Essay The Controversy Surrounding The Syphilis Experiment

1281 Words Oct 26th, 2016 6 Pages
Many know of the controversy surrounding the syphilis experiment conducted in Tuskegee, Alabama by the U.S. Public Health Service at the Tuskegee Institute. During this experiment, African American males were withheld from getting treatment for syphilis. However, not many people know about the controversy surrounding Dr. J. Marion Sims, the “Father of Gynecology.” Sims is greatly known for perfecting a surgery to cure vesicovaginal fistula (VVF). Vesicovaginal fistula is a tear that extends from the bladder to the vagina which is caused by obstructed labor. During the time period of 1845 to 1849, Sims used female slaves to experiment by performing multiple surgeries (up to 30 surgeries on a female slave) without anesthesia, as there was a belief that African American women could “tolerate” pain better than their White counterparts. In a time where anything related to a woman’s body was considered greatly private, these female slaves had to endure these experimental surgeries as multiple male doctors watched. When our health system is supposed to treat and cure patients, these events are examples of when our health system have failed to do its purpose and have even inflicted pain and suffering to the African American community. It is no mystery as to why African American females, and even the African American population in the United States, often look at our health system with mistrust and wariness as historical events and even present day events show that racism and…

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