Table 3

Example of structural analysis – the movement from what is said to what is talked about, first by describing units of meaning (what is said) and next by formulating units of significance (what is talked about) and themes.

Respondent group

Units of meaning (What is said)

Units of significance (What is talked about)

Themes


Molecular biologist employed at the university (MBU, Q1)a

You must inform them of their options and then respect their decision.

Inform patients and respect their decision

    Respect for autonomy/Informed consent

Respect decision

External constraints

Molecular biologist employed in a private biopharmaceutical company (MBP, Q2)b

... if you were a seriously ill or terminally ill patient, I think I would accept just about any treatment, because you would accept the risk involved.

Very sick patients are constraint by the circumstances to a certain choice

    Respect for autonomy/Informed consent

External constraints

Vulnerability

Fragility

Oncology physician working in the clinic (OPC, Q3)c

... try to determine what is wrong with the patient, what are our options, what are the patient's wishes, ideas, and then we have to reach some kind of mutual understanding, frame of reference and take it from there ... and how can we deal with this in respect of that.

Medical prognosis

Risk-benefit analysis

Patient's wishes and ideas

Mutual understanding

Respect

    Medical prognosis

Risk-benefit analysis

    Respect for autonomy/Informed consent

Patient's wishes and ideas

Mutual understanding

Respect

Oncology physician working in the clinic (OPC, Q4)

... patients are very different and you must adjust to their level as best you can and try to find out what kind of language to speak and to sense if they have understood what you have told them, and maybe repeat it...

Positive obligation to adjust to the level of the patient

Information

Understanding

    Respect for autonomy/Informed consent

Disclosing information

Probing for understanding


a(MBU, Q1): Molecular Biologist employed at a public University, Quotation 1.

b(MBP, Q2): Molecular Biologist employed in a Private biopharmaceutical company, Quotation 2.

c(OPC, Q3): Oncology Physician working in the Clinic at a public hospital, Quotation 3.

Ebbesen and Pedersen BMC Medical Ethics 2008 9:5   doi:10.1186/1472-6939-9-5

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