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Oct 1, 2010 12:36 PM

US Apologized to Guatemala for Infecting Prisoners with Syphilis 60 Years Ago

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama plans to call
Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom to personally apologize over a
disclosure that American scientists deliberately infected
Guatemalan prisoners with syphilis decades ago.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Friday
that the news was "shocking, it's tragic, it's reprehensible."
Obama's spokesman said: "The United States by all means
apologizes to all of those that were impacted." He said the
president had been briefed and intended to speak with the
Guatemalan leader to "personally express that apology."
The 1946 experiment was unearthed by a Wellesley College medical
historian. It apparently was conducted to test the effectiveness of
penicillin.
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WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. government apologized to Guatemala
Friday for a study 60 years ago in which American scientists
deliberately infected prisoners in that country with syphilis.
The 1946 experiment was unearthed by a Wellesley College medical
historian. It apparently was conducted to test the effectiveness of
penicillin, which was relatively new then, in treating sexually
transmitted diseases.
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."
Strict regulations today would prohibit such medical research.
U.S. officials are beginning two investigations to uncover exactly
what happened and make sure today's rules are adequate.

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