The authors of the scientific paper on the North Staffordshire trial (Pediatrics 1996; vol 98:pp 1154-1160) report that 36 parents chose not to allow their babies in the trial and also report that two sets of parents withdrew their children from the study after initially giving consent. These facts are reassuring.
Medical ethical standards are changing and I am sure paediatricians are better at getting consent now compared with 10 years ago. Patient (and parent) information leaflets are now inspected by ethics committees and we have all learnt to write in simple, uncomplicated language.
Dr RICHARD I LINDLEY
Consultant Geriatrician and Senior Lecturer
Western General Hospital