Dark Medicine

Dark Medicine : Rationalizing Unethical Medical Research

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The trial of the "German doctors" exposed atrocities of Nazi medical science and led to the Nuremberg Code governing human experimentation. In Japan, Unit 731 carried out hideous experiments on captured Chinese and downed American pilots. In the United States, stories linger of biological experimentation during the Korean War. This collection of essays looks at the dark medical research conducted during and after World War II. Contributors describe this research, how it was brought to light, and the rationalizations of those who perpetrated and benefited from it.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 280 pages
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253116805
  • 9780253116802

Review quote

"... This collection of essays lends relevance to this dark history in a way no computerized module on human subjects protection can." -Preeti N. Malani, MD, MSJ, Veterans Affairs Healthcare System Ann Arbor, UMI, JAMA, 2008 "Certain books make you reconsider your views even though you really would rather not. This edited collection is one of those... It is truly worthwhile reading." -Bioethical Inquiry, 2010, Volume 7 "By identifying and analyzing how the unethical was justified and rationalized, the authors draw moral and political lessons from this disturbing history that we have not yet really learned. -Nie Jin" -Bao, author of Medical Ethics in China "... a fascinating and timely new book... The take-home message of the 16 contributors to Dark Medicine is that a nation's books on past episodes of unethical practice should never be fully closed, and that ethical committees in science and medicine should never neglect the historical perspective of their own and other countries." -New Scientist "Lafleur and his coeditors have assembled a very useful group of essays looking at the abuse of medical research in wartime Japan and Germany, as well as in postwar America.... Recommended." -Choice "A great deal has been written in recent years about human subject research. This book is different and invaluable. Its focus is at once historical and international, bringing together commentators and scholars from a number of countries and a variety of disciplines. Human subject research raises one of the basic moral problems of modern medicine: in trying to do research to save the lives of the sick, how do we protect those whom we must use to carry out the research? This book deals richly and directly with a history of human subject research that has had many dark moments. This book will help us remember what many would prefer to forget." -Daniel Callahan, Director, International Program, The Hastings Center "... Framed by the belief that unethical research is not simply a problem of the past, Dark Medicine lends thoughtful historical content to the discussion of modern-day dilemmas. The result is a unique fusion of philosophy, religion, history, and bioethics." -John L. Zeller, MD, PhD, Contributing Editor, JAMA, 2008; 300(10) "'Dark Medicine: Rationalizing Unethical Medical Research' explores the mystery of how apparently upstanding citizens can engage in appalling human research experiments.... The book's premise is that rationalization is at the heart of the problem. Physicians and scientists did not participate in the Nazi atrocities because of incompetence, madness or coercion; they participated because they convinced themselves that it was the right thing to do..." -Norman M. Goldfarb, Managing Director of First Clinical Research LLC, The First Clinical Research Bookshelf, August 2010
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Table of contents

Introduction: The Knowledge Tree and Its Double Fruit William R. LaFleur

Part 1. The Gruesome Past and Lessons Not Yet Learned
1. Rationalizing Unethical Medical Research: Taking Seriously the Case of Viktor von Weizsacker Gernot Boehme
2. Medical Research, Morality, and History: The German Journal Ethik and the Limits of Human Experimentation Andreas Frewer
3. Experimentation on Humans and Informed Consent: How We Arrived Where We Are Rolf Winau
4. The Silence of the Scholars Benno Muller-Hill
5. The Ethics of Evil: The Challenge and the Lessons of Nazi Medical Experiments Arthur L. Caplan
6. Unit 731 and the Human Skulls Discovered in 1989: Physicians Carrying Out Organized Crimes Kei-ichi Tsuneishi
7. Biohazard: Unit 731 in Postwar Japanese Politics of National "Forgetfulness"
Frederick R. Dickinson
8. Biological Weapons: The United States and the Korean War G. Cameron Hurst III
9. Experimental Injury: Wound Ballistics and Aviation Medicine in Mid-century America Susan Lindee
10. Stumbling Toward Bioethics: Human Experiments Policy and the Early Cold War Jonathan D. Moreno

Part 2. The Conflicted Present and the Worrisome Future
11. Toward an Ethics of Iatrogenesis Renee C. Fox
12. Strategies for Survival versus Accepting Impermanence: Rationalizing Brain Death and Organ Transplantation Today Tetsuo Yamaori
13. The Age of a "Revolutionized Human Body" and the Right to Die Yoshihiko Komatsu
14. Why We Must Be Prudent in Research Using Human Embryos: Differing Views of Human Dignity Susumu Shimazono
15. Eugenics, Reproductive Technologies, and the Feminist Dilemma in Japan Miho Ogino
16. Refusing Utopia's Bait: Research, Rationalizations, and Hans Jonas William R. LaFleur

List of Contributors
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About William R. LaFleur

William R. LaFleur is the E. Dale Saunders Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Liquid Life: Abortion and Buddhism in Japan.

Gernot Boehme recently retired as Professor of Philosophy at the Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany. His books in English include Coping with Science and Ethics in Context: The Art of Dealing with Serious Questions.

Susumu Shimazono is Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Tokyo and serves on the Japanese prime minister's advisory panel on bioethics.
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