translated from Spanish: The Tuskegee experiment, the horror for which Bill Clinton apologized

Between 1932 and 1972, 600 people from Macon County, Alabama, USA. The U.S. were part of a sinister experiment called «Tuskegee Experiment.» In exchange for food, medical treatment, home and death insurance, hundreds of African-American sharecroons fell into the trap of an unscrupulous group of doctors, who in order to achieve «glory» violated all the human rights a person can have.

flyer that was distributed to summon people of color

The Tuskeguee experiment captured 399 African-American men with syphilis and 201 healthy males in the late 1920s. Those who were sick were told they had bad blood. And hoping to offer him free treatment, they used them as a guinea pig. The mentor of the experiment was Dr. Talia Ferro Clark, who was unhappy with the methodology implemented, resigned from the project after a year. Leaving dr. Oliver Wenguer.Patients received a letter notifying them that it was «the last chance to have access to free special treatment.» But the treatment in question was nothing more than a «lumbar puncture» to detect the disease. Without any therapy or medication. The experiment sought to observe the natural progression of syphilis, and determine whether the benefits of treatment, which at the time, all that was too toxic or harmful to the human body, was worthwhile. As well as recognizing the different stages of the disease to develop treatments suitable for each of them. But in 1947, the real problem came, when it finally began to spread that penicillin was the right treatment to treat the disease, and with this, the experiment would conclude. Of course it wasn’t what happened. Because the study plan was continued ignoring, that there was «The Cure» and administering a placebo to infected patients.

Doctors administering placebo to the infected

Even when several of them were summoned to enlist in World War II, they provided penicillin, and argued that patients «already received the right treatment.» Between the 1930s and 1940s, following the uncovering of Nazi experimentation during the Holocaust. The global situation had changed. However, Dr. John Heller, director of the venereal disease division of the public health service, did not interrupt the experiment, even though it did not meet any standards. Among the staff who were part of the study was Eunice Rivers, an African-American nurse who worked as an assistant to Dr. Vonderlehr.One of her primary duties was to convince her neighbors to participate in the experiment, and for a long time was the only one who had direct contact with the victims throughout the study.

Nurse Eunice Rivers, convincing people

In 1964, WHO forced all human experiments to have the express consent of all participants, however, what happened in Tuskegee, was not reviewed. After years passed Peter Buxtun, a researcher of venereal diseases at the public health service, reported the situation to the CDC (Disease Control Center). Who ignored it and refused to launch an investigation.

Peter Buxtum

After repeated allegations, un no response Buxtun presented the case to the press. The article published on July 25, 1972 in the Washington Star marked the beginning of the end of the «Tuskegee Experiment». The story was reflected the next day on the cover of the New York Times and created political chaos, with public hearings in the US Senate, leading to the CDC once and for all finishing the study.

The New York Times article

The results of this human experiment were monstrous: of the 399 participants, 128 had died from syphilis or its direct complications.
 At least 40 women, who had been couples of the victims, became infected with the disease.
 At least 19 children suffered from congenital syphilis.
Many of the victims ended up blind and some suffered from dementia, two of the serious complications of late syphilis.
When the experiment came to light, Dr. John Heller resolutely defended the study’s medical ethics, stating, «The situation of these men does not justify ethical debate. They were subjects, not patients; were clinical material, not sick people.» For most, doctors and civilian staff simply did their job. Some merely followed orders, others worked for the glory of science.» He said at the timeFor when the experiment ended, in 1972 only 74 original participants were left alive. Both they and the families of the rest of the victims were handed out for nine million dollars of compensationIn 1997, Bill Clinton offered apologies to the 8 survivors and the families of the deceased. It was a day like today, a May 16th.

Original source in Spanish

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