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The challenges of seeking consent from adults to participate in acute research studies

Lookup NU author(s): Jan Lecouturier, Dr Lynne Stobbart, Professor Madeleine Murtagh, Professor Gary Ford, Dr Tim Rapley, Emerita Professor Helen Rodgers



In this paper the current legislative landscape and the challenges researchers face in obtaining informed consent in acute situations are explored. In such situations, some current guidelines can be difficult or impossible to apply. Capacity should be formally assessed before consent is sought to ensure that vulnerable persons are neither inappropriately recruited to a study nor denied the opportunity to participate. However, there is little guidance in current legislation as to how this should be achieved. When the patient is considered to be unable to provide prospective informed consent other forms are sometimes permissible although all have specific drawbacks. Firstly, we will argue that a brief instrument, suitable for the acute situation, is needed to determine whether patients have the capacity to consent to clinical trials. Secondly, we will argue that there are areas of the informed consent process that require review and suggest ways that improvements could be made.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lecouturier J, Stobbart L, Murtagh MJ, Ford GA, Rapley T, Louw S, Rodgers H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Clinical Ethics

Year: 2010

Volume: 5

Issue: 2

Pages: 73-76

Print publication date: 01/06/2010

Date deposited: 06/09/2010

ISSN (print): 1477-7509

ISSN (electronic): 1758-101X

Publisher: Royal Society of Medicine Press Ltd.


DOI: 10.1258/ce.2010.010006


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