The Morality of Risk in Medical Research
Today's scientists follow federal guidelines for research on human subjects developed during the 1960s and 1970s. But long before these government regulations, medical investigators observed informal rules when conducting human research. They insisted that the dangers of natural disease should outweigh the risks of a medical intervention, and they struggled to accurately assess the relative hazards. Halpern explores this logic of risk in immunization controversies extending as far back as the eighteenth century. Then, focusing on the period between 1930 and 1960, she shows how research physicians and their sponsors debated the moral quandaries involved in moving vaccine use from the laboratory to the clinic.
This probing work vividly describes the efforts of clinical investigators to balance the benefits and dangers of untested vaccines, to respond to popular sentiment about medical hazards, and to strategically present risk laden research to sponsors and the public.
American Public Health Association: Viseltear Award
"The story told in Lesser Harms should . . . inspire researchers and regulators to renew discussions of why risk minimization is of paramount importance."
List of Abbreviations
1. The Origins of a Moral Logic of Risk
2. Negotiating Moral Boundaries: The Polio Vaccines of 1934-1935
3. Research Sponsors and the Culture of Risk
4. Formalizing Responses to Research Hazards
5. The Social Nature of Moral Action
6. Moral Traditions in an Era of Government Oversight