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The Law of Karma - The Tuskegee Experiment



Hallo, in case you do not know me, I am Dr. Malcolm Hugo. Maybe after reading my story you may hate me; but that doesn’t change my basic existence as a human being. We all crave to exist forever, some do it by breeding children and some by doing distinguished work in their fields. I may be considered of the latter type, for I do not have the patience to entertain kids. And least to fulfil the insatiable desires of a woman.
I was born in 1918 in Ziegelstein, Nuremberg (a city in Germany), just after the First World War had ended. We Germans had to bear the humiliation of defeat and our king Wilhelm II abdicated the throne. The defeat of Germany in the First World War was blamed on the Jews, and we thought likewise. So when Hitler used his speeches to make the Jews as the root cause for our humiliation in the First World War, most of us supported him. I was fourteen when Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany. Our country made huge progress under the leadership of Hitler, and became the most powerful nation in the world. Germans self-esteem returned. By the time I had enrolled myself in a Medical School, the Second World War broke out. It may have been disastrous for the human race, but it was a golden moment for science.
Our grand days of experimenting on humans subjects began. Jews were our favourite guinea pigs. During the war we experimented on human subjects as we pleased without thinking much of moral ethics. There was no law to restrict us from doing horrific experimental trials. Rather the government supported us, as we were helping to eliminate the Jews pest.
Unfortunately Germany lost the war, and doctors who had been experimenting were prosecuted in the infamous Nuremberg trails. I escaped being a part of the trial, because of my youth and inexperience. Those who were prosecuted and convicted were hanged or given an option to migrate to the United States under a different name. USA needed the brains, and those willing to save their own skins agreed to the terms set by a powerful organisation called the CIA. The CIA brought most of the German scientists to USA. It was an export of brain to make the USA the most powerful nation.
Dr. Hughes was a renowned physician, and had worked for the Nazis. He had the core scientific principles in him. He didn’t care for humanity and medical ethics. I was a student under him. I had developed strong scientific principles in my career under his mentorship, and I could go to any extent to advance my science career. After the World War, he was transported to the USA to work for the government. A year later, I followed Dr. Hughes to America.
Dr. Hughes went on to work in the Tuskegee experiment. He was a strong supporter of Eugenics and considered the blacks to be inferior races. The Tuskegee experiment had started in 1932 by the US Public health services, to study the effect of syphilis on Negro patients. During the Syphilis study case, we had to study the natural history of the disease. The Afro-Americans were not told about the disease. A decade later, Alexander Flaming had come with a novel antibiotic, Penicillin which was highly effective against syphilis bacteria. Fleming received the Nobel Prize for his discovery, but it made the Tuskegee study unethical. But however the subjects were kept in dark, and allowed to rot with the disease.
As we were associated with the study, we decided to keep quiet until all the patients were dead. They were given food, clothing, hospital care, burial, but not the cure for the deadly disease. They were told they were being treated for bad blood and forbidden to attend any programs that would reveal their actual cause of disease. It was bad on our part. There was something in our conscience that told us we were doing wrong. But as all the subjects were African Americans, we brushed aside our guilt for the betterment of science and humanity.
We try several drugs on guinea pigs without mercy for the sake of humanity and evolution of science. We didn’t consider the subjects as a human species. Rather they were guinea pigs.
Many years later, in 1972, the study was leaked into the media. There was huge hue and cry following which the study had to be aborted.
Meanwhile Dr. Hughes had been trying to create some unknown viruses that would infect blacks and queers and cleanse them from this world. But it seemed God had wanted Dr. Hughes to fail every time. He developed a strange disease. He was wasting gradually. We couldn’t understand what was wrong with him. Dr. Hughes started losing weight. And he had frequent episodes of diarrhoea. He would fall ill quite easily. Something was wrong with his immune system.
Around a year later, a new disease was reported among the Queers. It was acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Now we suspected Dr. Hughes to be suffering from the same disease. His symptoms matched. We tried unsuccessfully at finding a cure, which was quite far from realising. Dr. Hughes underwent the full natural course of the disease. He frequently pleaded for euthanasia, and asked us to show him mercy. But the Principal Investigators refused to accept his plea. Dr. Hughes muscles wasted so much that he looked like a skeleton.
 I watched him die before my eyes, unable and helpless to procure a cure for him. And unknowingly I had contracted the disease from him.
Karma is a bitch, and the laws of Karma are strange. It comes to pay you, when you least expect it.
As a doctor it was easy to see patients die. We saw them more like a case. But once the tables had been turned; when I had become the guinea pig of experimentation, I realized how much vain and unsympathetic I had been towards my cases. Even though, I knew everything about the disease I needed to be convinced that I wouldn’t die by the procedures done on me. It feels good when others soothe you and sympathize in your illness. I hated the tests they conducted on me. I had become a lab rat.
I had seen the lab rat die for the first time. They had withdrawn oxygen and infused a large amount of carbon dioxide into the sealed glass cage. The rat had run amok for some time before its limb dropped and it lay silent. It consciously didn’t know it would die, but death was written over its actions in the last minutes.
We have killed so many innocent living organisms in experimentation for our own survival. And the only moral code that guides us is that life of humans is more precious than any other living species lives. Maybe that subdues the guilt in the scientists mind who are not monsters, thinking they are doing for the greater good of their own species.
All it takes to be a victim once wherein the perspective changes. Some may have experimented on themselves and have risked their own lives. But such generous individual are one in a million. And when they see the real face of the human kind, some may feel sorry to give up their lives for so dangerous a species.
What Dr. Hughes had done to his patients, he received a similar kind of treatment. And so did I! I regretted following Dr. Hughes steps. I had made a fool of myself to think science is supreme. No, humanity is Supreme. If we don’t have compassion for our fellow beings, all the knowledge we have accumulated goes in waste.
We had known and expected what we would see in the Syphilis experiment. The poor blacks being razed by the spirochetes.  But here we didn’t know what the virus would do to us. It was a new virus. We had been secluded, and almost it was an imprisonment for us, until they would know the mode of spread.
And during this time we had to spend in confinement. From a researcher I had turned more into a prisoner. Without any drugs for cure I would be dying a slow death. This virus didn’t take life instantly. It made us realise the sins we had committed, before it took our lives. It has given us some years to live. People die of all sort of infection. Gradually medicines will be developed effective against the virus, but before that we are going to succumb to the disease.
As humans we seek reassurance from each other no matter what our achievements are!


The Law of Karma - The Tuskegee Experiment Reviewed by Polymath on 11:45 pm Rating: 5

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