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Ethics prize goes to research into respect for patient autonomy

Research that shows how ethical considerations establish that comparative information on the clinical performance of individual surgeons should be made available to patients, as part of the process of giving informed consent, has won two researchers $10,000 and the Australian Catholic University Eureka Prize for Research in Ethics.

The winners of the prize are Dr Justin Oakley (pictured left), Director, Centre for Human Bioethics at Monash University and Dr Steve Clarke, Research Fellow, Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the Australian National University and Charles Sturt University.

They were presented with the prize bu ACU National's Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and International), Professor John Coll (pictured right), at last week's 15th annual Australian Museum Eureka Prizes dinner.

"The University is proud to sponsor the $10,000 Australian Catholic University Eureka Prize for Research in Ethics which is awarded for the investigation of theoretical or practical ethical issues contributing to the understanding and development of ethical standards," said ACU National Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gabrielle McMullen.

"The University strives to put ethics at the heart of education," she said. "We continue to support this award for research in ethics because we believe it is vital that researchers are encouraged and rewarded for pursuing work in this very significant area.

"Dr Oakley and Dr Clarke are promoting respect for patients' autonomy, as well as professional accountability and transparency in the practice of health care," said Professor McMullen.

"When a patient consents to an operation they are relying on full disclosure of all foreseeable risks, and these risks will vary according to the level of ability of the available surgeons," said Dr Oakley and Dr Clarke. "Patients should be provided with the performance histories of the available doctors in order to understand properly the risks they are exposing themselves to when choosing to be operated on by a particular surgeon."

The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are Australia's premier and most comprehensive science awards.

Eureka Prize winners announced (Australian Catholic University 12/8/04)

Eureka Prizes: Ethics (ABC TV Catalyst 12/8/04)
Australian Museum Eureka Prizes
Australian Catholic University
Monash University Centre for Human Bioethics

17 Aug 2004