Moral Code Of Tuskegee Syphilis

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Throughout mankind’s history, men have tried many different ways to fight off the things that have hindered progress or taken lives. This is especially true with disease, which is very much still being researched. However, in more recent times, we have created a system of morals necessary in providing physical health care to patients, and this has revealed some problems with how certain treatments are done. A prime example of a treatment/series of treatments that was not within this moral code was the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, which violated several of these moral statutes. In this paper, we will see what the study was and the implications it has on today’s society. The study’s proclaimed original intention was to test how Syphilis affected …show more content…
In order to do this, Dr. Raymond Vonderlehr was chosen by the U.S Public Health Service (henceforth the PHS), which was being sponsored by the government at the time, to start the field work for the experiment in 1932, telling disadvantaged/poor African-Americans in Tuskegee that the PHS was offering free diagnoses and treatments for syphilis for them (Fourtner, Fourtner, Herreid). In the beginning, this was true, the patients were treated with the most common treatments that were available at the time, but to such a small degree that only about 3% of those treated actually improved (Brunner). However, as time went on this statement became less and less true, claiming to treat the patients all the while, eventually just giving them “pink medicine,” or Aspirin for their …show more content…
When Penicillin was discovered to be a perfect cure for Syphilis, the Tuskegee Study refused to give its patients the medication, claiming that there was still research to be done. Some doctors even publicly (and rather arrogantly) boasted about how they prevented patients they knew were positive from receiving treatment (Brunner). This study continued regardless of its inhumane practices and development of medical moral code, ending with over 90% of the original population studied dead, until 40 years after its start, in 1972, when Jean Heller from the Washington Star published an exposing article about the study. The public was appalled at what they read, comparing this experiment to those the Nazis did to their prisoners. The PHS retaliated by rebuking that comparison, claiming that it was for the “greater good” of science, but due to the fact that the “scientific knowledge” that was obtained was sketchy at best, this excuse didn’t hold, and the entire project was shut down in a matter of weeks

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