New York Times Examines Book on Blacks’ Participation in Medical Research
A new book -- "Medical Apartheid," by Harriet Washington, a journalist and research scholar in ethics -- details the "disgraceful history" of blacks and medical research, the New York Times reports. According to the Times, the "most notorious medical experiment in American history was surely the Tuskegee syphilis study," in which 400 black men with the infection were not treated for 40 years while government doctors studied the disease's progression. The Tuskegee experiment was "just part of a pattern of experimental abuse" of blacks by medical researchers, which the book details, the Times reports. The book indicates that blacks "have been forced to undergo painful, risky experimental surgery, dosed with radiation and singled out for experiments aimed at finding brain abnormalities linked to violence," according to the Times. Despite a history of medical research that has left many blacks with mistrust of the health system, Washington in the book says blacks' participation in clinical research is necessary, writing, "African Americans desperately need the medical advantages and revelations that only ethical, essentially therapeutic research initiatives can give them." While some of Washington's "arguments are less convincing than others," the Times says "this is an important book" and a "reminder that people in power have always been capable of exploiting" certain groups of people and "of finding ways to rationalize the most atrocious abuse" (Grady, New York Times, 1/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.