Notifying patients exposed to blood products associated with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: Integrating science, legal duties and ethical mandates

Timothy Caulfield, John Dossetor, Lynn Boshkov, Judith Hannon, Douglas Sawyer, Gerald Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

The issue of notifying people who have been exposed to blood products that have been associated with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) has arisen at a time when the Canadian blood system is under intense scrutiny. As a result, the Canadian Red Cross Society issued a recommendation to health care institutions that recipients of CJD-associated blood products be identified, notified and counselled. Although Canadian jurisprudence in the realm of informed consent may support a policy of individual notification, a review of the scientific evidence and the applicable ethical principles arguably favours a policy of a more general public notification. Indeed, situations such as this require a unique approach to the formation of legal and ethical duties, one that effectively integrates all relevant factors. As such, the authors argue that individual notification is currently not justified. Nevertheless, if a system of general notification is implemented (e.g., through a series of public health announcements), it should provide, for people who wish to know, the opportunity to find out whether they were given CJD-associated products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1389-1392
Number of pages4
JournalCMAJ
Volume157
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 2 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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    Caulfield, T., Dossetor, J., Boshkov, L., Hannon, J., Sawyer, D., & Robertson, G. (1997). Notifying patients exposed to blood products associated with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: Integrating science, legal duties and ethical mandates. CMAJ, 157(10), 1389-1392.