Using biomarkers in acute medicine to prevent hearing loss: should this require specific consent?

Using biomarkers in acute medicine to prevent hearing loss: should this require specific consent?
Peta Coulson-Smith, Anneke Lucassen
Journal of Med Ethics, 11 March 2020
Open Access
Introduction
In this round table response, we discuss some of the problems inherent in insisting on specific consent for an activity that needs to happen rapidly as part of a package of care. The Human Tissue Authority (the UK regulator for human tissue and organs) consider that specific consent is mandatory to assess which antibiotics are appropriate on the neonatal unit, but this insistence may actually limit the autonomy which consent aims to promote. While genetic testing to determine which child will react adversely to particular antibiotics has been available clinically for several years, the research proposed here is to assess whether improving the speed of testing allows decisions to be made before treatment starts. Insisting on specific consent before this activity can take place is likely to delay appropriate care in some cases.

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