What Price Knowledge Essay, Research Paper
What price knowledgeI feel there is a definite need for knowledge in todays society, but there is also a definite point when it has gone too far. It has gone too far by conducting experiments on people without letting them know the consequences and side effects that will place upon them. It has also reached an extreme when the person becomes physically or mentally impaired after the experiments . I see this treatment as both immoral and unethical; there is no reason to harm a normally healthy person for some advancement in scientific knowledge . In doing research for this paper I have found many examples wherehumans were used as “guinea pigs” or killed. One example of thismisconduct was in 1959 it was a common practice for drug companies toprovide samples of experimental drugs, to physicians, who were then paid togather data on their patients taking the drugs. Physicians throughout thecountry prescribed there drugs to patients without their knowledge or consent as part of this loosely controlled research. Example of this was the drugsedative thalidomide was given to vast number of pregant women and causedthousands of birth defects in newborn infants. Because of this event, theKefauver – Harris amendmants to food, drug and cosmetic act were passedrequiring informal consent be obtained in the testing of these drugs. Another rascality research project was doctors injected live cancercells into underprivileged elderly patients without their permission. Theresearch went forward without review by the hospital’s research committeeand over the objections of three physicians consulted, who argued that theproposed subjects were unfit of giving ample consent to participate. Therevealing of the experiment served to make both officials and the Board ofRegents of the University of the State of New York, aware of theshortcomings of procedures in place to protect human subjects. They werefurther concerned over the public’s reaction to revealing of the research andthe impact it would have on research generally and the institutions in
particular. After a review the Board of Regents disapproved the researchers. They suspended the licenses of Dr.’s Mandel and Southam, but since delayedthe suspension and placed the physicians on probation for one year.Another example took place during World War II. The new field ofradiation science was at the center of one of the most ambitious andconcealed research efforts the world has known Human radiationexperiments. They were undertaken in secret to help understand radiationrisks to workers engaged in the development of the atomic bomb. Following the war, the new Atomic Energy Commission used facilities to make theatomic bomb to produce radioisotopes for medical research and otherpeacetime uses. This highly publicized program provided the radioisotopesthat were used in thousands of human experiments conducted in researchplants throughout the country. The Government didn’t really know if anythinghappened to the patients until the Advisory Committee did studies involvingchildren that had exposures to radioisotope that were associated withincreases in the possible lifetime risk for developing thyroid cancer thatwould be considered unacceptable today. The Advisory Committee alsoidentified several studies in which patients died soon after receiving externalradiation or radioisotope portions in the healing range that were associatedwith radiation effects.In these cases which I have researched, many committees haveimplemented to set a standard set of rules and requirements to keep humanexperimentation under control. This process is something I agree with and Iwould have liked to see developed some time ago. Having looked over theexamples above I can not get over what the government and researchers didto these innocent people in the past. I think the government and theresearchers should compensate the population that was tested in some form,be it money, apologies, etc..