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

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Conflict between Research and Ethics: The Tuskegee Syphilis Study


The Tuskegee syphilis study is probably the most famous series of medical experiments in U.S. history. Unfortunately, the reason that the study 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, ***** 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 enlisted ill men in the study, did not identify the nature of their disease, ***** led them to believe ***** they were getting treatment, when they actually were *****.

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

Patient consent

*****, the major ***** problem with the experi*****t is ***** the patients were ***** given sufficient information to give *****ir informed consent to participate in the *****. In the age of information, it may seem impossible to underst***** ***** depth ***** the ignorance the study participants had about their ***** and about the appropriate treatments:

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


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