PART III: The Bioethics Sins of a Nation Being Rectified

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Bowen, Elaine Hegwood (2010) PART III: The Bioethics Sins of a Nation Being Rectified. National Newspaper Publishers Association.


“All I knew was that they just kept saying I had the bad blood—they never mentioned syphilis to me, not even once,” said Tuskegee Syphilis Study participant Charles Pollard. Mr. Pollard was referring to the early 1930’s, when he was a participant in the Tuskegee Study. He was also one of the last eight living participants when Pres. Bill Clinton apologized to the men at the White House in 1997, saying “they were denied help, and they were lied to by their Government.” Unfortunately, in 2010 another medical injustice has been uncovered—the case of a Baltimore woman who died in 1951 nearly at the half-point mark of the noted Tuskegee Study. Bioethics is basically the study of the ethical issues brought about by advances in medicine. As we explore these two bioethics episodes, it involves the lack of respect for persons and the absence of informed consent guidelines during research, we can learn much about their influence on the Black community and contemporary medical research.