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ETHICAL QUESTION please read

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You are reading page 3 of ETHICAL QUESTION please read. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

I appreciate all that have commented. I have been a LPN for 3 yrs and am currently in school to obtain my RN license. I truely enjoy any discussion related to ethics. I just wonder, why isn't the government held ethically accountable more often? There are ethics in government, right?

Sadly, it comes down to power, position, and money in most situations like this. Thankfully the situation finally came to light but the damage was already done to all these men.

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The Tuskeegee Study lasted from 1942-1972, and despite a cure that was found a few years into the study, it was allowed to continue. Public outcry from a letter to the editor in the Washington Post was the catalyst that finally halted the study. The CDC backed the study for years, unfortunately.

The men who had untreated syphylis were told that they had "bad blood", and were offered no true treatment, but were led to believe that drawing their blood periodically was, infact, a treatment. When some men tried to go into Birmingham for treatment, people were sent to bring them back. Yes, completely unethical in many ways. In fact, the Tuskegee Study was the reason that informed consent, protection of human subjects and institutional review boards were initiated. If you pick up any nursing research book, you will usually find some mention of this, and if you are lucky, more than just a mention.

The movie, "Mrs. Evers' Boys" was based on the Tuskegee Study. You can probably rent it through any movie rental store. There is an excellent documentary that airs periodically on PBS that tells the story as well as interviews the survivors of the study. It is a very eye opening movie. I highly recommend it.

The CDC's Museum does have a pretty good exhibit regarding the Tuskegee Study. If you are ever in Atlanta, it is a great place for a nurse or nursing student to see.

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There are ethics in government, right?

uh, no

occasionally when it's convenient, but I wouldn't call it the government's driving force.

I would like to think that there is ethics in nursing, there is ethics in medicine, but government? Guess I need to be more optimistic.

But, back to your original question. I condemn your instructor if they got their facts mixed up (and they need to be clarified) but to emphasize that we as nurses need to be vigilant for ethical violations, be they from other nurses, doctors, hospitals or even government research projects. . . That is a very valid discussion. It is fundamental to our function as patient advocates.

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brown.edu/Courses/Bio_160/Projects2000/.../TUSKEGEESYPHILISSTUDY

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My instructor also told us this story. Sometimes words can get misconstrewed through the grapevine, I wasn't offended by this. Have you ever heard of little Alfred (or whatever his name was) being afraid of the little white bunny from psych 101? Your instructor was pointing out how unethical research used to be.

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Google 'Tuskegee Experiment' and you'll find a great deal of information.

Ethics & morals, unfortunately differ vastly from one person to another...and all nurses & physicians do not share the same philosophy, either.

Pharmaceutical research (TODAY'S research...not "historical") isn't all ethical & above-board, either. If a drug company has enough financial backing, they can push a drug though the various phases of development & paperwork documenting Adverse Events & side effects conveniently 'goes missing'. Seen it happen.

Follow your own conscience & be true to your nursing philosophy. One by one, we can & DO make a difference.

Hope my message makes sense to you.

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I can't believe this!

I did a powerpoint lecture on this for my Professional Concepts class. And yes, the experiment was TRUE! It is called the Tuskegee Airmen Project and this will explain why there is a "mistrust" of the medical profession and the government among African Americans. And I am African American and I can still remember my Great Granny refusing to go to a doctor based on this.

I dont think what your instructor was out of line, because I researched this subject and when I did my presentation, I explained this is why the African American culture has a mistrust of the medical field and it all stems from this! When PCN became available, the government intentionally withheld treatment to those men who were infected to see how the disease would "progress". In fact, President Clinton apologized on the government's behalf to one of the Tuskegee airmen who was still living at the age of 96 back in 1998.

I suggest you do more research on this topic and it will explain who was really unethical. And on top of it, it may explain why some African Americans, especially older ones, are not compliant when it comes to medication. This has been passed down from generation to generation.

I also covered this for a cultural competency project in our professional class. From 1932-1972, the U.S. Public Health Service conducted a study of the effects of untreated syphilis in Black men in Macon County, Alabama, where Tuskegee is the county seat. The men were given periodic medical examinations, but were not treated. Medical and professional journals published findings periodically throughout the study. It was not kept secret. Local African American and white physicians were recruited not to treat the men. Autopsy and physician assessments were done at local hospitals. A number of Tuskegee University (formerly know as Tuskegee Institute) faculty and staff were involved in the study.

Early in the study, 399 men with late latent syphilis, and 201 men without syphilis were initially enrolled. As the study evolved, additional participants were added, so the number of men in the study varies according to the source. The study was limited to Black men 25 years of age or older. Some women contracted syphilis from their husbands who participated in the study's syphilitic group.

The U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee became unethical in the mid-1940s when penicillin became the treatment of choice for the treatment of syphilis and was readily available.

Some links for this study:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/health/may97/tuskegee_5-16.html

http://www.tuskegee.edu/global/story.asp?s=1207598

http://facstaff.gpc.edu/~shale/humanities/composition/assignments/experiment/tuskegee.html

Also a movie and a play have been made on the subject, based on the real life public health nurse Eunice Evers. The movie is calle "Ms. Ever's Boys" - starring Alfre Woodard. Hope this helps with correct information about this deplorable practice.

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The Tuskegee experiment is important for several ethical issues. First the government was already aware of the effects; neuro, cardiovascular, etc. of untreated syphilis prior to performing the experiments, deliberately mislead the participants and then withheld safe, effective treatments when they became widely available.

http://docs.google.com/gview?a=v&q=cache:z5pcZk-huAIJ:www.sociology101.net/readings/Racism-And-Research.pdf+oslo+syphilis+study&hl=en&gl=us

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Syphilis is caused by a bacteria, not a virus

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The instructor was sharing a truth and there's nothing unethical about that. Why would this cause you not to get along with your fellow nurses?! They took advantage of innocent people and your instructor is appalled by it as she should be. It was a disgusting breach of medical ethics and human decency.

Nor is it the only example of breaching medical ethics. Our beloved government has exposed us to radiation, genetically modified food, 43 different viruses in Salk and/or Sabin polio vaccines, and there are many, many examples in addition to these.

Read about how some businesses exploit their workers. That should upset you, too.

I think the teacher has a good topic, totally appropriate.

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Sounds like your instructor may just have the facts mixed up or you misunderstood what was said. I agree with the one poster who said point it out in a polite way or make that you are confused. (You said ABC but I read XYZ and am just a little confused)

I don't think it's a bad thing for an instructor to point this out to a nursing class. Ethics should be an open topic no matter what kind of nursing you are learning because you're going to run into it no matter what field you are in. And by saying something along the lines of sneaky government... maybe she did let it get biased. But who in here agrees that this "project" wasn't sneaky?

Sounds like your instructor did a good job because she spiked your interest in an ethical debate and got you doing research!!! :spin:

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I think it's really despicable that an instructor would make a statement about what the government did and get her facts wrong. No, the men were NOT injected with the syphllis bacteria. Yes, it was terrible they were not effectively treated when they could have been. But an instructor who makes a public charge like this is not being professional when she does not stick to the facts. A bad aspect of this is it feeds into the "grapevine" rumors among a few in the black community that the government actually invented AIDS to destroy black people. This is not helpful or ethical, for a nursing professional instructor to be so misleading.

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