Posts Tagged ‘Tuskegee’

US apologizes for infecting Guatemalans with STDs in the 1940s

By CNN, 2010

The United States apologized Friday for a 1946-1948 research study in which people in Guatemala were intentionally infected with sexually transmitted diseases.

A statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called the action “reprehensible.”

“We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologize to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices,” the joint statement said. “The conduct exhibited during the study does not represent the values of the United States, or our commitment to human dignity and great respect for the people of Guatemala.” (more…)

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Julius Rosenwald and Booker T Washington

Rosenwald and the Tuskegee Experiments

Begun in 1909 and published in 1928, the Oslo study reported on the natural history of untreated syphilis in a group of white males.  The racist assumptions then prevalent in American medicine biased physicians to assume that the disease would probably follow a different course in African-American males.  Hence white scientists saw value in replicating such a study among Black people in the U.S.

Macon County, east of Montgomery, was part of the “black belt” of Alabama so-called because of the rich dark soil.  It was home to the Tuskegee Institute, the foremost black college in the nation, run by Booker T. Washington. The county had few towns and was primarily populated by poor farmers, 90% of them African American.  In the 1930s it was severely depressed economically; and as in all of the South, public facilities were rigidly segregated.  The state spent $65 annually for each white student in the county schools, but only $7 for each black student.  The county had few doctors and only two hospitals, one of which, John Andrew Hospital, was on the grounds of the Tuskegee Institute and was primarily intended for Institute staff and students, even though it also served as the major source of medical care for much of the black community. (more…)

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Tuskegee Experiment aThe Tuskegee Experiment

From A Free Essay [Edited]

In 1932, in the area surrounding Tuskegee, Macon County, Alabama, the United States Public Health Service (PHS) and the Rosenwald Foundation began a survey and small treatment program for African-Americans infected with syphilis. The deepening depression, the lack of funds from the foundation, and the large number of untreated cases provided the government’s researchers with what seemed to be an unprecedented opportunity to study a seemingly almost “natural” experimentation of latent syphilis in African-American men.

What had begun as a “treatment” program thus was converted by the PHS researchers, under the imprimatur of the Surgeon General and with knowledge and consent of the President of Tuskegee Institute, the medical director of the Institute’s John A. Andrew Hospital, and the Macon County public (more…)

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Tuskegee Experiment 4Tuskegee Lessons

“We were treated unhuman at all times. Nobody knows what we went through except those of us who are living participants right today.” Herman Shaw

Dr. Vanessa Northington Gamble, a physician and medical historian, chaired the presidential committee on the legacy of Tuskegee that secured an apology from the government. She writes this commentary to mark the 30th anniversary of the news reports that unmasked the study:

I was there when President Clinton said the words, “I am sorry.” Tears streamed down the faces of many black people in the audience. I heard people sobbing. The pain inflicted by the syphilis study was not limited to the citizens in and around Tuskegee. For many African Americans, the fact that the Tuskegee study occurred at all proves their lives are not valued in America. (more…)

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Tuskegee Experiment Remembering Tuskegee

[Forty years ago] the Washington Evening Star newspaper ran this headline on its front page: “Syphilis Patients Died Untreated.” With those words, one of America’s most notorious medical studies, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, became public.

“For 40 years, the U.S. Public Health Service has conducted a study in which human guinea pigs, not given proper treatment, have died of syphilis and its side effects,” Associated Press reporter Jean Heller wrote on July 25, 1972. “The study was conducted to determine from autopsies what the disease does to the human body.”

The next morning, every major U.S. newspaper was running Heller’s story. For Morning Edition, NPR’s Alex Chadwick reports on how the Tuskegee experiment was discovered after 40 years of silence. (more…)

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Tuskegee Experiment 3The Tuskegee Timeline

In 1932, the Public Health Service, working with the Tuskegee Institute, began a study to record the [progressive stages] of syphilis in [African Americans]. It was called the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male.”

The study initially involved 600 black men – 399 [injected] with syphilis [and] 201 who did not have the disease.  The study was conducted without the benefit of [the targeted victims’] informed consent.  Researchers told the men they were being treated for “bad blood,” a local term used to describe several ailments, including syphilis, anemia, and fatigue.  In truth, they did not receive the proper treatment needed to cure the illness. In exchange for taking part in the study, the men received free medical exams, free meals, and burial insurance.  Although originally projected to last 6 months, the study actually went on for 40 years. (more…)

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Tuskegee Experiment Final Report Tuskegee Syphilis Study Legacy Committee

In 1932, the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) initiated the Tuskegee Syphilis Study to document the [progressive stages] of syphilis. The subjects of the investigation were 399 poor [African American] sharecroppers from Macon County, Alabama, [injected with] syphilis and 201 men without the disease who served as controls.

The physicians conducting the [unethical experiment] deceived the men, telling them that they were being treated for “bad blood.”2 However, they deliberately denied treatment to the men [injected with] with syphilis and they went to extreme lengths to ensure that they would not receive (more…)

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