Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nazi medical experiments

I think, perhaps that this is a good topic for a post Halloween article.

So, its been established that we won't use the information from Nazi experiments, tortures and murders because we don't want people in the future to think they can benefit from things like that. This all lead to the Nuremburg Code; ten standards to which physicians must conform when carrying out experiments on human subjects in a new code that is now accepted worldwide.

Okay. However, isn't there a problem with that idea?

So those people who died, who were tortured, those sacrifices they made will go to naught, not even being used to make their death and pain count for something. But just because we're a bunch of emotional wimps, they therefore had to die in vain?

I can understand how back then, we wanted to save the feelings of people who had suffered. But I would still argue that was wrong, scientifically, even emotionally, speaking. But perhaps, probably, it may have been correct from a psychosocial, healing perspective.

"After the Nuremberg trials Nazi experiments on humans were brushed aside as pseudoscience and as having nothing to do with mainstream medical research. Abuses in other countries could not be so dismissed, but here the culprit was generally held to be the state. If only, so the argument runs, the doctor would be free from the corrupting pressures of the state and ideology, the ethos of the doctor's duty of care would ensure that patients could never be exploited as human guinea pigs.

"But what if we accept that experimental abuses had plausible rationales? Some experiments might have more valid scientific reasons than others, but what if even the most gruesome research had some basis in medical science? Wolfgang Weyers offers an overview of human experiments from their origins in ancient medicine to modern times in The Abuse of Man: An Illustrated History of Dubious Medical Experimentation." (from BMJ.com)

Well, those people from the Nazi Holocaust, well all be gone soon.

Perhaps there really is nothing there, but perhaps, we should now go back and look at those things again. Correlate them with advances in information and medical technologies. See if we could have saved lives with that information. Then consider all that, should this ever come up again.

Because I have to tell you, if I were one of those people, if I were tortured, murdered and burned or buried in a mass grave, I would be extremely pissed off that I was to have died for nothing. NOTHING.

I would want someone to think that humankind would have benefited in some positive way from my suffering and sacrifice.

Ya know?

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