Grimes v. Kennedy Krieger Institute
West's Atlantic Reporter, 2d Series, 2001; 782: 807-862
Court Decision: 782 West's Atlantic Reporter, 2d Series 807; 2001 Aug 16 (date of decision). The Maryland Court of Appeals, in a case of first impression (involving a new legal issue for the court), allowed minors who were deliberately exposed to lead paint in research on the effectiveness of various low-cost lead abatement procedures to pursue a negligence claim against the Kennedy Krieger Institute, a research institute affiliated with Johns Hopkins University which conducted the nontherapeutic research that was sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency. The children were from a low socioeconomic group living in Baltimore in urban housing. Exposure to lead over a two-year period was expected to result in measurable lead contamination accumulated in the blood. The court found that the Johns Hopkins University institutional review board abdicated its primary role to assure the safety of human research by its "willingness to aid researchers in getting around federal regulations designed to protect children used as subjects in nontherapeutic research. " Parents who are "improperly enticed" by compensation, in this case a preference for families with young children in renting subsidized lead-contaminated housing, have to consent to their children being subjected to potentially hazardous nontherapeutic research. The consent of a parent or of any surrogate cannot make appropriate research which is innately inappropriate. The judgment of the lower court was vacated and the case was remanded to that court for further proceedings consistent with the Appeals Court opinion.
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