History

What do Terre Haute Prisoners, Tuskegee Sharecroppers, and Guatemalans Have in Common? The US Government Gave Them Venereal Disease.

It started in Tuskegee, Alabama. The US Public Health Service (PHS) began a study on 600 black sharecroppers in...

On October 1, 2010, President Barack Obama telephoned President Álvaro Colom of Guatemala to extend an apology to the people of Guatemala for medical research supported by the United States and conducted in Guatemala between 1946 and 1948. Some of the research involved deliberate infection of people with sexually transmitted diseases (“STDs”)1 without their consent. Subjects were exposed to syphilis, gonorrhea, and chancroid, and included prisoners, soldiers from several parts of the army, patients in a state-run psychiatric hospital, and commercial sex workers. Serology experiments that did not involve intentional exposure to infection, which continued through 1953, also were performed in these groups, as well as with children from state-run schools, an orphanage, and several rural towns. President Obama expressed “deep regret” for the research and affirmed the U.S. government’s “unwavering commitment to ensure that all human medical studies conducted today meet exacting” standards for the protection of human subjects.

While the United States expressed “deep regret,” it later declared itself not liable for these tests conducted outside the United States. Guatemalans were not entitled to the $10 million the remaining participants and heirs of the Tuskegee Experiment got. They didn’t get the $100 the Terre Haute prisoners got. The United States of America said Guatemalans were entitled to nothing at all. Judge Reggie Walton said he was following Federal law but was deeply troubled by the study. He urged the government to provide assistance to the affected.

“This lawsuit is simply not the appropriate vehicle for remedying those wrongs.”

Lawyers representing the Guatemalans are now seeking redress against private companies involved and in January 2019, a Federal Court declared that the Rockefeller Foundation, the Johns Hopkins Hospital and related entities, and Bristol-Myers who they describe as, “the driving force” behind the study. Several of the doctors worked for Johns Hopkins and received support from the Rockefeller Foundation. Bristol-Myers provided drugs to the small percentage that received treatment. In response to the $1 billion lawsuit lawyers for Johns Hopkins said,

Written by William Spivey
There's the writer I am and the writer I long to be. I write about race, politics, and education. I long to be a Sci/Fi/Fantasy writer, incorporating race, politics, and education, as part of an epic tale pitting good vs. evil on a vast scale. I'm shopping that book to literary agents. Putting that out in the universe. Until then, I want my voice to be heard and to make a difference. Profile

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