Poogoda, S., Lynch, F., Stark, Z., Wilkinson, D., Savulescu, J., Vears, D. and Gyngell, C., (2023), 'Intensive Care Clinicians’ Perspectives on Ethical Challenges Raised by Rapid Genomic Testing for Critically Ill Infants', Children, Vol: 10(6): 970 [PMC10297108]
Rapid genomic testing (rGT) enables genomic information to be available in a matter of hours, allowing it to be used in time-critical settings, such as intensive care units. Although rGT has been shown to improve diagnostic rates in a cost-effective manner, it raises ethical questions around a range of different areas, including obtaining consent and clinical decision-making. While some research has examined the perspectives of parents and genetics health professionals, the attitudes of intensive care clinicians remain under-explored. To address this gap, we administered an online survey to English-speaking neonatal/paediatric intensivists in Europe, Australasia and North America. We posed two ethical scenarios: one relating to obtaining consent from the parents and the second assessing decision-making regarding the provision of life-sustaining treatments. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the data. We received 40 responses from 12 countries. About 50–75% of intensivists felt that explicit parental consent was necessary for rGT. About 68–95% felt that a diagnosis from rGT should affect the provision of life-sustaining care. Results were mediated by intensivists’ level of experience. Our findings show divergent attitudes toward ethical issues generated by rGT among intensivists and suggest the need for guidance regarding ethical decision-making for rGT.
We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Wellcome Trust (Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, grant WT203132).
Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities
More OUC open access papers
More free OUC resources on Medical Ethics