Presidential Panel Reveals New Details Of 1940s Syphilis Experiments In Guatemala

“A presidential panel on Monday disclosed shocking new details of U.S. medical experiments done in Guatemala in the 1940s, including a decision to re-infect a dying woman in a syphilis study,” the Associated Press/Seattle Times reports. The final report of the bioethics commission’s review, which was ordered by President Barack Obama, is due next month, the news agency reports.

“The Guatemala experiments are already considered one of the darker episodes of medical research in U.S. history, but panel members say the new information indicates that the researchers were unusually unethical, even when placed into the historical context of a different era,” the AP writes. “The commission revealed Monday that only about 700 of those infected” during the medical research, which occurred from 1946 to 1948 and was paid for by the U.S. government, “received some sort of treatment. Also, 83 people died, although it’s not clear if the deaths were directly due to the experiments,” the news agency notes (Stobbe/Perez, 8/29).

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