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Home Sections Health and Medicine AP Report on “Horrific US Medical Experiments” Fails to Include U.S. Army’s Botched Medical Experiments in Manila in 1900 and 1906
AP Report on “Horrific US Medical Experiments” Fails to Include U.S. Army’s Botched Medical Experiments in Manila in 1900 and 1906 PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Health and Medicine
Written by Bobby M. Reyes   
Sunday, 27 February 2011 16:52

 

By Bobby M. Reyes

 

T he America On Line (AOL) published today, Feb. 27, 2011, an article written by Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press (AP) about the “Horrific US Medical Experiments Come to Light.” Excerpts of the article are reproduced hereunder for review purposes. The article did not, however, include the “botched” medical experiments that a United States Army medical officer conducted in the Philippines in the early 1900s.

 

A Richard P. Strong, MD, did medical experiments as a U. S. Army medical officer in the Philippines in the 1900s. The United States took over the Philippines (then known as Philippine Islands) as a result of the Spanish-American War of 1898.

 

This writer first came to know of the failed medical experiments in Manila in the 1900s from a report made by Dr. Frank Quismorio, Jr., at a 1996 meeting of the Philippine History Group of Los Angeles, California. Dr. Quismorio said that Dr. Strong conducted medical experiments with Filipino prisoners at the then-New Bilibid Prison in Manila, Philippines. Dr. Strong and his medical team were conducting experiments on cholera and other tropical diseases.

 

Dr. Quismorio is a member of the faculty of the University of Southern California’s School of Medicine.

 

Readers may want to browse this abstract about Dr. Richard P. Strong, as found in this link:

http://www.ajtmh.org/cgi/content/abstract/s1-22/4/467 

 

The article says: “Dr. Strong was the first American physician to study and describe tropical infections as observed in the Philippine Islands, as long ago as 1900, and since that time has been the leader of many expeditions to tropical countries throughout the world for the purpose of investigating certain infections peculiar to such regions. He has enriched our literature with many scientific papers devoted to research in tropical medicine and has contributed much to our knowledge of such infections.”

 

Dr. Strong eventually became a professor of Preventive Medicine at the Harvard Medical School in 1913.

 

Dr. Strong and his Team Commit Fatal Errors

 

A ccording to the Dr. Quismorio report, in 1906 Dr. Strong and his medical-research team injected into the Filipino prisoners what was supposed to be a strain of bacterium Vibrio cholerae. However, there was an apparent mix-up that the Filipino prisoners were injected instead with Bubonic-plague germs. Almost all of the Filipino prisoners died, as the team of Dr. Strong was treating them initially with experimental anti-cholera drugs or with placebo.

 

U. S. Army officers kept the actual results of the failed medical experiments of Dr. Strong “top secret.” There are, however, reports that surfaced much later on about them, as found in http://www.naturalnews.com/019189.html:

 

QUOTE.

(1900)

U.S Army doctors working in the Philippines infect five Filipino prisoners with plague and withhold proper nutrition to create Beriberi in 29 prisoners; four test subjects die (Merritte, et al.; Cockburn and St. Clair, eds.).

 

(1906)

Harvard professor Dr. Richard Strong infects prisoners in the Philippines with cholera to study the disease; 13 of them die. He compensates survivors with cigars and cigarettes.

Learn more:
http://www.naturalnews.com/019189.html#ixzz1FCws9Ro0

UNQUOTE.

 

A fter then-President Bill Clinton apologized in May 1997 to the victims of the failed medical experiment at Tuskegee, Alabama, this writer sent a suggestion that he should apologize also to the Filipino victims of the medical experiments that Dr. Strong and his team conducted in the Philippines in the 1900s. But this writer never got a reply or even an acknowledgment from The White House of receipt of his letter.

 

Here is a report about the said apology made by then-President Clinton: http://articles.cnn.com/1997-05 16/politics/tuskegee.apology_1_wav-syphilis-apology?_s=PM:ALLPOLITICS

 

Details of the Tuskegee botched medical experiments are found in this link, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskegee_syphilis_experiment.

 

Perhaps Filipino-American community leaders and the Philippine government must now press on with the apology from President Barack Obama.

 

Here are excerpts from the said AP article, as published today by the AOL:

 

Horrific US Medical Experiments Come to Light

 

http://www.aolnews.com/2011/02/27/horrific-us-medical-experiments-come-to light/?icid=maing%7Cmain5%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk2%7C46937

 

 

Feb 27, 20111:04 PM

 

Mike Stobbe

AP

 

A TLANTA -- Shocking as it may seem, U.S. government doctors once thought it was fine to experiment on disabled people and prison inmates. Such experiments included giving hepatitis to mental patients in Connecticut, squirting a pandemic flu virus up the noses of prisoners in Maryland, and injecting cancer cells into chronically ill people at a New York hospital.

Much of this horrific history is 40 to 80 years old, but it is the backdrop for a meeting in
Washington this week by a presidential bioethics commission. The meeting was triggered by the government's apology last fall for federal doctors infecting prisoners and mental patients in Guatemala with syphilis 65 years ago.

U.S. officials also acknowledged there had been dozens of similar experiments in the United States - studies that often involved making healthy people sick.

 

In this June 25, 1945 photo, a doctor exposes a patient to malaria-carrying mosquitoes at Stateville Penitentiary in Crest Hill, Ill. A series of malaria studies at Stateville and two other prisons were designed to test antimalarial drugs that could have helped soldiers fighting in the Pacific during World War II.


An exhaustive review by The Associated Press of medical journal reports and decades-old press clippings found more than 40 such studies. At best, these were a search for lifesaving treatments; at worst, some amounted to curiosity-satisfying experiments that hurt people but provided no useful results.

Inevitably, they will be compared to the well-known

Tuskegee syphilis study. In that episode, U.S. health officials tracked 600 black men in Alabama who already had syphilis but didn't give them adequate treatment even after penicillin became available.

These studies were worse in at least one respect - they violated the concept of "first do no harm," a fundamental medical principle that stretches back centuries.

"When you give somebody a disease - even by the standards of their time - you really cross the key ethical norm of the profession," said Arthur Caplan, director of the
University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics.

Some of these studies, mostly from the 1940s to the '60s, apparently were never covered by news media. Others were reported at the time, but the focus was on the promise of enduring new cures, while glossing over how test subjects were treated.

Attitudes about medical research were different then. Infectious diseases killed many more people years ago, and doctors worked urgently to invent and test cures. Many prominent researchers felt it was legitimate to experiment on people who did not have full rights in society - people like prisoners, mental patients, poor blacks. It was an attitude in some ways similar to that of Nazi doctors experimenting on Jews.

"There was definitely a sense - that we don't have today - that sacrifice for the nation was important," said Laura Stark, a
Wesleyan University assistant professor of science in society, who is writing a book about past federal medical experiments.

The AP review of past research found:

-A federally funded study begun in 1942 injected experimental flu vaccine in male patients at a state insane asylum in
Ypsilanti, Mich., then exposed them to flu several months later. It was co-authored by Dr. Jonas Salk, who a decade later would become famous as inventor of the polio vaccine.

Some of the men weren't able to describe their symptoms, raising serious questions about how well they understood what was being done to them. One newspaper account mentioned the test subjects were "senile and debilitated." Then it quickly moved on to the promising results.

-In federally funded studies in the 1940s, noted researcher Dr. W. Paul Havens Jr. exposed men to hepatitis in a series of experiments, including one using patients from mental institutions in Middletown and Norwich, Conn. Havens, a World Health Organization expert on viral diseases, was one of the first scientists to differentiate types of hepatitis and their causes.

A search of various news archives found no mention of the mental patients study, which made eight healthy men ill but broke no new ground in understanding the disease.

-Researchers in the mid-1940s studied the transmission of a deadly stomach bug by having young men swallow unfiltered stool suspension. The study was conducted at the New York State Vocational Institution, a reformatory prison in
West Coxsackie. The point was to see how well the disease spread that way as compared to spraying the germs and having test subjects breathe it. Swallowing it was a more effective way to spread the disease, the researchers concluded. The study doesn't explain if the men were rewarded for this awful task.

-A
University of Minnesota study in the late 1940s injected 11 public service employee volunteers with malaria, then starved them for five days. Some were also subjected to hard labor, and those men lost an average of 14 pounds. They were treated for malarial fevers with quinine sulfate. One of the authors was Ancel Keys, a noted dietary scientist who developed K-rations for the military and the Mediterranean diet for the public. But a search of various news archives found no mention of the study.

-For a study in 1957, when the Asian flu pandemic was spreading, federal researchers sprayed the virus in the noses of 23 inmates at Patuxent prison in
Jessup, Md., to compare their reactions to those of 32 virus-exposed inmates who had been given a new vaccine.

-Government researchers in the 1950s tried to infect about two dozen volunteering prison inmates with gonorrhea using two different methods in an experiment at a federal penitentiary in
Atlanta. The bacteria was pumped directly into the urinary tract through the penis, according to their paper.

The men quickly developed the disease, but the researchers noted this method wasn't comparable to how men normally got infected - by having sex with an infected partner. The men were later treated with antibiotics. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, but there was no mention of it in various news archives.

Though people in the studies were usually described as volunteers, historians and ethicists have questioned how well these people understood what was to be done to them and why, or whether they were coerced.

Prisoners have long been victimized for the sake of science. In 1915, the
U.S. government's Dr. Joseph Goldberger - today remembered as a public health hero - recruited Mississippi inmates to go on special rations to prove his theory that the painful illness pellagra was caused by a dietary deficiency. (The men were offered pardons for their participation.)

But studies using prisoners were uncommon in the first few decades of the 20th century, and usually performed by researchers considered eccentric even by the standards of the day. One was Dr. L.L. Stanley, resident physician at San Quentin prison in
California, who around 1920 attempted to treat older, "devitalized men" by implanting in them testicles from livestock and from recently executed convicts.

Newspapers wrote about
Stanley's experiments, but the lack of outrage is striking.

"Enter San Quentin penitentiary in the role of the Fountain of Youth - an institution where the years are made to roll back for men of failing mentality and vitality and where the spring is restored to the step, wit to the brain, vigor to the muscles and ambition to the spirit. All this has been done, is being done ... by a surgeon with a scalpel," began one rosy report published in November 1919 in The Washington Post.

Around the time of World War II, prisoners were enlisted to help the war effort by taking part in studies that could help the troops. For example, a series of malaria studies at Stateville Penitentiary in
Illinois and two other prisons was designed to test antimalarial drugs that could help soldiers fighting in the Pacific.

 

It was at about this time that prosecution of Nazi doctors in 1947 led to the "Nuremberg Code," a set of international rules to protect human test subjects. Many U.S. doctors essentially ignored them, arguing that they applied to Nazi atrocities - not to American medicine.

The late 1940s and 1950s saw huge growth in the U.S. pharmaceutical and health care industries, accompanied by a boom in prisoner experiments funded by both the government and corporations. By the 1960s, at least half the states allowed prisoners to be used as medical guinea pigs.

But two studies in the 1960s proved to be turning points in the public's attitude toward the way test subjects were treated.

The first came to light in 1963. Researchers injected cancer cells into 19 old and debilitated patients at a Jewish Chronic Disease Hospital in the
New York borough of Brooklyn to see if their bodies would reject them.

The hospital director said the patients were not told they were being injected with cancer cells because there was no need - the cells were deemed harmless. But the experiment upset a lawyer named William Hyman who sat on the hospital's board of directors. The state investigated, and the hospital ultimately said any such experiments would require the patient's written consent.

At nearby
Staten Island, from 1963 to 1966, a controversial medical study was conducted at the Willowbrook State School for children with mental retardation. The children were intentionally given hepatitis orally and by injection to see if they could then be cured with gamma globulin.

Those two studies - along with the
Tuskegee experiment revealed in 1972 - proved to be a "holy trinity" that sparked extensive and critical media coverage and public disgust, said Susan Reverby, the Wellesley College historian who first discovered records of the syphilis study in Guatemala.

By the early 1970s, even experiments involving prisoners were considered scandalous. In widely covered congressional hearings in 1973, pharmaceutical industry officials acknowledged they were using prisoners for testing because they were cheaper than chimpanzees.

Holmesburg Prison in
Philadelphia made extensive use of inmates for medical experiments. Some of the victims are still around to talk about it. Edward "Yusef" Anthony, featured in a book about the studies, says he agreed to have a layer of skin peeled off his back, which was coated with searing chemicals to test a drug. He did that for money to buy cigarettes in prison.

"I said 'Oh my God, my back is on fire! Take this ... off me!'" Anthony said in an interview with The Associated Press, as he recalled the beginning of weeks of intense itching and agonizing pain.

The government responded with reforms. Among them: The U.S. Bureau of Prisons in the mid-1970s effectively excluded all research by drug companies and other outside agencies within federal prisons.

As the supply of prisoners and mental patients dried up, researchers looked to other countries.

It made sense. Clinical trials could be done more cheaply and with fewer rules. And it was easy to find patients who were taking no medication, a factor that can complicate tests of other drugs.

Additional sets of ethical guidelines have been enacted, and few believe that another
Guatemala study could happen today. "It's not that we're out infecting anybody with things," Caplan said.

Still, in the last 15 years, two international studies sparked outrage.

One was likened to
Tuskegee. U.S.-funded doctors failed to give the AIDS drug AZT to all the HIV-infected pregnant women in a study in Uganda even though it would have protected their newborns. U.S. health officials argued the study would answer questions about AZT's use in the developing world.

The other study, by Pfizer Inc., gave an antibiotic named Trovan to children with meningitis in
Nigeria, although there were doubts about its effectiveness for that disease. Critics blamed the experiment for the deaths of 11 children and the disabling of scores of others. Pfizer settled a lawsuit with Nigerian officials for $75 million but admitted no wrongdoing.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general reported that between 40 and 65 percent of clinical studies of federally regulated medical products were done in other countries in 2008, and that proportion probably has grown. The report also noted that
U.S. regulators inspected fewer than 1 percent of foreign clinical trial sites.

Monitoring research is complicated, and rules that are too rigid could slow new drug development. But it's often hard to get information on international trials, sometimes because of missing records and a paucity of audits, said Dr. Kevin Schulman, a
Duke University professor of medicine who has written on the ethics of international studies.

These issues were still being debated when, last October, the
Guatemala study came to light.

In the 1946-48 study, American scientists infected prisoners and patients in a mental hospital in
Guatemala with syphilis, apparently to test whether penicillin could prevent some sexually transmitted disease. The study came up with no useful information and was hidden for decades.

 

The Guatemala study nauseated ethicists on multiple levels. Beyond infecting patients with a terrible illness, it was clear that people in the study did not understand what was being done to them or were not able to give their consent. Indeed, though it happened at a time when scientists were quick to publish research that showed frank disinterest in the rights of study participants, this study was buried in file drawers.

"It was unusually unethical, even at the time," said Stark, the Wesleyan researcher.

"When the president was briefed on the details of the Guatemalan episode, one of his first questions was whether this sort of thing could still happen today," said Rick Weiss, a spokesman for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

That it occurred overseas was an opening for the Obama administration to have the bioethics panel seek a new evaluation of international medical studies. The president also asked the
Institute of Medicine to further probe the Guatemala study, but the IOM relinquished the assignment in November, after reporting its own conflict of interest: In the 1940s, five members of one of the IOM's sister organizations played prominent roles in federal syphilis research and had links to the Guatemala study.

So the bioethics commission gets both tasks. To focus on federally funded international studies, the commission has formed an international panel of about a dozen experts in ethics, science and clinical research. Regarding the look at the
Guatemala study, the commission has hired 15 staff investigators and is working with additional historians and other consulting experts.

The panel is to send a report to Obama by September. Any further steps would be up to the administration.

Some experts say that given such a tight deadline, it would be a surprise if the commission produced substantive new information about past studies. "They face a really tough challenge," Caplan said.

AP news researchers Susan James and Julie Reed
Bell contributed to this report. # # #

 

 



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Last Updated on Sunday, 27 February 2011 18:25
 
Comments (1)
Via http://www.newsvine.com/_news/2011/02/27/6146576-ap-impact-past-medical-testing-on-humans-revealed?threadId=1163734&commentId=20486608#c20486608


Dear Mr. Stobbe:

I took the initiative of writing a review of your article about the botched U.S. medical experiments, as found in this URL: http://www.mabuhayradio.com/health-and-medicine/ap-report-on-horrific-us-medical-experiments-fails-to-include-u-s-army-s-botched-medical-experiments-in-manila-in-1900-and-1906

You inadvertently forgot to include the U. S. medical experiments in Manila in 1900 and 1906, in which Filipino prisoners died because of the errors of the U.S. Army medical team.

Thank you for the attention (and hopefully a corrected version of your article),

Bobby M. Reyes
Editor
www.mabuhayradio.com

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