Tag: Guatemala

US Doctors Infected Hundreds of Guatemalans with Syphilis–And Concealed the Evidence

By Valerie Ross | September 14, 2011 4:34 pm

Last fall, it came to light that researchers had infected 700 Guatemalan soldiers, prisoners, and mental patients with syphilis in a US Public Health Service study between 1946 and 1948. The American government apologized  for these “abhorrent” practices, and promised to investigate what had happened. A White House bioethics commission released its report on the study this Tuesday—and as horrific as the experiments sounded initially, the full story is even worse.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine

U.S. Apologizes for Deliberately Infecting Guatemalans With Syphilis

By Jennifer Welsh | October 1, 2010 4:13 pm

syphilisThe United States government officially apologized to Guatemala today for unethical medical experiments conducted by American researchers in the country over 60 years ago, in which unwitting subjects were deliberately infected with syphilis.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said they were, in their words, “outraged that such reprehensible research could could have occurred under the guise of public health.” [AP]

The study’s 696 participants were drawn from local prisons, army bases, and mental health facilities; many were paired with infected prostitutes from whom they unknowingly contracted the disease, while others had syphilis bacteria poured on to their penises, forearms, or faces. While the subjects were subsequently treated with penicillin, it’s not clear if the treatment was always adequate. The study was conducted by John Cutler, who was also involved in the Tuskegee Syphilis experiments and has since passed away.

Clinton and Sebelius’s statement didn’t mince words.

“We deeply regret that it happened and we apologize to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices,” they said, announcing the launch of a thorough investigation into the specifics of the study. “The sexually transmitted disease inoculation study conducted from 1946-1948 in Guatemala was clearly unethical.” [AFP]

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine

Photo: Guatemala's Crazy-Deep Sinkhole (No, It's Not Photoshopped)

By Andrew Moseman | June 1, 2010 4:54 pm

SinkholeHuge

The sheer jarring starkness of it makes this photo look Photoshopped. But the massive sinkhole that collapsed into being in Guatemala City this weekend is deadly real.

The seemingly never ending hole appears to be about 200 feet deep, according to numerous reports [Los Angeles Times].

Tropical Storm Agatha pounded the Central American country, and as of this afternoon the death toll stands around 175. Some of that death and destruction came via mudslides and flooding. However, this gaping hole has captured the world’s attention.

In the northern part of Guatemala City, the downpour created a sinkhole the size of a street intersection. Residents told CNN that a three-story building and a house fell into the hole [CNN].

Unfortunately, the sight is not unfamiliar in Guatemala. The country experienced a similarly daunting sinkhole in 2007 (see photos). A ruptured sewer line caused that one by releasing too much water and softening the ground. It’s not out of the question that the same thing could have happened here, hydrogeologist James Currens says.

A burst sanitary or storm sewer may have been slowly saturating the surrounding soil for a long time before tropical storm Agatha added to the inundation. “The tropical storm came along and would have dumped even more water in there, and that could have been the final trigger that precipitated the collapse,” Currens said [National Geographic].

Related Content:
80beats: Why Chile’s Massive Earthquake Could Have Been Much Worse
DISCOVER: Rock-a-pedia, the open source map that could save you from a sinkhole
Bad Astronomy: Top 10 Astronomy Pictures of 2007, featuring something like a sinkhole on Mars

Image: Guatemalan government

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment
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