Research Project

The artifact I will be researching is the Nuremberg Code and its overall effect on the ethics in medical and research. The Nuremberg Code was created in response to the experimentation that happened within the Holocaust during World War II. Once the war ended, the american government had The Doctor Trials within Nuremberg, Germany to discuss the involvement of the doctors who participated within the experiments and the war crimes they committed. The trials were held from 1946 to 1947 with a final verdict of either death or life in imprisonment for the doctors for violations against humanity.

 

The Nuremberg Code were a set of ten principles on how to properly and ethically perform an experiment on a human subject, whether it be in times of war or in peace times, it must always be active.

 

What interested me about the document was how strangely important it is for the medical AND research community. It provides a relative set of laws that is supposed to regulate scientific inquiries and restrain any authorities from misusing their powers towards their subjects. Unlike the Hippocratic Oath taken by physicians to ensure the best quality of treatment and respect for their patients, this extends to researching as well.

 

However, the document itself has a grave flaw in that there is a lack of reinforcement by the American Government onto their own nation or even internationally, to the point of hypocrisy and the uselessness of the document. An example would be how the Imperial Japan during World War II had their own personal human experiments, most known as Unit 731, involving testing weapons of chemical warfare on their victims. The U.S. granted the doctors immunity in exchange for the information that they gathered about the weapons they created for future use.

 

Another incident would be how the democratic president at the time after World War II, 1946 specifically, Harry Truman agreed with the president of Mexico to help progress experiments of injecting and testing syphilis on prisoners of war and the mentally ill.

 

What could have a been an artifact that would add more value and importance to human life has been degraded into what I would consider a mockery of human rights.

 

I’d be discussing for the most  part how the document had its benefits and lack of benefits of human experimentation in the science field and in America overall. I’ll also be analyzing the principles for the document and how each principle has an aspect of it to be perfect for how to conduct in human experimentation while also discussing how there may be gray areas and complications within extreme situations such as in war.

 

The sources that I have so far are three books that discuss the trials of the doctors in Nuremberg and the reasoning for why these doctors have done their experiments. I also have two PDF volumes of the transcript of the trials themselves. I also have a couple articles about the Nuremberg Code, the ethics of human experimentation, and the trials themselves.
I’m hoping I can find more sources relating to a more philosophical point of view about human experimentation and regulation of it.

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