This essay examines the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, wherein for 40 years (1932-1972) hundreds of black men suffering from advanced syphilis were studied but not treated. The 40-year study was controversial for reasons related to ethical standards; primarily because researchers knowingly failed to treat patients appropriately after the 1940s validation of penicillin as an effective cure for the disease they were studying. To explore the role of the racism in the controversial study, this essay analyzes the article written by Allan M. Brandt.| |
The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (also known as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study or Public Health Service Syphilis Study) was an infamous clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 in Tuskegee, Alabama by the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in poor, rural black men who thought they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government. Allan M. Brandt suggests, the Tuskegee study must be understood as a result of enduring American racism.
The Tuskegee Syphilis Study of untreated syphilis was one of the most horrible scandals in American medicine in the 20th century. For a period of forty years, doctors and public officials watched 400 men in Alabama die in a "scientific" experiment based on unethical methods that could produce no new information about syphilis. The subjects of the study were never told they were participating in an "experiment." Treatment that could have cured them was deliberately withheld, and many of the men were prevented from seeing physicians who could have helped them. As a result, many people died painful deaths, others became permanently blind or insane, and the children of several were born with congenital syphilis.
The Tuskegee Syphilis Study was an ethical injustice of medical care. An ethical injustice of medical care is a violation of moral principles that apply values...