“WE’VE OPENED PANDORA’S BOX, HAVEN’T WE?” CLINICAL GENETICISTS’ VIEWS ON ETHICAL ASPECTS OF GENOMIC TESTING IN NEONATAL INTENSIVE CARE
Arsov T.1,2
*Corresponding Author: Todor Arsov, MD, PhD, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University Goce Delchev in Shtip, North Macedonia, E-mail: todor.arsov@ugd.edu.mk
page: 8
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Abstract

The increasing use of genomic testing in neonatal intensive care units (NICU) gives rise to ethical issues. Yet little is known regarding what health professionals implementing the testing think about its ethical aspects. We therefore explored the views of Australian clinical geneticists towards ethical issues in the use of genomic testing in the Neonatal Intensive care Unit (NICU). Semi-structured interviews with 11 clinical geneticists were conducted, transcribed and analysed thematically. Four themes were identified: 1) Consent: the craft is in the conversation, which encapsulated the challenges in the consent process, and with pre-test counseling; 2) Whose autonomy and who decides? This illustrates the balancing of clinical utility and potentially harms the test, and how stakeholder interests are balanced; 3) The winds of change and ethical disruption, recognizing that while professional expertise is vital to clinical decision-making and oversight of mainstreaming, participants also expressed concern over the size of the genetics workforce and 4). Finding Solutions – the resources and mechanisms to prevent and resolve ethical dilemmas when they arise, such as quality genetic counseling, working as a team and drawing on external ethics and legal expertise. The findings highlight the ethical complexities associated with genomic testing in the NICU. They suggest the need for a workforce that has the necessary support and skills to navigate the ethical terrain, drawing on relevant ethical concepts and guidelines to balance the interests of neonates, their careers and health professionals.



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