After Decades, Research Conducted on Bowery Alcoholics Denounced as Unethical
Roughly 50 years ago in New York's Bowery District, Dr. Perry Hudson offered alcoholics a clean bed, free meals and medical treatment if they agreed to be part of experimental biopsies for prostate cancer.
Dr. Hudson neglected to inform the volunteers that such biopsies would result in impotence and rectal tears from searching for cancer. Also, the volunteers were not alerted about what shall happen if in fact, cancer was found: surgery to remove their prostates and, often, their testicles. Such surgery at this time was not proven to prolong life either.
The researchers results have not been challenged until last week until medical historians wrote two papers stating the study to be unethical- due to "the vulnerability and powerlessness of his subjects."
In the defense of Dr. Hudson, the volunteers were paid, knowingly volunteered, and received the best treatment in New York, says Hudson, currently at age 96.
Although the alcoholics of Bowery District did agree to be a part of the experiment, and receive a place to stay, meals, and treatment in return, the fact that the volunteers had no say in the process taken if cancer was found, and the consequences were not fully expressed, leaving rectal tears is in fact unethical.
The volunteers of the experiment were not provided all of the details, and as a result faced many health consequences; whether for their own good or not, it should have been their choice.
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