Is "medical" ethics the right term?
I'm not sure I regard social science research such as Philip Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment, or Stanley Milgram's experiments on obedience, as "medical". Clearly, they were social science research.
They are troubling because they did provide information of value to society, but, especially in the Prison Experiment, with unexpected trauma to the research volunteers. The volunteers did give informed consent, and the investigators disclosed the risks of which they were aware. I consider it inconceivable that an Institutional Review Board would grant permission for related studies, based on what was learned, but these experiments clearly fall into a totally different category than Nazi "experiments", the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, etc. in which there was no informed consent and often a certainty of harm to the subject.
Most of the Nazi experiments were badly designed, and, even if there had been consent, would have produced no data of benefit to the subjects or society; they were often exercises in sadism. The series of experiments on hypothermia, however, while murderous to the subjects and done without consent, are judged by some contemporary scientists to have produced meaningful data. Is it ethical to use data produced by such an atrocity, if that data -- not repeating the experiment -- has the potential of helping hypothermia victims? Some argue that data is forever tainted, while others say that putting it to good use honors the horrors visited on the subjects.
Howard C. Berkowitz 18:08, 6 May 2008 (CDT)
I think the text boxes are getting in the way for people who are using small screen settings. I received this mail: "I was wondering if you could fix your medical ethics homepage, I am unable to read all six values in medical ethics because another topic is covering the words. The information is really valuable for my ethics class. Thanks." --Larry Sanger 02:29, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
I hope this added introductory text suits - and complements! It's nice to see a good start to the page on this subject. But I thought the general issues were not being communicated, the context 'philosphically' and so on. The aim is to provide this. I am sure what I have added needs some work on it though.
(Howard, of coruse, is right about those experiments. This I assume all got resolved 'long ago' though!)
Martin Cohen 20:47, 26 November 2008 (UTC)