Human experimentation is a practice as old as medicine. Experimentations are done to try new drugs and vaccines to find out how people will respond to them. Human experimentation is a subject of great ethics debate. It is of great significance to mankind; however, it should not exceed ethical limits. It is possible to conduct ethical human experimentation provided the subjects are not subjected to inhuman activities such as the Tuskegee subjects were exposed (Konwisher & Sargent, 2010).
Human experimentation involves using humans as the subject of a research. As subjects, they are experimented on and observed by the investigator. Humans have been used as experiment subject for many years. The most publicized experiments are those that are medical in nature since medicine plays a crucial role in people’s lives. Human experimentation is okay provided it yields results that will benefit most of mankind (Konwisher & Sargent, 2010). For instance, human experimentation has been instrumental in yielding great advances in medicine, among them reducing child mortality and increasing human life spun. Many diseases that were incurable are now curable due to these experiments. Based on this, human experimentation is okay. However, human experimentation should only be conducted on consenting subjects.
Yes, watching the movie helped me further understand the need for the IRB. The move has made me develop a proper understanding of the dynamics involved in human experimentation and the outcomes of such experimentation. Human experimentation can be very devastating for the subjects, especially if the condition involved is as dangerous as syphilis. In Miss Ever’s Boys subjects succumbed to the negative effects of the study (Konwisher & Sargent, 2010). Human experimentation is a subject of a great ethical debate. When new drugs are made, tests are conducted on animals that have a physiology close to that of humans. However, the results these tests yield in animals may not be the same they yield in humans. Therefore, human tests are necessary to yield to find out how new drugs or vaccinations will work on humans. However, such tests can only be done with people’s consent. The Tuskegee study was conducted in secrecy, and the subjects were not informed what was going on. They were made subjects without their consent. The manner through which the study was conducted was outrageous and had no medical basis but a racial one.
The Tuskegee study is different from studying children to improve their educational chances. The study of Tuskegee did do anything to improve the health conditions of the subjects under study but rather left them to die slowly from the syphilis infection. On the other hand, studying children to help them improve their educational chance is different since it aims at improving lives and does not lead the subjects to their demise. In Tuskegee study, despite the availability of penicillin, which could cure syphilis, the investigators rejected any attempt to treat syphilis (Konwisher & Sargent, 2010). Thus, the Tuskegee study violated all ethical principles that guide human experimentation. Studying children to improve their educational chances is beneficial to education and does not place anyone at a disadvantage. Although the study of children places those under the control group at a disadvantage by making them miss out on the passive effect of pre-schooling, the study does not contravene human rights. In this regard, the study to improve children’s educational chances is ethical, while the Tuskegee study is unethical since it totally undermines the quality of life of the subjects.
The link between ethics and medical science is of great dilemma. It is always difficult to determine what can or cannot be done ethically. It is however possible to conduct ethical experiment if the experiments are not left to go to extreme and dangerous levels. For instance, the Tuskegee study was left to go to extreme level leading to death of some subjects and infection of their spouses. The study went on even after some results had been collected, and new effective way of treating syphilis using penicillin had been developed. Secondly, the experiment was unethical, because the subjects were not informed of what was going on and did not consent to it. However, human experimentation can be ethical provided the subjects give informed consent. They should know the possible negative outcome of the experiments. Thirdly, the experiment should not be left to compromise the quality of life of the subjects the way syphilis was left to devastate the lives of the subjects in Tuskegee.
In conclusion, human experimentation is important for the development of new drugs and vaccines. It should be encouraged provided it bears results that improve human lives. However, all human experimentation should be conducted in an ethical manner. It is possible to conduct human experimentation ethically by observing all the ethical guideline for conducting human experimentation. The subject to the studies must give informed consent but must be protected from extreme negative effects of the study. Human life is so precious to be played with the way the investigators did in Tuskegee experiment.