Have you ever wondered where a doctor’s method came from? Or so much to even, think who came up with the original idea? America has an interesting medical history, or as I like to call them experiments. Some of those experiments were a positive asset to the history, but others were horrifying. One of those horrifying events would be Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment. James H. Jones, the author of “Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment”, covered a book on the historical event. The study was for how the African American male is affected by untreated syphilis. But through the evolvement of the experiment, it became about the neurological aspect. It also depicts the American Government for its untrustworthiness in the health care world.
This essay examines the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, wherein for 40 years (1932-1972) hundreds of black men suffering from advanced syphilis were studied but not treated. The 40-year study was controversial for reasons related to ethical standards; primarily because researchers knowingly failed to treat patients appropriately after the 1940s validation of penicillin as an effective cure for the disease they were studying. To explore the role of the racism in the controversial study, this essay analyzes the article written by Allan M. Brandt.
The Tuskegee Syphilis experiment (The official name was Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male) began in the 1930’s. It was an experiment on African Americans to study syphilis and how it affected the body and killed its victims done by Tuskegee Institute U.S. Public Health Service researchers. The initial purpose of the Syphilis study “was to record the natural history of syphilis in Blacks” (Tuskegee University, “About the USPHS Syphilis Study,” par. 2). The study was necessary because syphilis was a disease that didn’t yet have an official cure (when the study began in the 30’s). There were 600 men in all; 399 had syphilis and 201 served as a control group for the experiment. The
The Tuskegee Syphilis Study was an unethical prospective study based on the differences between white and black males that began in the 1930’s. This study involved the mistreatment of black males and their families in an experimental study of the effects of untreated syphilis. With very little knowledge of the study or the disease by participants, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study can be seen as one of the worst forms of injustices in the United States history. Even though one could argue that the study was originally intended to be for good use, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study was immoral and racist because only poor, uneducated black males were used in experiment, the participants were not properly informed of their participation in the
In todays society, the common consensus about human experimentation is that it is unethical, however, people in the past believed it was necessary to advance scientific discoveries. The Tuskegee syphilis study is a prime example of how scientists in the past disregarded the ethics of human experimentation to enhance scientific research. The study was an experiment where four- hundred to six-hundred uneducated African American men were tricked into being tested. Most of the patients were injected with the disease and left without treatment to discover its effects, while the others were safe being used as controls. This experiment lasted for Forty years and was probably the biggest example of unethical human experimentation in America. Fortunatley, the contrivertial actions taken in the experiment lead future generations to create the law of informed consent where the patient understands what will happen during their treatment. The inspiration for researching this topic was how in “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”, by Rebecca Skloot, Henrietta was used for a scientific study without her consent. In relation to Henrietta, the men in the syphilis study were not aware of what was happening to them and were experimented on without their consent. Overall, the human experimentation in the Tuskegee syphilis study was unethical in many ways.
In the article Racism and Research: the Case of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, by Allen M. Brandt, he discusses a few mains point. The main points of the article is Racism and Medical Opinions, the origins of the experiment, how they selected the subjects, and the HEW final report. In the first point, Racism and Medical Opinions, many of the scientist believed that even with all the “education or philanthropy” the black Americans can’t be cured whether it has to do with diseases or crime. The black Americans also had a lot of deficits and were considered imperfection. Doctors say that the black Americans had a “sexual desire” which puts a lot of the whites in danger. They also say
There are a multitude of constituents that could be modified to make these unprincipled studies ethical for subjects. The Tuskegee syphilis study was an unscrupulous experiment that illustrated the significance of morality in human experimentations. A noteworthy alteration that would be made is guaranteeing that every participant in experiments are given a full assessment of the dangers that can arise from the experiment. Consent was an element that was fundamentally nonexistent in the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, resulting in the study being expressively immoral. In addition, a momentous ethical and legal issue involved in the Tuskegee study were the counterfeited information given to the subjects and the community. David Smolin, the author of the “Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, Social Change, and the Future
The Tuskegee syphilis experiment was an infamous clinical study conducted between 1932-1972 in Macon Country, Alabama by the U.S Public Health Service. The purpose was to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in rural African American men who thought they were receiving free health care from the U.S government; about four hundred African American men were denied. The doctors that were involved in this study had a shifted mindset; they were called “racist monsters”; “for the most part, doctors and civil servants simply did their jobs. Some merely followed orders, others worked for the glory of science” (Heller) The men that were used for the study got advantage of, especially those
Tuskegee – The doctors violated this principle by not informing the study subjects of the details of the study itself. The subjects were informed they were going to be treated for “bad blood” (CDC, 2015). At the time “bad blood” could have meant syphilis or it could have meant anemia or fatigue. None of the patients received treatment to cure their illness. Additionally, none were ever informed that they were in fact part of a study to document how syphilis progresses when left untreated. These were autonomous men who had vital information withheld from them while being subjects in a research study.
The Tuskegee syphilis study highlighted the effects of untreated syphilis in African American males by withholding syphilis treatment that was available to these men. In addition, Tuskegee syphilis study demonstrated how the participants’ rights were taken for granted or even minimized in order to obtain information on how the human body was affected by untreated syphilis. This study allows one to view how the ethical rights were violated and allows for guidelines to be established preventing future occurrence.
The book BAD BLOOD: THE TUSKEGEE SYPHILIS EXPERIMENT by James H. Jones was a very powerful compilation of years of astounding research, numerous interviews, and some very interesting positions on the ethical and moral issues associated with the study of human beings under the Public Health Service (PHS). "The Tuskegee study had nothing to do with treatment it was a nontherapeutic experiment, aimed at compiling data on the effects of the spontaneous evolution of syphilis in black males" (Jones pg. 2). Jones is very opinionated throughout the book; however, he carefully documents the foundation of those opinions with quotes from letters and medical journals.
Several of these men died due to having syphilis and not being treated. “After the study ended, those men who had syphilis, along with their wives and children who had contracted the disease, were given free antibiotics and lifetime medical care” (Fain, 2017, p. 27). Forty years after the study was over, all survivors were offered penicillin and free medical treatment for life from the Public Health Service. The lawsuit that took place after the study, awarded $37,500 to each survivor and $15,000 to the heirs of “deceased survivors.” If this study would have been conducted today, it would have breached several provisions of the Nursing Code of Ethics.
I found the Tuskegee Syphilis experiment to be very disturbing and sad to hear about. I believe some of the most important qualities of a scientist are he/her integrity and respect. After the researchers performed this experiment, they lost those qualities, at least in my eyes. There are certain experiments that may tread the line of ethicality, but I would definitely have to say that the Tuskegee experiment completely crossed that line.
Another ethical issue was confidentiality and privacy, there was personal information disclosed to third parties without consent from the patients in the study, and according to the movie (1997) one treatment was given in groups and the patients performed the treatments on each other. The third ethical issue was the principle of beneficence (goodness), which according to Guraya, London, & Guraya (2014) this principle relates to individuals not being intentionally harmed and the outcomes should be the best possible result. In the Tuskegee study the opposite happened, the physicians and nurse knew they would not treat the men with the best medical care possible, and when treatment options were available they would not provide that treatment to the participants. The study would only come to an end, when all participants had passed away. The next ethical issue was the lack of respect, where each participant should have remained as independent individual. The Tuskegee study was not looking at the participants in the study as individuals, but as a group of poor African American males.
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