Value / Quality of Life
Death and Dying
Research on Newborns and Minors
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AbstractThis paper examines the ethical problems that arise when research is carried out after autopsy on dead infants. It compares the right of parents against that of the public interest in matters of research on dead minors. The basis for the respect that is widely accorded to the body of a dead person is examined and is shown to ground the parental interest. A discussion of the nature of the family suggests that `informed consent' is not the best term to apply to the process of parental consultation. Some reasons are provided against using this term in the context in which bereaved parents are consulted about autopsy and research on their dead infants. It is suggested that a term such as `authorize' might better apply to this situation.
Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 2003; 24(2): 161-175