Medical Apartheid
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Medical Apartheid






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    Medical Apartheid Medical Apartheid Presentation Transcript

    • Medical Apartheid The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present By Harriet Washington
    • Oral Culture
      • “ Don’t let the lion tell the giraffe’s story”
      • Stories of medical abuse dismissed as myth
      • Cultural and political bias coupled with Western literary bias
      • “ Race, culture and economics have trumped medical and scientific truths at every turn”
      • Medical culture mirrors larger culture of inequality
    • Antebellum South
      • Deadly triple confluence—the pathogens of North America, Europe, and Africa
      • Subtropical climate, poor sanitation, public-heatlh vacuum, nutritional-deficiencies
      • “ Treatments” nearly always ineffective, often harmful
        • Mercury, arsenic, bloodletting
      • Slaves often thought to be feigning illness
        • Whipping or beating as “medicine”
    • Medical Racism
      • 1839: Caucasians have larger skulls, brains
      • 1851: Made up “black” diseases
        • Drapetomania -desire to ecape
        • Hebetude-shiftlessness or laziness
        • Dysthesia Aethiopica -desire to destroy owners’ property
        • Struma Africana -type of “black-only” tuberculosis
        • Cachexia Africana -eating non-food substances
      • Treatments for whites were thought to kill blacks
    • “ Immunities”
      • Thought to be completely immune to malaria as well as yellow fever, smallpox, pellagra, typhoid, heat exhaustion
      • Thought to be immune to physical, emotional pain
        • Justified torture, maimings, beatings, brandings and the exposure to painful medical procedures
    • Experiments
      • Doctors did not ask consent or explain their reasoning or intent
      • No formal ethical or legal codes for consent
      • Experiments included everything from inflicted blistering “to see how deep black skin went” to involuntary sterilization to untried pharmaceuticals, innoculations, and dangerous surgeries
    • James Marion Sims
      • Experimented on black children including puncturing their parietal bones and move them into new positions
      • Experimented on black women peri- and post-natally, making repeated incisions into vaginal tissues
        • Offered no anesthesia during procedures but were drugged with morphine for weeks afterward
    • Anatomical Dissection
      • Black bodies considered expendable
      • John Does, homeless, destitute blacks often ended up as cadavers in teaching hospitals
      • Grave-robbing in African American cemeteries was common
      • Black prisoners were often executed and used for dissection
      • Remains rarely re-interred
    • Tuskegee Syphilis Study Macon County, Alabama, 1932
      • Lied to 600 poor black men with syphilis
        • Studied disease progression, not treatment even though curable with penicillin
        • Promised health care and drugs; often giving aspirin only
      • Public Health Service characterized blacks as “intellectually inferior, impetuous, degenerate, and, above all, at the mercy of frighteningly powerful sexual drives”
        • Reality: 61% of cases were non-venereal
    • Tuskegee Syphilis Study Macon County, Alabama, 1932
      • Sick men were tracked until death to ensure autopsy
      • Study continued for forty years during which men were denied treatment
      • Tuskegee became iconic symbol of racialized medical abuse and a source of iatrophobia (fear of medical treatment)
    • Eugenics
      • Early 1900s: “selective procreation to refine the human race while conquering social dysfunction”
        • Demonization of black parents
        • Black women forced to have “Mississippi Appendectomy”
        • 1915, Dr. Harry Haiselden kills black infants because they would have gone through life as “defective”
          • Haiselden makes propoganda film “The Black Stork”
      • Eugenics continued with Nazis
    • Birth Control
      • By 1941, 100,000 Americans had been involuntarily sterilized, disproportionately black
        • Medical records falsified to cover hysterectomies
      • Birth control pill pushed but no care for nutrition, infectious diseases, infant mortality etc.
      • Dangerous IUDs were dispensed mainly in inner-city clinics
        • Infections, cancer, permanent infertility
      • Norplant, Depo-Provera trials
    • Other Research
      • Subjected to injections of radioactive materials, including black infants
        • Used radiation to whiten skin, remove hair
      • Experiments on black prisoners
        • 1 prison, 1 doctor tested 153 experimental drugs in 4 years
      • Black children not exempt from experiments
        • ‘ Fen’ administered to measure violent propensity, 1997
        • Infants tested for HIV, status withheld, 1980s
    • Cultural Mirror
      • “Medical ill-usage has not strictly paralleled scientific knowledge. Rather it has mirrored the larger American cultural beliefs as well as politics and economic trends.”
      • As the social and legal landscape for black Americans has improved, so have research practices.
      • Unfortunate exportation of similar practices to Africa