Bioethics is concerned with some of the most disturbing topics, such as the nature of life, what kind of life is worth inhabiting and the nature of death. Eugenics on the other hand refers to the study of the activities under social control that may improve mentally or physically the ethnic qualities of future generations (Galton, 1904). The intersection of ethical principles, medical practice/experiments and medical technology, is an imperative field of study. However, the speedy advances in medical technology have turned it to be the most vital field of ethics in today’s world. This is because some of them are immoral and insensitive to ethical principles.
Numerous experiments that are considered unethical have been performed on human test subjects in the U. S. They were performed illegally, without the consent or knowledge of the test subjects. This was a violation of all the human/patient’s rights. These experiments included surgical experiments, deliberate infection of individuals with deadly diseases, exposing people to chemical and biological weapons, injecting of people with radioactive/toxic chemicals, amongst other heinous medical experiments (Bekier, 2010). Some of these tests were performed on sick, young children, prisoners, and mentally disabled individuals in the guise of genuine medical treatment.
An informed consent becomes ethically valid if only there is full disclosure. This is what most of the human subject were denied. The subjects were denied moral judgment on whether to carry on with the experiments or not. Respect for human justice and dignity was completely trashed by this experiments. Ethical principles dictate that there has to be protection of subjects from,emotional, physical, economic, spiritual, and social harm during any medical research (Frederick, Rober, Lois, 2009). These provisions were also not observed. Subject for any research have the right for voluntary participation along with assurance of equitable treatment and privacy. The immoral men clearly failed to consideration this during their experiments.
Two major incidences that clearly show case how ethical principles were violated are the medical experiments on human subjects that were conducted by the doctors in Nazi Germany and in post-war experiments in the United States. These experiments were without their permission or knowledge. Recently, the U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton had to make formal apologies for gonorrhea and syphilis experiments that were conducted on Guatemalans between 1946 -1948 (Bekier 2010).
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The Nazi and U.S post war medical experiments brought a painful awareness that medical experiments on human subjects need to adapt to well defined, ethical standards and should surpass the defense that such experiments may produce results that are for the good of society. This has led to the creation of different strategies that ensure the non-existence of such unethical experiments. The first major step was the enactment of the1947 Nuremberg Code. The code lays down numerous provisions for carrying out permissible medical experiments. It clearly affirms that the voluntary assent of the human subject is essential and that doctors ought to avoid actions that might injure patients (The Nuremberg Code (1947), 1994).
Implication of basic knowledge of law legal principles is a key component to making of ethical decision. This is why most governments have moved it to implement and observe human rights. Any slight violation of these rules is punishable by imprisonment or huge fines.
The setting up of proper health care facilities, experimental procedure, and explicit explanation or clarification of all the associated requirements of experiments, makes it less possible for the unethical experiments to be repeated.The present age education, and many medical advances also allows the use of other simulated subjects in perform life threatening the experiments.
In conclusion, it is important for the human race to bear in mind that medical progresses are not conditional commitments. A gradual progress in disease eradication may in no way threaten the health of a society but a violation of moral principles and values do pose such threats. People ought to strongly refute the ruthless search of scientific progress to improve the health of society, at the expense of innocent lives.
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