Task Group 109 Workshop

Ethics in Radiological Protection for Medical Diagnosis and Treatment

2 June 2023  |  Virtual Event

Over the next decade, ICRP will be hosting several Digital Events each year as we look to review and revise the System of Radiological Protection for the next generation. 


ICRP Task Group 109 has prepared a report that describes the practical application of ethics in radiological protection in medical diagnosis and treatment, which is out for public consultation until 11 August 2023. This workshop addresses important points of the report through presentations by Task Group members and invited participants to ask questions or provide comments.

Participants who attend at least 50% of the workshop will receive a Certificate of Attendance via email within 48 hours of the event.


Publication Abstract

Publication 138 defines the ethical foundations of the system of radiological protection, based on core values (beneficence/non-maleficence, dignity, justice and prudence) and procedural values (accountability, transparency and inclusiveness). The purpose of this report is to propose a practical application of values for the medical radiological protection professions. Because medicine has a long history and strong culture of ethics, this report starts by identifying the shared values and defines a common language between biomedical ethics and radiological protection. The core values are very similar, with the autonomy of biomedical ethics which can be seen as a corollary of dignity, and the precautionary principle which can be understood as the implementation of prudence. In recent years, medical education and training has emphasised the values of solidarity, honesty, and above all empathy. All these values are defined and interpreted in the specific context of the use of ionising radiation in medicine. For those more familiar with radiological protection, the ethical implications of their actions are described. Conversely, for those who already have a good background in ethics, this report highlights the specificities of ionising radiation that also deserve consideration In order to emphasise the coherence between the values involved in biomedical ethics and those involved in radiological protection, this report proposes to combine them: dignity/ autonomy; beneficence/ non-maleficence; prudence/ precaution; justice/ solidarity; transparency/ accountability/ honesty; inclusiveness/ empathy. This allows a structured review of practical situations from an ethical perspective. For the sake of both example and education, the report proposes twenty-one realistic scenarios (11 in imaging procedures and 10 in radiation therapies), which are all presented and analysed in a one-page format. Sensitising questions are provided to stimulate reflection and discussion. The ultimate goal is to be able to use ethical values in clinical imaging and therapy situations. Required education and training in ethics is essential for medical radiological protection workers throughout their career span. An example of a framework of knowledge, skills, and competencies is proposed. In order to assist the reader in a theoretically complex subject, key messages are distributed throughout the text, as fixed points that can easily be understood. Although primarily aimed at medical radiological protection professionals, this report is also intended for authorities, patients, and the public.






Overview and Summary of Report
François Bochud (ICRP/CHUV, Switzerland)


Ethics in Radiological Protection and Link with Biomedical Ethics
Friedo Zölzer (ICRP/University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic)
Key Developments in Clinical Practice That Implement the Core Values of Biomedical Ethics
Chieko Kurihara-Saio (ICRP/NIQRST, Japan)


Sensitizing Questions for Reviewing Clinical Situations
Lynette Reid (ICRP/Dalhousie University, Canada)
Application of Ethics Values and Practical Examples
Jim Malone (ICRP/Trinity College Dublin, Ireland)
Case Based Examples in Imaging Procedures
Jim Malone (ICRP/Trinity College Dublin, Ireland) & Federic Fahey (Boston Children's Hospital, USA)


Case Based Examples in Therapy
Mary Coffey (ICRP/Trinity College Dublin, Ireland)
Education and Training in Ethics
Kimberly Applegate (ICRP/University of Kentucky COM, USA)