Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present January 19, 2007
Medical scholar Harriet Washington joins us to talk about her new book, “Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present.” The book reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and the roots of the African American health deficit. It also examines less well-known abuses and looks at unethical practices and mistreatment of blacks that are still taking place in the medical establishment today….HARRIET WASHINGTON: …Tuskegee is, you know, the icon of abusive experimentation of black people, but it’s true, many people still don’t know what happened, and there are a lot of misconceptions floating about, as well….What happened was that about 400 black men in Macon County, Alabama, with syphilis-who had been diagnosed with syphilis, at least-were studied over a period of forty years by the United States Public Health Service. There were 200 men who were not infected who were held as a control group, also black men. Over the course of forty years, these men were duped into thinking that they were in a treatment program. But they weren’t. They were given pain pills, which, as it transpired, were simply aspirin. They were given spinal taps, which, as it transpired, were not for the good of their health or to monitor their health, but rather to ensure a supply of sera for the development of a syphilis test. So they were used over forty years, even after the advent of penicillin. When penicillin was recognized as a cure, it was withheld from these men.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And this was between-what was the forty-year span?
HARRIET WASHINGTON: 1932 to 1972.
AMY GOODMAN: How many people knew about this at the time? How did it stop?
HARRIET WASHINGTON: Hundreds of people knew about it, because there were regular reports in the medical journals, and it was actually presented at an American Medical Association meeting in 1965. There were also numerous meetings of governmental agencies, where they periodically would ask, “Should we continue the experiment or not?” And the decision was always, “Yes, we should continue the experiment.” It’s worth noting that the surgeon general, Thomas Parran, had taken on syphilis eradication as his mission, and yet when penicillin was devised and he had the cure, he made the decision to continue the experiment, because he said they represent an opportunity that will never come again.
AMY GOODMAN: What happened to the untreated men?
HARRIET WASHINGTON: The untreated men, as you can well imagine, many of them died horrible deaths. http://www.democracynow.org/2007/1/19/medical_apartheid_the_dark_history_of
President Clinton’s public apology to U.S. survivors of human experimentation – The following is a portion of a speech given on 10/3/95 by President William C. Clinton concerning Executive Order 12975 – Protection of Human Research Subjects and Creation of National Bioethics Advisory Commission: “Thousands of government-sponsored experiments did take place at hospitals, universities, and military bases around our nation. Some were unethical, not only by today’s standards, but by the standards of the time in which they were conducted. They failed both the test of our national values, and the test of humanity. The United States of America offers a sincere apology to those of our citizens who were subjected to these experiments, to their families, and to their communities. When the government does wrong, we have a moral responsibility to admit it.” http://naffoundation.org/Pres%20Clinton%27s%20Apology.htm
Anne’s Story of Deliverance From Satanic Ritual Abuse and her Journey to Freedom – When Anne A Johnson Davis was just three years old, her mother and stepfather began to physically, sexually and mentally abuse her—in the name of Satan. Until she ran away from home at 17, her parents and other cult members subjected her to satanic ritual abuse, a criminally inhumane and bizarre form of devil worship. In the middle of the night, Anne would be drugged and forced to endure hours of ritualistic torture as a symbolic sacrifice. The horrors Anne experienced, the astounding miracles that helped her to survive, and the heal-or-die choices she made as an adult to triumph over her tragic past, are revealed in her new book Hell Minus One: My Story of Deliverance From Satanic Ritual Abuse and My Journey to Freedom. http://hellminus1.com/