2 thoughts on “The Joshua Hardy Case: Lessons Yet to Learn

  1. John H Noble Jr March 22, 2014 / 07:48

    Would that the lofty ideals and standards of science were actually implemented in clinical trials! The “therapeutic misperception” is actively used by researchers in recruiting and retaining human research subjects . . . it is not something beyond control that simply happens. Jill A. Fisher’s book, Medical Research for Hire: The Political Economy of Pharmaceutical Clinical Trials (Rutgers University Press, 2009) documents actual practice. Single case studies, as poignant as Josh Hardy’s story, do not lend themselves well to formulating public policy. What is needed on the basis of a large literature relating to abuses is the reform and strict oversight of the process of obtaining the informed consent of patients or their surrogates. The very difficult to read and understand written Informed consent forms that patients or surrogates sign serve to protect researchers and their organizations and sponsors against legal liability. How many of such consent spell out and put a number on the infinitesimally small chance that a patient will actually derive a personal benefit from participation in the research?! The “therapeutic misperception” takes root on the basis of misleading or false information.

    • ethicsbeyondcompliance March 22, 2014 / 14:20

      Yes, sometimes people are willfully misled and others are misled by the discomfort of doctors when discussing hopeless situations. I’ve heard doctors lament that patients subject themselves to clinical trials rather than accepting their bad prognosis while admitting they told them the trial was either the “best” or “only” option for treatment without adding that the trial would not offer any benefit.

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