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Ethical Issues of Race in Medical Research. The Case of Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment - Essay Example

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Ethical Issues of Race in Medical Research. The Case of Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

The southern part of America, specifically Macon County in Alabama was picked as the venue for this experiment, as most amount of syphilitic patients were found in that area. Also the place had high rates of illiteracy, and was deprived for medical care. Thus it was considered a suitable place, where the innocent people were made part of the experiment, and were assured that they will be cured. (TUSKEGEE SYPHILIS STUDY) The Tuskegee experiment was not successful at all. Numerous people died, while others became blind or insane. Children of many victims were also born with congenital syphilis. Proper treatment and cure was available but was withheld from the patients. (Racism and Research: The Case of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study by Allan M. Brandt). To prevent proper syphilitic treatment from reaching the patients, a list of 256 men was given to the Selective Service Board. These men were excluded from the list of people receiving the syphilis cure. The fact that advantage was taken of the illiteracy of the African-Americans and their tendency to submit to the local authorities, became a widespread criticism of the Tuskegee experiment, and it was considered to be unethical and an example of racism in America. ...
government and well trained medical officers. The study was subjected to numerous ethical issues. The foremost being that the patients were not informed about the procedure. All they were told was that it was a free medical program being provided to them. All aspects of the research were not shared with the participants; in order to get their consent if they were ready to get involved or not. Thus, unfair advantage was taken of the illiterate African-American population in Alabama, who were mostly farmers and a free medical examination was highly appealing to them, as it was impossible for them to afford a visit to the doctor. The research team took full advantage of the severe socio-economic conditions in Alabama. Firstly, as the study was about the commonness of syphilis in the African-American community, the health authorities found Macon County in Alabama to have the highest syphilis rate among all areas that were surveyed. Thus, it was concluded that this study could be performed easily on the rural African-American population who would love the idea of free treatment. The theory was that these African-Americans either ways would not be given syphilis treatment, so why not just make them a part of the experiment. During the experiment, the authorities tried to lure the patients into continuing the treatment, and to also attract new ones. They were provided with minor medicines such as aspirin, and were kept under the belief that they were being given proper treatment. This was a significant part of the study, as it maintained the interest of the patients, as they thought that they were being cured. This feature also came off as a shocking ethical issue, at the dying stages of the experiment. (Racism and Research: The Case of the Tuskegee ...Show more

Summary

Ethical Issues of race in medical research: The case of Tuskegee syphilis experiment. The Tuskegee experiment was a study in which syphilis was left untreated. The development of syphilis was to be viewed, and it was to be determined if the victim could get better on his own, without any treatment or cure…
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