Plutonium-Laughter: The Pros And Cons Of Medical Experiments

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The new standards stated that three requirements had to be satisfied: (1) “the voluntary consent of the person on whom the experiment is to be performed,” (2) “the danger of each experiment must be previously investigated by animal experimentation,” and (3) “the experiment must be performed under proper medical protection and management” (Washington, 2006, p. 221). These standards were violated when doctors injected Elmer Allen, a black man who had escaped the South and made a good life for himself and his family in Chicago, with plutonium-238 (Washington, 2006). Plutonium-238 is an even more intensely radioactive isotope than plutonium-239, which was given to most of the other patients (Washington, 2006). Allen suffered a similar experience…show more content…
It really started to experience critical change in the mid 1960s (Rothman, 1991). Specifically, medical secrecy from physician to patient was slowly being cut off (Rothman, 1991). Sir Prescott Hewett once said, “It was not sufficient for a surgeon to be honest, he must be chivalrous” (Carter, 1900, p. 23). Everything now that physicians have to do has to be examined by an institutional review board (IRB) to make sure that that the potential benefits to the subject or patient outweighed the risks, and no self-calculated scale of these risks to benefits was made (Rothman, 1991). Our ethical medical problems craved attention. Once the issues of human experimentation without consent, and often even with no defined outcome goal got a taste of the spotlight, the conditions under which medicine would be practiced started to change for the better (Rothman, 1991). The decisions made by the physicians began to improve and become monitored, and everything was becoming much more professional and official (Rothman, 1991). Physicians started to understand the terrible positions and conditions to which they had submitted the black slaves and the Jewish…show more content…
15). Henry Beecher was a big part in promoting the movement that brought along a new set of rules and players to medical decision making (Rothman, 1991). His article, “Ethics and Clinical Research” exposed the horror and dangers of the human medical experimentations that had ocurred in our world’s history (Rothman, 1991, p. 15). His use of twenty-two different examples allowed for his article to explain a variety of problems that were going on, even though his article was fairly short (Rothman, 1991). This one man’s movement towards morality in medical research is what this world needed, yet many people were highly opposed to his article and research, saying that he “grossly exaggerated the problem” (Rothman, 1991, p. 17). People against his research would say that he had no right to say these things because the people that he would single out in his articles were pioneers and were working before standards were set for human research (Rothman, 1991). This exactly states the problem as to what bioethicists and Beecher were trying to fix, which was the lack of thought and care for putting a human being through potential pain and torture without their knowledge and consent. Researchers will no longer be allowed to be the martyrs of thousands of innocent people in the name of unethical and non consensual scientific experimentation (Rothman,

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