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Professional Ethics

Kenneth I. E. Macleod, MD, MPH
JAMA. 1965;191(5):420-421. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080050066029.
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To the Editor:—  In noting, in an otherwise most excellent discussion of a difficult subject, that Dr. Ignacio Chávez (JAMA190:226 [Oct 19] 1964) omitted to state anything about the patient's having knowledge of an experimental situation or having consented to the procedure or drug, I hope that he does not mean to imply that such experimental procedures or drugs should be administered without such knowledge and consent.Difficult although this may be, to my way of thinking it is mandatory and in keeping with all ethical considerations that patients (or their legal guardians) give consent to the use of any experimental procedure or drug beforehand, and preferably in writing. Moreover, the complete nature of the risk and all other pertinent details ought to be explained to the patient (or guardian) in the vernacular and also in such a manner that no possible misconstruction can be made as to


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