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April 21, 1975

In Comment...

Author Affiliations

New Haven, Conn
From the Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.

JAMA. 1975;232(3):259-261. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03250030015010

THE COMMENTARY in this issue (p 257) by Irvine Page, MD, provoked in me a variety of reactions, including (1) agreement with his feeling that what we need most to guide us in conducting research involving human subjects is wisdom and common sense; (2) sympathy with his frustration in attempting to define "wisdom," "common sense," and "informed consent"; (3) disagreement with some of the assumptions implicitly or explicitly contained in his assessment of the role-relationships, responsibilities, and prerogatives of the public, the government, patients, subjects, physicians, investigators, and various professional or academic organizations; and (4) defensiveness (as a present or past member of all groups mentioned in category 3). I shall elaborate some of these reactions further.

The Investigator's Risk  Some physicians assume that investigators take considerable personal risk when they conduct experiments on patients. Thus, we might wonder what personal risk was assumed by Florey when he injected his