The Tuskegee Syphilis Study Review - SJSU Tuskegee Syphilis Study Review By: Andrew Trinh, Alondra Andrade,

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  • The Tuskegee Syphilis Study Review

    By: Andrew Trinh, Alondra Andrade, Nicole Brice, Navjot Saini, Lorena R, Marie and Tajon-Scott

  • Basic Infomation (Background) Tuskegee Syphilis Study/Tuskegee Study of

    Untreated Syphilis In the Negro Male - Location: Macon County, Alabama - Tuskegee University (Historically black college)

    Purpose: Observe natural progression of untreated syphilis in African Americans

    Participants: 399 African Americans with syphilis and 201 in control group

    Lasted: 1932-1972 (40 years) - Segregation- Jim Crow Laws

  • Ch 1: Introduction July 27, 1972: Mr. Charlie Pollard was a

    participant with Fred D. Grey representing him in Pollard v. United States of America

    Penicillin: Discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928, but not used until 1942 to treat bacterial infections

    Outlined what could only be viewed as an alarming atrocity and yet another example of racial injustices perpetrated by the government in segregated Alabama (pg. 24). Fred D. Grey

  • Ch 2: Macon County, Alabama Macon County population (1930) : 27,103

    w/ 22,320 African American Segregation: 1932-1954 Two generations... No personal

    knowledge of colored water fountains, Jim Crow public accommodations, racial restrictions on voting and jury service, and so forth (pg 26).

    It was and is a place of great beauty, of extreme wealth and grinding poverty, of pain and joy (pg. 27).

  • Ch 2 cont: Tuskegee University Professor George Washington

    Carver: Develop many uses of Peanuts and Sweet Potatoes

    Historically Black College Julius Rosenwald Fund: Created

    many black schools in Rural South I am sure that only a handful of

    the 623 participants had ever been treated by a physician (pg. 36).

  • Ch 3: Origins of the Study The study began as a project of the Julius Rosenwald Fund, which took

    an active interest in both education and health care for African Americans in the Rural South (pg. 39).

    All the ingredient were there High African Americans population...Highest incidence of syphilis...virtually none had been treated (pg42).

    Clarks original design was for an observation project of only six to eight months (pg. 43)

    Local, state, and national medical establishments...not treat syphilis...observe the effect of untreated syphilis it was to continue for forty years (pg47).

  • Ch 4. The Study, 1932-1972Phase One: October 1932 to June 1933

    Study group 4,400 men and women over 18 were

    tested, 990 tested positive. End Result: of 1,782 men 25 and older, 472

    tested positive, 408 were selected Study procedures

    Bad blood Physicals: second test Vonderlehrs Golden Needle Treatment

  • Ch 4 ContdPhase Two June 1933-1965

    Study extended, two changes occurred Control group of non-syphilitics (200) Older participants were to be followed until

    death for autopsies Autopsies and physician assessments

    20 year follow up: 1 refusal, 145 obtained Incentives

    Burial Insurance scheme (1935), Nurse Rivers 25 year certificate= $25, medicine

    Dr. Wengers speech (1950) Moral and ethical concern Refusal of penicillin treatment. Ex: Herman Shorten lives by 20%

  • Ch 4 ContdThe Final Phase: 1965 to 1972

    Beginning of the end of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study (1965) Browns Decision destroyed separate but equal (1955) Rosa Parks being arrested (1955) Mitchell v. Wright -> Voting Rights Act (1965)

    Municipal Election declared African American cant vote Stop trading with White merchants Fred filed Gomillion v. Lightfoot & Lee v. Macon County

    Board of Education Uneasiness of racial attitudes and civil rights activities

    Discussion by Dr. Sencer: Should the study by terminated? PHS received help from Dr. Meyers and his staff in Alabama Build relationship with Macon County Medical Society &

    Andrew Memorial Hospital, Nurse Elizabeth is hired (1970), study continues

  • Chapter 5: The Study Revealed Surviving participants didn't know they were apart

    of a study. Wasn't until 1972 through News outlets that

    participants learned that they were apart of the study.-

    Some doctors were at fault. Some doctors knew about the study through its

    whole reign.- The secret of the Experiment was Very Kept.

    Gray, though very knowledgeable about concerns in the country (including healthcare) had no knowledge either.- Gomillion v. Lightfoot (1957)

  • Ch 5 ContdHow Did the press find out about the study?

    Peter Buxtun Venereal disease interviewer-under public health services-

    He was the first ethical sensitive person to know about the study and Voice the wrongdoings about the Study/experiment. I was shocked by statements such as An Important phase of the study has

    been the performance of Autopsies......morality and morbidity are considered higher among untreated syphilitics

    Dr. Irwin J. Schatz Sent a letter to the public Health service officials upon learning

    about the experiment, with no response.

  • Ch 5 Contd Continues Investigation

    Buxton worried that the disclosure of this gruesome study would jeopardize future Congressional funding of other PHS projects.

    His Superiors were very shocked at the statement that he had made and warned him that he could be fired if he proceeded with further investigation.-

    Though they were afraid, they still forwarded his report to the CDC (center for disease control)-

    Dr. William J. Brown On November 9, 1966 Buxtun wrote to him and The Chief of The VDD (Venereal Disease

    Division) Called him out about the study in his letter.- Addressed that the participants were given placebos when they were told that they were

    being treated. Questions were raised: 1.)Was this performed to examine autopsies from syphilitic patients? (meaning

    they endured purposely) 2.)Were the men fully treated? 3.) Were they told about the study? 4.) is the study continuing?

  • Ch 5 ContdConference held in Atlanta (Center for disease control)

    Present was; Dr. Buxton, Dr. John Cutler, Dr. James Spencer and others Buxtun felt the conference was meaningless and it didn't get anywhere.

    He feared he would be fired, but he was not. Later in 1968 Buxtun wrote Dr. Brown again-

    The study continued 1972 Buxtun leaked the story to the San Francisco Associated Press News got out around Atlanta and San Francisco and eventually around the world.

  • Chapter 6: The Lawsuit Background

    Fred D. Gray represented the plaintiffs in this class-action lawsuit against the government from when it was brought to his attention in 1972 and up until its settlement in 1975.

    Filed on July 24, 1973 under Pollard v. U.S. Public Health Service- Charlie Pollard, a surviving victim of the study, led a group of survivors and sought

    representation from Gray against those who were legally responsible for operating and maintaining the experiment.

    Initial Investigation The government violated the constitutional rights of the participants, knew that the

    participants had syphilis, and did not treat them. The Public Health Service did not tell the participants that they were in a study, that they had

    syphilis, and that there was treatment available for syphilis. In addition, they also misled participants into believing that they were getting free medical treatment.

    The study had no rules and regulations, and was racially motivated and discriminated against African Americans.

  • Chapter 6: The Lawsuit (cont.) The Allegations

    The participants were poor, rural African Americans who did not know that they were part of and being used in an experiment, and were not told they had syphilis. However, participants alleged that they were injured both physically and mentally.

    The study was announced under the guise of being a new health care program where notices were only circulated throughout African American communities.

    The government violated the rights guaranteed under the Fifth, Ninth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, and Article I, Section VI of the Alabama Constitution of 1901 (pg. 88).

    Defendants Responses to Allegations Defendant Dr. R. L. Myers, State Health Officer, denied the basic allegations and explained

    that there were insufficient information to determine whether or not all of the subjects were African American, poor, or uneducated (pg. 89).

    The United States government denied all allegations; however, they did admit that the participants were African American and the study was conducted by the federal government.

  • Chapter 6: The Lawsuit (cont.) Challenges Encountered

    During discovery, when asked to bring forth documents during the early years of the study, the government claimed that there were no records available as far as the government knew (pg. 90). A medical researcher, James H. Jones, had

    found early records of the study (1931-1939) in the National Archives.

    Personal representatives were the only ones who had the legal right to bring forth action on behalf of each of the deceased participants.

  • Chapter 6: The Lawsuit (cont.) The Evidence

    Public Health Service personnel prevented participants from receiving treatment at other public health clinics. The defendants visited local doctors and gave them a list of the participants. The

    local doctors cooperated and agreed not to treat any of the patients for syphilis. In 1941, they stopped local draft boards from calling the participants for wartime

    physicals. Doctors and nurses gave placebos and painkillers to