Still Human: A Call for Increased Focus on Ethical Standards in Cadaver Research

HEC Forum 28 (4):355-367 (2016)
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Abstract

Research on human cadavers is an important mechanism of scientific progress and comprises a large industry in the United States. However, despite its importance and influence, there is little ethical or regulatory oversight of cadaver-based research. This lack of transparency raises important ethical questions. Thus, this paper serves as a call for ethicists and regulators to pay increased attention to cadaver research. I argue that cadaver research ought to be considered a subset of human subjects research and held accountable to higher ethical standards. After describing current practices, I argue that oversight of cadaver research as a form of human subjects research is appropriate because cadaver research is similar to other types of human research, participants in cadaver research incur risks of harm, and a current lack of oversight has allowed the cadaver industry to entice research participation through ethically questionable practices. This paper urges greater dialogue among human subjects research ethicists and regulators about what constitutes appropriate protections for participants in cadaver research.

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References found in this work

The Misfortunes of the Dead.George Pitcher - 1984 - American Philosophical Quarterly 21 (2):183 - 188.
Informed Consent and Research Involving the Newly Dead.Mark R. Wicclair - 2002 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 12 (4):351-372.

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