The quality of the consent obtained from 41 volunteer subjects in eight experiments is evaluated. Five subjects (all physicians) gave informed consent; 22 subjects gave partially informed consent; and 14 subjects merely gave consent. It is argued that 'informed' consent is obtainable only from medically trained people, and that lip service to this concept in laymen should cease. The concept of medical competence should instead be introduced and a personal medical referee appointed to adjudicate on behalf of the volunteer.
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