I thought that would get your attention.
That’s what the many members of the press rely upon to attract readers…eye grabbing, emotion evoking ‘stories’ intended to suck readers in and cause an emotional reaction. This article I recently read in Al Jazeera is just another example of that and, frankly, I find it nauseating. I’ve been stewing about this since I read it, not unlike I stewed about it when I read the Vanity Fair article or the Time Magazine article before that.
When I was teaching a clinical research course in Toronto I actually assigned the Time Magazine article as required reading. Why? Because I felt our future clinical research professionals needed to know what the press felt was newsworthy. Not the work we do day in and day out to make a difference, not the extra time we spent with our patient (sorry, participant) to ensure they really did understand the risks and benefits of the research study, not the care we took to carefully document everything we did and made sure the documentation met the ALCOA requirements…no, the press wants to talk about guinea pigs, mistreatment and the exploitation of innocence and trust. They presume that we don’t realize that they are mothers, fathers, grandparents, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles – people – individuals deserving of the utmost care and respect.
I’ve decided that I’ve had enough. Will I be a loud enough voice to change it? No, not likely, but I am going to try. Stay tuned, fellow researchers, I’ll be sending a letter to the editor to let him or her know how this type of journalism disrespects me, us and our profession. Maybe if we band together and let our feeling be known we can effect change at some level. It’s a result I’m willing to fight for. I hope you’re with me.
Until next time,
This article really upset me because as a clinical coordinator you have to build a relationship with your participants that starts with trust and articles such as this sets that trust back and research is a much needed entity in health care. I’m a nurse first and I started to become more involved in research as a different avenue to help my patients. Articles like these are very derogatory and they never give the value that research offers to health care.
My perception is that we receive more bad press than good press but I think that may just be an emotional opinion. However, I’m rather certain that patients will REMEMBER bad press much more than good press regardless of the quantities. So we must continue to fight when sensationalism or misinformation is painting an errant picture of clinical research.
Amen Terri…I was disgusted when I read the article myself and took it very personally how it makes it sound like we are taking advantage of people. Like you alluded to, there is no mention of anything that we do to make sure people are aware of the risks, benefits, etc. Not a word about the in-depth consent process that each subject has to go through in order to sign up to be a participant.