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


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Conflict between Research and Ethics: The Tuskegee Syphilis Study

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The 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-breaking advances in the treatment of syphilis, but because ***** study was conducted on human participants who had not given informed c*****sent, and resulted in needless pain and suffering for ***** ***** those subjects. While it is commonly believed ***** the U.S. government infected the test subjects 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, ***** led them to believe that they were getting treatment, when they actually were *****.

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

***** consent

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

These men, for the most part illiterate sharecroppers from one ***** ***** poorest counties ***** Alabama,

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