Medical ethicist and journalist Harriet Washington details the abusive medical practices to which African-Americans have been subjected.
Washington begins her shocking history in the colonial period, when owners would hire out or sell slaves to physicians for use as guinea pigs in medical experiments. Into the 19th century, black cadavers were routinely exploited for profit by whites who shipped them to medical schools for dissection and to museums and traveling shows for casual public display.
Among Washington’s numerous examples is the radical brain surgery performed by a University of Mississippi neurosurgeon on African-American boys as young as six who were deemed aggressive or hyperactive, a procedure he recommended for urban rioters after Watts.
And the abuses are not all buried in the distant past: During a 1992-1997 study of the biological basis of violent behavior conducted by the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University’s Loewenstein Center, researchers intimidated parents of black juvenile offenders into permitting them to administer the dangerous drug fenfluramine to the offenders’ younger brothers.
"Medical Apartheid" airs Tuesday, February 13 at 7 PM on Jazzy 88.9.