The Problem of Patients’ Rights Violations

The primary Right of Patients and Research Participants that was violated in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study is the right to be informed about the purpose of the study. The patients were not adequately informed about the purpose of the research, and it was not made clear that syphilis was the predominant object of the study. As participants were utilized for the research for their illiteracy and low social status, the study violated their right to be treated with respect and dignity.

According to Vijayan et al. (2020), penicillin treatment was withheld from the black participants due to health inequity and racism issues that took place at the time of the study. The participants’ right to choose to participate or refuse to participate without prejudice was also affected by offerings of free meals and burial insurance, and their informed consent was not collected.

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One of the major ethical standards that could have been taken to prevent the violations is the non-discrimination policy. Although inequities in modern society include issues with housing, education, and economic stability, the healthcare system should prioritize overcoming discrimination as a vital part of ensuring the population’s health status. According to Vijayan et al. (2020), the current situation with health inequities reflects the discrimination against African Americans and Hispanics. For example, the authors draw statistics that 42% of new HIV infections yearly are represented by African American men, but a minimal number receive treatment (Vijayan et al., 2020).

In addition, the recent coronavirus pandemic disproportionally affected African Americans and Hispanics (Vijayan et al., 2020). In both of these groups, mortality rates are almost two times bigger than among other ethnic groups. Thus, the most significant improvement that could be performed to prevent further patient rights violations is implementing a non-discrimination policy in the healthcare system.

References

Vijayan, T., Cortés-Penfield, N., & Harris, C. (2020). Tuskegee as a history lesson, Tuskegee as metaphor: Addressing discrimination as a social determinant of health in the classroom. Open Forum Infectious Diseases, 7(10), 1-6. Web.

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