Thursday, October 21, 2010

Guatemalan Prisoners Infected with Syphilis

In 1946, hundreds of Guatemalan prisoners were infected with syphilis by American doctors in order to test penicillin.

A few important things to note about the Guatemalan Sphyilis Experiment include:
> Dr. John Charles Cutler, from the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment in the US, had a major role;

> A major difference between Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment and the Guatemalan Spyhilis Experiment is that the Guatemalan prisoners were purposely infected;

> The National Institute of Health (NIH) paid syphilis-carrying prostitutes to infect the prisoners who were involved in the study; if the prostitutes could not infect the prisoners, open sores were created and the infection was administered;

> Both experiments were carried out to test the ability of penicillin.

In the mid-twentieth century, there were very a few ethical and legal regulations about performing experiments and taking samples from patients by today’s standards. The treatment of people like the prisoners from Guatemala and Henrietta Lacks’s story is deplorable and extremely unethical. However, their situations did force organizations and governments to step up and make sure participants in the future would be safe.

For more information about the Guatemalan Syphilis Experiment, check out the New York Times article from October 1, 2010.

Elizabeth Huggins
Graduate Student
School of Library Science

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16 Comments:

Anonymous Rubber Wristbands said...

This is very dreadful thing to experiment on innocent prisoners; even prisoners are human like us. Its not at all an encouraging thing. Aggressively the government should take initiate and save the future innocent participants.

November 1, 2010 at 4:09 AM  
Anonymous Forex Trading Tutorial said...

i think the experiment is somehow unethical. Do the prisoners have the right to reject the test? or opt not to participate in the experiment?

November 5, 2010 at 11:53 AM  
Anonymous jason said...

There was a lot of crazy experiments going on in those days. I recently watched a new movie with andrian brody in it about a mock prison experiement that goes haywire. The really strange thing is that this actually ocurred in the Stanford Prison Experiment. The guards ended up going out of control and abusing the volunteers.

November 10, 2010 at 8:18 PM  
Anonymous Forex Trading Advice said...

This terrible! What a dreadfull way to test the effectiveness of penicillin on the human body.

May 12, 2011 at 12:52 PM  
Anonymous sanmay said...

i think this is a very bold way for experiments on the human body..

May 21, 2011 at 5:00 AM  
Anonymous buy forex signals said...

This kind of experiments are absurd, yet similar to The Third Reich, 1933-1945, was arguably the most heinous regime in history. Comprised of some equally malevolent characters, like Joseph Mengele. Question to ask?

June 20, 2014 at 10:16 PM  
Anonymous Custom Wristband said...

Great Article. I was Looking for Something like that for an University Assignment to read out about this Penicillin. Thanks

July 5, 2014 at 8:40 AM  
Anonymous deed said...

Thanks for sharing this article. It really have good information.

July 24, 2014 at 8:46 PM  
Anonymous David Frost said...

What an unbelievable experiment on the human body. Give you the chills just reading it.

July 26, 2014 at 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Don Baker said...

It's not crazy to think that this was done at a time when testing needed to be done. However, experiments like this should not be done on those unwilling to participate.

September 16, 2014 at 6:54 AM  
Anonymous Jay smith said...

G Bay is the worst Jail in the world yet now the get syphilis.

November 1, 2014 at 12:33 PM  
Anonymous Robert McDowell said...

Very interesting Elizabeth. I wonder what was the legality of prostitution in Guatemala in those days? If it was a crime... how ironic would it be? Paying prostitutes to INFECT supposed criminals.

December 13, 2014 at 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Belajar Saham said...

it could happen on every jail all around the world especially if it to crowded.

January 11, 2015 at 1:48 AM  
Anonymous Forex Managed Accounts said...

Hopefully government will take a step to care about these poor peoples in their terrible situation needed in special treatment.

January 12, 2015 at 8:48 AM  
Anonymous Orlando Private Investigator said...

Dear Elizabeth Huggins,
Thanks you to write about penicillin. Really this is good information that government take step. I think that Government will take proper stapes about this.

Thanks By
Private Investigator Orlando

January 15, 2015 at 11:45 PM  
Anonymous Trade Copier said...

This is very dangerous thing. Jail officials should not allow for this type of behavior with prisoners.

February 24, 2015 at 7:20 AM  

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