The Tuskeee Study: Radically Changed the Views and Practice of Medicine and Ethics

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The Tuskegee Study has radically changed the views and practice of medicine and ethics. The 40 year long study impacted 600 African American men and their families. It began as a scientific investigation of syphilis as it affected black men. Back in the 1930’s, it was thought to be true that black men were genetically different from white men and that black men’s bodies reacted differently to syphilis. The goal was to see what would happen to the men who had syphilis if they were left untreated (CDC, 2009). Not only did this study affect those directly involved, but also future generations as well. Many things let this highly unethical study continue for way too long. With the end of slavery not far off from the start of The Tuskegee Study, the negative social ideas of blacks in America were still highly present. The study reinforced the fact that black Americans were still not seen as equal to their white counterparts and that science can interfere with what we believe to be ethical. To this day, the Tuskegee Study influences our ideals as well as teaches us about the mistakes of the past, and opens our eyes to make sure this never happens again. Slavery in North American ended only 70 years before the Tuskegee Study began (Slavery in the United States, 2010). Even though politically every person was free, socially there was a stigma of being colored. Based on the ignorance of genes, ethnicity and diseases, the Tuskegee Institute made it a point to study how a black man would react to syphilis. The scientists who conducted the research found nothing wrong with treating these men immorally. To many of them, they were seen as “subjects, not patients” (Tuskegee University, n.d.). Since there was virtually no human emotion attached ... ... middle of paper ... ...hanges that were made. America will never forget what happened in the Tuskegee study. Works Cited CDC. (February 12, 2009). The Tuskegee Timeline. Retrieved from CDC. (January 30, 2009). Presidential Apology. Retrieved from McDaniel, J. (2010, Spring Semester). Science, Health, Gender and Race, Woman’s Studies 210. Class Lecture. University of Arizona. The Nuremberg Code. (1946). The Nuremberg Code. Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law, 2(10), 181-182. Tuskegee. (n.d.). Research Ethics: The Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Retrieved from Slavery in the United States. (March 23, 2010). Retrieved from

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