Nazis And Medical Ethics And US Hypocrisy
Allen L. Barker
alb at datafilter.com
Mon Oct 18 22:11:13 EST 2004
Nazis And Medical Ethics: Context And Lessons
Source: American Medical Association
Nazis And Medical Ethics: Context And Lessons
WASHINGTON -- The practice of medicine in Nazi Germany still
profoundly affects modern-day medical ethics codes, according to Alan
Wells, Ph.D., an expert in medical ethics with the American Medical
Association (AMA) and Patricia Heberer, Ph.D., historian at the Center
for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial
Museum (USHMM). To teach those lessons to the next generation of
physicians, the AMA and the USHMM announced plans today to deliver a
lecture series on the subject to medical schools around the country.
The collaboration between the AMA and the Holocaust Museum coincides
with the Museum's special exhibition, "Deadly Medicine: Creating the
Master Race," which runs through Oct. 16, 2005.
"During the 1930s, the German medical establishment was admired as a
world leader in innovative public health and medical research,"
Dr. Wells said. "The question we want to examine is: 'How could
science be co-opted in such a way that doctors as healers evolved into
killers and medical research became torture?'" Dr. Wells and
Dr. Heberer spoke today at the American Medical Association's 23rd
Annual Science Reporters Conference in Washington D.C.
"The story of medicine under Nazism is instructive and an important
theme in understanding the evolution of the Holocaust," said
Dr. Heberer. "The collaboration of the USHMM and the AMA Institute for
Ethics presents a unique opportunity to explore this topic, both in
terms of history and contemporary issues, and to bring the lessons
drawn to students, physicians, and faculty in universities around the
The presentation will focus on the role Nazi medical practices played
in the development of medical ethics and the lessons that today's
physicians have learned from the period leading up to the
Holocaust. The series is being jointly funded by the AMA Institute for
Ethics, the AMA Foundation, the Museum's Center for Advanced Holocaust
Studies and host institutions. The series will visit 12 to 15 medical
schools as well as selected universities over the next year.
"Many of the most important issues in medical ethics today -- from
genetic testing and stem cell research to caring for prisoners of war
are directly affected by the experiences of medicine leading up to and
during the Holocaust," Dr. Wells said. "Physicians need to explore
these issues without getting caught up in political agendas or the
results can be something we never intended and cause great harm."
According to Dr. Wells, World War II era Germans were extremely
advanced in medicine, technology and public health research but these
successes have largely been overlooked by history because of the
medical extremes of the Holocaust. For example, Germany was the first
to have a high-powered electron microscope, the first to document the
link between asbestos and lung cancer, and an innovator in developing
high profile public health campaigns for a variety of health issues --
such as anti-smoking campaigns and promoting breast self-examination
to help detect tumors at an early stage. These advances and campaigns,
however, were eventually aimed exclusively at the "Aryans" -- the Nazi
ideal of the "master race."
"Adolf Hitler spoke of Germany as a body with himself as the doctor,"
Dr. Wells said. "He wanted to make Germany 'healthy' by eliminating
diseased, unhealthy parts of the body. At first this meant killing the
disabled. But because the Nazis also believed that Jews possessed
'bad' genes, they, too, came to be portrayed by public health
'experts' and 'scientists' as a threat to racial purity and a healthy
These actions grew from a theory called "eugenics" (using selective
breeding to improve the genetic quality of a species), which came from
a distortion of Charles Darwin's theories of "survival of the
fittest," according to Dr. Heberer. Some eugenics programs, such as
laws sanctioning the sterilization of the "feeble minded," initially
met with resistance throughout the world, including in Germany. But
when the Nazis came to power, and particularly during World War II,
these constraints disappeared as the Nazi regime was able to implement
its radical version of medicine.
"We want to understand why healers became killers and use our
understanding as a guide for medicine today," Dr. Wells
concluded. "Even though the horrors of the Holocaust seem to be so
long ago, we can never forget this history because it continues to
affect medical ethics today. For example, one reason doctors today are
so concerned about racial and ethnic health disparities is because our
codes of ethics demand that we treat every person equally, without
regard to race or ethnic background. This ethical obligation is a
direct outgrowth of the horrors of Nazi medicine."
This story has been adapted from a news release issued by American
The Cold War Experiments
Radiation tests were only one small part of a vast research
program that used thousands of Americans as guinea pigs.
U.S News and World Report, January 24, 1994.
By Stephen Budiansky, Erica E. Goode and Ted Gest
New revelations that government cold war experiments exposed thousands
of Americans to radiation have prompted fresh congressional inquiries,
including a hearing last week on tests conducted on retarded children
in Massachusetts. A Department of Energy hot line set to to handle
calls from possible subjects of the tests has been swamped. But the
radiation experiments are only one facet of a vast cold war research
program that used thousands of Americans as guinea pigs.
STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS
(Senate - January 22, 1997)
HUMAN RESEARCH SUBJECT PROTECTION ACT
[Remarks of Sen. John Glenn; the bill did *not* become law.]
How would you like it if your father, mother, son or daughter,
husband, wife was in one of those institutions and was having
experiments conducted on them without your knowing about it or without
them knowing about it? That is what we are up against.
THE RADIATION STORY NO ONE WOULD TOUCH
by Geoffrey Sea
Suddenly, at the close of 1993, the public was bombarded with "news"
about the feeding of radioactive substances to pregnant women and
mentally retarded students, about the unethical irradiation of
workers, soldiers, medical patients, and prison inmates, and about the
government's own internal fears that these experiments had "a little
of the Buchenwald touch." But the story that appeared in The
Albuquerque Tribune (circulation: 35,000) on November 15-17, and was
then projected into the national headlines by the forthright
admissions and initiatives of Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary, was
By 1984, activists and researchers across the country were
systematically investigating the human experimentation program and
attempting to bring it to public attention. By 1986, documentation of
the program was massive, solid, and publicly available.
I am among those who persistently tried to get national media coverage
of this outrageous example of government wrongdoing. To say that the
media were reluctant to listen would be an understatement. The fact is
that, for more than a decade, documentation was ignored and facts were
Plutonium Files: How the U.S. Secretly Fed Radioactivity to Thousands
Wednesday, May 5th, 2004
EILEEN WELSOME: The sad part about Elmer's story is that nobody
believed him. He went to his doctor and told him, "I think I've been
injected with something." His doctor diagnosed him as a paranoid
schizophrenic at the same time that he was conversing with the atomic
energy scientists in Argon National Lab to provide them with tissue
The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment
The U.S. government's 40-year experiment on black men with syphilis
by Borgna Brunner
When the experiment was brought to the attention of the media in 1972,
news anchor Harry Reasoner described it as an experiment that "used
human beings as laboratory animals in a long and inefficient study of
how long it takes syphilis to kill someone."
A Heavy Price in the Name of Bad Science
By the end of the experiment, 28 of the men had died directly of
syphilis, 100 were dead of related complications, 40 of their wives
had been infected, and 19 of their children had been born with
congenital syphilis. How had these men been induced to endure a fatal
disease in the name of science?
To persuade the community to support the experiment, one of the
original doctors admitted it "was necessary to carry on this study
under the guise of a demonstration and provide treatment." At first,
the men were prescribed the syphilis remedies of the day--bismuth,
neoarsphenamine, and mercury-- but in such small amounts that only 3
percent showed any improvement.
These token doses of medicine were good public relations and did not
interfere with the true aims of the study. Eventually, all syphilis
treatment was replaced with "pink medicine"--aspirin.
To ensure that the men would show up for a painful and potentially
dangerous spinal tap, the PHS doctors misled them with a letter full
of promotional hype: "Last Chance for Special Free Treatment." The
fact that autopsies would eventually be required was also concealed.
As a doctor explained, "If the colored population becomes aware that
accepting free hospital care means a post-mortem, every darky will
leave Macon County..." Even the Surgeon General of the United States
participated in enticing the men to remain in the experiment, sending
them certificates of appreciation after 25 years in the study.
One of the most chilling aspects of the experiment was how zealously
the PHS kept these men from receiving treatment. When several
nationwide campaigns to eradicate venereal disease came to Macon
County, the men were prevented from participating. Even when
penicillin--the first real cure for syphilis--was discovered in the
1940s, the Tuskegee men were deliberately denied the medication.
During World War II, 250 of the men registered for the draft and were
consequently ordered to get treatment for syphilis, only to have the
PHS exempt them. Pleased at their success, the PHS representative
announced: "So far, we are keeping the known positive patients from
getting treatment." The experiment continued in spite of the Henderson
Act (1943), a public health law requiring testing and treatment for
venereal disease, and in spite of the World Health Organization's
Declaration of Helsinki (1964), which specified that "informed
consent" was needed for experiments involving human beings.
IMPLANT VICTIM REFUSED HELP BY 'HUMANITARIAN' PHYSICIANS
WRONGE REVISITED: UPDATE ON IMPLANT VICTIM'S CASE
Won't medical professionals help mind control victims?
Doctors and Torture
_The New England Journal of Medicine_
Volume 351:415-416, Number 5
Robert Jay Lifton, M.D.
July 29, 2004
There is increasing evidence that U.S. doctors, nurses, and medics
have been complicit in torture and other illegal procedures in Iraq,
Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay. Such medical complicity suggests
still another disturbing dimension of this broadening scandal.
Mind Control: TT&P ==> http://www.datafilter.com/mc
Home page: http://www.datafilter.com/alb
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