Friday, 15 June 2012

Research & ethics

Today, June 15, is the anniversary of the first attempt to transfuse blood into a human being. Those who might think that blood transfusion is a relatively new idea might be surprised to learn that this was in 1667.

I have commented before on the total lack of regulation of medical research in history which meant that doctors could, and did, try literally anything on their patients, with impunity. No ethical committees then.

Unlike my previous example however these early attempts at transfusing animal blood into patients contributed nothing to benefit humanity. 

Anyone who thinks that ethical committees have today have eliminated this attitude to research should remember what Andrew Wakefield got away with, for a time at least.

Ethical committees, unsung heroes.

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