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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 housands 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.

The evealing 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 hat 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 ith 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..

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