Ethics Training spoke of both: Laud Humphreys, Tearoom Trade and the infamous Tuskegee Study. The Video, The Human Behavior Experiments, reported on the Milgram study on obedience and the Zimbardo Prison Experiment. Using one of these four studies as an example, explain how the study violated (or not) each of the three basic principles of research ethics: beneficence, justice and respect for persons, using materials from your CITI training, the ASA Code of Ethics and the Belmont Report.
Before you use each concept, find the definition of the concept and quote and cite the definition adding clarification and/or explanation in your own words if needed. If you care to learn more about these studies, there is quite a bit of high level information on the web. If you use any of it, you must cite it properly. (2-3 pages) In this assignment I am going to explain how the Tuskegee Study violated each of the three basic principles of research: beneficence, justice and respect for persons.
The Tuskegee Study was a research project conducted in Macon County, Alabama between 1930 and 1972 to discover whether blacks react to syphilis in the same way as whites. This study was also to determine how long a human being can live with untreated syphilis. About 400 black men were infected with the virus that causes syphilis and about 200 were part of the control group. By the end of 1931 there wasn’t enough money to continue the treatment. The participants for this experiment were poor and illiterate. This made it easier for doctors to exploit and deceive them.
Many of these men were told that they were being treated for “bad blood”. They were never told they had syphilis. Others believed that they were treated for rheumatism or bad stomachs. They stopped treating these men and then they were told that they were treated. They prevented them from getting treatment in any other places. By the late 1940s, they prevented the participants from receiving penicillin when it became available. They used these participants for study. This study lasted 40 years. In 1979, the Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research were published (The Belmont
Report). The Belmont Report proposed the following three basic principles for the evaluation of research involving human subjects: (1) Respect for persons: “Treating persons as autonomous agents and protecting those with diminished autonomy”. (Individuals with lessen autonomy are entitled to protection). (2) Beneficence: “Minimizing possible harms and maximizing benefits”. The medical practitioners should use procedures that do not exposed subjects to risk. (3) Justice: “Attention ought to be paid to the equitable distribution within human society of the benefits and burdens of research involving human subjects”.
This is basically to act or treat people equitably and fairly. The issues that were involved in the violation of the ethical principles involving human subjects include racism, paternalism, informed consent, truth telling, scientism, and whistle blowing. There were other issues that were involved in this study: double standards, maleficence, and the use of deception in research among others. The issue of racism was seen clearly in this study. Four hundred black persons were infected and two hundred served as a control group. Caucasians were not enrolled in this study.
This was a violation of justice because the subjects were not treated equitably and fairly. In the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, the patients were too ignorant to understand and make decisions about medical problems. They were unlikely to understand the situation even if it was explained to them. Informed consent is when the medical expert ensures that the information about the medical procedures is comprehensive. It was clear that the consent was achieved by manipulation. They were used without their voluntary informed consent because they had no formal school education.
They were exposed to a very painful spinal tap for treatment. They were also exposed to psychological stress and constant body piercing. When penicillin became available the subjects were never given a choice about continuing in the study. This is a violation of the respect for persons because these men didn’t enter into research voluntarily and with adequate information. “Scientism refers to the use of scientific method to acquire knowledge without regard for the ethical implications of such methods”. The medical industry used human subjects as a satisfaction to sheer acquisition of scientific knowledge.
They used these autonomous human beings as guinea pigs through lies and manipulation. As a result of this they were getting tumors, heart disease, paralysis, blindness, insanity and death. Also, they were never told they had syphilis. These human beings should not be at all harmed psychologically as well as physically. They should feel no anxiety or distress during the study or after their involvement ends. (Violation of beneficence) “Whistle blowing refers to the act of exposing wrong doing”. This study of the Tuskegee was not kept secret from the medical community.
They were ignoring the fact that the study violated the human experimentation guidelines adopted by the USPHS in 1966. Part B. For the study you have chosen, can you think of a way to get similar data in an ethical way? If yes, explain how. If no, explain why. It does not matter whether you decide to say yes or no as long as you can support your decision. (Probably about one page. ) Yes, they should conduct another study similar to the Tuskegee that incorporates their research actions and intentions to be universalized.
Also, penalties for violating the issues of this study should be incorporated so that any medical practitioner who flouts them faces disciplinary action. To minimize the risk of access by unauthorized persons, procedures such as locking records and creating special identifying codes must be created. A more responsible approach to biomedical research free from human exploitation needs to be employed. To achieve this, scientists planning to conduct research with human subjects must receive IRB approval and follow the ethical guidelines of the professional as well as the institutional one.
This involves how the research will be conducted. It also involves any possible risks and benefits to the people involved in the study. The IRB stands for an institutional review board and it reviews the summary of the information discussed in the project. Finally, the evaluation of the ethical issues in a research project should be based on a realistic assessment of the overall potential for harm and benefit to subjects rather than an apparent inconsistency between any particular aspects of research plan and a specific ethical guideline.