The Erosion of Medical Consent
“This is required reading to understand the context of this pandemic.” —Jelani Cobb
“Urgent, alarming, riveting, and essential.” —Ibram X. Kendi
Carte Blanche relates an alarming reality—how the right of Americans to say “no” to risky medical research is being systematically eroded. For decades, medical research has been legally conducted on trauma victims—who often are people of color—without their consent, or even their knowledge.
Harriet A. Washington, the author of Medical Apartheid, again exposes a large-scale violation of patient, civil, and human rights. In 1990, the Department of Defense forced an experimental anthrax vaccine on ground troops headed for the Persian Gulf. After two 1996 loopholes to federal law permitted research to be conducted even on private citizens, the military quietly used the dangerous blood substitute PolyHeme on non-consenting victims. Since then, more than a dozen studies have used the consent loopholes to impose risky and potentially deadly drugs and devices on research subjects without their knowledge, especially in people of color, many of whom were already justifiably distrustful of documented racial bias in medicine. Carte Blanche is an exposé of a U.S. medical-research system that has repeatedly shown that it is untrustworthy.
This book is published with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.