What Price Knowledge
I feel there is a definite need for knowledge in todays society, but
there is also a definite point when it has gone too far. It has gone too far
by conducting experiments on people without letting them know the
consequences and side effects that will place upon them. It has also
reached an extreme when the person becomes physically or mentally
impaired after the experiments . I see this treatment as both immoral
and unethical; there is no reason to harm a normally healthy person for some
advancement in scientific knowledge .
In doing research for this paper I have found many examples where
humans were used as "guinea pigs" or killed. One example of this
misconduct was in 1959 it was a common practice for drug companies to
provide samples of experimental drugs, to physicians, who were then paid to
gather data on their patients taking the drugs.
Physicians throughout the
country prescribed there drugs to patients without their knowledge or consent
as part of this loosely controlled research. Example of this was the drug
sedative thalidomide was given to vast number of pregant women and caused
thousands of birth defects in newborn infants. Because of this event, the
Kefauver - Harris amendmants to food, drug and cosmetic act were passed
requiring informal consent be obtained in the testing of these drugs.
Another rascality research project was doctors injected live cancer
cells into underprivileged elderly patients without their permission. The
research went forward without review by the hospital's research committee
and over the objections of three physicians consulted, who argued that the
proposed subjects were unfit of giving ample consent to participate.
revealing of the experiment served to make both officials and the Board of
Regents of the University of the State of New York, aware of the
shortcomings of procedures in place to protect human subjects. They were
further concerned over the public's reaction to revealing of the research and
the impact it would have on research generally and the institutions in
particular. After a review the Board of Regents disapproved the researchers.
They suspended the licenses of Dr.'s Mandel and Southam, but since delayed
the suspension and placed the physicians on probation for one year.
Another example took place during World War II. The new field of
radiation science was at the center of one of the most ambitious and
concealed research efforts the world has known Human radiation
experiments. They were undertaken in secret to help understand radiation
risks to workers engaged in the development of the atomic bomb. Following
the war, the new Atomic Energy Commission used facilities to make the
atomic bomb to produce radioisotopes for medical research and other
peacetime uses. This highly publicized program provided the radioisotopes
that were used in thousands of human experiments conducted in research
plants throughout the country.
The Government didn't really know if anything
happened to the patients until the Advisory Committee did studies involving
children that had exposures to radioisotope that were associated with
increases in the possible lifetime risk for developing thyroid cancer that
would be considered unacceptable today. The Advisory Committee also
identified several studies in which patients died soon after receiving external
radiation or radioisotope portions in the healing range that were associated
with radiation effects.
In these cases which I have researched, many committees have
implemented to set a standard set of rules and requirements to keep human
experimentation under control. This process is something I agree with and I
would have liked to see developed some time ago. Having looked over the
examples above I can not get over what the government and researchers did
to these innocent people in the past. I think the government and the
researchers should compensate the population that was tested in some form,
be it money, apologies, etc..