The issue of the rights and obligations of those involved in doing research on patients who are incapable of giving their consent to treatment is a difficult one. This difficulty is reflected in the papers and discussion which form the basis of the book Consent and the Incompetent Patient: Ethics, Law and Medicine (eds. S. R. Hirsch & J. Harris) and that were the subject of the conference that led to it. Had I been in attendance, I am sure that I would have gained insights not available from the printed version on which I have had to rely. Nonetheless, I have sufficient sense of the proceedings to see where there are areas that an American view, or at least the views of one American lawyer, might be of interest.
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