Black History in Healthcare
Vertus Hardiman and the Children of Lyles Station
The Tuskegee Experiment is one of the most infamous stories in history about the use of African Americans as unwilling research subjects. It’s an experiment that the government has admitted to and acknowledged. It’s so famous that people think it was the worst, but there are other stories that are just as bad, if not worse.
The United States has a horrible history of medical experimentation on Black Americans. Doctors in the colonial American time would often try out new ideas on white patients when they hoped that the experiment would help the patient. They would use African slaves and Native Americans as subjects when the point of the research was to benefit white people.
When it came to the 20th century, though slavery was no longer the law, there was a widespread belief that people who could not pay for their medical care would “owe their bodies” to the medical community in return. As a result, patients from marginalized communities, like the poor and immigrants, did not receive the same ethical consideration that others did. Though that idea would have applied to poor patients of all races, segregation at the time meant that black patients were confined in many places to “black wards,” and they were disproportionately subjected to medical experimentation and mistreatment.
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