Ethics in Research

Ethics in Research - Ethics in Research: The Tuskegee...

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Ethics in Research: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment Jessica Ogg-Psychology 101-004 “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 citizens…” -President Clinton's apology for the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment to the eight remaining survivors, May 16, 1997 For forty years, between 1932 and 1972, the U.S. Public Health Service conducted an experiment on 399 black men (and 201 men, who did not have syphilis, acting as a control group) in the late stages of syphilis. Named “The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male”, it was conducted in Tuskegee, Alabama and became so famous because of the harsh unethical treatment of its subjects. The initial aim of the study was “to test whether syphilis caused cardiovascular damage more often than neurological damage and to determine if the natural course of syphilis in black men was significantly different from that in whites” and was intended to only last 6 to 9 months (Britannica Online Encyclopedia). Also by conducting this study, they hoped to raise the consciousness of the public to the problem with syphilis. But what actually happened during this study can only be described as one of the worst performances of human research studies in American history. Everyone involved with this study, besides the subjects themselves, all started out with good intentions when beginning the research. To them, it seemed like a well- established, ethical, and beneficial study to conduct. But quickly, it turned out to be just the opposite. The true nature of the experiment had to be kept from the subjects to ensure their cooperation. They were never even told what illness they had, just that they had “bad blood”. To ensure that the subjects would stay in the study, that they were not even
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aware of, they would offer them free “medical care”, free rides to the treatment centers, and free meals on days of the “free medical care”. As said earlier, the goal of the
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course PSYC 101 taught by Professor Mccreary during the Fall '07 term at VCU.

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Ethics in Research - Ethics in Research: The Tuskegee...

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