Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

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Medical studies today have many benefits — from research to observe diseases and conditions, to experiments to discover cures for deadly ailments — which ultimately aid the public’s health and well-being. However, not even a century ago, rules and protocol that helped run tests safely did not exist. The “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male” shaped the foundation of modern medical ethics that protect people involved in clinical trials today. The Tuskegee Experiment lasted for forty years, from 1932 to 1972 (“The Tuskegee Timeline”). Run by the United States Public Health Service (USPHS), the research took place at the Tuskegee Institute, while the subjects of the study were chosen from Macon County, Alabama (“About…show more content…
"The United States government did something that was wrong — deeply, profoundly, morally wrong. It was an outrage to our commitment to integrity and equality for all our citizens... clearly racist." Even before the speech was given, there was fierce public disapproval at the study. The trial was widely regarded as unethical and racist by both experts and the general public (Brookes and Paul e12). There was widespread cry that the Tuskegee study was outrageously immoral and cruel, even deceiving towards the victims. The HEW declared the study "ethically unjustified" (Heintzelman). There was strong public opinion not only at the time of the halt of the experiment, but afterwards, also. The Libertarian Party demanded that politicians and all people responsible for the experiment be prosecuted ("About the USPHS Syphilis Study"). Additionally, there was — and still is today — ample mistrust of the government and doctors by blacks even after the study…show more content…
The National Research Act was passed in 1974, declaring that any federally funded and proposed experiments involving human subjects must be approved by an Institutional Review Board for Human Participants, better known as IRBs (Heintzelman). Furthermore, the “Belmont Report: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research” was created in 1979 by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research (“About the USPHS Syphilis Study”). It defined fundamental principles and ethics when a research experiment was held, making sure that future participants of clinical trials would be protected by laws. Some principles included giving subjects the right to be informed of the procedures and also the ability to leave the experiment if they found no improvement in their condition. As the government rebuilt trust with the public, more studies — this time with grounded laws to safeguard subjects — began to pop up across the States, all beginning with a first stage of informed, voluntary
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