Safeguarding children in clinical research

Nursing Ethics 19 (4):530-537 (2012)
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Current UK guidelines regarding clinical research on children permit research that is non-therapeutic from the perspective of that particular child. The guidelines permit research interventions that cause temporary pain, bruises or scars. It is argued here that such research conflicts with the Declaration of Helsinki according to which the interests of the research subject outweigh all other interests. Given this, in the context of clinical research, who is best placed to protect the child from this kind of exploitation? Is it the medical researcher, the child’s parents or the nurse advocate? This article describes the problem, possible responses to it, and closes with a consideration of, and rejection of, a defence of current guidelines that claims moral parity between clinical research and clinical education



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