Miss Evers’ Boys
In 1932, a study was carried out for several years in Macon County, Alabama, known as the ‘Tuskegee Study.’ The Tuskegee study began when many people believed that the African American population was more likely to have a higher rate of diseases than the white population. Although Macon County tried to prove them wrong, the government implemented special programs for the African American population to prevent them from getting the disease. As the study was just starting, it became clear that Macon County had one of the country’s only African American hospitals, where nearly 35 percent of people had syphilis. When Dr.Douglas arrived, he decided he wanted Dr. Brodus and Miss Evers to do the study with him. He assumed that since they already knew all the men in Macon County, it would make it easier to find participants for his research (Sargent, 1997).
Miss Evers was sent out once the study started to find people who were willing to participate in the research, but it took a lot more than just asking people to participate in this study. Miss Evers used her lively personality and persuasiveness to get the men that they needed, by telling them that those who had “bad blood” would be provided with free healthcare from the government. While some of the men had been very hesitant, Miss Evers found a way to connect on a personal level with each one of the men. Roughly 412 men committed to getting the best care the doctors could give them after Miss Evers went to talk to them. However, despite the fact that Miss Evers was not completely honest with these men, she did everything she could to help them. She was tired of lying to the participants, but Dr. Brodus and Dr. Douglas refused to let their research go through until they could get the evidence they wanted. Ultimately, I think that Miss Evers wanted nothing but the best for the men once she got to know them more, but as time passed slowly over the years, she realized she was put in a bad spot. The longer the research kept going, Miss Evers felt like she was betraying all the men, as I too would feel (Sargent, 1997).
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Dr.Douglas learned throughout the Tuskegee study that they had too many people to care for and not enough finances to support the experiment. During the planning process, they realized they should turn it over to more qualified agencies because they couldn’t finish their experience without having enough finances. However, the U.S government made a new proposal to help the experiment stay. Within the new proposal, the U.S Government granted them all the funding they needed for more than a decade to keep the study going. With the support of the U.S Government, Miss Evers earned her job back and the men were more than happy. They relied on Miss Evers throughout their whole treatment, for the encouragement and support when they wanted to quit and just to have a friend that the men could trust. As for Dr. Douglas and Dr. Brodus, they were the main facilitators when it came to “calling” the shots. Dr. Brodus always told each of the men to trust the doctors because they know what’s best for them, but in reality, neither Dr. Douglas nor Dr. Brodus cared for the men. Many laws were put in place for today’s society to prevent future studies that would be like the Tuskegee study from happening. Reform of national policies, for example, soon followed the aftermath of the “outrageous & intolerable” Tuskegee Study. In addition, if someone takes part in a study from today’s society, the participants must sign consents knowing what is going to happen and the outcome they want to achieve as well as the downfalls that might occur (Sargent, 1997).
As hard as it was to continue with the study for decades, Miss Evers found a way to describe the study as ‘taken over the hill.’ Miss Evers explains it in a way that you go through valleys and mountains, and it seems to never end. No matter how many times you think you have reached the top of the mountain, you are led right down into another valley. This study has taken a toll on everyone, but they can’t seem to find an end (Sargent, 1997).
After watching Miss Evers Boys, I believe it all went well in the beginning, but it took a turn in events and Miss Evers got too deep into the study to be able to back out until she lost her job during the funding issues. After Miss Evers lost her job, she realized what was really taking place and she knew that she needed to find a way to stop the study. It took her months to find out that in 1942, Penicillin was widely available to the patients. However, Dr.Brodus would not allow her to use it for the men. Once Miss Evers noticed how sick all the men were getting, she did whatever she had to do to get the Penicillin. Ultimately, at the beginning, I would have done the same thing as Miss Evers, although, after she began feeling like she was betraying the men, I would have tried to persuade the doctors and U.S government to change a few things. I would have held to my true word and offered the men the best care I could give while trying to obtain the actual treatment (Sargent, 1997).
Sargent, J. (Director). (1997). Miss Evers’ boys [film]. HBO.