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      Stem cell tourism and doctors' duties to minors--a view from Canada.

      The American Journal of Bioethics

      psychology, Stem Cell Transplantation, ethics, Physician-Patient Relations, Physician's Role, Parents, Moral Obligations, Minors, Middle Aged, Medical Tourism, Marketing of Health Services, trends, Legislation, Medical, Internet, Humans, legislation & jurisprudence, Duty to Warn, Decision Making, Choice Behavior, Child Welfare, Child, Canada, Adult, Adolescent

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          Abstract

          While the clinical promise of much stem cell research remains largely theoretical, patients are nonetheless pursuing unproven stem cell therapies in jurisdictions around the world--a phenomenon referred to as "stem cell tourism." These treatments are generally advertised on a direct-to-consumer basis via the Internet. Research shows portrayals of stem cell medicine on such websites are overly optimistic and the claims made are unsubstantiated by published evidence. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that parents are pursuing these "treatments" for their children, despite potential physical and financial risk. Physicians are in a unique position as they can be expected to be involved in, or privy to, such decisions. In this paper, we consider what duties physicians may have toward minor patients whose parents/guardians wish to engage in stem cell tourism on their behalf. We use the Canadian perspective to address the broadly relevant issues raised by this trend.

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          Journal
          20461636
          10.1080/15265161003702865

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