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Mannequins have feelings too

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 17 January 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:145
  1. Robert William Menzies, specialist registrar in anaesthetics
  1. 1John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford
  1. drrmenzies{at}

    In the world of reality television, C-list and would-be celebrities act as guinea pigs for whatever social experiment takes the producer’s fancy. Extended periods of isolation, food rationing, verbal abuse, exposure to potentially harmful animals—nothing, it seems, is deemed ethically out of bounds.

    Thankfully, the ethical guidelines governing medical research bear no resemblance to those apparently operating in television. But, as a clinician struggling to get my first research project off the ground, I am wondering if we haven’t drifted too far to the other extreme of “ethical correctness.”

    My particular study is to assess the ability of paramedics to use a new airway device. The aim is to establish that the device is suitable for paramedics in a simulated scenario using a mannequin, a pilot study to a future trial with live participants. There seemed …

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