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EthicsCaseStudyForm edit

Title Protocol Deviation #2: I Should Have Spoken Up
Long Title Protocol Deviation #2: I Should Have Spoken Up
Contributor/Contact John Banja, PhD? (jbanja@emory.edu)
Contributor Details John Banja, PhD?
Director, Section on Ethics in Research
Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Emory University
Atlanta, GA 30322
CTSA Emory
Case Study Provided Some years ago when I was an undergraduate, I worked in a mouse lab. The euthanasia protocol was to place the mouse in a carbon dioxide chamber for five minutes and then take blood and organ samples. But the technician I worked with told me when I started that the mice usually died before the five minutes were up. His method was to remove the mouse after about three minutes and poke it to see if it would respond. When it didn’t, he’d start extracting blood. Unfortunately, the fifth or so mouse we did wake up when we inserted the needle and started screaming. The tech immediately broke its neck and no one other than me knew about it. And that was the last time we euthanized a mouse for only three minutes.

However, at our next lab meeting, the PI scolded us for a recent and very disturbing occurrence. A few days before the meeting, one of the graduate students had found a mouse alive in the refrigerator where the mouse carcasses were stored. The PI told us that this was a huge problem requiring a number of experiments to be redone; that an investigation should be conducted; and that the individual who was responsible for this should either come forward or be identified.

I always wondered if my lab tech was the guilty party. But at least five other persons in the lab could have done it too. In any event, an investigation was never conducted. I was never asked if I knew anything. And I never came forward to say what I knew. My feelings at the time were that if the tech lost his job, he would be broke and I knew he already had financial difficulties. I also thought he had learned his lesson.

But even now, years later, I still feel guilty over not having said anything. I often wonder what I would have done if I was directly asked about what I knew. Was I right to protect the technician? In fact, and as I learned later, had certain people in research administration or leadership found out about any of this, my PI could have been in serious trouble for not reporting the incident.
Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership Topics
Variations in lab practices—legitimate and illegitimate variations,
Scientific methodology issues including research design_objectivity and bias
Mentor and Trainee Responsibilities Topics
Scientific responsibilities of the mentor,
Responsibilities of trainees within the mentor–trainee relationship
Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship Topics No publication practices and responsible authorship topics
Peer Review Topics No peer review topics
Collaborative Science Topics No collaborative science topics
Research Misconduct Topics
Significance of misconduct,
Factors that contribute to scientific misconduct,
Other serious deviations from scientific best practices,
Responding to observed misconduct
Conflicts of Interest, Law and Policy Topics

Human Subjects No human subjects
Citation

URL http://www.actsi.org/areas/erks/ethics/index.html
RCR Keyword Lab Partners, Students
Other RCR Keywords Animal Welfare; Blood and Organ Samples; Broke its Neck; Carbon Dioxide Chamber; Euthanasia Protocol; Financial Difficulties; Graduate Students; Investigation; Mouse Lab; PI; Reporting the Incident; Technician; Undergraduate
Type of Case

Source for Topic Areas Du Bois, J., & Dueker, J. (2009). Teaching and Assessing the Responsible Conduct of Research: A Delphi Consensus Panel Report. Journal of Research Administration, 40(1), 49-70.
References

Other

Topic revision: r1 - 03 Nov 2011 - 16:45:25 - DebieSchilling
 
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