Informed Consent In The Movie 'Awakenings'

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The movie Awakenings, starring Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams, told the story of Dr. Sayer and his dedication to research as well as the well being of his patients who contracted encephalitis years prior. The story brings up some areas of research that may not meet HIPPA guidelines or make full use of the International Review Board (IRB). Both of these regulatory systems were established only a short period of time before this story took place, and despite the disregard for some issues, Dr.Sayer demonstrated a high level of respect and morals for his participants. The movie starts off with Dr. Sayer exploring the potential of these patients in the hospital. When all other doctors discounted his hypothesis that these patients where not just brain dead but were actually “trapped” in their bodies. Dr. Sayer started…show more content…
Sayer followed confidentiality and informed consent procedures rather well. The most transparent scene in to movie demonstrating Dr. Sayer’s regard for informed consent was when he conversed with a participant’s mother about getting her informed consent. The participants name was Leonard and he became the leading participant in these trials. Dr. Sayer explained to Leonard’s mother, everything he knew about the drug, even explaining that he was not sure what the side effects would be or if it would even do anything to Leonard. When the mother then asked what he thought would happen, he maintained ethical procedures and explained he could not say. It was only when she asked what he hoped would happen is when he stated he hoped Leonard would come back from his comatose state. This was a touching seen that exemplified the middle ground between research and clinician. As clinicians we are going to have to be researchers as well. We constantly must adhere to Guidelines set by HIPPA and the IRB, while still maintaining and empathetic relationship with our clients and their

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