Postoperative Salt Intolerance (1944) research Note

By Kristopher A. Nelson
in January 2018

200 words / 1 min.
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Consider the level of informed consent present in this study (or perhaps the original study it cites). What does that say about changes in medical research?


In 1944, several doctors published a series of case studies about the use of postoperative saline and various outcomes for patients.

In it, they reference earlier work from around 1913 in which “Trout and Evans” experimented on patients more systematically—and in which they suggest (without explicitly saying so or even seemingly noticing) that the experiments were carried out without the informed consent or even the knowledge of the patients involved.

What does this say about changing ideas of consent and medical experimentation?

(See also Cathy Gere’s book, Pain, Pleasure, and the Greater Good: From the Panopticon to the Skinner Box and Beyond, from 2017.)