Research Ethics Blog

Guatemala Update

We blogged yesterday about the revelation of U.S.-funded STD research carried out in Guatemala. (See: Guatemala’s Own Tuskegee)

Today, the New York Times has further details: U.S. Apologizes for Syphilis Tests in Guatemala

In a twist to the revelation, the public health doctor who led the experiment, John C. Cutler, would later have an important role in the Tuskegee study in which black American men with syphilis were deliberately left untreated for decades. Late in his own life, Dr. Cutler continued to defend the Tuskegee work.

Professor Reverby said she found some of Dr. Cutler’s papers at the University of Pittsburgh, where he taught until 1985, while she was researching Dr. Parran.

“I’m sifting through them, and I find ‘Guatemala … inoculation …’ and I think ‘What the heck is this?’ And then it was ‘Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.’ My partner was with me, and I told him, ‘You aren’t going to believe this….’ ”

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p.s. here are Susan Reverby’s books on the Tuskegee study: