When “sorry” isn’t good enough…

October 1, 2010 at 12:55 pm (Uncategorized)

It’s one hell of a task to apologize to approximately 700 people for infecting them with awful diseases.

Nope, I’m not talking about some busy Casanova here.  This is too big of a project for anyone to carry out single-handedly. 

Unless you would like to consider the government of the United States one big, sick, powerful Casanova.

I thought the headline was a joke, or the terrible result of a bunch of horny, reckless tourists: “US sorry over deliberate sex infections in Guatemala” (care of www.bbc.co.uk, my news source and reference point for this blog).

In actual fact, I was shocked to read that the U.S. government had deliberately infected approximately 700 people in Guatemala with syphilis and gonorrhea as part of a medical experiment.  Those who were infected did not consent to these experiments – they were prisoners, or mentally ill.  The study took place between 1946-1948. 

It is difficult to determine who is the lesser of the two evils – is it the U.S government for conducting such inexcusably horrid experiments without patient consent, OR the Guatemalan government for giving permission for the tests? 

Is it such a big surprise that these experiments were not conducted on American soil, with American patients?

Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom has accused the U.S. (and rightfully so) of crimes against humanity, and I whole-heartedly agee.  While there has been no offer of compensation yet, I wonder how there could possibly be any compensation for something so deliberate and criminal.  Money?  I don’t think cash is a very good cure for syphilis.

According to Robert Gibbs (a Whitehouse spokesperson), President Obama is apparently planning to call President Colom to apologize “personally.” Of course, this is the least that can be done and the least that can be expected, but I somehow don’t think this will help any of the patients, their families, or the dignity of these people and Guatemala.  How can Obama possibly apologize for something that happened before he could even spell his own name?

None of the patients were aware they were being used for experiments.

” The doctors used prostitutes with syphilis to infect them, or inoculation, as they tried to determine whether penicillin could prevent syphilis, not just cure it.”

I can not imagine anything that disgusts me more than this.  How could the Guatemalan government agree to such experiments?  And how could those employed by the U.S. government live with this terrible secret, knowing that they had infected so many people with a painful disease that can ultimately cause death?  In other words, there must have been MANY sleepless nights in those days.  How any doctor could agree to be a part of something that it so inherently wrong is beyond me.  I have a few friends who are embarking on the journey to become medical professionals, to spend their lives curing patients and preserving the health of their fellow brothers and sisters.  To perform the task of making hundreds of patients sick without their knowledge of this so-called “experiment” seems to be the opposite task of a doctor. 

I wonder how many experiments similar to this are being conducted right now?  Will it take over 60 years to find out?  Or are they just getting better at keeping secrets?

On a much smaller note, I have seen at least one doctor, at least once a week, for the past 3 months.  And after my most recent blood test results are discussed, I will stop.  I will not waste my time with so many doctors who do not care about my health, well-being, or even the value of my time.  I have been called in for follow-up appointments only to have my doctor look at me dumb-founded and ask “what seems to be the trouble? We called YOU? Really?” Oops.  How hard could it possibly be to find out why a person has been having dizzy spells daily for years?  I am finished with being poked, prodded, and referred three times over and having NO ONE begin to help me.  I feel no better nor worse than my first doctor’s appointment.  In deciding to use my ($50/month for basic coverage, it’s NOT free in Canada) healthcare to it’s fullest, I have wasted many hours running around like a chicken with its head cut off, simply trying to feel like a healthy 23-year-old.  And I am finished.  I will somehow find out how to cure MYSELF, since I have to remind my doctors of everything when they lose my files or can’t read their own handwriting. 

In the past few months, I have had enough blood drawn to satisfy Team Edward AND Team Jacob.  I somehow don’t see how taking more of my blood will provide any new information.

I will risk sounding slightly arrogant and say that I can do a better job of taking care of my health than any of these doctors who can not remember my name or why they even called me for an appointment. 

Let’s hope this next generation of doctor’s (the kind and intelligent individuals I have met) doesn’t repeat all the mistakes (big and small) of the past.  Until then, I trust and take care of myself.

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3 Comments

  1. creatorwithin26 said,

    touching as well as pinching as could not offer a helping hand when the need was kissing the extreme limit of agony and distress

  2. SD said,

    The U.S actually did conduct similiar experiments on it own citizens. The series of expirements were conducted from 1932-1960’s, they were known as the Tuskegee expirements. The whole notion behind such expirements is both ignorant and tragic.

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