The Tuskegee research was confidentially carried out by America’s U.S. Public Health Service to determine syphilis’ progression. Brown (2020) explains that four hundred black men who had the disease and two hundred others without were recruited to participate in the exercise carried out in 1932. The analysts convinced the participants that the study would treat bad blood and offered to give them free food, physicals, and burial insurance.
The experiment was unethical because the researchers conducted it without the participants’ consent. Harper et al. (2018) state that the truth could help the men to decide whether participate or not. These males were not provided with the appropriate treatment after the analysts proved that the penicillin antibiotic could improve their medical condition in 1943 (Barrett, 2019). The researchers watched as the men became weak and examined their bodies for the disease’s ravages after death. This happened after extending the analysis from the initial six months to forty years.
The ethical issues raised about the study included the harm caused to the participants. Alsan et al. (2020) expound that the researchers targeted the less fortunate African Americans. The family members of the participants who lost their lives were adversely affected. The analysts did not tell the truth and intentionally harmed people by enticing them (Barrett, 2019). Therefore, they took advantage of the participants’ living standards and social classes.
In conclusion, the Tuskegee study adversely affected the participants and their families. The research was unethical because the analysts intentionally harmed and caused death to the men. Although penicillin would be used as an antibiotic to cure the participants, the analysts did not administer it but focused on examining their dead bodies. The analysts concealed the actual experiment but convinced the participants that they had bad blood.
Alsan, M., Wanamaker, M., & Hardeman, R. R. (2020). The Tuskegee Study of untreated syphilis: a case study in peripheral trauma with implications for health professionals. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 35(1), 322-325.
Barrett, L. A. (2019). Tuskegee syphilis study of 1932–1973 and the rise of bioethics as shown through government documents and actions. Documents to the People, 47(4), 11-16.
Brown, D. N. L. (2020). ‘You’ve got bad blood’: The horror of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment. The Washington Post.
Harper, L., Herbst, K. W., & Kalfa, N. (2018). Ethical issues in research: Human and animal experimentation. Journal of Pediatric Urology, 14(3), 287-288.