Humans in experimentation: such an abstract ideal to wrap one’s head around. Movies portray such experiments with extreme dissections, and advanced technology. Experiments concluding of tests that test capabilities of humans physically and mentally, to observe how much the body reacts to such actions. Experiments that are physically painful, as well as torturous to the subject participating in the event. Many of these portrayed experiments seem quite extreme to become a reality, however there are many reported cases of human experimentation that exists within our society, to this day.
Nonetheless, there are many cases containing issues with human rights, as some experiments pass the line from moral to unethical. Emphasizing the importance of morality in human experimentation is essential to preserve these rights humans deserve, since morality plays little to no role in human experimentation. However, proponents of the opposing argument may believe that humans do receive morality in human experimentation in the form rules that protect their well being. The Nuremberg Code, for example, is a set of guidelines that formulate moral rights humans have that participate in human experimentation.
Rights that conclude of how humans should be in experiments that “… avoid all unnecessary physical and mental suffering and injury. ” (The Nuremberg 2) Another rule in such experiments is that Research Ethic Committees (RECS) must have involvement each experiment or the experiment is considered unethical and cannot be done. These committees provide a professional and lay view to each experiment and scrutinise each experiment to rule if an experiment is ethical or not. (Wrigley 3) This provides a sense of morality since RECS try to protect the well being of human subjects and will normally not let unethical experiments e conducted.
Another group similar to RECS are Institutional Review Boards (IRB), which also validate the morality of experiments one conducts on humans by reviewing panels at research institutions. This board comprises of people that come from the professions of law, the clergy, and home-keeping which have the power to modify, approve and reject research experiments. (What 1-2) These rules ensure the safety of each human subject with specific guidelines or rules and groups protecting the well being of such participating in such events.
Although many points are valid, there is more compelling vidence to suggest that there is a lack of morality in most human experimentation cases such as the use of vulnerable populations. Vulnerable populations conclude of people that have a disadvantage compared to regular average citizens of society. For example, in the Tuskegee Syphilis study, researchers studied the “natural progression of untreated syphilis in poor black men who received free health care from the government. (Gorski 2-3) In this instance, this experiment seems to take advantage of poor black men due to the fact that they could not pay for their own health care and have to receive ree health care from the government. A reasonable experiment should consist of all consenting people of different genders, races, from rich and poor incomes. However, due to the use of one type of population, it seems as this instance only uses poor black men because those men would be the only subjects that could be forced into participating due their lack of money and lack of ability to take litigation. Although, does it seem morally right to do such?
To take one’s happiness away due to race and lack of finances to fund legal support? Such actions do not seem moral, nonetheless fair to these populations. Continuing on, the Tuskegee Syphilis study is not the only instance where the use vulnerable populations occur. A similar study of Syphilis is once again done with a vulnerable population that “… included more than 5,500 Guatemalan prisoners, sex workers, soldiers, children, and psychiatric patients, [which] about one-quarter of whom were deliberately infected with syphilis, gonorrhea, or chancroid and all of whom were enrolled in the experiments without their consent. (Rogers 1) With the 5,500 involuntary participants that were infected with various STDS had to affect their lives in a negative way. Not only were these people not average people, but disabled and vulnerable populations, including children. Imagine a child given a STD deliberately just for the sake of research; imagine how abominable their life their life would be and how this STD now defines them. Also these people were not informally consented about this issue, which involves a huge human rights violation.
These people now have to live with such diseases for the rest of their lives; however “treatment” was received in many cases, but some still had some form of the disease. Another case of the use of vulnerable populations is an xperiment testing an experimental flu vaccine in male patients at a mental asylum in Ypsilanti, Michigan. After these injections, the subjects were admitted to the actual disease to see its effects. This experiment was co-authored by Dr. Jonas Salk, who became famous for inventing the polio vaccine. Stobbe 1)
A population of mentally disabled people were subjected to experimentation just due to the fact they were disadvantaged compared to the average human being, and they didn’t deserve a say in whether or not they wanted to participate in such a practice. A vaccine that may have worked was injected to these eople, then they were exposed to this deadly disease. If there was a case that this drug didn’t work, these poor people would be infected with the flu. This also shows how an inventor of a vaccine may take advantage of the vulnerable populations in a malevolent spirit just to get the results.
Usually experiments like these are supposed to help infected patients with the disease already, not physically healthy people. In like manner, there is a lack of morality due to the use of unethical experiments. Unethical experiments can conclude of an abundance of ideologies, such as injuring a subject or putting hat subject in unreasonable harm. A well known example of such experiments derive from Nazi Experimentation, which one of experiments conclude of a man named Mengele who medically and surgically experimented on twins as well as Gypsies. Nazi 1)
As it seems, these experiments were conducted only due to racial and ideological differences. These experiments concluded of surgical and medical procedures that could be considered harmful toward the subjects participating. Should one die from experimentation only because they are a twin? Or being a specific race? More ethical experimentation ould conclude of researchers observing subjects without dismantling their bodies nor pain and torture. With that said, when experiments become dangerous toward the subject, usually it is ruled to be unethical and non-moral.
There is a lot of concern about placebos used in experiments, as in many cases placebos are considered to be unethical. In an event “in 1997, one US government-funded trial [tried] preventing [the] HIV spread from pregnant women to their babies [and only have] given [them] a placebo instead of a known drug that was effective in prevention. ” (Wrigley 2-3) As one could see, this should arise concern in the community. Instead of giving the experimental drug that is known to possibly stop the spread of HIV in women, the women were given a placebo, which didn’t help their case at all.
Placebos seem only necessary in psychological experiments, since HIV spreads cannot be cured from sugar pills and optimistic mindsets. Disappointment may arise to whomever receives the placebo treatment because one may be hopeful for their disease to be helped or even cured but only they receive a sugar pill, which doesn’t contribute to their condition at allI. Logically speaking, observing the people who have the disease without he use of any placebos can ensure more happiness and logical experimentation, instead of fooling the infected with a false hope.
Furthermore, even the Guatemalan Syphilis study can be ruled to be HIGHLY illogical, unethical, and downright cruel. By the end of this experiment, “[out of the] original 399 men in the study, 28 had died of syphilis; 100 were dead of related complications; 40 wives had been infected with syphilis; and 19 children had been born with congenital syphilis. ” (Rogers 1-2) This 50 year experiment ended up harshly killing many subjects, and infecting the loved ones around them. These people had a ife, a life they might of loved, however it was taken from them since they were forced into experimentation.
There was no regulation of even giving them any money or even treatment to help their family from getting infected or themselves from dying. Due to lack of action enforced, one hundred eighty seven people were permanently affected with the disease, with no hope for improvement. Morality would play a role if at the least the researchers made an attempt to fix the problem, however the problem just got worse due to the lack of action. In addition to such accounts, there also is a lack of morality in uman experimentation due to the lack of informed consent.
Informed consent is a process of obtaining permission from the person who is participating in an event. Despite that, many researchers deem it necessary to skip such an important step and continue on with research, as research is the priority to them. As stated before, the Tuskegee Syphilis study lacked informed consent significantly. This study forced poor black men to participate but also restricted these men into receiving widely known treatment. (Gorski 2-3) If informed consent was given, the subjects of this study would have been informed that they would be denied treatment.
However, this concludes that the subjects didn’t have any idea about getting denied treatment or they would’ve reconsidered participating in this experiment. Benevolent deception could play a portion in this since the researchers may have needed more subjects, however the subject should have the right to know exactly every action that is happening to them. Overall, these poor infected individuals could not receive proper treatment to a disease they possibly didn’t they were receiving. Since experiments are tests that purport results of a particular substance or behavior, it is nearly impossible to predict the risks that experiment has.
Human 3) Informed consent technically can not be given in full detail since the risks of the experimental drug cannot be given before the experiment. To be considered as full informed consent to the degree, one must be notified that these risks may happen. However many experiments may leave this portion out since they want more subjects to test on or that they felt as this was implied, such as the Tuskegee Syphilis study. Researchers should deem it necessary for the sake of morality to just inform the subjects about what they are receiving rather than trapping these poor individuals in misinterpretation and lies.
In some cases, verbal informed consent is asked from the participant of the experiment. This may seem like a good initiative however there is no physical proof to prove the participant ever agreed to the event. Many complications may arise to the event, as one event concluded of”… many of the patients [not being] in a physical or mental condition to give valid consent. ” In response to such an event, “Hospital administration tried to cover-up lack of consent, and some written consents were fraudulently obtained after the fact. ” (Standler 8) Oral consent doesn’t prove complete consent.
With many situations, physicians may not know the state their patient or participant is in. If the participant is not listening fully or is very forgetful, this informed consent may be deformed since the participant may not be on par with the physician. Due to this oral consent, the participant may not even remember their decision which in ways could have the potential of harming the participant. This lack of consent is a concern since the subject should be informed in what the subject is experimenting in, and what is happening to them. However, such trivial topics are somehow avoided in discussion.
In conclusion, human experimentation in a very odd yet fascinating subject to discuss. Experiments of all sorts levy the curiosity in one’s mind, as well as why they are done. Although, as the truths are revealed in front of one’s eyes, the one fascinating subject may turn into terrifying to discuss. Terrible events unfold, disguising truths exposed, one may not want to research anymore. Even though there are rules implemented to help human subjects in experimentation, there still is a painful lack of morality in the field, supported gruesomely by tragic events one should never experience in life.