Here are some notable quotes from members of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. The Commission today focused on the historical investigation of a U.S. Public Health Service research in Guatemala from 1946 to 1948 in which researchers deliberately exposed and infected participants with sexually transmitted diseases.
Lonnie Ali, the wife of Muhammad Ali and an outspoken advocate working to raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease as well as increase funding for research, on how U.S. investigators treated Guatemalan participants in the trial:
“It was like they were disposed of. They didn’t care what happened to them. That’s important to note. When it goes to how these people were viewed, when they (the researchers) had the opportunity to treat them and cure then of STDs, they refused to do so.”
Chair Dr. Amy Gutmann, President of the University of Pennsylvania, on the motivation of the U.S. researchers not to inform the Guatemalans of what they were doing and then not to treat some of them:
“I kept asking the question, ‘How could they do this?’ … My conclusion is, and it has to be a reluctant one: … the doctors did not treat these human beings as if they were worthy of respect or consideration.”
Dr. Barbara F. Atkinson, Executive Vice Chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center:
“The work was never published in scientific journals. … There were secret reports to people who funded the studies, but not to journals. (There had to be a) recognition these studies had real ethical issues that would horrify the public if they became known.”