Reply to each peer 1-2 paragraph
The Belmont Report was signed into law in 1974 by The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research to protect human participants with principles designed to address ethical concerns in research. The principles outlined in the Belmont Report give guidelines on the ethical treatment of human study subjects (National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, 1979).
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The three principles include Respect for Persons, Beneficence, and Justice. All the principles listed are essential in ensuring human subjects are treated well during research and experiments, each vulnerable to misconduct to varying degrees. Respect for persons calls for the participants to be voluntary and provided with sufficient information regarding the research to make an informed decision while also respecting whether the person is autonomous or with diminished autonomy in need of protection. This principle will require the researcher to be aware of subjects that may be influenced or coerced to participate and who would not typically volunteer, such as prisoners. The logistics of this principle can create obstacles in that a person who would volunteer under coercion should ethically be respectfully protected instead (National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, 1979).
The research performed in Guatemala on unsuspecting people violated all the ethical principles of research, including Respect for Persons, Beneficence, and Justice. Researchers have a moral duty to minimize harm to participants and maximize benefits. This experiment caused human subjects great suffering and affected the generations of participants (Polit & Beck, 2022).
Doctors injecting citizens with Syphilis without giving them a choice, informing them of the risks, and obtaining consent, morally defies the fundamental human rights of the Guatemalans who fell victim to this research study. Participants in Guatemala were most likely chosen due to their vulnerability in a developing country. Choosing participants based on class, compromised position, easy availability, or racial and ethical minorities violates the principle of justice, according to the Belmont report. Experimenting on children is another example of a moral and ethical boundary crossed by doctors in this research that caused years of pain and suffering in not just the children but all who were subjected to these unspeakable acts (National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, 1979).
The Belmont Report was documented in light of human subject research where human rights were violated during the Tuskegee syphilis experiment. Before this, there was not much framework regarding the ethics surrounding human research, but when the syphilis experiment became public knowledge, it brought attention to the need for foundational ethical principles and what they entailed.
The ethical principles outlined by the Belmont Report includes respect of persons, beneficence, and justice (The Belmont Report, 1978). When it comes to misconduct, I believe all ethical principles are subject to misconduct, but the most vulnerable principle is respect for persons. Respect for persons involves the person’s right to self determination and autonomy, including the right to participate in a study (Polit & Beck, 2021). The reasoning for this is often times studies are conducted based on data, which is collected from real patient information. How many of the patients that are included in these statistics have been informed of their involvement? This is especially true when records are pulled for studies with historical data.
After watching the film on syphilis in Guatemala, it was clear that many ethical principles were violated. Autonomy of the research subjects was violated because there was no consent, much less informed consent (Varkey, 2020). Beneficence, which is to act for the benefit of the patient, was violated because the complete opposite was taking place (Varkey, 2020). Instead of helping sick individuals, they were inflicting a deadly disease on seemingly healthy individuals against their will and did not explain what was happening nor be forthcoming with treatments. Maleficence was occurring, which is a violation of the ethical principles of non-maleficence, meaning to do no harm (Varkey, 2020)