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An Official Publication of the Indian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathologists

EDITORIAL Table of Contents   
Year : 2008  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 55

Clinical and research ethics

Department of Oral and Maxillo Facial Pathology, Meenakshi Ammal Dental College and Hospital, Tamilnadu, India

Correspondence Address:
B Sivapathasundharam
Department of Oral and Maxillo Facial Pathology, Meenakshi Ammal Dental College and Hospital, Alapakkam Main Road, Maduravoyal, Chennai - 600 095, Tamilnadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-029X.44576

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How to cite this article:
Sivapathasundharam B. Clinical and research ethics. J Oral Maxillofac Pathol 2008;12:55

How to cite this URL:
Sivapathasundharam B. Clinical and research ethics. J Oral Maxillofac Pathol [serial online] 2008 [cited 2022 Jan 27];12:55. Available from: https://www.jomfp.in/text.asp?2008/12/2/55/44576

Ethics is defined as that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions. [1] Practice of ethics is moral.

I feel off late the principles of morality is least cared in research and presentation of its findings in conferences and seminars. Both the classical and modern versions of Hippocrates oath tell us to respect the privacy of the patients. [2] But this is just ignored in practice. The privacy of the patients is not properly honored right from the outpatient clinic of the dental teaching institutions through the laboratories and to the auditorium where the findings are presented.

Taking history from of a suspected HIV-positive individual regarding the exposure or eliciting the personal history with respect to the habits in an outpatient department, which is crowded with dental chairs and students preclude the possibility of privacy. I have never seen the undergraduate section of any teaching institution in India that has proper partition to maintain privacy of the patients. It is even worse to see few institutions with the dental chairs and units are placed so-close that the operator or the assistant cannot move freely, and if the patient spits into the spittoon, it showers on the next unit.

The next issue is the taking consent and masking the identity. Nobody cares to take even the oral consent while taking clinical photographs, and many of them feel it is the duty of the patients to keep the mouth open or pose to the camera for their clinical record or data collection.

Most of the teaching institutions assume it is their right to use the excised tissue, be it a tooth or soft tissue for research or teaching purpose. Since the identity of the individual can be retrieved from these tissues, it is a moral practice to get at least an oral consent before using it.

Nobody likes adverse publicity, and no patient prefers to be projected with disfigurement even in a limited scientific crowd. In most of the conferences, presentations (be it a free paper presented by the student or an invited lecture by senior professional) are done without masking the identity of the patients. I really doubt that these have been done out of ignorance or careless attitude in respecting the patient's privacy. Whatever may be the reason, it is unethical to do such activities. The scientific committee of conferences, seminars, workshops, and the like normally specify the time allotment for oral presentations and size for poster presentations when calling for the abstracts. In addition to this, it should insist on Institutional Ethical Committee clearance to be submitted along with the abstract and should give proper guidelines with respect to the protection of the identity of the patients. After all, the entire medical fraternity survives because of them.[Figure 1]

   References Top

1.Available from: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ethics. [Last cited on 2008 October 10].  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Available from: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/doctors/oath_classical.html. [Last cited on 2008 October 10].  Back to cited text no. 2    


  [Figure 1]


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Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
Online since 15th Aug, 2007