The Abuse of Man: An Illustrated History of Dubious Medical ExperimentationBMJ 2003; 327 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.327.7424.1172 (Published 13 November 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:1172
- Paul Weindling, Wellcome Trust research professor in the history of medicine (email@example.com)
- Oxford Brookes University
After the Nuremberg trials Nazi experiments on humans were brushed aside as pseudoscience and as having nothing to do with mainstream medical research. Abuses in other countries could not be so dismissed, but here the culprit was generally held to be the state. If only, so the argument runs, the doctor would be free from the corrupting pressures of the state and ideology, the ethos of the doctor's duty of care would ensure that patients could never be exploited as human guinea pigs.
Ardor Scribendi, $35, pp 756
But what if we accept that experimental abuses had plausible rationales? Some experiments might have more valid scientific reasons than others, but what if even the most gruesome research had some basis in medical science? Wolfgang Weyers offers an overview of human experiments from their origins in ancient medicine to modern times, written …