Medical ethics

So I am having to get a certificate from the NIH (national institutes of health) in order to work in a research lab and write a thesis. It’s an online test, I’ve done a little over half of it and am taking a break. I already know most of the stuff it teaches and quizzes me on from the biomedical ethics class I just took this semester.

One thing that you should all be aware of- informed consent. They stress that informed consent is not supposed to be just “sign here and that’s it”, but rather an ongoing process, ideally.

So, remember to feel free to ask questions about any sort of treatments! Whether it is psychotherapy or psychiatry, they have to answer if you ask them about the details of their treatments, and also about your personal file. For example, ask your doctor about the long term side effects of your medication, ask your therapist what method of therapy he/she is implementing, ect. Ask away.

I suggest reading up on medical ethics, particularly informed consent, as it applies to all of us who are psychiatric patients, most of us are or should be.


Oh, awesome! I can ask you this question! I want my medical file to keep for my records. My psychiatrist is saying it will cost me 30 dollars and that I cannot have a direct copy of the file (aka his notes)… But it’s my file! Can I argue this? I feel like I have every right to my own file without charge, or it being doctored.

Unfortunately the fee is not arguable. My parents pay fees for forms.

Now the question of doctor’s notes- this is a gray area- patients are not given verbatim copies of their file, complete with hand written notes. That just isn’t a thing- even doctors who are patients are not given that- I know that sounds silly, unfair, maybe outright bull, but that is the way that works…however, you can get a copy of your clinical assessment, I was offered a copy of mine and still have it, I used it for a case study assignment for the medical ethics class I took. So yes and no, sort of half and half to your question about keeping a file of your records- I say this because a clinical assessment is the sum of your medical records, and you can have it, but you cannot have your doctor’s notes…but the doctors notes are what is used to write the clinical assessment…again, gray area.

Clinical assessments will reveal everything that is an issue with your health. They are uniform in style and must cover certain things, I have been educated on them and actually wrote a fake one of a character from a play for an English assignment.

Unfortunately no patient has a right to the exact hand-written file that the doctor keeps. I see my psychiatrist writing little things down when I speak with him, and I will never get to see what he is writing, even if I became an M.D. myself, the answer is “no.”

But go ask for a clinical assessment. It’s a loophole of sorts. They may charge you for it- I am not certain because mine came with an eleven hundred dollar formal evaluation that took three days. I think somewhere in that eleven hundred dollars, the time and skills to write me a copy of the assessment was throw in. But keep in mind that clinical assessments are from PhD’s or M.D.'s for other PhD’s or M.D.'s to read- they might have words in them that you have never heard before. Mine was addressed to the other psychologist and my psychiatrist, I just got a copy of what the evaluator told them, essentially.


Medical ethics is interesting. I spent a year in graduate school once in a medical ethics program before I got sick years ago. years later when I went to graduate school again I ended up getting an MA in criminology but I do still have a special place in my heart for ethics. I had to get the same certificate a year and a half ago when I did my own thesis. Good luck with your research! I miss research sometimes these days. And writing papers. I take these classes right now that are just exams no writing that is to say. Again good luck and enjoy your research, don’t let it stress you out, it’ll be ok.

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I didnt know you had a master’s in criminology! Nice!

I took an ethics class last semester. I really enjoyed it. This semester we’ve talked a lot about medical ethics from a nursing perspective. Very interesting stuff.

My youngest sister has a Ph. D. in business. You can be sure her ethics are much different than mine!


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Most of that stuff is fiction anyway.