Ethical Conduct in Scientific Research - Assignment Example

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The study was aimed at monitoring the African-American subjects in order to discover the impacts of untreated syphilis (Gray, 1998). The study looked for African-American…
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Ethical Conduct in Scientific Research
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Ethical Conduct in Scientific Research s Tuskegee Syphilis Study The Tuskegee Syphilis Study was a medical study that was carried out in Tuskegee, Alabama from 1932 to 1972. The study was aimed at monitoring the African-American subjects in order to discover the impacts of untreated syphilis (Gray, 1998). The study looked for African-American males who were in the second stage of syphilis. Thereafter, sporadic exams were carried out on these men to establish the impact of syphilis on their bodies. The test subjects were deceived they were being treated for ‘bad blood’ a local term which was commonly used to imply several illnesses including anemia, syphilis, and fatigue. In real sense, they were not being given penicillin which was the standard treatment for syphilis. The scientists who carried out the study as Tuskegee continued to examine the subjects and withheld information relating to penicillin from the patients. In addition, the scientists did not allow the participants to access syphilis treatments that were available to the other people in Tuskegee (Reverby, 2009). This resulted to suffering, pain, and even death for the participants. The revelation of the study made the federal government to have a closer look to studies involving human subjects and initiated changes to prevent ethical breaches that happened at Tuskegee.
The resultant reforms in clinical research include, firstly, the researcher should notify partakers that their anonymity. This means that they will be informed that their responses will not be discussed with anyone else. Consequently, the privacy and confidentiality of the participants is maintained. Secondly, informed consent. The respondents need to be informed of the aim and nature of the study. Consent is about if a participant decides to participate in the study or not (Shrader-Frechette, 2011). The consent can be obtained directly or indirectly through third-party consent. Informed consent entails capacity which is the person’s capability to acquire as well as retain knowledge, information is where the participant accesses information regarding the study, and voluntariness involves the person willingly participating in the study. They also have the right to withdraw from the study at any time. Finally, harm protection. The researcher needs to ensure that none of the participants is exposed to unwarranted psychological and physical harm (Adil & Shamoo, 2009).
In the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, the scientists were engaged in unethical practice since they knowingly failed to inform the participants that penicillin was an effective cure for the disease they were carrying a study on. The study deceived the subjects. This is contrary to ethical consideration of informing the participants what the study was about. I disagree with the scientists’ decision of denying the participants voluntary consent to participate in the study. Any person who engages in a study must do it willingly and voluntarily. The participants of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study did not choose to participate in the study. The participants were also manipulated to continue participating in the study without knowing what their role was in clinical research. The participants were misled and mistreated. As a result, they were harmed physically and emotionally which is unethical in clinical research.
Ethical considerations: add credibility to the research; enhance the aims of the research including truth and error avoidance; promote values essential to collaborative work, like, trust, fairness, and mutual respect; assists to build public support; promote an array of other essential social and moral values, for instance, human rights, social responsibility, and compliance to the health and safety; finally, ensure that the researchers are held accountable to the public (Shrader-Frechette, 2011).
Adil E., & Shamoo, D. B. (2009). Responsible conduct of research. New York: Oxford University Press.
Gray, F. (1998). The Tuskegee Syphilis Study: The Real Story and Beyond. Montgomery, Alabama: New South Books.
Reverby, S. (2009). Examining Tuskegee: The Infamous Syphilis Study and its Legacy. Carolina: University of North Carolina Press.
Shrader-Frechette, K. S. (2011). Ethics of Scientific Research. New York: Rowman & Littlefield. Read More
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