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Public lecture: Can't you hear that lonesome whistle blow? Why medical researchers stay silent about wrongdoing

Why are health research whistleblowers so rare?

The Bioethics Centre hosts Professor Carl Elliott to discuss this compelling ethical quandary

Professor Carl Elliott

In 1972, a young Public Health Service worker named Peter Buxtun exposed the most notorious medical research scandal in American history. For forty years, the Public Health Service had deceived and exploited hundreds of poor black men with syphilis near Tuskegee, Alabama, using free meals and burial insurance to lure them into an experiment in which they would receive no treatment for a potentially deadly disease. The study was not a secret; at least thirteen papers about it had been published in medical journals. Yet it was forty years before anyone publicly objected.

The past half-century has seen many medical research scandals, but few of them have been exposed by whistleblowers. In many scandals, even those that came well after Tuskegee, doctors and nurses have stayed silent when they have seen research subjects being shamefully mistreated.

In the handful of cases where medical insiders have worked up the courage to speak out publicly, such as the “unfortunate experiment” at the National Women’s Hospital in Auckland, the result has been professional vilification. This raises a larger and more important question.

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Date Saturday, 28 January 2017
Time 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Audience Public,All University
Event Category Health Sciences
Event Type Public Lecture
DepartmentBioethics Centre, Faculty of Law
LocationThe Hunter Centre, Corner of Great King Street and Frederick Street, Dunedin
Contact NameDr Sarah Soper, Conference Organiser

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