Academic journal article Science Scope

For the Good of Mankind?

Academic journal article Science Scope

For the Good of Mankind?

Article excerpt

For the Good of Mankind? By Vicki Oransky Wittenstein. $35.93. 96 pp. Twenty-First Century Books. Minneapolis. 2013. ISBN: 9781467706599.

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On television, we often see commercials advertising new drugs and medicines on the market, with voice-overs that indicate the drugs were tested "in clinical trials." But just what does that disclaimer mean? Were humans used in the testing of the drug? Did people volunteer to be tested?

Ethics in medicine and research today is much different than it was in the first half of the 20th century. For the Good of Mankind? provides accounts of atrocities in medical ethics from this earlier time. The author offers multiple cases where "volunteers," inmates, and other unsuspecting patients became victims of gruesome experimentation, all for the good of science and humankind, practices shrouded in the belief that it was acceptable to harm a few to save many.

In the first three of five chapters, Oransky Wittenstein provides numerous examples of experimental tests that used unsuspecting humans. More familiar case studies include Walter Reed's yellow fever experiments in 1900, the horrific "experiments" by Josef Mengele in the Nazi concentration camps during World War II, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study in 1932, and the case of the cells taken from the cervix of Henrietta Lacks in 1951. …

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