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

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

***** consent

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

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


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