The Tuskegee Victims

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Introduction There is absolutely no doubt that scientific research with its resultant discoveries is paramount for the welfare and survival of mankind. The status of scientific research has somewhat been put on a pedestal, not for good reason as it is almost always associated with brilliant minds and important findings. But as one delves and learns more about the prevailing environments and the methods used in earlier scientific research, especially where human subjects were used, it is apparent that the emphasis was more on the ‘subject’ and not the ‘human’. For centuries, the questions of justice and ethics – what is right and what is not fair – were “mainly confined to the more obvious social practices such as punishment, taxation and…show more content…
The Tuskegee victims were never informed – and in fact, deliberately lied to about their illness. They were told they had ‘bad blood’. b. Further, the principle states that human subjects should “be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, over-reaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision.” However, the vulnerable victims of the TSS were coerced, coaxed and fraudulently made to believe that the treatment being given was a ‘last chance for special free treatment’. (See appendix 1). c. “This latter element requires that before the acceptance of an affirmative decision by the experimental subject there should be made known to him the nature, duration, and purpose of the experiment; the method and means by which it is to be conducted; all inconveniences and hazards reasonably to be expected; and the effects upon his health or person which may possibly come from his participation in the experiment.” Absolutely none of the above elements were accorded to the Tuskegee patients. They were never told that they were part of a research study nor their consent sought. As for the effects upon their health, they were naturally never told that no treatment was being accorded to them at…show more content…
(2002). Retroactive Ethical Judgments and Human Subjects Research. Paper presented at the Symposium on Ethics and The Tudor Study. City University of New York, N.Y. December 13, 2002. Retrieved from the World Wide Web on 18 June 2007 at The%20Tuskegee%20Syphilis%20Study McGuire-Dunn, C. and Chadwick, G. (1999). Protecting Study Volunteers in Research: A Manual for Investigative Sites. CenterWatch, Inc.,University of Rochester Medical Center, 1999, p 2-4. Retrieved from the World Wide Web on 18 June 2007 at: http// The Nuremberg Code 1947. (1996). British Medical Journal. No 7070 Volume 313: p.1448. Retrieved from the World Wide Web on 18 June 2007 at: Retrieved from the World Wide Web on 18 June 2007 at Parascandola, M. (2007). Use of Prisoners in Research. Research Practitioner. Retrieved from the World Wide Web on 18 June 2007 at Sade, R.M. (2003). Publication of unethical research studies: the importance of informed consent. Annals of Thoraicic Surgery Vol.75 p.325-328. Retrieved from the World Wide Web on 18 June 2007 at:

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