Research on dead infants

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 24 (2):161-175 (2003)
This paper examines the ethicalproblems that arise when research is carriedout after autopsy on dead infants. It comparesthe right of parents against that of the publicinterest in matters of research on dead minors. The basis for the respect that is widelyaccorded to the body of a dead person isexamined and is shown to ground the parentalinterest. A discussion of the nature of thefamily suggests that `informed consent' is notthe best term to apply to the process ofparental consultation. Some reasons areprovided against using this term in the contextin which bereaved parents are consulted aboutautopsy and research on their dead infants. Itis suggested that a term such as `authorize'might better apply to this situation.
Keywords authorization  autopsy  children  consent  ethics  family  infants  parents  research
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