issues in bioethics

In 1966 Henry Beecher, a well-known physician at the Harvard Medical School, published an important paper reporting many different abuses of human subjects in medical research at major universities and medical centers in the United States. The ethical violations he spoke of included the use of subjects without their consent and the participation in medical research of subjects who have not been offered the option of standard treatment. Beecher's article triggered discussions and debate inside and outside of medicine about the importance and practicality of obtaining consent from research subjects or surrogates if the subjects could not provide consent for themselves.

Concerns about research ethics were further increased by a research project called the Tuskegee Study, sponsored by the United States Public Health Service to assess the clinical course of syphilis. It began in 1932 and was ended at the direction of the Congress of the United States in 1972. Public health researchers conducting the study withheld both diagnostic information and effective treatment from black men enrolled in the study in order to keep their ongoing participation. The abuses of the Tuskegee Study prompted the fo



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