Conflict between Research and Ethics Paper Analysis Paper Example

Syphilis is caused by tiny, corkscrew-shaped bacteria called Spirochetes. Within a few hours after exposure the bacteria penetrate the skin or mucous membranes and then enter the bloodstream and tissues. Signs include the chancre, fever, headache and sore throat. Many countries were infected of this disease and one of which is Tuskegee, Alabama.

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study conducted to treat syphilis in people living in Tuskegee, Alabama where in the African- American was given the chance to be treated of their disease.

The investigators, the health care team did not give proper care with subjects of the study. They were treated with no proper protection at all during the experiment. In fact, they did not ask for an informed consent and even did not inform them of the diagnosis of their illness.

They subjects were not provided with the proper information about what they will be undertaking during the study. They were not informed that they had syphilis. All that were offered to them were rewards for the poor community of Tuskegee. They were told that they will be given free medications, assistance in burial, insurance, free meals on the examination days and free transport. The subjects of the study were illiterate and the African- American has agreed to be subjects of the study because of the encouragement of the Public Health Service Physician.

In this, they did not know that they would be victims of unlawful and unethical actions in the end. The medical professionals decided to conduct this study to help the poor public health of Tuskegee and provide treatments with those affected with syphilis in named place. Their objective was to go after an untreated syphilis in black men for 8 months and then give them a treatment. Their goal was to know the regularity and the history of the disease and if the medications that will be given will be effective or not

Those medications were effective but were toxic. These drugs are namely; Bismuth, Salvarsan and ointments (Mercurial Ointments). Other hospitals let them lent their facilities which was intended just for the study and black doctors also took part. The study was also supported financially by a Fund. But then after awhile, the Fund withdrew the money which they have given for the study and which was intended for the treatment of syphilic patients and because of this, the Tuskegee study decided to salvage the Oslo Study.

In the Oslo study they found out that many white men have already syphilis and were remained untreated for a while. The investigators were not therapeutic in doing so where in they wanted to study the development of the disease harmed the subjects.  The study just totally did not respect the subjects. They deprive them of a dignified death and life before death.

The committees of the study were so cruel. For one time, they made sure that their subject would show for a non- therapeutic therapy which was also very dangerous. They gave the patients a deceptive letter, where it said that it is their last opportunity to be treated for free. They made sure and told the subjects that it is very essential for them to go through autopsy for them to receive benefits. The subjects were not given a choice, they were left with no choice for themselves but it is for their families that they will be leaving behind when they will be gone.

They were deceived by the management. Most of the subjects were not give the exact and proper treatment, but instead they were given the treatment called Placebo treatments in order to witness the deadly development of the disease. When the discovery of Penicillin took place and was said to be a treatment of the disease, the subjects were not allowed to have the penicillin treatment. At the end, only 74 subjects were alive. The other has died immediately of the disease, others of complications. The subjects were never treated for the disease.

The E committee should have monitored the study if it has violated any rights of the black men and other subjects. It is believed that syphilis occurs most in blacks. They should have conducted a survey interviewing the subjects about the study, about how they are treated in there, about the drugs if it is really effective with little side effects or not. What happened was they were given medications not really intended to treat the disease but to trace the progression of the disease.

They should have given informed consent which is really the standard in conducting operation, clinical studies and other health care services. Any willful touching of another person is unlawful without the valid consent of that person or another person authorized to consent on that person’s behalf. If no valid consent exists, even slight physical contact may give rise to liability. Medical professionals can also be civilly and criminally liable for wrongful violation of bodily integrity, and subjected to professional disciplinary action.

The consent requirement primarily protects the patient’s bodily integrity. Consent must be informed in order to be valid. The individual must know what he is consenting. The physician should give the patient all the necessary information to enable him to make a knowledgeable decision regarding the medical care or the study.

Without full information, any consent given by the patient is ineffectual. The informed consent requirement applies to the even minor of all minor cases. They unethically just used the black men for the benefit of the study and they used all the benefits to attract subjects. They say that because the subjects were black, they were treated unlawfully.

Imagine, even after the study was over many still have died. Those were the wives of the black who were subjects of the study and also their children who had congenital syphilis. The blacks were so deprived of the real treatment of the disease. They were made like puppets just following the orders of the investigators and the physicians. They did not think of the blacks all they had in mind was to have their study successful without considering the lives of their subjects.

Because of what happened in the study many blacks do not have trust on the health care system anymore. For they have already implanted in their minds the memories of the unlawful acts they have done with their folks during the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.

The management should have considered the welfare of the blacks. They should have not been so unethical in doing the study. They were studying the lives of their subjects; their subjects were humans not animals. They should have treated them with dignity and respect. What they did lead to an awakening of the blacks to fight for their rights. They did not realize that there is a special dimension of aguish in illness.

Thus healing cannot be classified as a commodity because illness signifies the disruption of the activities of daily living and the loss of bodily integrity. They took the bodies of their subjects for granted. They just went over their business, doing with their bodies. In that case, bodily integrity is lost. The body of those blacks became an object of concern and scientific study and attention, which results in loss of wholeness and bodily assurance.

It is the right of a person to have mental integrity that is freedom from mental, physical and psychological abuse.

Health care providers often deal with critical situations where human life is at stake, both in the community and in particular health settings. Thus, it is very important that they understand the sanctity of human life and why it should be preserved. During such situations they may be forced to decide whether or not to perform clinical procedures to preserve health and save the lives of people in a community.


Venereal Disease. New Standard Encyclopedia. Pages 36- 37. Volume 18. Ciabal, Laura Evelyn. Ethics for Health Care Professionals. Pages 15- 153. 2003 Kozier et al. Fundamentals of Nursing, Concepts, Process and Practice. Fifth edition.