Medical Ethics & Law

I have a long standing interest in various issues in medical ethics, as well as in applied ethics more generally. I have written on topics such as organ donation and transplantation, euthanasia, consent, personhood and intellectual disability, and the measurement of quality of life.

I am currently serving as a member of ESBAC, the Emerging Science and Bioethics Advisory Committee for the Department of Health.

My interest in medical law developed out of my work in medical ethics. I took the LLM in Legal Aspects of Medical Practice at Cardiff University, with a dissertation on litigation concerning selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

I have written on the issue of ‘Gillick’ competence and consent to genetic testing for adolescent girls, together with Dr Maggie Gregory, drawing on interviews she conducted with young women who had been tested for carrier status for haemophilia. These interviews cast doubts on the assessment of some teenage girls as fully ‘Gillick competent’ with respect to carrier testing, despite having been found ‘competent’ to consent by the clinic. We concluded that full understanding of information requires a readiness to appreciate its personal import. This work also has resonance with my long standing interest in self-deception and associated problems with rational belief and knowledge. See ‘Adolescent carrier testing in practice: the impact of legal rulings and problems with “Gillick competence”’, Paula Boddington and Maggie Gregory, Journal of Genetic Counselling, 2008, 17 (6): 509 – 521.

I have also worked jointly with colleagues from HeLEX at Oxford on identifiability of information in genomics research and data protection law, and on consent to genomics research, in a paper which examines differences between ethical and legal standards for consent  (Consent forms in genomics: the difference between law and practice, European Journal of Health Law, 2011, 18, 1 – 29)

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