AP English- I
May 3, 2012
The Tuskegee syphilis experiments are some of the most infamous medical experiments in United States’ history. It started out as a legitimate medical research program based in Macon County to study the progression of the syphilis disease. This medical study was brought about to help find a cure for syphilis. That is, until the 1940’s when a cure was found for syphilis. Instead of treating the patients that were under their “care”, the researchers did everything in their power to keep their subjects from receiving proper treatment. The experiments all started with the formation of the Public Health Service Syphilis Study in 1932. The study recruited around 600 impoverished African-Americans. Of these 600, 399 had contracted syphilis. The remaining 201 did not have the disease and were being used as a control. Of the original 399 with the disease, only 74 survived until the end of the experiment in 1972. Of the 329 who died only 28 died of syphilis and 100 died of complications pertaining to the experiments. As if that were not bad enough, the participants’ families were affected as well. A total of 40 wives were infected with the disease and 19 of their children contracted congenital syphilis. In 1972, all of this information came to light thanks to Peter Buxtun, a PHS venereal disease investigator from San Francisco known as the “whistleblower”, went to the press with his information. Unfortunately, and thankfully, the ethics and morals of the medical professionals associated with this experiment were exposed. Even though the experiment was a legitimate research project until the 1940’s, the doctors behind the experiment began lying to the participants before the experiment started. Instead of telling the patients what they were actually researching, the doctors told the men that they were being treated for “bad blood”. This is a term that...