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Essay/Term paper: What is the price knowledge

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Literary Essays

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What Is the Price Knowledge

I 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 where
humans were used as "guinea pigs" or killed. One example of this misconduct
was in 1959 it was a common practice for drug companies to provide samples of
experimental drugs, to physicians, who were then paid to gather data on their
patients taking the drugs. Physicians throughout the country prescribed there
drugs to patients without their knowledge or consent as part of this loosely
controlled research. Example of this was the drug sedative thalidomide was
given to vast number of pregant women and caused thousands of birth defects in
newborn infants. Because of this event, the Kefauver - Harris amendmants to
food, drug and cosmetic act were passed requiring informal consent be obtained
in the testing of these drugs.

Another rascality research project was doctors injected live cancer
cells into underprivileged elderly patients without their permission. The
research went forward without review by the hospital's research committee and
over the objections of three physicians consulted, who argued that the proposed
subjects were unfit of giving ample consent to participate. The revealing of
the experiment served to make both officials and the Board of Regents of the
University of the State of New York, aware of the shortcomings of procedures in
place to protect human subjects. They were further concerned over the public's
reaction to revealing of the research and the 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 delayed the suspension and placed the physicians
on probation for one year.

Another example took place during World War II. The new field of
radiation science was at the center of one of the most ambitious and concealed
research efforts the world has known Human radiation experiments. They were
undertaken in secret to help understand radiation risks to workers engaged in
the development of the atomic bomb. Following the war, the new Atomic Energy
Commission used facilities to make the atomic bomb to produce radioisotopes
for medical research and other peacetime uses. This highly publicized program
provided the radioisotopes that were used in thousands of human experiments
conducted in research plants throughout the country. The Government didn't
really know if anything happened to the patients until the Advisory Committee
did studies involving children that had exposures to radioisotope that were
associated with increases in the possible lifetime risk for developing thyroid
cancer that would be considered unacceptable today. The Advisory Committee also
identified several studies in which patients died soon after receiving external
radiation or radioisotope portions in the healing range that were associated
with radiation effects.

In these cases which I have researched, many committees have
implemented to set a standard set of rules and requirements to keep human
experimentation under control. This process is something I agree with and I
would have liked to see developed some time ago. Having looked over the
examples above I can not get over what the government and researchers did to
these innocent people in the past. I think the government and the researchers
should compensate the population that was tested in some form, be it money,
apologies, etc..


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