The Tuskegee Syphilis Study of 1932 studied approximately six hundred twenty-five “disadvantaged rural black men” (Pozgar, 2016) that both had syphilis and did not have syphilis. This study, named "Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013), was conducted by the Public Health Service from 1932 to 1972, however was only projected to last 6 months (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). The purpose of the study was to show the effects of untreated syphilis. The men involved were led to believe that were receiving treatment for their various conditions but were actually not receiving treatment. The men participating in the study were not informed of the purpose of the study or what treatments they were receiving. The study concluded in 1972 and began many more years of investigation and hearings on behalf of the participants that suffered during the trials.
In 1932, the Tuskegee Institute partnered with the Public Health Service in Alabama and began a research study on how certain infectious diseases spread through the population. They also studied what those diseases did inside the human body to cause them to pass away. Their study focused on 400 black men affected with Syphilis in a southern Alabama county. Out of which, no subjects were told of their condition. What this withhold of important information is a major violation by the International Review Board (IRB) standards. As a result of this omission of information, syphilis continued to spread through and fatally endanger the families and community that surrounded the 400 subjects. Those experiments on the illnesses of human subjects had many violations in the IRB Code of Ethics. For example, the omission of telling the patients of their condition was a breach of the Informed Consent protocol for the subjects. Also, the refusal of treatment for the men breaches the factors of
We do need some sort of way to prevent subjects from being taken advantage of, but it cannot be in such a way that impedes upon research. Infecting healthy people with a disease is obviously unethical and should never be done. I believe that any true scientist would know this and the fact that this event even occurred shows a lack of empathy for foreign people such as the Guatemalan population. We would have NEVER performed an experiment like this upon people of our own population. Also, I'm not entirely sure if the eradication of unethical experimentations is necessarily a good thing. For example, after WWII a psychologist set up a "shock experiment" in which he told subjects to shock a stranger in a nearby room every time they answered a question incorrectly. The researcher took tons of flack for carrying out such an unethical experiment yet, his findings are even today considered some of the most important discoveries in psych. It gave the public a new view of how we take orders from our superiors and usually without question. It gave insight into how such atrocities as the Holocaust could ever
From a sociological perspective, I do not think that hypothesis, “The rate of progression of Syphilis may differ by race when comparing African American males to Whites” is valid as is. Race is a social construct, however the experiences that which we go through because of race is very real. That leads me to believe the hypothesis could be valuable if it were framed differently. Because of environmental factors, cultural factors, and health disparites, certain races may be at risk for a particular disease than others. I feel that maybe if the hypothesis would have been framed as “The rate of progression of Syphilis may differ by race when comparing African American males who have (certain health problem) to Whites males who have (certain health problem)” it could have been valid. However, these men would have had to receive the same exact treatments and likely be from the same SES.
The Tuskegee syphilis study involved 600 African American men. In this controversial study 399 had syphilis and 201 did not. This was a study conducted without any informed consent. They were intentionally misled to believe that they were being treated for “bad blood” a term they had come to recognize during this era. This deception allowed the test subjects to believe that they possibly had anemia and fatigue which was included with syphilis. During this study they were not permitted to receive any adequate treatment for the disease. They were never counseled on the intent or purpose of the study. Even after the penicillin was introduced as the cure drug for syphilis they were still denied proper treatment for the disease. In spite of the constant studies that favored treating syphilis even in the latest stages of the infection there was no consideration to try and eradicate this illness in the test subjects.
Throughout the ages, while the origins to this day continue to be debated, the strength and potency of the disease have rarely been in question. Syphilis, while not viewed as a huge threat due to a decreased number of cases in the mid-late 1990s, needs to be taken more seriously by the public because it is more dangerous than many realize, especially because it is extremely contagious, it is extremely elegant in the symptoms it produces, it has played a larger part in history than many would think, and there is a certain stigma which surrounds the disease, which in turn pushes individuals away from receiving the necessary testing.
Paul Ehrlich was a german biologist, and scientist who had successfully developed a cure for syphilis.(Syphilis is a disease that is highly contagious through sexual contact, which is a subtle disease, and can be life threatening once active).
What is Syphilis? And, how can you contract it? Syphilis is an STD (a sexually transmitted disease) that is highly contagious; due to the fact that many times it goes unnoticed. Syphilis is caused by the bacteria Treponema Pallidum and affects both females and males. Syphilis is spread by having vaginal, anal or oral sex and remains where you contracted it. Syphilis can also be spread from a pregnant mother to an unborn baby.
I enjoyed reading your post on the case of the Syphilis outbreak. You did a great job of putting all the pieces together. You determined the frequency, and you created a pattern to determine the time, place, and those who were those infected. I agree with you that there potentially could be a large group of teens who could have interacted with those infected that have not yet been diagnosed. A good epidemiologist would gather all information necessary to determine how many could potentially be infected: “Epidemiologists typically revolve around gathering medical and health information from the field, researching data, analyzing the data collected, and presenting the findings” (Epidemiology Careers, n.d). You used all this information
Sara, I enjoyed your discussion post. I link how you introduced the subject. Yes, I can imagine, as an emergency nurse patients are diagnosed in the emergency department can be an emotional roller coaster. After reflecting the article it makes me question is the physicians told these patients that had syphilis. Most time regardless of the diagnosis most individuals want treatment. It is great to see how far we have come the progress of research and nurses code of ethics. Like you discussed all medical fields are taught. It shocking to see that once penicillin was recognized as the drug of choice and successful at treating in the mid-1940s these individuals were not treated (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). Once again,
Very relevant to this study is compensation/incentives. The participants were very poor and received the incentive of $25 to participate in the study. Burial insurance was provided to the participants, as well as free health care for the supposed illness of “bad blood.” Physical distress is also very relevant. The researchers provided toxic treatment to the participants. The researchers performed spinal taps that were very painful to endure. The lack of proper treatment of syphilis led to the advancement of the disease, which was the cause of death for some of the participants. Other sexual partners contracted syphilis and children were born with congenital syphilis, so they also incurred physical distress. A third relevant ethical dimension
Although it is easily preventable, over 36,000 cases of syphilis are reported annually in the United States alone (“STD Facts-Syphilis” 2010). Treponema pallidum is the bacterium that causes syphilis. Being one of the most common STDs, syphilis is a bacterial sexually transmitted disease that acts quite differently from the other common STDs because it acts in stages. Fortunately, there are antibiotics to cure syphilis; however, there are not cures for the other health related problems that it causes.