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The Public Health Service

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Firstly, the Alabama Health Officers promised the participants that they would receive treatment; however, the procedure given was less than the amount recommended. Secondly, they were not informed that they suffered from a definable disease. The physicians only disclosed it as “bad blood” which is a term that encompasses a variety of ailments. The study was in violation of all three Nuremberg code which comprises; respect for persons, beneficence, and justice. Respect for the person was violated because information about the study was not fully disclosed and the motives of the experiment were obscured from the participants. The ethical principle of beneficence was violated because they were intentionally promoting harm by preventing the participants from receiving penicillin. Violation of justice arose from the unfair selection of participants and the exploitation of vulnerable populations. People enrolled in the research were mostly black which reflected the racist intentions of the researchers.

The study was not approved by a research ethics board. The Public Health Service, in collaboration with the Rosenwald Fund and Tuskegee Institute began the study to purposively test and treat syphilis. The PHS was involved in promoting medical attention to Blacks. While the Rosenwald Fund, sponsored the syphilis control agency with resources to develop the study in five counties. The study also permitted the close working relationship with the state, the local health officials and the Black leaders at the Tuskegee Institute. Other agency included the Macon County Medical Society, Alabama State and Macon County Boards of Health, The Milbank Memorial Fund, local black churches, and public schools, and local plantation owners.



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