"Clinicians’ Attitudes toward Patients with Disorders of Consciousness: A Survey" by Michele Farisco, et al., has been published in the most recent issue of Neuroethics:
Notwithstanding fundamental methodological advancements, scientific information about disorders of consciousness (DOCs)—e.g. Vegetative State/Unresponsive Wakefulness Syndrome (VS/UWS) and Minimally Conscious State (MCS)—is incomplete. The possibility to discriminate between different levels of consciousness in DOC states entails treatment strategies and ethical concerns. Here we attempted to investigate Italian clinicians’ and basic scientists’ opinions regarding some issues emerging from the care and the research on patients with DOCs. From our survey emerged that Italian physicians working with patients with DOCs give a central role to ethics. Current Italian regulation regarding basic research conducted in patients with DOCs apparently risks to be inadequate to support scientific advancement, and would deserve a different assessment compared to ordinary treatments. We think the results of our survey deserve attention from an international audience because they exemplify the difficulty to define a shared approach to the issues related to patients with DOCs and the necessity to better assess both the ordinary and experimental treatment of patients with DOCs at the ethical and legal level.