Changing the Consent Rules for Desert Storm
Annas, George J.
New England Journal of Medicine. 1992 Mar 12; 326(11): 770-773.
Shortly before the beginning of Operation Desert Storm, during Desert Shield, the U.S. military sought a waiver of requirements for informed consent for the use of investigational drugs and vaccines on our troops in the Persian Gulf. The danger of chemical and biologic warfare was seen as demanding this waiver, although the Nuremberg Code, other codes of medical ethics, and respect for the human rights of American soldiers seemed to caution against it. One year later it seems reasonable to review this decision. The legal maneuvering to revise consent regulations for wartime conditions provides a case study that highlights three separable issues: how easily the line between therapy and experimentation can become blurred; the differences between law and ethics; and the ethical obligations of physicians when the interests of their patients conflict with the interests of their employer.
Biological Warfare; Consent; Drugs; Ethics; Federal Government; Food; Government; Government Regulation; Human Experimentation; Human Rights; Immunization; Informed Consent; Investigational Drugs; Judicial Action; Law; Legal Aspects; Medical Ethics; Military Personnel; Patients; Physician's Role; Physicians; Policy Analysis; Regulation; Research; Research Subjects; Review; Rights; Treatment Refusal; Vaccines; War;