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November 26, 1960

Let Each New Patient Be a Complete Experience

JAMA. 1960;174(13):1717-1719. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.63030130001011

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A GREAT DEAL has recently been written on the moral obligations to subjects in clinical investigations. Considered statements by investigators, practitioners, sociologists, theologists, and lawyers have appeared in The Journal as well as in other journals in the United States and elsewhere. While all are agreed that clinical investigation is essential, the reiterated emphasis on the ethical issues involved in experimentation in man seems somehow directed against the clinical investigator. One could not quarrel with this were there not implicit in it a suggestion that the scientific clinical investigator is cold-blooded and has the requirements of his discipline rather than the good of the patient at heart.

If such a situation actually exists, then somewhere along the line the basic precepts of medicine have been lost, for medicine cannot tolerate such a conflict. Clinical experimentation should not be "anti-patient" but "pro-patient," not "anti-" but "probedside care," not "anti-clinical acumen" but

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