The men were offered what most Negroes could only dream of in terms of medical care and survivors insurance.
They were enticed and enrolled in the study with incentives including: medical exams, rides to and from the clinics, meals on examination days, free treatment for minor ailments and guarantees that provisions would be made after their deaths in terms of burial stipends paid to their survivors.
Members of Congress reacted with shock to disclosure Tuesday by The Associated Press that the PHS syphilis experimentation on human guinea pigs had taken place. William Proxmire, D-Wis., a member of the Senate appropriations subcommittee which oversees PHS budgets, called the study “a moral and ethical nightmare.”“It’s incredible to me that such a thing could ever have happened,” he said in a statement.
“The Congress should give careful consideration to compensating the families of these men.”Sen. Kennedy, D-Mass., chairman of the Senate health subcommittee, said through a committee spokesman that he deplores the facts of the case and is concerned about whether any other such experiments exist.
There were no proven treatments for syphilis when the study began.
When penicillin became the standard treatment for the disease in 1947 the medicine was withheld as a part of the treatment for both the experimental group and control group.A public outcry ensued, and the “Tuskegee Syphilis Study” ended three months later.The men filed a lawsuit that resulted in a million settlement, and then-President Bill Clinton formally apologized years later.It really puzzles me.”Because of their age, the CDC cannot now treat the 74 survivors of the Tuskegee Study for syphilis, Dr. Possible ill side effects of massive penicillin therapy constitute too great a risk to the individuals, particularly those whose syphilitic condition is dormant.However, he added, there was a point when the men could have been treated with some measure of success.“The most critical moral issue about this experiment arises in the post-war era, the years after the end of World War II, when penicillin became widely available.“I know some were treated with penicillin for other disease and then dropped from the program because the drug had some positive effect on the primary disease syphilis.Seventy-four of the untreated syphilitics were still alive last January.Syphilis is a highly contagious infection spread through sexual contact.The intent of the study was to record the natural history of syphilis in Blacks.The study was called the "Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male." When the study was initiated there were no proven treatments for the disease.Researchers told the men participating in the study that they were to be treated for "bad blood." This term was used locally by people to describe a host of diagnosable ailments including but not limited to anemia, fatigue, and syphilis. Of this group 399, who had syphilis were a part of the experimental group and 201 were control subjects.Most of the men were poor and illiterate sharecroppers from the county.