A surgical series that is scientifically meaningless, has no ethics committee approval, and does not mention informed consent
A study from a foreign author was submitted in which he describes a series of patients whom he has operated on to treat their migraine. The operation is something that he has devised himself and consists of suturing a superficial temporal artery. The surgeon has operated on over 1200 patients. There is no clear definition of how the diagnosis was made and no control group. There is no mention of ethics committee approval and no mention of informed consent. The editor has written to the surgeon saying that he plans to ask the author’s employer or the local regulatory body to investigate his methods. Has he done the right thing?
_ There is insufficient evidence for a scientific procedure and it is clearly an example of poor practice. _ Although editors are not inquisitors, there was sufficient anxiety to report this to the author’s institution.
The editor wrote to the local regulatory board and the author’s employer, but the institution did not feel that there was a problem.