Free Daily Reads 2022: Article 274

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Article Title: The right to know, or not know, the data from medical research


Article Summary

This article discusses the ethical dilemmas that come with the right not to know. Iceland’s genetic research offers a unique perspective into this matter, as it doesn’t allow researchers to disclose any abnormal findings to the donors should the donors choose to not know about it. It puts the researchers having the burden of this knowledge in a tight spot as they have to remain silent when speaking could substantially help patients or study participants. The author thinks that reality of the ‘right’ thing to do about these competing rights to know and not know – and to tell what you do know – varies depending on who’s guiding the discussion. A solution to this is if the person who provides the sample opts for the right not to know, the door to change their mind should stay open in case someday they feel more ready to know.  He says that policymakers should also understand the ache of the provider who knows what the patient doesn’t, and can’t reveal it and therefore should be granted the opportunity to consent to non disclosure before they get involved.


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Words to learn from this Article:

Baulk: Refuse to comply

Obligation: The social force that binds you to the courses of action demanded by that force

Retroactive: Affecting things past

Repercussions: A remote or indirect consequence of some action

Tacit: Implied by or inferred from actions or statements

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