Tuesday, October 1, 2013

For the Good of Mankind [Book Review]

Disclaimer: I received a e-copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinions. 

Hardcover, 96 pages
Published: October 1st 2013 by Twenty-First Century Books (CT)
ISBN: 1467706590
Find on Goodreads

Experiment: A child is deliberately infected with the deadly smallpox disease without his parents' informed consent.
Result: The world's first vaccine.
Experiment: A slave woman is forced to undergo more than thirty operations without anesthesia.
Result: The beginnings of modern gynecology.
Experiment: From 1946 to 1953, seventy-four boys are fed oatmeal laced with radioactive iron and calcium.
Result: A better understanding of the effects of radioactivity on the human body.

Experimental incidents such as these paved the way for crucial medical discoveries and lifesaving cures and procedures. But they also violated the rights of their subjects, many of whom did not give their consent to the experiments. The subjects suffered excruciating pain and humiliation. Some even died as a result of the procedures. Even in the twenty-first century—despite laws, regulations, and ethical conventions—the tension between medical experimentation and patient rights continues.

How do doctors balance the need to test new medicines and procedures with their ethical and moral duty to protect the rights of human subjects? What price has been paid for medical knowledge? Can we learn from the broken oaths of the past?

Take a harrowing journey through some of history's greatest medical advances—and its most horrifying medical atrocities. You'll read about orphans injected with lethal tuberculosis and concentration camp inmates tortured by Nazi doctors. You’ll also learn about radiation experimentation and present-day clinical trials that prove fatal. Through these stories, explore the human suffering that has gone hand in hand with medical advancement

My Thoughts:
When the synopsis says "horrifying medical atrocities", it's not kidding. My husband has always been really into the conspiracy theories and he got me pretty interested in them along the way. Some of them aren't true, some of them are, and then there are these. This book is full of a ton of horrifying medical events that happened mostly from the 1900s until the present day.

It is incredibly interesting and informative. It stirred up a lot of anger and utter shock. There are so many incidences that are so maliciously evil that it's hard to not get emotional about what you are reading. The unapproved medical experimentation is insane. I definitely err on the side of having express consent for medical experimentation and not in children unless they are mentally capable of making such a serious decision. There are many good things that have come from medical experimentation, however, most all of it was without consent and resulted in fatal consequences. These experiments often left families torn apart with no warning.

The book goes through the beginning of the human experimentation and then goes to the Nazi Germany era of experimentation and into wartime experimentation with the atomic bomb. It closes with what has been happening as a result of these horrendous experiments in the legal side of things and a question-raising end that makes for a great discussion topic. I was able to throw so many facts and stories in a discussion with my husband because of this book and it makes me want to go out and learn all that I can about human experimentation, especially in current events in correlation with pharmaceutical companies in particular. It was extremely fascinating and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes historical events that may or may not be graphic and horrifying in nature.

Previous Review:
Monster High by Lisi Harrison [here]

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