Realities of Patient Consent to Medical Research

  • John Fletcher


The theme of coercion and freedom is at the center of moral concern about the ethics of medical research in human beings. Intense efforts by groups in government, medical societies, and related professions have produced interpretations, codes, and regulations in the conduct of research.1 Among the many valued objectives clustered around the discussion of morality in medical research, obtaining informed consent from the subject in an experiment is emphasized most. The literature on the principles of informed consent is enormous. Ninety-nine percent of it considers what ought to be; only a small fraction contains reports of what happens when consent is given by patient to investigator. A handful of studies by Renée Fox, Henry K. Beecher, and Fellner and Marshall expose the fragility of the consent contract and lay bare many “myths” about the supposed freedom and rationality in informed consent.2 Due to the considerable doubts about the possibility of obtaining informed consent in many circumstances, a fresh treatment of the actualities of giving consent in medical experiments is in order.


Consent Process Patient Consent Problem Project Human Encounter Fresh Treatment 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Fletcher

There are no affiliations available

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