Case 1

1. Is leaving a letter with the children’s belongings a good enough way of contacting parents?
Leaving a letter with the children’s belongings is not a good way of contacting parents and although no harm was to come to the children the chance was as they were to be exposed to some substance that does not occur naturally and might have potentially generated allergic reactions or some other problems in some individuals. But that is not the point of this question as even if there was no potential of harm direct permission from the children’s parents were to be taken in the experiment as it is the ethical thing to do (Kodish, 2005). If there was some intention of really notifying the parents, they could have asked for feedback from the parents before starting the experiment. Therefore, contacting them through a letter that was not even personally delivered and receipt made clear is clearly a half-hearted attempt that cannot be condoned ethically.
2. Is opt-out consent from the first phase of the study ethically acceptable, or should it be opt-in?
The opt-out consent from the first phase of study is not ethically acceptable as the consent was asked after the children had been exposed to plant virus market solution. The harm to the children that could have occurred is not the main concern but the ethical point of view is focused upon where the children were exposed to something or included in some study without the consent of their parents as the participants were toddlers and thus under the age of consent. This is ethically wrong as far as I am concerned as the permission of the participant must be taken before they are included in some study for scientific purpose (Lo Piccolo and Thomas, 2009). The study should have been an opt-in as they made sure that the parents received the letter they sent or given feedback after the receipt of the letter allowing their children to be part of the experiment.
3. Is the first phase of the study really ethically different from the second phase?
The first phase of the study is ethically different from the second phase as the sample was to be taken from the children’s hand and their consent or their parents in this case was necessary to retrieve it. But just because the first phase could be conducted without any personal contact does not mean that it should not have required permission from the parents (Kodish, 2005). The ethical point of view focuses on the question whether it should be done and not on whether it could be done. So, it is ethically wrong to conduct the first phase as it was done by informing the parents through a vague letter where the children at their age could not have asked or told their parents about it. Therefore, although the first phase of the experiment could be done without personal contact it should have required permission from the parents to conduct. In this case both of the phases of the study are the same as they both should require permission (Oliver, 2010).
4. Was parental consent needed at all?
The parental consent was definitely needed as the experiment even though the first phase did not require any personal contact the children were clearly studied without their consent which in this case revert to the parental consent s all of the subjects were toddlers and thus minors. The risk to the children is not the matter of concern from the ethical standpoint as any harmless observation for research purposes should be preceded by the consent of the people included in the study (Pimple, 2008). Therefore, even if the test was benign and did not require any personal contact for the most part it should have required the permission of the subject from an ethical standpoint. So we can definitely state that yes the consent of the subjects is necessary in the case of any study and the unaware participants of this study were minor so parental consent was must have for the commencement of the study (Smith Iltis, 2006).

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