Ethical violations committed on vulnerable populations first surfaced close to 50 years ago with the discovery of the Tuskegee project. This small rural town in Arkansas, and the population, consisting of black males with syphilis, would become a startling example of research gone wrong. In order to fulfill the researcher's goals, the participants of the study were denied the available treatment, a clear violation of the Belmont Report principle of beneficence. The same problem faces researchers today studying a viable intervention in the...
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...guidelines should be followed. Without the consideration of all the factors facing a population, studies will fail to protect the subjects regardless of whether the principles were applied correctly.
All in all, the ethical debate into the application of the Belmont principles when the population is this vulnerable will always provide grounds for heated arguments. Universal principles are needed to ensure rights of research subjects when dealing with such diverse conditions as those found in our world. While Belmont should be at the core of all research studies, the context chosen may be able to provide some guidance into their applications. Either end of the scope offers its drawbacks, the median ground may be hard to achieve, but as long as the debate continues, studies on vulnerable populations will remain in focus and hopefully help to find the median ground.
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