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admin On October - 20 - 2010

medical officials Tuskegee syphilis experiment

With a soar arm and flu like symptoms I feel somewhat lucky for having survived my latest encounter with the field of medicine. With a trip to Egypt planned and my nagging rationalization that contracting an incurable blood disorder would somehow ruin the adventure I plunged deep into the world of a Travel Health Clinic. Offering up my arm for an assault of inoculations I accepted the doctor in front of me as the ‘authority’ over the matter, trusting in his judgement and in the overarching aims of his profession, to do no harm. As the needle punctured my skin I couldn’t help but think of the many examples we have in history where this blind faith in the medical system has so drastically failed the very patients that trusted in it. Quite recently president Obama offered up an apology for the close to 700 Guatemalans who American medical professionals infected with gonorrhoea and syphilis. These experiments occurred over 60 years ago when American doctors infected prisoners and the mentally ill without their knowledge or consent, it is still unclear whether or not treatment was offered. These experiences echo the occurrence of the Tuskegee experiment where the U.S. Public Health Service infected African American males with syphilis between 1932 and 1972 in Tuskegee, Alabama. In both cases it is those most vulnerable whose rights are abused and the larger aims of the field of medicine, such as finding a cure, override the interests of the individual. You would think that these dark spots on the scan of our western medical history would have occurred in seedy contexts with medical professionals who exuded the kind of evil you would expect when inflecting a painful disease on an unknowing victim. But the reality is that there was a firm belief in these sorts of experiments, as the process of infecting for medical testing was seen as key to finding treatment options and potentially a cure. This can be seen in the Tuskegee experiment depicted bellow, smiling doctors and nurses, willing patients and transactions that look more like a free medical clinic then some of the darkest days in medical history. The fact that these moments of ill judgement look so benign is a warning call to all our ethical standards as the line of inflicting harm to humanity can happen on a sunny day with smiling faces and cordial gestures.

Tuskegee syphilis experiment man injectedletter Tuskegee syphilis experiment

participant Tuskegee syphilis experimenttwo men Tuskegee syphilis experiment

injecting man's arm Tuskegee syphilis experimentafrican american man Tuskegee syphilis experiment

participants Tuskegee syphilis experimentnurse Tuskegee syphilis experiment

18865 001 a Smiling doctors, inoculated with infecting patientsmedicalinjection african american man Tuskegee syphilis experiment

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participant Tuskegee syphilis experiment

Smiling doctors, inoculated with infecting patients

With a soar arm and flu like symptoms I feel somewhat lucky for having survived my latest encounter with the field of medicine. With a trip to Egypt planned and my nagging rationalization that contracting an incurable blood disorder would somehow ruin the adventure I plunged deep into the world of a Travel Health Clinic. Offering […]

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