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A Historical Research Study That Failed to Protect Human Subjects

Modern researchers make considerable efforts to comply with basic ethical guidelines when implementing their studies. For instance, the Belmont Report released in 1979 highlights the major principles of conducting a study (autonomy, beneficence, and justice) (Forister & Blessing, 2016). However, ethical concerns were often neglected in the past. One of the most notorious recorded studies of the twentieth century was the Tuskegee Syphilis Study of 1932–1973 (Barrett, 2019). Notably, this study was one of the causes of the release of the Belmont Report. The study was held in Macon, Alabama, and it started in 1932. The location was chosen due to a high incidence of syphilis. The aim of the study was to explore the manifestation of syphilis in African American males as it was believed that the course of the disease was different in white males. Initially, it was planned to monitor the participants’ health conditions during six months. Eventually, the study was terminated in 1973, as it was postponed during the first part of the twentieth century since the benefits of the research were thought to outweigh the associated harm.

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The participants’ rights were violated as they were not told about the focus of the research and the fact that they did not receive any treatment in fact. The participants often did not know whether they had syphilis or not, which led to many other people being infected. As a result, the participants and those they infected suffered great pain as they were not treated. They had to endure pain and other adverse effects related to the disease for decades until their death. The participants had no right to withdraw from the study, and those who did move to other places still had no proper care as they were recorded as the participants of the study.

References

Barrett, L. A. (2019). Tuskegee Syphilis Study of 1932–1973 and the rise of bioethics as shown through government documents and actions. DttP: Documents to the People, 47(4), 11-16. Web.

Forister, J. G., & Blessing, J. D. (2016). Introduction to research and medical literature for health professionals (4th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

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StudyCorgi. "A Historical Research Study That Failed to Protect Human Subjects." September 24, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/a-historical-research-study-that-failed-to-protect-human-subjects/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "A Historical Research Study That Failed to Protect Human Subjects." September 24, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/a-historical-research-study-that-failed-to-protect-human-subjects/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'A Historical Research Study That Failed to Protect Human Subjects'. 24 September.

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