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Closure for victims of Tuskegee Experiment?

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posted on Mar, 15 2011 @ 09:34 PM

A class action lawsuit on behalf of about 700 Guatemalans who were subjected to syphilis experiments by American doctors in the 1940s will be filed against the U.S. government in three days unless reparations of some kind are made to their families, plaintiffs attorneys said Tuesday.

The Obama administration apologized last October for U.S. government doctors infecting Guatemalans with the syphilis virus from 1946 to 1948 to study how the sexually transmitted disease is passed and whether penicillin treatment was effective. The experiments came to light in 2009 through research by historian Susan Reverby, a professor of women and gender studies at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

The doctor who led the Guatemalan experiments was John C. Cutler, who also helped coordinate the infamous Tuskegee, Alabama, study where 600 black men with syphilis were left untreated for decades starting in 1932 to follow the course of the treatable disease.

In Guatemala, Cutler contacted orphanages, prisons and mental hospitals and cajoled them with medical supplies to allow the experiments, according to the plaintiffs lawyers.

Doctors were interested in how the disease was transmitted. One method was to have an infected prostitute sleep with prisoners, lawyers said.

"This was not just a shot in the arm," Hendricks said. "The ugliest thing about this is that they targeted people who were the most defenseless."

Cutler moved his experiments to Guatemala because there would not be the same level of oversight as in the U.S., the threatened lawsuit stated. Unlike the Tuskegee study, which involved people already infected with syphilis, Guatemalans were intentionally exposed to the disease.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologized last October to Guatemala, the survivors and their descendants, calling the experiments "clearly unethical."

Additionally disturbing was that the experiments in Guatemala were performed at the same time as the Nuremberg trials, which documented atrocities done by the Nazis in the name of medical science during World War II, Hendricks said.

"It's very disturbing. It's not just a wrong recognized in hindsight," she said. "They knew at the time that you cannot engage in nonconsensual human experimentation like this."

Click here to read the article.

Closure is difficult when most of the victims have probably passed away, but it's important for us to remember this for 2 reasons:

1.) To realize that our government has and is willing to test potentially lethal viruses on its population.

2.) Understand the truth so that we do not repeat the past.

This is a page in the history books TPTB would surely love to leave out.

posted on Mar, 15 2011 @ 09:51 PM
reply to post by v1rtu0s0

I just did a term paper on the Alabama Tuskegee syphilis experiments. The studies were done without consent and treatment denied (penicillin would have cured the infected) to see the outcome of untreated syphilis. The doctors, researchers and public health officials said nothing. Some of the nurses and officials were African-American.

For participating in the study, the men were given free medical care, meals, and free burial insurance. They were never told they had syphilis, nor were they ever treated for it. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the men were told they were being treated for "bad blood," a local term used to describe several illnesses, including syphilis, anemia and fatigue.

By the end of the study in 1972, only 74 of the test subjects were alive. Of the original 399 men, 28 had died of syphilis, 100 were dead of related complications, 40 of their wives had been infected and 19 of their children were born with congenital syphilis

The study was done because African American's were deemed to be different than whites. The doctors saw the patients as promiscuous, animalistic, and incapable of higher reasoning and thinking. President Clinton finally apologized....but all the afflicted only received 9 million to split amongst all of them, and free medical care for the duration of their lives. This was a criminal settlement.
Where were the attorneys? If the patients had been white this would have been a billion dollar settlement.

In October 2010 it was revealed that in Guatemala, the project went even further. It was reported that from 1946 to 1948, American doctors deliberately infected prisoners, soldiers, and patients in a mental hospital with syphilis and, in some cases, gonorrhea, with the cooperation of some Guatemalan health ministries and officials. A total of 696 men and women were exposed to syphilis without the informed consent of the subjects. When the subjects contracted the disease they were given antibiotics though it is unclear if all infected parties were cured.

Let's hope the Guatemalans receive better compensation than the African Americans did.

posted on Mar, 15 2011 @ 10:03 PM
I disagree, no matter what the size of $$$ sign they attach to the value of these peoples lives or lack thereof.
It is still not enough.
Those guilty will never be punished and those who are were victims will never get back what is lost.
I truly do not see any closure in some legal document.
Only at the end of a rope or a blade will there ever be true closure.


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