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--- ky09 (2/7/2009)
Nazi Medical Experiments

The experiments done by the Nazi doctors during WWII certainly raised many dilemmas. One of the most controversial questions is whether or not to use this data to help treat patients of today. My feelings towards this situation are ambivalent, but when forced to take sides, I would most likely say that we should use the information to aid medical science and treat suffering patients.

Assuming that all the data is useful and the experiments were done by qualified doctors, I think that using the data would be a legitimate way to save lives. We can’t change what happened in the past, but we can help save the patients of today. Since there is no other way to acquire the information, and the data does exist, I think we should use it to benefit other human beings. For example, we could treat hypothermia, tuberculosis, and liver disease by using the information. Also, the Jews who suffered from these brutal experiments would have died for a good cause. No one can change the fact that they’ve already died, but if we use the data to save lives, we can bring good out of the experiments.

One major issue is that most of the victims are not able to give consent. If the victim died, I believe that we should try and contact any surviving relatives and ask for their opinion. The approval of the victims themselves is very important. Although family members could represent those who have died, they cannot truly speak for the victims and give consent, because they have not gone through the actual experiments. It also feels like we are praising the Nazi doctors if do this. We would be using data from their immoral experiments as a means of benefiting scientific research. In a way, we are saying that it’s acceptable to inflict pain on others and practice experiments such as high altitude, seawater, and sterilization.

The scientific validity also has to be determined before making a decision. People believe that while doing the experiments, the psychological factors are important. Most Jews already expected to die, so their minds and bodies didn’t function the same way as normal patients. We also have to make sure that the doctors who performed these experiments were well qualified for the job.

It does seem ironic that we are using human lives to save other humans. This can be compared to the wound experiments done by the Nazis. By sacrificing Jews to help aid German soldiers, it is implying that Jews are inferior, and their lives are worth less than German people’s lives. Although this is a valid comparison, I don’t think these two situations are exactly the same. The Nazis perpetrated their crimes and victimized Jews in for their own motives. They were willing to directly kill people to achieve their goals, which is wrong and immoral. After the data had been acquired and all the experiments had been done, there is no reason why we shouldn’t use it to benefit society. If the victims already died, at least they died for a good cause. If we just completely ignore the existing data, we would also be killing the patients of today, because it would be a waste of useful information. There’s nothing we can do to change the past, and using the existing data can really benefit suffering patients. We know that these experiments will not be performed again, so we should look to the future and do everything possible to help save others.
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