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What price knowledge

Human Behavior

Core 150

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

thousands 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

revealing 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

that 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

with 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..

Source: Essay UK -

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