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They were lab rats, just like Tuskeegee
February 10, 2012 9:20 AM   Subscribe


 
Sex Tourists like Rush Limbaugh are still doing it today.
posted by evilmidnightbomberwhatbombsatmidnight at 9:29 AM on February 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


Wow, I sometimes really hate the Jenny McCarthy types, but every time I think I've heard all the stories of loathsome medical experimentation by the US medical profession, armed forces or prison system something new comes up. Perhaps I should have more sympathy for the less legitimate fears of today that were probably seeded by this kind of thing.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:31 AM on February 10, 2012


researchers are wrestling with how to judge the actions of Cutler's team, and how to prevent such abuses from happening again.

If Carter were still alive I'd say lining him up against the wall would be an excellent start.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:35 AM on February 10, 2012


Perhaps I should have more sympathy for the less legitimate fears of today that were probably seeded by this kind of thing.

Oh, no doubt about it. The medical establishment is still very capable of committing widespread harm to further its economic interests. In US, the potential for the abuse of human subjects is greatly reduced because of the laws and regulations like IRBs and HIPAA, but the creation of guidelines for care and selling of pharmaceuticals and devices is still fraught with manipulation of facts and pushing of profitable but harmful products and procedures. Look at the widespread use of PSA screening for prostate cancer before any evidence was available about its efficacy one way or the other. A lot of painful, costly, but profitable biopsies, surgeries, and other therapies were done for almost two decades before any evidence was gathered.

The same can be said of bypass surgery, PTCA, stents, many solid organ transplants, and drug after drug.

Vaccinations, on the other hand, don't make much money for anyone and reduce revenues to the medical establishment in the long run. They are good things and well researched before they are introduced, because they are given to well people who aren't blinded by sickness to accept any old therapy offered.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:38 AM on February 10, 2012


This requires at least previous and more previous
posted by k5.user at 9:42 AM on February 10, 2012


And the Tuskegee syphilis experiment.

And the removal of Puerto Rican women in the initial studies of the birth control pill who complicated the test results by... dying.

Fucked up history.
posted by entropone at 9:42 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Didn't realize this was so close to being a double post. OK with me if it is deleted.
posted by mattbucher at 9:44 AM on February 10, 2012


And the Tuskegee syphilis experiment.

Although Cutler was with the Public Health Service, note that he was a surgeon and not trained in public health. In those days, all you needed was an MD after your name and you could pretty much be allowed to do any research your heart desired.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:47 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Linked at the bottom of the Nature article is the Bioethics Commission report: “Ethically impossible”: STD Research in Guatemala from 1946 to 1948. It makes for some disturbing reading.
posted by zamboni at 9:53 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


As someone who works for a public research institution currently looking to partner on clinical trials in China, this type of thing keeps me up nights. I hear "Chinese clinical trial" and my mind instantly turns to this type of thing. No one here is looking to get involved in unethical research, but I'm sure there are plenty of researchers out there who secretly think our regulations are too strict. I really don't want them to have any opportunity to skirt around them.
posted by pjaust at 9:58 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


The wound is still raw.

Seriously, Nature?
posted by 7segment at 9:58 AM on February 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


A lot of the commentary about Reverend Wright and his statements about how supposedly, the US government invented AIDS and infected black people was about how totally crazy that was. Well, yes, it is almost certainly not true. But crazy? Most people are unaware of the horrible things the US government has done to the poor. Like, Nazi-level things. And so most people think Reverend Wright was crazy. But his claims aren't so far away from things that were actually done.

If you think his claims were "crazy", then you're probably ill-informed.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 10:03 AM on February 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


If Carter were still alive I'd say lining him up against the wall would be an excellent start.

How do you 'line up' one person?
posted by Confess, Fletch at 10:17 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


How do you 'line up' one person?

Something, something, machete, pitons.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:29 AM on February 10, 2012




As the case moves forward, researchers are wrestling with how to judge the actions of Cutler's team
...
He re-infected Berta with syphilis, and inserted pus from someone with gonorrhoea into her eyes, urethra and rectum. Over several days, pus developed in Berta's eyes, she started bleeding from her urethra and then she died.


Hmmm, how to judge, how to judge. Fuck me, that would take a lot of wrestling. Mengele good, bad? Let me have a bit of wrestling time and I'll get back to you on that.
posted by reynir at 11:33 AM on February 10, 2012


Slight derail, but it is interesting to note Hollywood's take on the subject of syphilis at the time, and indeed, that they even had a take.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:58 AM on February 10, 2012


Does it make me a bad person that I would like to go back to when I really, truly, genuinely believed that America was fuckin' awesome and the chief force of good in the world?

Cause I did once. Seriously.
posted by jefficator at 3:21 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes this is a link to wikipedia, but it is seriously one of the best on there and easily the one most worth reading. These sorts of conversations usually revolve around the very limited amount of Nazi research that was almost entirely useless. Nothing the Nazis did can rival what we've done in size of horrific trials, current and continuing application of the knowledge gained from horrific trials*, or the widespread knowledge of the trials and of how horrific they were and we certainly compete in terms of just the sheer horror of the worst of them

*Most of the women in this thread have directly benefited from the vivisection experiments that J. Marion Sims, father of gynecology, conducted on the women he owned, most of whom lived short and pain filled lives.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:57 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


And the continued inhumane and unethical trials still going on. From the Wikipedia link:

In August 2010, the U.S. weapons manufacturer Raytheon announced that it had partnered with a jail in Castaic, California in order to use prisoners as test subjects for a new non-lethal weapon system that "fires an invisible heat beam capable of causing unbearable pain."

From 1988 to 2008, the number of overseas clinical trials for drugs intended for American consumption increased by 2,000%, to approximately 6,500 trials.

Speaking of drugs and vaccines.

Vaccinations, on the other hand, don't make much money for anyone and reduce revenues to the medical establishment in the long run.

Yeah, no money in vaccines:

FT: Drug groups to reap swine flu billions

Guardian: swine flu experts' ties to big pharma.

Everytime I pass by a Walgreens or CVS I see huge signs advertising GET FLU SHOTS HERE.

I realize that professional pharmacists and medical professionals work at these stores and have the best interests of patients and the public in mind. But I don't think Walgreens the corporation is doing it for the public health benefit.

There's definitely money to be made in vaccines.

That's not to say they aren't a necessary and critical component of public health, but the anti-vac

And it's only going to get worse as we lose more faith in our government. The solution isn't mocking anti-vaccine believers, it's reforming our government and implementing real regulations on the pharmaceutical industry.
posted by formless at 8:31 PM on February 10, 2012


erk, mean to say:

but the anti-vaccine crowd have legitimate concerns based on real events in history.
posted by formless at 8:34 PM on February 10, 2012


Women, the poor, children--these are the ones that should be protected, not victimized.

This was approved by the surgeon general and no one questioned it at all? Cutler and his gang were utter assholes. Sometimes I do wish there were a hell.

First do no harm?
What a crock of shit.


...I would like to go back to when I really, truly, genuinely believed that America was fuckin' awesome and the chief force of good in the world? Cause I did once. Seriously.

Yeah, me too, but I was much younger then.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:48 PM on February 10, 2012


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