Better Essays
The Tuskegee Research Study on Syphilis
Stephan J. Skotko
University of Phoenix
January 13, 2010
HCS-435 Ethics: Health Care and Social Responsibility
Edward Casey

Every person or family member who has faced a medical crisis during his or her lifetime has at one point hoped for an immediate cure, a process that would deter any sort of painful or prolonged convalescence. Medical research always has paralleled a cure or treatment. From the beginning of the turn of the 20th century the most unspeakable appalling atrocities against human beings was The Tuskegee Syphilis Study. One of the most horrendous breaches of ethics in The United States history is Tuskegee’s studies and associated research.
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No record exists of garnishment of consent of the participants. One of the ongoing debates occurring during this time was the possibility of racial variation in the effects of syphilis. A Public Health Service doctor by the name of Taliaferro Clark suggested that this syphilis study would not fail by studying the effects of syphilis on untreated living subjects. Taliaferro Clark’s suggestion was adopted and a study set in motion. During this time in American History African Americans had virtually no health coverage to speak of, and most of the participants never had any sort of examination ever. Study participants received medical examinations. Examinations were free along with transportation and food. Benefits of the study were not made known and no therapeutic research conducted that would benefit the participants. Study participants were told nothing of their infection with syphilis. Treatment was withheld from participants, and no satisfactory treatment given for satisfactory recovery to a few. Public Health System officials denied study participants treatment and prevented other medical professionals and agencies from supplying medication and treatment. Another alarming fact resulting from the study is that the United States Draft Board requested that 50 of the participants receive syphilis medication. The Draft Board withdrew their request after receiving notification from the Public Health
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