The Whistle Blower

The life of Maurice Pappworth

Joanna Seldon

Date Published :
April 2018
Publisher :
University of Buckingham Press
No associated books available.


Whistle-blowers tend not to make themselves popular. Maurice Pappworth’s whistle was Human Guinea Pigs, the controversial book published in 1967 which examined unethical medical experimentation on humans, identified the researchers and institutions responsible, took the medical establishment by storm and provoked questions in Parliament.

Brilliant, pugnacious, Jewish, already an outsider, Pappworth was recognized as the best medical teacher in the country. But Pappworth, convinced that the reasons for the experiments coming to his attention were purely for the career advancement of ambitious practitioners, chose to speak his mind. His exposés led eventually to stricter codes of practice for human experimentation and the establishment of the research ethics committees which remain in place today.

On the 50th anniversary of its publication, Maurice Pappworth’s daughter, the late Joanna Seldon, re-assesses the importance of Human Guinea Pigs as a major milestone in the development of current medical research ethics, and demands a re-evaluation of the pioneering medical ethicist who compromised his own career in order to ensure the protection of the patient – and thus the moral values central to his profession.

About The Author

Lady Joanna Seldon was an independent teacher and writer. She was awarded the top first in her year reading English at Oxford University and went on to complete a doctorate on American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne. She has published a number of short stories and poems. Her novels include Still Crazy (2013), Squared (2014) and Piper's Hole (2014).