Intended for healthcare professionals


Focus: Washington: “A little of the Buchenwald touch”

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: (Published 22 January 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:226
  1. J Roberts

    Hazel O'Leary is the daughter of two doctors, and she says she grew up learning that ill patients must understand the “potential horrors” of every lifesaving procedure. She is the widow of a man whose life was extended as a direct result of cancer research. And she is President Clinton's secretary of energy.

    In December Mrs O'Leary began to hear of experiments begun in the late 1940s that subjected Americans to radiation without their knowledge. Such research, if carried out as so far reported, was in clear conflict with the Nuremberg Code, which declares that “the voluntary consent of a human subject is essential” to morally acceptable research. The code,of course, was written after Nazi researchers were found to have carried out abominable experiments on prisoners in concentration camps. And even by 1950 …

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