection between prioritizing patient treatment vs. advancing medical treatment. At first, when I first choose this topic, it seemed like a very good and original topic. However, weeks later, after doing research on this limited topic, I realize that the two sides are basically synonymous. For example, when a person goes to the hospital to get treated, 99% of the time, the typical doctor would treat the patient with known methods of treatment, no doctor would conduct unnecessary tests on the patient to "advance medical research". However, in clinical research, the purpose of the clinical trials is to create drugs or treatments beneficial to humans, thus the main purpose is not the treat the current patient but to advance medical research. Therefore, I cannot find a situation where both sides occur in the same area. In the typical doctors office or hospital, doctors prioritize treatment of patient. In clinical trials, doctors focus on "advancing medical research" instead of prioritizing treatment of the tested patient. How do I argue this topic if the two sides do not occur in a situation?

Yes, well the point I was trying to get at is that the ethical considerations are done on a case-by-case basis. It isn't as simple as a doctor suddenly deciding to give an experimental treatment to a patient all things equal. Heck we even have different standards of safety depending on how rare the disease is, the rarer diseased getting a more relaxed safety and ethical requirement than more common ones.

Clinical trial are performed with a number of controls, the most ethical (but worst for quality of data) is to give one patient group the leading therapy, and another group the leading therapy + the experimental drug. That way the patient is (theoretically) no worse off. This of course can have biological complications and hence even this is not always an option.

But for the purposes of your essay, you need to do your research into the process in which patients are given an experimental treatment. I don't know the details myself otherwise I would tell you, but I can tell you now it's probably never done without concent form at least the patient's next of kin. Make sure you research this part.

Phase I Clinical Trials - Done on healthy humans, small sample size and low dose just to check for safety, and pharmacokinetics/ability of drug to reach active site.
Phase II Clinical Trial - Done on pathogenic patients, small sample size and testing whether the drug has any in vivo efficacy. Tested vs a patient with either a placebo or the best available treatment.
Phase III Clinical Trial - Detailed efficacy, safety, dosing, general pharmacological study. Large sample sizes, very expensive. These trials are the ones which have the most ethical considerations. Tested vs patients using the best current treatment/placebo.

The descriptions are not comprehensive, it's just a brief overview. Phase 3 trials involve hundreds of patients and are probably the most important ones to consider ethically.

I'm sorry I cannot be more help, I fell asleep during most my pharmacology classes =p
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LexRunner
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3/3/2014 8:01:30 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Okay, I've finally found a way to simplify this topic.
Ask yourself this question: Should medical research be prioritized over the welfare of the patients?
My answer: No, the welfare of the patient should always be the top priority of the medical professional.

Then I made a list of the benefits of medical research vs patient treatment and a list of the drawbacks of medical research vs patient treatment. This is what I have so far...

Benefits
Medical Research
-Logical Approach
-Knowledge obtained can benefit future patients

Patient Treatment
-Ethical Approach
-Maintain the integrity of medicine

Drawbacks
Medical Research
-Loss of integrity in medicine
-May harm patients
-Exploitation of patient may occur

Patient Treatment
-Chance of obtaining new knowledge is lost

So when I write my 6-8 page argumentative paper, I will use the benefits of patient treatment to write the reasons to support my claim (My claim is: Welfare of patient should be the main priority of medical professionals). I will then use the drawbacks of medical research to refute the opposing arguments.
Right now I just need more benefits of patient treatment and more drawback of medical research. Preferably, more benefits of patient treatment that requires statistics or facts to back it up so my reasons will seem more reliable. Thanks.
Sswdwm
Posts: 1,398
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3/3/2014 8:08:58 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Well I see it this way.

No research = no progress in medicine. So if you want progress and new treatments, then we need avenues to do the testing required. These avenues for testing should always prioritise the patient when possible. And each case should be judged independently.

I really don't see how an argument for preventing clinical trials is going to be benificial in the long run, we depend on advancing our technologies.

In any case, best of luck with the essay!
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LexRunner
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3/3/2014 8:18:27 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
@Sswdwm
Thanks you!
I've been working on this paper for the past 4 days and its due this Wednesday. I didn't realize how hard my topic was going to be due to its lack of directiveness (ex: can't just type down "medical research vs. patient treatment" on Google and find a article on it). Now I have a clearer view of my topic thanks to your help and guidance. I'm probably gonna be back again, but for now, I'm going back to writing the paper.
Once again, thank you.
LexRunner
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3/3/2014 8:54:00 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Can anyone come up with more reasons why patient treatment is beneficial? I currently just have two (ethical approach, maintains the integrity of medicine).
MelissaMunroe
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8/12/2014 6:48:25 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Sometimes to treat a patient you have to do medical research. If a person has a condition that cannot be identified or treated, a doctor has to make a judgement call and do further research in order to help that patient. If you need some further help for your paper, you can try your luck at http://www.researchmedics.com...