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Robert Troug
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Robert D.  Troug, MD

Department: Anesthesiology Perioperative and Pain Medicine
Research Centers: Anesthesiology Research Center
Hospital Title: Professor of Medical Ethics & Anaesthesia (Pediatrics)
Academic Title: Director of Clinical Ethics, Harvard Medical School
Research Area: Informed Consent
organ transplantation
medical futility
rationing stem cell research
end-of-life car

Dr. Truog is the Prinicipal Investigator on an NIH RO1 grant, developed in collaboration with Dr. Millie Solomon and the Education Department Center. The protocol initially involved the development of tools to evaluate the quality of end-of-life care in the pediatric ICU setting. These tools will then be used to examine the outcomes of fifty consecutive deaths occuring in each of eight geographically dispersed pediatric intensive care units. The study will run over four years, from 2005 - 2009. Robert Truog’s research focuses on topics in bioethics. 

Recent areas of interest include: Improving end-of-life care in pediatric critical care medicine: He recently completed a 5 year NIH funded study that developed tools to evaluate the quality of end-of-life care in the pediatric ICU. These tools were then used to investigate both qualitative and quantitative aspects of fifty consecutive deaths occurring in each of eight geographically dispersed pediatric ICUs, from the perspectives of parents, patients, and clinicians. Disclosure and apology following adverse events and medical errors: He is engaged in research to improve the skills of clinicians in communicating with patients and families after adverse events and medical errors, and is lead author on a recent book devoted to this topic. Ethical issues in organ transplantation: He is actively engaged in research on a variety of questions related to organ transplantation, including controversies surrounding the determination of death, the dead donor rule, organ procurement after circulatory determination of death, and the process of obtaining informed consent for organ donation. 

Allocation of resources: He has a longstanding interest in the topic of medical futility, and problems surrounding the allocation of scarce resources and rationing, particularly in critical care medicine. Ethics in clinical research: He is interested in many ethical aspects of clinical research, including placebo controlled trials, first-in-human and phase 1 research, ethical issues in randomized controlled trials, and ethical standards for procuring tissue from patients for research. Improving communication and relational skills in medical practice: For over ten years he as worked with a team of researchers and educators in the Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice to explore ethical aspects of the patient / physician relationship, particularly as they arise in the context of difficult conversations in healthcare.

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