Nuremberg Code
Overview
 
The Nuremberg Code is a set of research ethics
Research ethics
Research ethics involves the application of fundamental ethical principles to a variety of topics involving scientific research. These include the design and implementation of research involving human experimentation, animal experimentation, various aspects of academic scandal, including scientific...

 principles for human experimentation
Human experimentation
Human subject research includes experiments and observational studies. Human subjects are commonly participants in research on basic biology, clinical medicine, nursing, psychology, and all other social sciences. Humans have been participants in research since the earliest studies...

 set as a result of the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials
Subsequent Nuremberg Trials
The Subsequent Nuremberg Trials were a series of twelve U.S...

 at the end of the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.
On August 19, 1947, the judges delivered their verdict in the "Doctors' Trial
Doctors' Trial
The Doctors' Trial was the first of 12 trials for war crimes that the United States authorities held in their occupation zone in Nuremberg, Germany after the end of World War II. These trials were held before U.S...

" against Karl Brandt and several others. They also delivered their opinion on medical experimentation on human beings. Several of the accused had argued that their experiments differed little from pre-war ones and that there was no law that differentiated between legal and illegal experiments.

In April of the same year, Dr.
Encyclopedia
The Nuremberg Code is a set of research ethics
Research ethics
Research ethics involves the application of fundamental ethical principles to a variety of topics involving scientific research. These include the design and implementation of research involving human experimentation, animal experimentation, various aspects of academic scandal, including scientific...

 principles for human experimentation
Human experimentation
Human subject research includes experiments and observational studies. Human subjects are commonly participants in research on basic biology, clinical medicine, nursing, psychology, and all other social sciences. Humans have been participants in research since the earliest studies...

 set as a result of the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials
Subsequent Nuremberg Trials
The Subsequent Nuremberg Trials were a series of twelve U.S...

 at the end of the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

Background

On August 19, 1947, the judges delivered their verdict in the "Doctors' Trial
Doctors' Trial
The Doctors' Trial was the first of 12 trials for war crimes that the United States authorities held in their occupation zone in Nuremberg, Germany after the end of World War II. These trials were held before U.S...

" against Karl Brandt and several others. They also delivered their opinion on medical experimentation on human beings. Several of the accused had argued that their experiments differed little from pre-war ones and that there was no law that differentiated between legal and illegal experiments.

In April of the same year, Dr. Leo Alexander
Leo Alexander
Dr. Leo Alexander was an American psychiatrist, neurologist, educator, and author, of Austrian-Jewish origin. He was a key medical advisor during the Nuremberg Trials...

 had submitted to the Counsel for War Crimes six points defining legitimate medical research. The trial verdict adopted these points and added an extra four. The ten points constituted the "Nuremberg Code". Although the legal force of the document was not established and it was not incorporated directly into either the American or German law, the Nuremberg Code and the related Declaration of Helsinki
Declaration of Helsinki
The Declaration of Helsinki is a set of ethical principles regarding human experimentation developed for the medical community by the World Medical Association . It is widely regarded as the cornerstone document of human research ethics...

 are the basis for the Code of Federal Regulations
Code of Federal Regulations
The Code of Federal Regulations is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government of the United States.The CFR is published by the Office of the Federal Register, an agency...

 Title 45 Volume 46 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_00/45cfr46_00.html, which are the regulations issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services
United States Department of Health and Human Services
The United States Department of Health and Human Services is a Cabinet department of the United States government with the goal of protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services. Its motto is "Improving the health, safety, and well-being of America"...

 governing federally-funded research in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. In addition, the Nuremberg code has also been incorporated into the law of individual states such as California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, and other countries.

The Nuremberg code includes such principles as informed consent
Informed consent
Informed consent is a phrase often used in law to indicate that the consent a person gives meets certain minimum standards. As a literal matter, in the absence of fraud, it is redundant. An informed consent can be said to have been given based upon a clear appreciation and understanding of the...

 and absence of coercion
Coercion
Coercion is the practice of forcing another party to behave in an involuntary manner by use of threats or intimidation or some other form of pressure or force. In law, coercion is codified as the duress crime. Such actions are used as leverage, to force the victim to act in the desired way...

; properly formulated scientific experimentation; and beneficence
Beneficence (disambiguation)
Beneficence may refer to:* Beneficence , a concept in medical ethics* Beneficence , a statue at Ball State University* Procreative beneficence* Order of Beneficence...

 towards experiment participants.

The ten points of the Nuremberg Code

The 10 points are, (all from United States National Institutes of Health)
  1. The voluntary consent
    Consent
    Consent refers to the provision of approval or agreement, particularly and especially after thoughtful consideration.- Types of consent :*Implied consent is a controversial form of consent which is not expressly granted by a person, but rather inferred from a person's actions and the facts and...

     of the human subject is absolutely essential
    Essence
    In philosophy, essence is the attribute or set of attributes that make an object or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity. Essence is contrasted with accident: a property that the object or substance has contingently, without...

    . This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, over-reaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him/her to make an understanding and enlightened decision. This latter element requires that before the acceptance of an affirmative decision by the experimental subject there should be made known to him the nature, duration, and purpose of the experiment; the method and means by which it is to be conducted; all inconveniences and hazards reasonable to be expected; and the effects upon his health or person which may possibly come from his participation in the experiment. The duty and responsibility for ascertaining the quality of the consent rests upon each individual who initiates, directs or engages in the experiment. It is a personal duty and responsibility which may not be delegated to another with impunity.
  2. The experiment should be such as to yield fruitful results for the good of society, unprocurable by other methods or means of study, and not random and unnecessary in nature.
  3. The experiment should be so designed and based on the results of animal experimentation and a knowledge of the natural history of the disease or other problem under study that the anticipated results will justify the performance of the experiment.
  4. The experiment should be so conducted as to avoid all unnecessary physical
    Physical property
    A physical property is any property that is measurable whose value describes a physical system's state. The changes in the physical properties of a system can be used to describe its transformations ....

     and mental
    Mind
    The concept of mind is understood in many different ways by many different traditions, ranging from panpsychism and animism to traditional and organized religious views, as well as secular and materialist philosophies. Most agree that minds are constituted by conscious experience and intelligent...

     suffering and injury.
  5. No experiment should be conducted where there is a prior reason to believe that death or disabling injury
    Injury
    -By cause:*Traumatic injury, a body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury, as from violence or accident*Other injuries from external physical causes, such as radiation injury, burn injury or frostbite*Injury from infection...

     will occur; except, perhaps, in those experiments where the experimental physicians also serve as subjects.
  6. The degree of risk to be taken should never exceed that determined by the humanitarian importance of the problem to be solved by the experiment.
  7. Proper preparations should be made and adequate facilities provided to protect the experimental subject against even remote possibilities of injury, disability, or death.
  8. The experiment should be conducted only by scientifically qualified persons. The highest degree of skill and care should be required through all stages of the experiment of those who conduct or engage in the experiment.
  9. During the course of the experiment the human subject should be at liberty
    Liberty
    Liberty is a moral and political principle, or Right, that identifies the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves, to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions...

     to bring the experiment to an end if he has reached the physical or mental state where continuation of the experiment seems to him to be impossible.
  10. During the course of the experiment the scientist in charge must be prepared to terminate the experiment at any stage, if he has probable cause
    Probable cause
    In United States criminal law, probable cause is the standard by which an officer or agent of the law has the grounds to make an arrest, to conduct a personal or property search, or to obtain a warrant for arrest, etc. when criminal charges are being considered. It is also used to refer to the...

     to believe, in the exercise of the good faith, superior skill and careful judgment
    Judgment
    A judgment , in a legal context, is synonymous with the formal decision made by a court following a lawsuit. At the same time the court may also make a range of court orders, such as imposing a sentence upon a guilty defendant in a criminal matter, or providing a remedy for the plaintiff in a civil...

     required of him that a continuation of the experiment is likely to result in injury, disability
    Disability
    A disability may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental or some combination of these.Many people would rather be referred to as a person with a disability instead of handicapped...

    , or death
    Death
    Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

     to the experimental subject.


Reprinted from Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10, Vol. 2, pp. 181–182. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1949. Note that complete electronic copies of the Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg [Nuremberg] Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10 are available online, as are most of the other proceedings from the Nuremberg Trials.

Further reading

  • Weindling, Paul: Nazi Medicine and the Nuremberg Trials (Palgrave, Basingstoke 2004)
  • Schmidt, Ulf: Justice at Nuremberg. Leo Alexander and the Nazi Doctors' Trial (Palgrave, Basingstoke 2004)
  • Schmidt, Ulf: Karl Brandt. The Nazi Doctor. Medicine and Power in the Third Reich (Continuum, London, 2007)
  • BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL No 7070 Volume 313: Page 1448,7 December 1996.
  • The Nuremberg Code (1947) In: Mitscherlich A, Mielke F. Doctors of infamy: the story of the Nazi medical crimes. New York: Schuman, 1949: xxiii-xxv.
  • Carl Elliot's article Making A Killing in Mother Jones magazine September 2010 asks if the Nuremberg Code is a valid legal precedent in Minnesota
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK