When institutions fail to fulfill their long-established responsibilities, other groups must fill the void and meet the needs that are going unmet. When this happens, the new responsibilities assumed can conflict with these groups’ prior expectations and prior responsibilities. In states of war and civil unrest, such problems are compounded a thousand-fold.
Safeguarding informed consent in research on human subjects has been a central goal for the bioethics movements, especially in light of past abuses. Not all that long ago was it the predominant view among medical practitioners that “Doctor knows best.”