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Moral EntanglementsThe Ancillary-Care Obligations of Medical Researchers$
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Henry S. Richardson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195388930

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195388930.001.0001

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The Moral Basis of the Partial-Entrustment Model

The Moral Basis of the Partial-Entrustment Model

(p.59) Chapter 3 The Moral Basis of the Partial-Entrustment Model
Moral Entanglements

Henry S. Richardson

Oxford University Press

The partial-entrustment model sets out a position on medical researchers’ ancillary-care obligations that many have found attractive; but why should we believe it? What grounds the special obligations that it attributes to medical researchers? This chapter explains that they are grounded as a special case of moral entanglements: obligations that unintendedly arise as by-products of innocent transactions. Researchers’ ancillary-care obligations, more particularly, arise from their having accepted participants’ waivers of privacy rights (rights shielding their bodies, bodily samples, and medical histories) during the informed-consent process. In so doing, researchers have—perhaps unwittingly—taken on special responsibilities that are associated with those rights. These special responsibilities create a morally significant relationship between researchers and subjects and thus ground the special ancillary-care obligation. Rival impartialist accounts, such as Robert Goodin’s vulnerability-based account and Leif Wenar’s least-cost-threat-avoider account, cannot explain our intuitions about this kind of privacy-based moral entanglement.

Keywords:   research ethics, ancillary care, partial-entrustment model, moral entanglements, beneficence, privacy rights, Robert Goodin, Leif Wenar

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