Bioethics Blogs

Ethically Sound Episode 3: Anticipate and Communicate

The third episode of the Bioethics Commission’s podcast series, Ethically Sound is now available. This 10-episode series has been created to bring the diverse body of the Commission’s work to a wide audience. Today’s episode, “Anticipate and Communicate,” focuses on the Commission’s sixth report Anticipate and Communicate: Ethical Management of Incidental and Secondary Findings, which addressed how to ethically manage incidental findings—findings that lie outside the aim of a test or procedure—that arise in clinical, research, and direct-to-consumer contexts.

In the report, the Bioethics Commission analyzed the ethical issues related to incidental findings that could arise in clinical, research, and direct-to-consumer settings. During its public meetings, the Commission heard from individuals who have been affected by incidental findings, including Carol Krucoff, a yoga teacher and journalist. Ms. Krucoff spoke before the Commission about the discovery of her brain tumor, which was an incidental finding that resulted from an MRI taken after she fainted during a marathon. Ms. Krucoff opens this podcast by recounting her experience and sharing how the discovery of her incidental finding affected her life. She notes that “advances in imaging technology have made it increasingly common for healthy, asymptomatic people like me to learn of such a disturbing incidental finding.”

The podcast also features Bioethics Commission Member Dr. Christine Grady, Chief of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, who was interviewed by Hillary Wicai Viers, a former Communications Director with the Commission staff. Dr. Grady explains how her background as a researcher and as a nurse informed her understanding of the ethical challenges that incidental findings pose.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.