Research on Humans Published in JAMA

Document Type

Letter to the Editor

Publication Date



The article by Baker et al1 raises some interesting ethical questions. It is not uncommon to perform research laboratory tests on blood drawn for routine medical care on an anonymous basis, as was done in this study. However, we wonder if this is appropriate when dealing with a known contagious and deadly disease such as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). This action essentially places the interests of the authors and presumably the interests of health care workers above that of the patients, the patients' sexual contacts, and possibly the public. A recent incident in our own center highlights the difficult ethical issues involved.

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