New Brain Injury Treatment Stirs Controversy
July 16th, 2014|
The sooner a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is treated, the higher the likelihood of the patient having a full recovery. A new drug is showing potential in helping TBI victims recover from their injuries, but testing the medication has raised ethical questions in the medical community.
The drug, known as tranexamic acid, is used in trauma centers nationwide to stop internal bleeding in emergency situations. Doctors are now hoping to test the medication on TBI victims to see if it can stop bleeding in the brain after blows to the head. Unfortunately, many of the candidates who could potentially undergo the experimental treatment are unresponsive when they arrive in the ER, leaving researchers no choice but to administer the drug without the patient’s consent to gather data.
An article from The Seattle Times points out that this practice raises some serious ethical questions . Typically, medical staff must receive consent from a patient or their next of kin prior to administering a drug. But the law allows exceptions to this rule if researchers who are experimenting with new treatments make the public aware of their intentions and offer opportunities to opt out of participation.
The problem is there really is no standard as to what constitutes public awareness. At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, we’re waiting to see how researchers and lawmakers can solve this problem to help ensure a better quality of life for TBI victims.