Essay on The Ethic of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study

738 WordsSep 2, 20103 Pages
Running head: THE TUSKEGEE SYPHILIS STUDY The Tuskegee Syphilis Study Thomas Shaw Grand Canyon University PHL 305 7/25/2010 Introduction The Tuskegee Syphilis Study was developed to study the affects of Syphilis on adult black males. The intention of the study was to find ways to improve the quality of health in African Americans in the southern states. While the treatment phase of the program was beginning, America fell into the great depression and the benefactor, The Julius Rosenwald Fund no longer had the funds for the treatment of the men. What do you do with two hundred ninety-nine men with Syphilis that you can no longer or begin to treat? How does a society that is predominantly prejudice get African Americans to…show more content…
During WWII some of the participants were called for the draft and were ordered to undergo treatment for Syphilis. The PHS intervened and the draft board dropped the participants from the treatment roles. There was no respect for persons in these decisions. The IRB’s Principal for Respect was not adhered to, “recognition of the personal dignity and autonomy of the individuals” nor was there any special protection for those with diminished autonomy. In 1973 a Congressional Committee lead by Senator Edward Kennedy which resulted in a complete and total re-write of Heath, Education and Welfare on working with Human subjects. “In the same year there was a $1.8 billion dollar class action suit filed in the US District Court on behalf of the study participants” (Tuskegee University). In December of 1974 the government paid $10 million in an out of court settlement. Perhaps this was the justice which is required so the “benefits and burdens of research be distributed fairly. The Tuskegee Syphilis Study took place over a time period of almost fifty years. During the investigation, John Heller, Director of the Venereal Disease unit for the PHS was interviewed, one of his comments was; “The men’s status did not warrant ethical debate. They were subjects, not patients; clinical material not people” (Tuskegee University). The way these men were treated and looked upon and

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