Joint issues - Conflicts of interest, the ASR hip and suggestions for managing surgical conflicts of interest

Jane Johnson*, Wendy Rogers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)
50 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Financial and nonfinancial conflicts of interest in medicine and surgery are troubling because they have the capacity to skew decision making in ways that might be detrimental to patient care and well-being. The recent case of the Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) hip provides a vivid illustration of the harmful effects of conflicts of interest in surgery. Discussion. We identify financial and nonfinancial conflicts of interest experienced by surgeons, hospitals and regulators in the ASR case. These conflicts may have impacted surgical advice, decision-making and evidence gathering with respect to the ASR prosthesis, and contributed to the significant harms experienced by patients in whom the hip was implanted. Drawing on this case we explore shortcomings in the standard responses to conflicts of interest - disclosure and recusal. We argue disclosure is necessary but by no means sufficient to address conflicts of interest. Using the concept of recusal we develop remedies including second opinions and third party consent which may be effective in mitigating conflicts, but their implementation introduces new challenges. Summary. Deployment of the ASR hip is a case of surgical innovation gone wrong. As we show, there were multiple conflicts of interest involved in the introduction of the ASR hip into practice and subsequent attempts to gloss over the mounting body of evidence about its lack of safety and effectiveness. Conflicts of interest in surgery are often not well managed. We suggest strategies in this paper which can minimise the conflicts of interest associated with surgical innovation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number63
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Medical Ethics
Volume15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2014

Bibliographical note

This version is archived for private and non-commercial use under the terms of this BioMed Central open access license ("license") (see http://www.biomedcentral.com/about/license). The work is protected by copyright and/or other applicable law. Any use of the work other than as authorized under this license is prohibited. For further rights please check the terms of the license, or contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • ASR hip
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Disclosure
  • Recusal
  • Surgical innovation

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