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Books, Journals, New Media
May 5, 2004

History, Research Ethics

Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(17):2133-2134. doi:10.1001/jama.291.17.2133

In Sinclair Lewis' 1925 novel about the training of an early 20th-century physician, the young Martin Arrowsmith, a man just beginning to feel the ecstasy of the "drug of research," is instructed by his mentor in the proper attitude of the scientist: "Be sure you do not let anything, not even your good kind heart, spoil your experiment. You must pity, oh, so much the generation after generation yet to come so that you can refuse to let yourself indulge in pity for the men you will see dying." This advice certainly captures the truth that all therapeutic interventions are untested at some point, and sentient beings, human and animal, are put at risk during development and testing phases.

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