Tuskegee's Truths: Rethinking the Tuskegee Syphilis Study

Tuskegee's Truths: Rethinking the Tuskegee Syphilis Study

by Susan M. Reverby

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Between 1932 and 1972, approximately six hundred African American men in Alabama served as unwitting guinea pigs in what is now considered one of the worst examples of arrogance, racism, and duplicity in American medical research--the Tuskegee syphilis study. Told they were being treated for "bad blood," the nearly four hundred men with late-stage syphilis and two hundred disease-free men who served as controls were kept away from appropriate treatment and plied instead with placebos, nursing visits, and the promise of decent burials. Despite the publication of more than a dozen reports in respected medical and public health journals, the study continued for forty years, until extensive media coverage finally brought the experiment to wider public knowledge and forced its end.

This edited volume gathers articles, contemporary newspaper accounts, selections from reports and letters, reconsiderations of the study by many of its principal actors, and works of fiction, drama, and poetry to tell the Tuskegee story as never before. Together, these pieces illuminate the ethical issues at play from a remarkable breadth of perspectives and offer an unparalleled look at how the study has been understood over time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469608723
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 12/01/2012
Series: Studies in Social Medicine
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 664
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Susan M. Reverby is professor of women's studies at Wellesley College. She is author of the prize-winning Ordered to Care: The Dilemma of American Nursing.

Table of Contents

Foreword by James H. Jones
Preface by Allan M. Brandt and Larry R. Churchill
Introduction. More Than a Metaphor: An Overview of the Scholarship of the Study / Susan M. Reverby

Part I. Overview
Racism and Research: The Case of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment / Allan M. Brandt
Events in the Tuskegee Syphilis Project: A Timeline / Susan E. Bell

Part II. Contemporary Background
The Shadow of the Plantation: Survival, Charles S. Johnson / Thomas Parran

Part III. Documenting the Issues
Selected Letters between the United States Public Health Service, the Macon County Health Department, and the Tuskegee Institute, 1932-1972
Untreated Syphilis in the Male Negro: Mortality during Twelve Years of Observation
Twenty Years of Follow-Up Experience in a Long-Range Medical Study / Eunice V. Rivers et al. and Welfare Study, 1973
Testimony by Four Survivors from the United States Senate Hearings on Human Experimentation, 1973
Testimony by Peter Buxton from the United States Senate Hearings on Human Experimentation, 1973
Selections from the Final Report of the Ad Hoc Tuskegee Syphilis Study Panel, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, 1973
Part IV. The Question of Treatment
The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis / R. H. Kampmeier
The Contribution of the Tuskegee Study to Medical Knowledge / Charles J. McDonald
The "Tuskegee Study" of Syphilis: Analysis of Moral versus Methodologic Aspects / Thomas Benedek
Non-Random Events / Barbara Rosenkrantz

Part V. Historical Reconsideration
The Rhetoric of Dehumanization: An Analysis of Medical Reports of the Tuskegee Syphilis Project / Martha Solomon [Watson]
The Tuskegee Syphilis Study in the Context of American Medical Research / Susan Lederer
A Case Study in Historical Relativism: The Tuskegee (Public Health Service) Syphilis Study / John C. Fletcher
The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment: Biotechnology and the Administrative State / Benjamin Roy
Part VI. Rethinking the Role of Nurse Rivers
An Interview with Nurse Rivers / Helen Dibble and Daniel Williams
Your Silence Will Not Protect You: Nurse Rivers and the Tuskegee Syphilis Study / Evelynn M. Hammonds
Neither Victim nor Villain: Eunice Rivers and Public Health Work / Susan L. Smith
Rethinking the Tuskegee Syphilis Study: Nurse Rivers, Silence, and the Meaning of Treatment / Susan M. Reverby
Reflections on Nurse Rivers / Darlene Clark Hine
Part VII. The Legacy of Tuskegee
Proper Uses and Abuses of the Health Care Delivery System for Minorities, with Special Reference to the Tuskegee Syphilis Study / Vernal G. Cave
The Tuskegee Syphilis Study, 1932-1972: Implications for HIV Education and AIDS Risk Education Programs in the Black Community / Stephen B. Thomas and Sandra Crouse Quinn
When Evil Intrudes / Arthur Caplan
The Dangers of Difference / Patricia A. King
Under the Shadow of Tuskegee: African Americans and Health Care / Vanessa Northington Gamble
Selections from the United States Senate Committee Hearings for the Nomination of Dr. Henry Foster for Surgeon General of the United States, May 1995
Families Emerge as Silent Victims of Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments / Carol Kaesuk Yoon
Part VIII. Key Actors Rethink the Study
Summary of Ad Hoc Committee to Consider the Tuskegee Study, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, February 6, 1969
The Lawsuit / Fred Gray
Outside the Community / Harold Edgar
Venereal Disease Control by Health Departments in the Past: Lessons for the Present / John C. Cutler and R. C. Arnold
The Infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study / George A. Silver
Dr. Cutler's Response / John C. Cutler
Deadly Medicine / Tom Junod
Part IX. Imagining the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
Selections from Miss Evers' Boys / David Feldshuh
Tuskegee Experiment / Sadiq
Civil Servant / Essex HemphillPart X. Apology and Beyond
Legacy Committee Request
Statement of Attorney Fred Gray
Herman Shaw's Remarks
President William J. Clinton's Remarks
The Ethics of Clinical Research in the Third World / Marcia Angell
Ethical Complexities of Conducting Research in Developing Countries / Harold Varmus and David Satcher
Uses and Abuses of Tuskegee / Amy L. Fairchild and Ronald Bayer
A Guide to Further Reading

Section of Illustrations.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Reverby has done an excellent job of editing the work of numerous contributors to compile the book in a well-organized and readable style.—Choice

An extremely important addition to the research ethics record, since it gathers articles, contemporary newspaper accounts, interviews with participants, selections from reports and letters, and even poetry and extracts. . . . The mixture of sources, transcripts and styles of writing make this a fascinating read. . . . These documents show all too clearly how the coming together of racism, poverty, chronic disease, deception and intransigence made for seriously bad ethics.—Bulletin of Medical Ethics

This book comes well recommended to all those involved in the teaching of ethics and the healing arts.—Journal of Religion and Health

I thought I had a good grasp of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study before reading Tuskegee's Truths. . . . Reverby's book has humbled me. . . . A short review like this cannot begin to recount the many perspectives included in [this book].—Journal of the History of Medicine

Reverby insures that the person using this book will understand the Tuskegee syphilis study as a contemporary history.—Journal of American History

This is a wonderfully creative and consistently accessible collection of materials illuminating not only the Tuskegee experiment and the medical and social realities that created it—but more general questions concerning the relationships among memory, myth, and academic history. It will fascinate the interested general reader and be greeted with joy by the classroom teacher searching for fresh and stimulating texts.—Charles Rosenberg, Harvard University

Tuskegee's Truths revisits the infamous Tuskegee study and explores its contemporary meanings and relevance for American society. . . . The book succeeds admirably. Its comprehensive scope makes it an invaluable reference tool. Its sharp focus on race will attract the attention of scholars of race as well as historians and ethicists concerned with racism in medicine and medical research.—New England Journal of Medicine

Reverby has taken some of the heavy lifting out of the task of studying Tuskegee. Tuskegee's Truths is a compendium of diverse materials that shed different kinds of light on the notorious research project. . . . A sourcebook for teachers, a useful reference for scholarship, and a welcome addition to the library of other readers who wish to explore the disquieting history of the Tuskegee Study.—Bulletin of the History of Medicine

Reverby has done an excellent job of bringing together the diverse literature on the subject. The selections included raise a host of important historical, medical, social and ethical issues.—John Parascandola, Ph.D., medical historian

Customer Reviews