Discuss the following: Given an overview of the study, what makes this a vulnerable population, what rights were violated, what could have been done differently, and what was the response to the violation? What is your role as a BSN-prepared nurse in regard to research and protecting vulnerable populations in the practice setting?
Study: In 1963, the Jewish Chronic Disease Hospital study began and involved the injection of foreign, live cancer cells into hospitalized patients with chronic diseases (NIH Office of Extramural Research, 2011). The purpose of the study was to examine whether the body’s inability to reject cancer cells was due to cancer or the presence of a debilitating chronic illness. Because earlier studies indicated that injected cancer cells were rejected, researchers hypothesized that debilitated patients would reject the cancer cells at a substantially slower rate than healthy participants did. When discussing the study with potential subjects, researchers failed to inform them about the injection of cancer cells because researchers did not want to frighten them. Although researchers obtained oral consent, they did not document the consent, claiming the documentation was unnecessary because it was a standard of care to perform much more dangerous procedures without consent forms. Researchers also failed to inform physicians caring for the patients about the study. At a review conducted by the Board of Regents of the State University of New York, researchers were found guilty of scientific misconduct, including fraud and deceit.