Ethical Issues with Informed Consent
Crisol Escobedo, Javier Guerrero, Gilbert Lujan, Abril Ramirez, and Diana Serrano
University of Texas at El Paso El Paso, Texas, USA
Informed consent is a vital step to any research project. It is the process in which a patient/participant consents to participate in a research project after being informed of its procedures, risks, and beneﬁts (Bulger, 2002). Ideally, after fully comprehending the information about the project, the patient/participant gives full and conscious consent for the physician/scientist to continue with the procedure. There are many ethical issues that are entwined with the informed consent process. In order to fully appreciate the importance of this process, the history that led to its inclusion in research projects must be understood. Although informed consent is designed to make sure that a participant fully understands the procedures, beneﬁts, and risks involved in an experiment, it is not without its ﬂaws in its practical application. There are many covert communication barriers between participants and researchers that lead to misunderstandings. This prevents participants from making the fully autonomous decisions sought for in the informed consent process. Some of those barriers are related to cultural aspects such as language diﬀerences and religious dogma. Others are related to the faith that participants have in science such as false expectations. Having awareness of these types of barriers is crucial for both researchers and participants. Misunderstandings concerning the experimental procedures can lead participants to get involved in research projects that they dont approve of. Finding themselves in this situation can have great eﬀects on the psychological and physical wellbeing of participants. For this reason, it is ethical for researchers to account and correct for the misunderstandings in the informed consent process. This would ensure that participants are...