Essay - Conflict Between Research and Ethics: the Tuskegee Syphilis Study Introduction...

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Conflict between Research and Ethics: The Tuskegee Syphilis Study


***** Tuskegee syphilis study is probably the most famous series of medical experiments in U.S. history. Unfortunately, the reason that the ***** is so widely known is not because it led to ground-break*****g advances in the treatment of syphilis, but because the study was conducted on human participants who had not given informed consent, and resulted in needless pain and suffering for most of those subjects. While it is commonly believed ***** ***** U.S. government infected the test ***** w*****h syphilis, that belief is untrue. On the contrary, the government enlisted ill men in the study, did not identify the nature ***** their disease, and led them to believe that they were getting treatment, *****en they actually ***** not.

***** it is tempting to completely condemn the ***** syphil***** ***** as an example of American racism, ***** would be a simplistic explanation of how the study occurred. In fact, the ***** began as an effort ***** justify treatment of syphilis in blacks. (Centers for Disease Control *****d Prevention, Home, 2008). In 1926, syphilis was identified as a major health concern, impacting 35 percent of the reproductive-aged population. (Centers ***** Dise*****e Control and *****, Timeline, 2008). However, there was no antibiotic treatment developed for syphilis; on the contrary, in 1929 the ***** institutes an aggressive treatment program using mercury ***** bismuth, but the cure rate is less than 30 percent, ***** treatments are time consuming, and the side effects of the treatment could be toxic, even fatal. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, *****, 2008). After ***** market crashes, the powers that be determine that the cost of syphilis treatment in blacks is prohibitive and orders the end of the treatment *****. However, the researchers decide to follow the men's health to demonstrate ***** untreated ***** creates serious health problems, to s***** that the treatment is necessary. By 19*****, the ***** were able ***** publish the first ***** paper about the effects of ***** syphilis. In **********, the researchers decide to follow the men ***** life and ask ***** doc*****rs ***** the community to join with them in preventing the men from receiving treat*****t. (Centers for Disease Control ***** Prevention, Timeline, 2008). In 1947, penicillin is found to cure *****, but the men are not offered ***** and the study continues, despite ethical concerns, until 1972. In 1973, Congress held hearings about the study and the study participants fi***** a class-action lawsuit, which ***** settled in 1974 for $10 million. (***** for ***** Control and Prevention, *****, 2008).

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*****, the major ethical problem with the experiment is ***** ***** patients were ***** given sufficient information to give their informed consent to participate in the *****. ***** the age of *****, it may seem impossible to understand the depth ***** ***** ignorance the study participants ***** about their d*****ease and about the appropriate treatments:

These men, for ***** most part ill*****erate sharecroppers from one of the poorest counties in Alabama,


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