Privacy and equality in diagnostic genetic testing
Nursing Ethics 2007 May; 14(3): 295-308
This study aimed to determine the extent to which the principles of privacy and equality were observed during diagnostic genetic testing according to views held by patients or child patients' parents (n = 106) and by staff (n = 162) from three Finnish university hospitals. The data were collected through a structured questionnaire and analysed using the SAS 8.1 statistical software. In general, the two principles were observed relatively satisfactorily in clinical practice. According to patients/parents, equality in the post-analytic phase and, according to staff, privacy in the pre-analytic phase, involved the greatest ethical problems. The two groups differed in their views concerning pre-analytic privacy. Although there were no major problems regarding the two principles, the differences between the testing phases require further clarification. To enhance privacy protection and equality, professionals need to be given more genetics/ethics training, and patients individual counselling by genetics units staff, giving more consideration to patients' world-view, the purpose of the test and the test result.
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