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. 2016;59(1):18-36.
doi: 10.1353/pbm.2016.0020.

"Ethics and Clinical Research" in Biographical Perspective

"Ethics and Clinical Research" in Biographical Perspective

Susan E Lederer. Perspect Biol Med. .


Henry K. Beecher (1904-1976) played an important role in the development of bioethics. His 1966 article "Ethics and Clinical Research" in the New England Journal of Medicine intensified concern about the welfare of patients participating in clinical research, and his leadership in the 1968 Harvard Ad Hoc Committee on Brain Death redefined the determination of death. Beecher deserves, and even demands, explanation and explication. This essay offers a biographical perspective on the Harvard professor. In addition to his early life and education in both Kansas and Boston, the essay explores how Beecher's experiences in World War II and in the new geopolitical realities of the Cold War shaped his views about the ethical dilemmas of clinical research.

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