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Mengele on SI? Arthur Anderson Art artnscience-(at) On 03/09/2000 10:10:00 AM, sipoet wrote:
>Wow guys this is fascinating.
>The only thing I remember is
>being given sugar cubes in
>school. They couldn't do this
>stuff now, could they, Art?

Yes. When "we who are old as dirt" were kids in school the public health folks would come to the gym and inject PPD intradermally and we would report back in two days so they could read it.

They also came to the schools to give us the Sabin Polio vaccine on sugar cubes if our parents signed the piece of paper we brought home. As I recall, the sugar cube was given by the school nurse where she worked.

A lot of us chose to get it from the doctor's office but you could get it "free" in school as well. The NY City Health department was one of the most progressive in the country. Remember that StatNisland was where the Quarantine Station was, and also remember what it was like for immigrants coming into NY Harbor via Ellis Island...public health was KING!

The public health docs went to great lengths to protect us from unhealthy things....almost to the degree that they got into our space in ways that laws wouldn't allow today. For example, there was an article in this morning's Washington Post that tells the story of a guy from Michigan who was one of a lot of kids born to a lady whose husband died during the depression. She couldn't take care of them so the state condemned her and took away the kids. They decided the kids were "deficient." They involuntarily "sterilized" them so they wouldn't be able to procreate when they got older. Well one of these "sterilized" kids is now using the courts to get some compensation for his being subjected to misguided eugenics.

We now have a Hepatitis A and a Hepatitis B vaccine. The history of discovery of these two kinds of hepatitis and a strain that was called Non-A, Non-B Hepatitis but is now called Hepatitis C connects to StatNisland in a big way. We have discussed this before. The Halloran Hospital became Willowbrook State School for children who were severely handicapped mentally and physically. Drs. Hammond and Krugman worked at Willowbrook and were concerned that there were numerous cases of hepatitis among inmates. Rather than using hygiene as a way of controlling the disease these docs decided to study the means of acquiring the disease. The experiments they conducted on mentally challenged children without their or their parent's consent resulted in the above discoveries of the forms of Hepatitis. The discoveries led to better ways of diagnosing the disease and controlling its spread. It also enabled Dr. Baruch Blumberg to do the research linking "australia antigen" to one of these forms of Hepatitis that resulted in his winning the Nobel prize. And, finally the work led to development of vaccines against Hepatitis A and B.

But, none of the potential for improved health that this research involved justified carrying out the experiments unethically and violating the rights and welfare of these vulnerable children or their vulnerable parents who were often told that there was no room for placement unless they agreed to let their child be a research subject.

Willowbrook StatNisland is known by almost all BioEthicists I meet at meetings concerned with protection of the rights and welfare of medical research subjects.


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