Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Camomile allergy case report retracted after patients withdraw consent post-publication

with 4 comments

aaciIn what may be a first, a researcher in Turkey has withdrawn a paper because the patients whose cases she described wthdrew their consent after it was published.

Here’s the notice, from Allergy, Asthma, & Clinical Immunology, of a paper titled “Severe contact dermatitis due to camomile: a common complementary remedy with potential sensitization risks:”

This article has been retracted by the authors. Although the patients originally gave consent to publication of their cases and images, they withdrew this consent shortly after publication. The article is no longer available online in order to protect patient confidentiality. The author apologizes for the inconvenience.

We’ve tried to contact Sibel Dogan, the author of the paper, to find out why the patients withdrew their consent, but haven’t heard back. In the meantime, here’s the abstract of the paper, which went online on July 15:

Camomile extracts and compositae mix containing herbal remedies are used for several alternative/complementary therapies for a long time. In fact, camomile has been used traditionally in eastern Anatolia as a pain relieving topical anesthetic agent. Besides becoming a popular herbal remedy, camomile is also known for its potential in inducing chemical burn, irritant and allergic contact dermatitis, conjunctivitis and anaphylaxis. Different clinical apperances of camomile allergy was reviewed with three patients using the same topical camomile remedy in this report.

We’ve seen at one case of retraction for breach of confidentiality, but that was because “details of participants that were not de-identified were sent between study sites.” We haven’t seen a case in which patients withdrew their consent after publication.

Hat tip: Rob Siebers

Comments
  • aceil August 19, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Can an informed consent be withdrawn AFTER publication?

    • Len August 19, 2013 at 2:24 pm

      Yes, if it wasn’t proper informed consent in the first place. But without details it’s impossible to judge the situation.

    • SD August 21, 2013 at 7:47 pm

      Even with informed consent, if a study participant withdraws consent and the human ethics committee that approved the study is aware that consent has been withdrawn, most researchers will do whatever it takes to avoid the wrath of the ethics committee. For most authors having a paper retracted is often a lesser problem than having a problem with an ethics committee, especially if the reason for the paper’s retraction is not due to wrong doings by the authors.

  • Eibl August 19, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    It is really hard to see any wrongdoing by the researcher; it appears to be really bad to have to retract a paper due to retraction of consent. Is there any chance to publish a similar finding – just without any patients’ pictures, or just from another patient who gave the consent, and, perhaps, a few more cases in a table…

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