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Wellesley Professor Unearths a Horror: 1940's U.S. Medical (Syphilis) Experiments in Guatemala

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Panaconda Donating Member (672 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-02-10 12:08 PM
Original message
Wellesley Professor Unearths a Horror: 1940's U.S. Medical (Syphilis) Experiments in Guatemala
US medical tests in Guatemala 'crime against humanity'
BBC

October 2, 2010

US testing that infected hundreds of Guatemalans with gonorrhoea and syphilis more than 60 years ago was a "crime against humanity", Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom has said.

President Barack Obama has apologised for the medical tests, in which mentally ill patients and prisoners were infected without their consent.

...

Unaware


The study by Prof Reverby shows that US government medical researchers infected almost 700 people in Guatemala with two sexually transmitted diseases.

The patients - prisoners and people suffering mental health problems - were unaware they were being experimented upon.

The doctors used prostitutes with syphilis to infect them, or inoculation, as they tried to determine whether penicillin could prevent syphilis, not just cure it.

...

www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11457552

Wellesley professor unearths a horror: Syphilis experiments in Guatemala
US apologizes for performing unethical study in 1940s

By Stephen Smith
Globe Staff / October 2, 2010


Susan M. Reverby discovered the work while doing research. (Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff)

Picking through musty files in a Pennsylvania archive, a Wellesley College professor made a heart-stopping discovery: US government scientists in the 1940s deliberately infected hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis and gonorrhea in experiments conducted without the subjects permission.

Medical historian Susan M. Reverby happened upon the documents four or five years ago while researching the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study and later shared her findings with US government officials.

The unethical research was not publicly disclosed until yesterday, when President Obama and two Cabinet secretaries apologized to Guatemalas government and people and pledged to never repeat the mistakes of the past an era when it was not uncommon for doctors to experiment on patients without their consent.

Even so, Reverby found in the files a story of almost singular exploitation and deception, conducted in a foreign land because, the nations surgeon general at the time acknowledged, it could not have been done in the United States.

I was just completely blown away, Reverby said in an interview. I was floored.

...

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles... /

Normal Exposure and Inoculation Syphilis: A PHS Tuskegee Doctor in Guatemala, 1946-48 (Full Text):
www.wellesley.edu/WomenSt/Reverby%20Normal%20Exposure.p...
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stray cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-02-10 12:10 PM
Response to Original message
1. We should encourage and fund faculty research in universities
Edited on Sat Oct-02-10 12:11 PM by stray cat
there is a push to do away with it and only pay for teaching a class
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Cassandra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-02-10 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Since Wellesley is a college..
not a university (and my alma mater) there are no grad students to teach on the cheap.
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-02-10 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. The up side would be that the lab assistants would not become so emotionally attached..
To the experimental subjects..

:evilgrin:
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Panaconda Donating Member (672 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-02-10 12:13 PM
Response to Original message
2. Someone rated this down
How can anyone rate down an empirical study?

Nasty business this unrec agenda thang.
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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-02-10 12:43 PM
Response to Original message
4. recommend.
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Angry Dragon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-02-10 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
5. "it could not have been done in the United States"
I would say that much testing was and is done in this country without consent

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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-02-10 01:09 PM
Response to Original message
7. That and more were done in the United States itself.
Edited on Sat Oct-02-10 01:09 PM by Octafish
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Bluebear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-02-10 01:11 PM
Response to Original message
8. Probably the tip of an iceberg too nt
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Panaconda Donating Member (672 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-02-10 07:43 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. NY Times story that mentions other experiments
...

Dr. Cutler would later join the study in Tuskegee, Ala., which had begun relatively innocuously in 1932 as an observation of how syphilis progressed in black male sharecroppers. In 1972, it was revealed that, even when early antibiotics were invented, doctors hid that fact from the men in order to keep studying them. Dr. Cutler, who died in 2003, defended the Tuskegee experiment in a 1993 documentary.

...

Dr. Mark Siegler, director of the Maclean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicagos medical school, said he was stunned. This is shocking, Dr. Siegler said. This is much worse than Tuskegee at least those men were infected by natural means.

He added: Its ironic no, its worse than that, its appalling that, at the same time as the United States was prosecuting Nazi doctors for crimes against humanity, the U.S. government was supporting research that placed human subjects at enormous risk.

...

The Tuskegee scandal and the hearings into it conducted by Senator Edward M. Kennedy became the basis for the 1981 American laws governing research on human subjects, Dr. Siegler said. It was preceded by other domestic scandals. From 1963 to 1966, researchers at the Willowbrook State School on Staten Island infected retarded children with hepatitis to test gamma globulin against it. And in 1963, elderly patients at the Brooklyn Jewish Chronic Disease Hospital were injected with live cancer cells to see if they caused tumors.

...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/02/health/research/02inf...
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sonomak Donating Member (147 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-02-10 01:12 PM
Response to Original message
9. Obituary: John Charles Cutler / Pioneer in preventing sexual diseases
http://www.post-gazette.com/obituaries/20030212cutler02...

Obituary: John Charles Cutler / Pioneer in preventing sexual diseases
Wednesday, February 12, 2003
By Jan Ackerman, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Long before AIDS became an international health problem, Dr. John Charles Cutler led the way in trying to prevent and control sexually transmitted diseases around the world....
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aikoaiko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-02-10 08:54 PM
Response to Original message
11. Tuskeegee raised to the tenth power.

Terrible. Just terrible.
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Panaconda Donating Member (672 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-03-10 10:41 AM
Response to Original message
12. Words Inadequate to Describe U.S. Bio-Crime In Guatemala
Siglo Vientiuno, Guatemala

Words Inadequate to Describe U.S. Bio-Crime In Guatemala

"Although the facts of the case arose 64 years ago, the dignity of the Guatemalan people has been stained and their honor trampled upon. This is not likely to be remedied, despite all of the joint committees for uncovering what happened."

EDITORIAL
Translated By Miguel Gutierrez

October 2, 2010

Guatemala - Siglo Vientiuno

There seems to be no proper epithet to describe the experiments that the United States, between 1946 and 1948, performed on 1,500 Guatemalans, who were infected with injections of syphilis and gonorrhea without their consent.

Perhaps the adjective "crime against humanity," utilized by President Alvaro Colom when asked for his opinion on the subject, barely touches on the seriousness, albeit still imprecisely, of such aberrant facts as the U.S. revealed yesterday

The results of a study on what had been done by her compatriots came to light this year, when Professor Susan Reverby of Wellesley College uncovered archival documents that commented on the experiment conducted by the once embattled U.S. doctor of public health, John Cutler.



...

http://worldmeets.us/sigloveintiuno000007.shtml#axzz11I...

Original in Spanish here:
http://www.sigloxxi.com/opinion.php?edicion=20101002
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