I am conducting a survey for my Human Behavior II class and would greatly appreciate your participation. It is completely anonymous!
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Thursday, February 14, 2013
If you receved this blog posit in your email, please visit my blog or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCYdI2b_9Vs to watch the Deadly Deception documentary.
The Deadly Deception is an insightful documentary about the controversial Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male conducted for 40 years on poor African American men in Macon County, Alabama. During the 1920s, 300,000 individuals fell victim to syphilis every year and experienced symptoms of pain, fever, and rashes in the early stages and blindness, arthritis, heart disease, dementia, and even death in the late stages if untreated. Determined to stop the further spreading of this disease by treating and curing it, the U.S. Public Health Service authorized six treatment projects, performed by government doctors, in predominantly poor African American infected communities. After unexpectedly exhausting government funds, five of the projects in effect came to a halt while the sixth altered shape completely, changing the purpose to solely studying syphilis, the method to withholding treatment, and the participants’ status into “experimental subjects” without informed consent.
The U.S. Public Health Service wanted to attain some benefit from the program so they strived to test the theory that there are essential genetic differences among the races as well as the belief that the syphilis disease in blacks was not deadly by determining whether the syphilis disease was the same disease in both whites and blacks. In Macon County, test results revealed an alarming 35 percent syphilis infection rate among the black population. Furthermore, the study uncovered that the disease creates the same symptoms for both races which confounded the medical world and motivated a long open-ended continuation of the study. From this moment on, the 400 men of Macon County under study were deceived and it was not until another long 39 years that the truth was unveiled. These men were deceived by their government, church, school (Tuskegee Institute), and employers who took advantage of their social locations in addition to their child-like trust in and respect for honorable authority and institutions. From the promise of care and free treatment in addition to the diligent strive of the U.S Public Health Service to help these men, they assumed that the government had their best interest in mind and truly wanted to treat them. The men in this study were racially, socially, physically, and medically at a disadvantage and were not ones to question motives or merits or speak up for themselves.
Concealed truths behind the experiment include unconcern for the men of study; the true nature of the experiment, its open-endedness, its dangers, and their illness; that “bad blood” really meant infection with the syphilis disease; and that the criteria to which these men were chosen was based on prejudice, racism, and social and economic disadvantage. The men of Macon County were not told the true nature of the experiment because the U.S. Public Health Service wanted to break new scientific ground with this disease and felt that (1) telling would interfere with the study by subjects not agreeing to participate and (2) would only bring negative attention, perceptions, and consequences toward them. The U.S. Public Health Service, however, had many occurrences which should have shed light on the unethicalness of this study such as the external and internal symptoms of infection; the 1936 findings that a significant amount of the subjects suffered from late syphilis, cardiovascular problems, and neurological problems; the U.S. Public Health Service campaign launch to combat syphilis and issue of informed consent guidelines; the passing of the National Venereal Disease Control Act; the effectiveness of penicillin in treating syphilis; the evidence that some of the men were dying from late syphilis; the Nürnberg horrors and trial; the civil rights movement; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel convention.
The ultimate finding of the Tuskegee Study corroborated existing data about the natural and deadly course of syphilis and detected negative results for differing forms of the disease among the races. The main idea behind this movie is to display the importance of ethics in social research as well as keeping personal values, biases, and agendas out of social research. I find this experiment wrong on the same grounds as Attorney Fred Gray did wherein the U.S. Public Health Service violated the rights of the men in this study. They had the right to know that there was a study, what “bad blood” actually meant and its full symptoms, and that they were not receiving treatment and should have been given the ultimate decision as to whether or not they wanted to participate. This experiment not only had consequences for the men in the study but also for the greater society. It is a profound example of medical misconduct; demonstrates why so many people distrust doctors, the government, institutions, and white Americans; and proves how prejudice, discrimination, hatred, and oppression can negatively affect medicine, science, and research.
Winchester, Tonya. University of North Texas. February 2012.
February 16, 2013 - McKinney YMCA MyChallenge at 12:00 pm located at 300 Ridge Road, McKinney, TX 75070 to at-risk teenagers.