Is Venepuncture in Neonatal Research Ethical?
Archives of Disease in Childhood. Fetal and Neonatal Edition. 1997 Sep; 77(2): F141-F142.
AIM: To determine whether venepuncture accords with the accepted (BPA) criteria of not causing more than minimal physical or psychological distress during non-therapeutic research. METHODS: Ninety two venepunctures were carried out in 69 neonates between days 6 and 10 of life, and in some cases, on day 28. Parents were fully informed of the need for the procedure and allowed to attend while it was performed. Ninety parents and 87 doctors completed questionnaires to assess the levels of perceived parental and child distress and anxiety before and after the procedure. RESULTS: Only three parents were very upset, and 47% reported the test as being better than they expected, compared with 10% who thought it worse than expected. Seven babies were recorded as being very upset. Doctors tended to underestimate the degree of anxiety before the procedure and the level of distress afterwards. CONCLUSIONS: Venepuncture in neonates seems to be acceptable to most parents and is associated with a favourable risk: benefit ratio using semiquantitative assessment of risk and benefit.
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