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Essay

Essay Essays are opinion pieces on a topic of broad interest to a general medical audience.

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Alas, Poor Yorick: Digging Up the Dead to Make Medical Diagnoses

  • Deborah Hayden
  • Published: March 29, 2005
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0020060

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Call for Biohistory Guidelines

Posted by plosmedicine on 30 Mar 2009 at 23:41 GMT

Author: Deborah Hayden
Position: No occupation was given
Institution: No affiliation was given
E-mail: debhayden@sbcglobal.net
Submitted Date: April 25, 2005
Published Date: April 25, 2005
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

The excellent article by Jordan Paradise and Lori B Andrews (Constructing Ethical Guidelines for Biohistory) neither advocates nor argues against biohistorical research; instead it points out that such investigations are currently taking place without guidelines--ethical, scientific, moral, or religious. The question remains: if such guidelines were to be established, what individuals, institutions, governments, medical examiners, family members, or intrepid biographers are to be given permission? Who is to decide what is "historically significant"? Not to mention the meta question: who is to decide who is to decide? My apologies to the authors if my brief comment implied that they took a position on this issue.

No competing interests declared.