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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My name is Allen Hornblum. I am a Philadelphia-based author who has
written books on things running the gambit from organized crime to
Soviet espionage.
But for the purposes of this meeting, I have written two
books on the history of using prison inmates as test subjects. You may be
familiar with one or both of them.
I am working with a couple colleagues now on the history of using
institutionalized children as test subjects for research. And I can assure
you some of the material I am finding is quite astounding, including the
fact that Nobel Prize winners went to institutions for the feeble minded
to use them as test subjects.
And in interviewing people over the years, not just test subjects which I
do on a regular basis, but also the doctors who initiated these
experiments, these clinical trials. I am talking about people like Albert
Kligman and Hilary Koprowski, Chester Southam, some of the top
researchers of the twentieth century, most of them are famous but some
are infamous. It is remarkable that almost all of them articulate how
little medical ethics was taught in medical schools at the time. And I had
to bring up, I had to educate one of them, in fact, about the Nuremberg
Code. When I mentioned it, he wasn’t even familiar with it.
These problems with regard to medical ethics are still there. I
periodically give talks at Universities in med schools and it is stunning to
me that when I go into a book store at the university and go in, maybe I
will see one of my books there. Of course I am a little bit disturbed when
they don’t, but I also don’t see anything by Harriet Washington or by
James Jones, Bad Blood, or by Jonathan Moreno’s book. Medical ethics
is an orphan in today’s medical arena. It is out there in left field. They
really deemphasize it and that is part of the continuing problem.
The doctors, as Dan said earlier when they do these studies, it is a cost
benefit analysis and there is much more benefit to doing research, even
when it breaks rules and laws and cuts corners than by following the
rules. And that is why I believe the Commission has to make a very
strong condemnation of Dr. Cutler and the institutions and doctors that
he worked with, not just with regard to Tuskegee and Guatemala but
there are so many other incidents and events out there.
As Susan said, we will continue to discover these. There will be another
commission like yours in ten years going over what you didn’t look at or
what you didn’t do. So I would encourage you to be as aggressive as
possible, not just describe what happened but really condemn those who
broke the law because there are doctors making decisions right now and
those decisions are going the wrong way. Thank you.
Thank you

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