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 the study is so widely known is not because it led to ground-breaking advances in the treatment of syphilis, but because ***** ***** was conducted on human participants who had not given informed c*****sent, ***** resulted in needless pain and suffering for most of those subjects. While it is commonly believed that the U.S. government infected the test subjects w*****h syphilis, that belief is untrue. On the contrary, the government enlisted ill men in the study, did not identify the nature of *****ir disease, and led them to believe that they were gett*****g treatment, *****en they actually ***** not.

***** it is tempting ***** completely condemn the ***** syphilis ***** as an example ***** American racism, that would be a simplistic explanation of how the study occurred. In fact, the ***** began as an effort to justify treatment of syphilis in blacks. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Home, 2008). In 1926, syphilis was identified as a major health concern, impacting 35 percent of ***** reproductive-aged population. (Centers ***** Disease ***** and *****, Timeline, *****). However, there ***** no antibiotic ***** developed for syphilis; on the contrary, in 1929 the government *****stitutes 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 ***** ***** treatment could be toxic, even fatal. (Centers 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 *****. *****, the researchers decide to follow the men's health to demonst***** ***** untreated syphil***** creates serious ***** problems, to s***** that the ***** is necessary. By 19*****, the researchers were able to publish the first ***** paper about the ***** of untreated syphilis. In *****36, ***** researchers decide to follow the men ***** life ***** ask ***** doc*****rs in the community to jo***** with them in preventing the men from receiving treat*****t. (Centers for Disease ***** and *****, Timeline, *****). In 1947, penic*****in is found to cure *****, but the men are not *****fered penicillin ***** the study continues, despite ethical concerns, until 1972. ***** 1973, Congress held hearings about ***** study and the study participants filed a class-action lawsuit, which was settled in 1974 for $10 million. (***** for Disease Control ***** Prevention, *****, 2008).

***** consent

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

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

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