December 28

1947: U.S. Government-Sponsored Human Experiments Disregard Nuremberg Standards

American public health officials and the medical community pretended that the Nuremberg Code did not apply to American medical researchers. The assumption was that the physicians who had conducted heinous experiments had been Nazi doctors in Germany; and they rationalized that most of the rogue doctors had been held accountable by the tribunals. (Lederer. Military Medical Ethics, Vol. 2, 2003)

Tuskegee Syphilis experiment was “the longest nontherapeutic experiment on human beings in the history of medicine.” This most well-known U.S. unethical medical experiment was sponsored by the U.S. Public Health Service and continued unabated until 1972 — 25 years after Nuremberg.

In the aftermath of WWII, the federal government accelerated and expanded its medical experiments both within the military and civilian population in complete violation of medical ethics as laid down by the Nuremberg Code, whose foremost mandatory requirement is: “The voluntary, informed consent of the human subject is essential.”

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