Professional ethics are different for every profession, every nation. These ethical issues and views are not always clear, but are important to understanding how people operate, and how commonalities such as honesty, conduct, protections and inherent biases influence situations. Sometimes even a perception of a negative, such as conflicts of interest can large impacts.
Others are more ominous, such as faking data, or fraud. Simple falsification even data preparation and collection can have huge societal or personal ramifications.
While my profession lies in architecture and design, one case on the ORI misconduct summaries caught my attention: Mr. Kornak.
From the case summary:
From May 14, 1999, to July 10, 2002, in connection with the above protocols, Mr. Kornak participated in a scheme to defraud the sponsors of the clinical studies in that “he would and repeatedly did submit false documentation regarding patients and study subjects and enroll and cause to be enrolled persons as study subjects who did not qualify under the particular study protocol.”
This sounds innocent enough. Fudge a few numbers, get some more subjects. But its not. These were and are people. People whose health would be affected by certain treatments, in this case a bladder study. So far Mr. Kornak has only falsified documentation; however it get worse. It turns out that the little number he was falsifying would cost someone their life.
Mr. Kornak caused the death of a study subject when he “failed to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that death would occur when he knowingly and willfully made and used documents falsely stating and representing the results of [the study subject’s] blood chemistry analysis,”
His actions caused someone to be one the study that should not have been present. This falsification along with other conditions made it lethal. What concerns me more is that Mr. Kornak had a history of doing unethical or criminal activities. Yet he was still in practice. However after committing criminally negligent homicide, he was finally disbarred. After this death he was declared a detriment to society.
I understand that this is a severe case, but it is unfortunate that someone lost their life in medical trials. I know that the vast majority of professionals are ethical, but it is unfortunate when such a person is able to conduct themselves in such a manner.