Nearly 800 plaintiffs have launched a billion-dollar lawsuit against Johns Hopkins University over its alleged role in the deliberate infection of hundreds of vulnerable Guatemalans with sexually transmitted diseases, including syphilis and gonorrhoea, during a medical experiment programme in the 1940s and 1950s.
The lawsuit, which also names the philanthropic Rockefeller Foundation, alleges that both institutions helped “design, support, encourage and finance” the experiments by employing scientists and physicians involved in the tests, which were designed to ascertain if penicillin could prevent the diseases. Read more…
Orphans, prisoners and mental health patients were deliberately infected in the experiments.
During the experiments, the following occurred:
- Prostitutes were infected with venereal disease and then provided for sex to subjects for intentional transmission of the disease;
- Subjects were inoculated by injection of syphilis spirochaetes into the spinal fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord, under the skin, and on mucous membranes;
- An emulsion containing syphilis or gonorrhoea was spread under the foreskin of the penis in male subjects;
- The penis of male subjects was scraped and scarified and then coated with the emulsion containing syphilis or gonorrhea;
- A woman from the psychiatric hospital was injected with syphilis, developed skin lesions and wasting, and then had gonorrhoeal pus from a male subject injected into both of her eyes and;
- Children were subjected to blood studies to check for the presence of venereal disease.