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April 11, 1994

Informed Consent—Not Institution Protection

Author Affiliations

Portland, Ore

Arch Intern Med. 1994;154(7):824. doi:10.1001/archinte.1994.00420070154025

The discussion of consent forms for research projects1 might also have considered two additional issues. First, the common ambiguity about who is financially responsible for a patient participating in a research project. Patients should have a clear understanding of who is responsible for routine medical bills and for those expenses incurred if a complication occurs.

Second, it is at least worth mentioning that consent forms seem now best designed to protect the investigators and the institution with less thought about informing patients. This has contributed so greatly to their unreadability and length that it has turned them more often into "uninformed" consent forms. Hopefully, individual investigators, institutions, or perhaps our medical system will have the courage to change, so that this does not have to be true and that patients can more openly be informed and not simply be approached and asked to eliminate an institution's liability.

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