T.J. is a seven-year-old boy who was diagnosed with asthma at three years of age. T.J. and his parents have been approached about his participation in a clinical study of a new medication for asthma to assess its safety and efficacy in treating children with asthma.
Kate, an emancipated 17-year-old woman, is unmarried and 8 weeks pregnant. She wants to terminate the pregnancy. The hospital where she has always received medical care is part of a faith-based health care system that rejects elective abortion.
Is this new child a vehicle to provide a bone marrow transplant for their potential sibling who has Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia? Under what conditions might this case be the subject of an ethics consult?
Dr. Laurence McCullough of the Baylor College of Medicine discusses his article, “An Ethically Justified Framework for Clinical Investigation to Benefit Pregnant and Fetal Patients,” in the May 2011 edition of the American Journal of Bioethics.