By Paracelsus 3 Comments
From time to time I have been reviewing books that interest me on Amazon.com.
Lately I posted a review of "Medical Apartheid: The Dark History Of Medical Experimentation On Black Americans From Colonial Times To The Present" (Doubleday, 2007) by author/medical ethicist Harriet A Washington( no relation) and was astonished to be told by Amazon that they could not publish it.
After further reflection I think that my review of Ms Washington's magisterial indictment of the American medical profession's (mal) treatment of black Americans as unwilling and unwitting medico- scientific guinea pigs beginning in slavery and continuing down to the present day, with the now notorious Tuskegee syphilis study being the most well known but hardly the only one of its kind, with doctors openly admitting( albeit in the pages of medical journals which only members of their own profession- white males-until the 1960s perused) that they bought slaves purely to experiment upon, men, women and children, the exposure of African Americans to toxic and radioactive subjects, attempts to interfere with African American fertility( arguably skirting genocide according to a UN resolution, see chapters "Circus Africana", "Nuclear Winter", "The Black Stork" "Aberrant Wars" and "Genetic Perdition" along with "Caged Subjects"), the use of dubious medical rationales for slavery and a host of other horrors that were they to be perpetrated by any other country's medical authorities, would lead to calls for their prosecution at the International Criminal Court by US officials and public opinion- any country that is, save the United States Of America.
In particular I drew attention to the US condemnation of the abuse of psychiatry as a tool of political repression in the Soviet Union as well as the role America played in the trial and execution of German and Japanese medical men and scientific researchers for engaging in not dissimilar activities at post WWII war crimes trials( such as Surgeon-Commander Chisato Ueno Imperial Japanese Navy and SS Dr/ Major General Karl Brandt, both convicted of crimes against humanity and executed in respectively June 19, 1947 and June 2. 1948) and contrasted their fates with James Marion Sims "The Father Of American Gynaecology", who experimented on slave women without anaesthetic- his argument being that "the niggers don't feel pain as whites do" in pre-Civil War America and more than a century later, Albert M.Kligman, who performed unethical and inhumane medical experiments on African American prison inmates at Philadelphia's Holmesburg Prison- as well as the squeaky clean popular depiction of American physicians in popular dramas such as the 1970s "Marcus Welby, MD" and "St Elsewhere" in the 1980s"Gray's Anatomy", my purpose being NOT to condone other societies abuse of medical practice but merely noting that perhaps their claims that America did as they did may have contained a kernel of truth-two wrongs of course do not make one right.
Since it is unlikely that no matter how I phrase it, my review of "Medical Apartheid" is likely to be approved by Amazon I took the liberty of posting it here for all to see!
Anybody think as I do?