Health Care Renewal Blog on U. of Delaware’s Thought Reform Program
November 5, 2007
[T]his program seems to profoundly violate some fundamental values of health care and of human research. Except in very particular cases of incompetent patients or patients who are at immediate risk of harming themselves and others, no one should be subject to a treatment without his or her consent. In such a situation, compelling subjects to participate in associated research is equally unethical.
Some may argue that the university’s description of this project as “treatment” was metaphor or rhetorical excess. However, the repeated use of that term, plus description of the project in behavioral terms, and the clear human research component invite viewing the project as a treatment intervention and associated human research plan.
For an American state university to have gone so far in a plan for mandatory behavioral “treatment” of students without their consent is chilling. It is a reminder that something has clearly gone very wrong in health care and academia, and that the problems are clearly not at all limited to the for-profit corporate sector.