<![CDATA[Global Heed<br /> - Global HEED on Campus]]>Sun, 27 Dec 2015 10:25:39 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Bioethics and U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Experiments in Guatemala ]]>Tue, 06 Mar 2012 08:36:04 GMThttp://globalheedemory.weebly.com/global-heed-on-campus/bioethics-and-us-public-health-service-experiments-in-guatemalaWe were fortunate to have Dr. Susan M. Reverby, a renowned historian for her research in U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) syphilis experiments in Guatemala, speak at Emory. Dr. Reverby discovered the unpublished papers of these experiments in 2005 and revealed shocking details about the violation of bioethics in Guatemala.

Between 1946 and 1948, American doctors led by the U.S. PHS physician John Charles Cutler deliberately infected Guatemalan soldiers, prostitutes and prisoners with syphilis. In order to study the effects of penicillin in counteracting syphilis, doctors paid infected prostitutes to spread the disease by having intercourse with prisoners and sometimes by directly inoculating Guatemalans through spinal taps with the bacterium. Dr. Reverby estimated that around 1,500 healthy Guatemalans were infected in this way. While penicillin was given to most patients, only 26% of the subjects received the full therapy, which led to many deaths amongst the subjects.

The brutality of these experiments is unquestionable and its bioethics violation beyond dispute, but we can learn more by addressing further questions. 

1) John Charles Cutler defended his experiments saying that the subjects were treated in the end. Although we know that the treatment was not adequately completed, if all subjects were cured of the disease after the penicillin treatment, does that justify infecting uninformed subjects?

2) Can the suffering of a few people be justified, and such flagrant violations of bioethics condoned to allow for research that would benefit the greater community? For example, if someone were to develop a potential cure for cancer, could the sacrifice of a few individuals be justified to promote research that would ultimately cure countless people?

3) What are some factors underpinning the execution of these experiments? Rather than condemning American doctors as depraved and immoral, what contextual elements enabled their justification of these "ethically impossible" experiments? Was it Racism? Foreign subjects? Medical imperialism? 

4) President Obama made a formal apology to Guatemalan president Colom regarding this matter. How should the subjects be compensated?

For further reading, please refer to the report, "'Ethically Impossible' STD Research in Guatemala from 1946 to 1948," by the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues - http://bioethics.gov/cms/sites/default/

- Kevin Kang ]]>
<![CDATA[Blood Pressure Trips]]>Mon, 13 Feb 2012 01:50:18 GMThttp://globalheedemory.weebly.com/global-heed-on-campus/blood-pressure-tripsJames Li

On the first Saturday of each month, we take interested members to the Latin American Association (LAA) on Buford Highway for our Blood Pressure Screening trips. The goal of these trips is to measure the blood pressure of visitors and clients at the LAA and educate them on how to choose a healthy lifestyle.

Some may wonder, “Why blood pressure?” High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can lead to many health problems. However, people with elevated blood pressures often do not show any sign or symptoms. This means that people may be completely unaware that they have a health complication. More importantly, having high blood pressure can lead to serious complications such as heart attack, aneurysm, heart failure, kidney problems, and more.

The good news is that blood pressure can be maintained at a healthy level with a healthy lifestyle. This means eating foods that are low in fat and sodium, exercising regularly, managing stress, limiting alcohol use, and abstaining from smoking. The added benefit is that choosing to live healthily can improve other aspects of life as well.

Global HEED at Emory wants to make an impact in both the world and the local community. Spending some time to educate others is very rewarding. We also have plenty of fun while doing it! For example, after this trip, we went to a dim sum place on Buford highway for a delicious lunch.