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Ethics Bioethics Medical Medicine Nuremberg Code Tuskegee FDA Human Experimentation Abuse


"You can not use people -
You should not use people as means for others ... "
(even for what might ultimately be good)

Jay Katz
Jay Katz, M.D. (1922-2008)

Note: Born in Zwickau, Germany to Jewish parents, he was sent to Czechoslovakia in 1938 to escape the Nazi regime. By 1940, J. Katz arrived to the United States and in 1944 graduated from the University of Vermont. In 1949 he earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from Harvard Medical School and enlisted in the Air Force. He served at the Maxwell Air Force Hospital in Mongtomery, Alabama (not far from Tuskegge),  following which he joined Yale University were he remained until his recent death from heart failure.  In 1970, Katz was appointed to head a national panel to investigate the "Tuskegge Syphilis Experiment" implemented by the U.S. Public Health Service. His condemnation of the study gained notariety - he said,  "they treated the study subjects not as human beings but as objects of research". Katz was a prolific writter and among his books, the most important became his 1984  "The Silent World of Doctor and Patient" exploring the nature and ethics of "informed consent". All his life, Katz strived to illuminate the complexities of physician-patient relationships that permeate all medical-patient decision making. Fundamentally, Katz advocated and honest and open "doctor-patient" dialog to soften the ancient tradition of "doctor orders" and demands for patient passivity as an antidote of physician authoritarianism. Authority, like money, can be corrupting. 

In 1996, Katz opposed FDA and Drug Industry advocacy to relax federal regulations so investigators could enroll patients unable to give informed consent. The Drug Industry prevailed while Katz ccontinued to uphold the view that such rulling violates Nuremberg Code principles. During the fiftieth anniversary conference of the Nuremberg trial, held October 25-27 of 1996, Katz spoke on "Human  Sacrifice and Human Experimentation: Reflections at Nuremberg" - the speech is posted on the web by "The Berkeley Electronic Press".  

W. Wertecki, M.D.

 

 

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