Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 30, 1972 · Page 8
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July 30, 1972

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 8

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Charleston, West Virginia
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Sunday, July 30, 1972
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Page 8
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* A--July 30, 1972 Sunday Gazette-Mail Vlrtlnl SECRET STUDY BAFFLES TOWN I*«WIM UA!!AH ! ^ By Jean Heller T U S K E G E E , Ala.-W"Syphilis put Tuskegee on 'he map," Bill Leonard reflected grimly, motto?" 'How's that for a town Lennard is project coordinator ^ *· *«· Shock Prompts Investigation of Untreated Syphilitics what it's going to do to this determine what damage untreatn have to await the conclusion offered from the disease ed syphilis does to the human] a current investigation by the ; Hnrlv Tt.^n«»***vi«u.4. -J 1 tr~_iii_ T^_I town." This town and the surrounding 1 [store for them when they volunteered for the Tuskegee Study. Nor, he added, do they recall ! signing any releases when they I joined. I - -tf _. -TU . A , uw wv, 11 it cttiv* V4JV. OW I IJU1IV1JI11 for the local OEO Community county have, for 40 years, been Action Agency, a college^educat-; the object of the Tuskegee ed black, born and raised in j Study, a syphilis experiment ir.- Tuskegee and now deeply con- ivolving 600 local blacks, cerned about the future of his The study was a cooperative home town. "How could I have lived here all my life and never know this was going on?" Lennard asked. I'm shocked I don't know "I'm astounded, and I feel sick. project of the U.S. " Public Health Service, the Alabama Health Department, the Macon County Medical Society and the Macon County Health Depart- In the beginning, JS32. about 200 of the study group showed no signs of syphilis and were used for purposes of comparison with the 400 or so men who had the disease Questions exist over just how many of the 400 men ever received any treatment for their ment was conducted syphilis. firm figure probably will Department of Health, Educa-} DURING the study tion and Welfare, parent agency! seven men died as cf the PHS. Another investigation is un clerway in the Alabama attorney general's office. Among other things, a spokesman said, an effort will be made to determine if the lack of treatment for some of the study participants violated a 1927 state law requiring treatment for all who suf- YOU CAN EARN THIS "TOP" RATE ON A SAVINGS CERTIFICATE OF TWO YEARS. The NATIONAL BANKof COMMERCE result of syphilis and the figure could be higher, said Dr. Don Printz of the venereal diseas branch of CDC. Local residents are deeply dis turned about the study and con cerned about the surviving par ticipants, particularly, that on of them was publicly identified apparently by health officials. Two issues have been raisec since disclosure of the experi ment: Why the study was al owed to continue in the era after World War II when peni cillin and sulfa drugs were widely available, had been proven a cure for syphilis and probably could have helped or saved a number of the experiment's subjects? The other issue is compensation for surviving participants and families of men who died. Several of the Tuskegee Study survivors have retained a prominent civil rights lawyer, Fred D. Gray, to represent them, hoping to obtain compensation for their part in the program. Gray, a black state legislator who represented the late Dr. Martin Luther King and was active in the case which integrated the University of Ala- jama, said he intends to do| at leastj THE QUESTION ,f morality! direct arises in the decision not to enc MEMBER FDIC. the study and treat all remain ing participants with penicillin or sulfa drugs after World War II. Dr. J. D. Millar, current chief of the CDC's venereal disease branch, said the two drugs were widely available after the war and their use probably could have helped or saved a number of the Tuskegee Study's participants. Others disagree. Dr. John B. Heller, who had over-all responsibility for the study from 194348, said penicillin was not widely available and that it was not the responsibility of the study to give penicillin to the syphilitics. In Tuskegee, a town which feels stigmatized, the problem already is a mountain. Many people who were involved in the program, both as jarticipants and supervisors, 4ave gone into temporary seclusion. In restaurants, the Tuskegee Study is the basic topic of conversation. Many still don't believe it. Many don't want to believe it. A few don't care. "This used to be a real friend- y town," said one black resi- ent who asked not to be identi- ied. "Now everybody's suspi- ious of everybody else. Folks are all trying to figure out who 'whatever we need to do to correct this injustice." the people in the' study were Based on interviews with his and they don't know what to do clients, Gray said he does not about them, whether they're relieve they knew what was insafe or not." MONTGO/l/lER 2-DAY CLEARANCE FLOOR SAMPLES, OVER-STOCKS AT FANTASTIC PRICES! FMAt REDUCTIONS! MORE TERRIFIC VALUES! 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