The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Haleys Comments: American experiments from 1940s mirror Nazis

New proof has just been discovered that American doctors infected Guatemalans with syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections between 1946 and 1948, according to The New York Times.

The testing was meant to discover whether or not taking penicillin right after sex was effective in preventing STIs.

Soldiers, patients of mental institutions, prisoners and prostitutes in Guatemala were the test subjects. Tests were conducted without patient consent.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued a public apology, and President Obama personally called the President of Guatemala, Alvaro Colom, to apologize.

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Is a shameful apology enough, though? Not really. Such human experimentation goes completely against what is morally acceptable (even by the standards of the 1940s).

In 1947, the Nuremberg Code was created in response to Nazi experiments on humans. The Nuremberg Code focuses explicitly on consent of any human being experimented upon. Although it was never adopted into American law, the ideas of the Nuremberg Code were eventually incorporated into the United States’ National Institutes of Health’s Code of Federal Regulations.

Ironically enough, one of the sponsors of the Guatemalan experimentation was the National Institute of Health.

The fact that Germany got wrapped up in such atrocities was a consequence of a dictatorship.

Similar things going on in America – a country that has always stood for freedom and democracy – seems beyond ridiculousness. No American should find such acts acceptable under any circumstance.

In the Guatemalan experiments, patients were infected by prostitutes already infected with an STI. In some instances, the prostitutes were infected by the doctors. In other circumstances, doctors would administer infections through cuts.

Most of what doctors and scientists understand about hypothermia comes from this Nazi research – but this doesn’t even come close to legitimizing Nazi human experimentation.

Quite similar to these American experiments, a branch of the Nazi experimentation focused on infecting people with malaria to discover ways to treat it. Another branch of experiments tested the effectiveness of sulfonamide drugs, the process of which included infecting wounds with tetanus or gangrene and then rubbing wood chips or glass into the wounds to heighten the infection.

Does this sound familiar yet?

What’s more horrifying is that these are not the only human experimentations that have been conducted by Americans in the past 65 years.

In 1963, elderly residents at the Brooklyn Jewish Chronic Disease Hospital were administered with live cancer cells to see if tumors would develop. Between 1963 and 1966, cognitively disabled children were infected with hepatitis at New York’s Willowbrook State School. Both of these instances were to check the effectiveness of drugs.

There was also the Tuskegee syphilis experiments in which African-Americans with syphilis were prevented from seeking medical help.

Prisoners, patients of mental institutions, sick and elderly: all of these human experimentations were conducted on minorities and never on healthy Caucasian people.

Nazi human experimentation was conducted on those whom the Third Reich considered minorities to the all-powerfulAryan race.

While those involved in the Guatemalan case didn’t include exterminating a race of people in their objectives, the experiments they used were all too similar.

Nazi doctors didn’t just get away with an apology, but with trials and sentences.

These American doctors deserve a similar fate.

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Haleys Comments: American experiments from 1940s mirror Nazis