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Using human tissue: when do we need consent?
  1. Lisa Parker
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lisa Parker, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052 Australia; lisa.parker{at}


Identifiable excess surgical tissue is an important resource for medical research but we have become overly restrictive about consent requirements. I suggest we devolve consent to ethics committees for ordinary research projects involving human tissue, retaining the requirement for explicit consent only for those sensitive research situations where there is significant risk of harm to individual interests in privacy.

  • Allocation of organs/tissues
  • informed consent
  • education for health care professionals
  • history of health ethics/bioethics
  • informed consent

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  • The author is a lecturer in medical and public health ethics at the University of New South Wales and has clinical experience in anatomical pathology and hospital medicine. This paper is based upon work completed as part of a Master of Bioethics through Monash University, Australia.

  • Funding Self-funded.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.