Define tuskgee experiment
The Tuskegee experiment refers to an abusive health study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the United States’ Public Health Service in collaboration with the Tuskegee Institute. The study’s main aim was to investigate the natural history of untreated syphilis, and due to assumptions that the effects of syphilis depended on race, scientists decided to study its effects on African-Americans cardiovascular systems. However, to ease doubt, the individuals who participated in the experiment were convinced that they were receiving free healthcare from the federal government. This study was, therefore, referred to as “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male.”
The study entailed a group of 600 sharecroppers from Macon County in Alabama. In the given study group, 399 individuals were infected with syphilis, whereas 201 were free from the disease (Nix, 2020). However, the given study was conducted without the participants’ sanction. The subjects were also never enlightened on their diagnosis despite the risks that they could infect other people and that a long-term infection could lead to blindness, mental illness, heart diseases, and eventually death. For cover-up, researchers told them that they were being treated for “bad blood.” Bad blood was a local term used to refer to several illnesses such as anemia, syphilis, and fatigue. As a reward for taking part in the study, researchers promised free meals, free medical exams, and burial insurance.
Since the researchers’ primary purpose was to monitor the natural course of untreated syphilis, they withheld treatment and knowledge about penicillin from the infected participants despite penicillin having been approved as a safe and efficient treatment for syphilis in 1947. In return, the researchers gave the participating individuals inactive drugs such as mineral supplements and aspirin. Furthermore, researchers also prevented access to syphilis treatment programs by the participants. As a result of denied access to medical care, 40 wives of the infected individuals contracted syphilis, 19 of their children born had congenital syphilis, 28 of the subjects died of syphilis, and 100 died of syphilis related difficulties (Funding US, n d).