Major Hospital Infected 700 with STDs in Experiments, $1 Billion Lawsuit Says

Major Hospital Infected 700 with STDs in Experiments, $1 Billion Lawsuit Says
Science & Medicine

A class action lawsuit has been filed by a large group of over 700 Guatemalans seeking $1 billion. The plaintiffs were either directly or indirectly the victims of experiments allegedly perpetrated by the John Hopkins University in tandem with the Rockefeller foundation.

From 1945 to the early 50’s, a collection of Guatemalan sex workers, government workers, prisoners, patients, and military were infected with STDs unknown to them, while researchers tested which pharmaceuticals were the most effective in treating their disease. Because of this, these test subjects unwittingly spread the venereal diseases to their spouses, family and friends, causing injury and death in some cases.

Nearly seventy years later in 2010, the US government issued a public apology since these experiments came to light, and a similar lawsuit was filed against them in 2012. Though admitted to be unethical and apologizing for the harm done, the judge ruled that the disgruntled Guatemalans couldn’t sue the US for grievances that happened overseas, and that health officials in the current administration had nothing to do with the experiments personally.

Read: GSK Forced Illiterate Parents to Hand over Children for Vaccine Tests

Both the John Hopkins and Rockefeller Foundation have issued separate statements regarding this new lawsuit, denying any involvement in the Guatemala experiments. The John Hopkins media statement denies any involvement or association by designing or funding the studies, and suggests the accusers are trying to make money:

“For more than half a century since the time of the Guatemala study, scholars, ethicists and clinicians have worked with government officials to establish rigorous ethical standards for human research. Johns Hopkins welcomes bioethical inquiry into the U.S. government’s Guatemala study and its legacy. This lawsuit, however, is an attempt by plaintiffs’ counsel to exploit a historic tragedy for monetary gain. Plaintiffs’ legal claims are not supported by the facts. We will vigorously defend the lawsuit.”

The Rockefeller foundation issued a similar statement:

“The lawsuit recently filed in Baltimore against The Rockefeller Foundation seeks improperly to assign “guilt by association” in the absence of compensation from the United States federal government.”

The Guatemala experiment is reminiscent of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, where the US Public Health Service gave black men in Alabama syphilis and studied the effects and progression of the disease without giving them treatment or telling them the full truth of what they had done.