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 ***** study is so widely known is not because it led to ground-breaking advances in the treatment of syphilis, but because the ***** was conducted on human participants who had ***** given informed c*****sent, ***** resulted in needless pain and suffering for most of those subjects. While ***** is commonly believed that ***** 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 ***** *****ir disease, and led them ***** believe ***** they were gett*****g treatment, when they actually ***** not.

***** it is tempting to completely condemn the ***** syphilis ***** as an example of American racism, that would be a simplistic explanation ***** how the study occurred. In fact, the ***** 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 ***** reproductive-aged population. (Centers ***** Dise*****e ***** and *****, Timeline, *****). However, there was no antibiotic ***** developed for syphilis; on the contrary, in 1929 ***** government ********** an aggressive treatment program using mercury ***** bismuth, but 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, *****, 2008). After the market crashes, ***** 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 demonst***** that untreated ***** creates serious ***** problems, to s***** that the treatment ***** necessary. By 1935, the ***** were able ***** publish the first major paper about the effects ***** untreated syphilis. In 1936, ***** researchers decide to follow the men ***** life ***** ask ***** doctors ***** the community to join with them in preventing the men from receiving *****. (Centers for Disease ***** and Prevention, Timeline, 2008). In 1947, penic*****in is found to cure syphilis, but the men ***** not offered penicillin ***** the study continues, despite ethical *****s, until 1972. ***** 1973, Congress held hearings about ***** study and the study ***** filed a class-action lawsuit, which ***** settled in 1974 for $10 million. (***** for ***** Control and Prevention, Timeline, 2008).

***** consent

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

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


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