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Grim Venereal Disease Tests on Humans 1946-1948 pd @ US Taxes. We don't seem to learn from history!!

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  • nechfamily@ameritech.net
    Tuskegee experiments on African Americans ;Nazi experiments on Jews ;& deadly experiments repeated on Guatemalan prisoners, soldiers and mental patients
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 31, 2011
      Tuskegee experiments on African Americans ;Nazi experiments on Jews ;& deadly experiments repeated on Guatemalan prisoners, soldiers and mental patients 1946-48, paid for by US Taxpayers.

      Perhaps if the US had Medicare for all, vigelence & ethical standards might increase @ a heightened respect for life; & a repetition of the atrocities of the past would be prevented.

      (Submitted by Fabian Necheles)

      Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Portside Moderator <moderator@...>
      Date: Wed, 31 Aug 2011 21:52:07
      To: <PORTSIDE@...>
      Reply-To: moderator@...
      Subject: Panel Hears Grim Details of Venereal Disease Tests

      Panel Hears Grim Details of Venereal Disease Tests

      By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.
      Published: August 30, 2011


      Gruesome details of American-run venereal disease
      experiments on Guatemalan prisoners, soldiers and mental
      patients in the years after World War II were revealed
      this week during hearings before a White House bioethics
      panel investigating the study's sordid history.
      Enlarge This Image

      From 1946 to 1948, American taxpayers, through the Public
      Health Service, paid for syphilis-infected Guatemalan
      prostitutes to have sex with prisoners. When some of the
      men failed to become infected through sex, the bacteria
      were poured into scrapes made on the penises or faces, or
      even injected by spinal puncture.

      About 5,500 Guatemalans were enrolled, about 1,300 of whom
      were deliberately infected with syphilis, gonorrhea or
      chancroid. At least 83 died, but it was not clear if the
      experiments killed them. About 700 were treated with
      antibiotics, records showed; it was not clear if some were
      never treated.

      The stated aim of the study was to see if penicillin could
      prevent infection after exposure. But the study's leaders
      changed explanations several times.

      "This was a very dark chapter in the history of medical
      research sponsored by the U.S. government," Amy Gutmann,
      the chairwoman of the bioethics panel and the president of
      the University of Pennsylvania, said in an interview.

      President Obama apologized to President Alvaro Colom of
      Guatemala for the experiments last year, after they were

      Since then, the panel, the Presidential Commission for the
      Study of Bioethical Issues, has studied 125,000 pages of
      documents and has sent investigators to Guatemala. While
      the panel will not make its final report until next month,
      details emerged in hearings on Monday and Tuesday.

      The most offensive case, said John Arras, a bioethicist at
      the University of Virginia and a panelist, was that of a
      mental patient named Berta.

      She was first deliberately infected with syphilis and,
      months later, given penicillin. After that, Dr. John C.
      Cutler of the Public Health Service, who led the
      experiments, described her as so unwell that she "appeared
      she was going to die." Nonetheless, he inserted pus from a
      male gonorrhea victim into her eyes, urethra and rectum.
      Four days later, infected in both eyes and bleeding from
      the urethra, she died.

      "I really do believe that a very rigorous judgment of
      moral blame can be lodged against some of these people,"
      Dr. Arras said.

      Also, several epileptic women at a Guatemalan home for the
      insane were injected with syphilis below the base of their
      skull. One was left paralyzed for two months by

      Dr. Cutler said he was testing a theory that the
      injections could cure epilepsy.

      Poor, handicapped or imprisoned Guatemalans were chosen
      because they were "available and powerless," said Anita L.
      Allen, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania's
      law school and a panelist.

      The panel's hearings also brought to light that a local
      doctor had invited the American researchers, and that
      Guatemalan military and health officials had initially
      approved the work. In 1947, an international conference on
      venereal diseases -- based on the experiments -- was held in
      Guatemala City, according to Dr. Rafael Espada, the vice
      president of Guatemala, in remarks quoted by the
      Guatemalan news media.

      Dr. Espada, a physician, is leading his country's inquiry
      into the matter and is expected to deliver his report in
      October. On Monday, he told Guatemalan reporters that five
      survivors, all in their 80s, had been found and would
      receive medical tests.

      Dr. Cutler's team took pains to keep its activities hidden
      from what one of the researchers described as "goody
      organizations that might raise a lot of smoke."

      Members of the bioethics commission recalled Nazi
      experiments on Jews and said that Dr. Cutler, who died in
      2003, must have known from the Nuremberg doctors' trials
      under way by 1946 that his work was unethical.

      Also, according to Dr. Gutmann, Dr. Cutler had read a
      brief article in The New York Times on April 27, 1947,
      about other syphilis researchers -- one of them from his
      own agency -- doing tests like his on rabbits. The article
      stated that it was "ethically impossible" for scientists
      to "shoot living syphilis germs into human bodies." His
      response, Dr. Gutmann said, was to order stricter secrecy
      about his work.

      Also, one commission member added, "Regardless what you
      think of the ethical issues, it was just bad science."

      The results were never published in medical journals,
      note-keeping was "haphazard at best" and routine protocols
      were not done.

      Elisabeth Malkin contributed reporting.

      forthe rest of this article, go to


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