Ethics and Clinical Research

  • Henry K. Beecher


Human experimentation since World War II has created some difficult problems with the increasing employment of patients as experimental subjects when it must be apparent that they would not have been available if they had been truly aware of the uses that would be made of them. Evidence is at hand that many of the patients in the examples to follow never had the risk satisfactorily explained to them, and it seems obvious that further hundreds have not known that they were the subjects of an experiment although grave consequences have been suffered as a direct result of experiments described here. There is a belief prevalent in some sophisticated circles that attention to these matters would “block progress.” But, according to Pope Pius XII,1 “... science is not the highest value to which all other orders of values ... should be subordinated.”


Aplastic Anemia Vagal Stimulation Typhoid Fever Rheumatic Fever Massachusetts General Hospital 
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  1. 5.
    Beecher, H. K. Consent in clinical experimentation: Myth and reality. J.A.M.A. 195:34, 1966.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry K. Beecher
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard Medical SchoolUSA

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