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 ***** ***** 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 ***** given informed c*****sent, ***** resulted in needless pain and suffering for ***** of those subjects. While ***** is commonly believed that the U.S. government infected the test ***** with syphilis, that belief is untrue. On the contrary, the government enl*****ted ill men in the study, did not identify the nature of *****ir disease, and led them ***** believe ***** they were getting treatment, when they actually ***** not.

***** it is tempting to completely condemn the ***** syphil***** ***** as an example ***** American racism, that would be a simplistic expl*****nation of how the study occurred. In fact, the study began as an ef*****t ***** justify treatment of syphilis in blacks. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Home, 2008). ***** 1926, syphilis was identified as a major health concern, impacting 35 percent of the reproductive-aged population. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Timeline, 2008). However, there was no antibiotic treatment developed for syphilis; on the contrary, in 1929 ***** ***** ********** an aggressive treatment program using mercury and bismuth, but the cure rate is less than 30 percent, the treatments are time consuming, and ***** side effects ***** the treatment could be toxic, even fatal. (Centers for ***** Control and Prevention, *****, 2008). After the market crashes, the powers that be determine that the cost of syphilis treatment in ***** is prohibitive and orders the end of ***** treatment *****. However, the researchers decide to follow the men's health ***** demonstrate ***** untreated syphilis creates serious ***** problems, to show that the treatment is necessary. By 1935, the researchers were able to publish the first major paper about the effects of ***** syphilis. In 1936, the ***** decide to follow the men for life and ask the doctors in ***** community to jo***** with them in preventing the men from receiving *****. (Centers for Disease ***** ***** *****, Timeline, *****). In 1947, penicillin is found to cure syphilis, but the men ***** not *****fered penicillin and the study continues, despite ethical concerns, until 1972. ***** 1973, Congress held hearings about the study and the study participants filed a class-action lawsuit, which was settled in 1974 for $10 million. (***** for Disease Control ***** Prevention, Timeline, 2008).

Patient consent

Obviously, the major ethical problem with the experi*****t is that ***** patients were not given sufficient information to give their informed consent to participate in the *****. In the age of *****, it may seem impossible ***** understand ***** depth of the ignorance the study participants had about their ***** and about the appropriate treatments:

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


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