Letter: Baby `experiments'

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The questions that need to be asked about the North Staffordshire study are very simple:

Did those planning the study reasonably believe that the experimental treatment was at least as good as or better than conventional treatment?

Was consent obtained from the parents?

Was that consent truly informed consent?

Did those babies who received the experimental treatment do worse than those who received conventional therapy?

If so, was it possible to discern the outcome of the study before the study was completed so that if necessary it could be terminated early?

If these questions cannot be properly answered then those responsible for the study deserve to be pilloried. Until that time, perhaps The Independent should devote itself to finding out the facts rather than stigmatising an entire profession. We are not the only trade which needs to avoid the sin of arrogance.

Dr DAVID THOMAS

Cardiff

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