Advocacy Group: NMU Study Risks Brain Injury In Infants

We established this blog as a forum for discussing injury-related issues that may be relevant to New Mexico residents. In our Albuquerque law practice, we represent clients who have suffered a wide range of injuries, including injuries resulting from auto accidents, medical errors, nursing home abuse, and other forms of negligence.

Recently, advocates voiced concerns over injuries to premature infants in a government-funded study at the University of New Mexico. Public Citizen, the consumer advocacy group founded in 1971 by Ralph Nader, claims that consent forms that parents of premature infants signed fail to sufficiently explain how risky the study is.

In particular, researchers are trying to determine new and better methods of treating premature infants’ anemia. The study would involve giving about 900 infants a low hemoglobin level to monitor the effects.

(Incidentally, hemoglobin is a kind of protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen.)

But Public Citizen claims that those premature infants will be exposed to a risk of brain injury, blindness, and death, and that the children’s parents haven’t been properly informed about those risks.

Eighteen universities are taking part in the study, and Public Citizen has asked that the recruitment of infants be stopped.

It remains to be seen whether or not the U.S. Health and Human Services will order the halt.

In any case, the bottom line is that patients and participants in such a study are owed full disclosure of the risks. New Mexico residents with personal injury concerns may want to keep an eye on this story in the coming weeks.

Source: Albuquerque Journal, “UNM criticized over its study of infants,” Olivier Uyttebrouck, Aug. 28, 2013

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