RetinopathyOfPrematurity.org :
                                             
a documentation of patient-harming ethics violations in medical research

 

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ROP description
Eugenics against oxygen
Slandering oxygen
Oxygen study frauds  
Alleged study results
Later deaths
Futility and harm
Fluorescent ROP lamps
Damaging irradiance
Preemie vulnerabilities
Studies of light and ROP
Frauds in LIGHT-ROP
Coverup stonewalling

 

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Bioethics LIGHT-ROP

Bioethics SUPPORT

Bioethics own violations

Bioethics Consent

Bioethics 1955 Oxygen

Unethical Bioethics 1

Unethical Bioethics 2

Unethical Bioethics 3

Unethical Bioethics 4

Hypocritical Nature >>>

False Medical Denials

Pre-Nuremberg Bioethics

Protect Humans in Research

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   The past-abuse-denouncing author of "Hypocritical Oaths" on the Nature.com website

 

wonders hypocritically about present abuses but willfully ignores their documentation  

 
 

 

My open letter sent 2/21/2012 to the attention of Philip Campbell,
Editor-in-Chief of the Nature Publishing Group

I asked Mr. Campbell for his permission to also post his reply to this letter, and I am still looking forward to receiving it.


The web page about your group's journals says that you are ultimately responsible for the quality of all publications bearing the name Nature in their titles. I want therefore to bring to your attention your page http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v482/n7384/full/482132a.html

 

This page contains an unsigned editorial, dated February 9, 2012, and titled "Hypocritical Oaths". Its author dutifully denounces the patient-infecting syphilis experiments by U.S. researchers 65 years ago in Guatemala and several other medical abuses of that time, and then asks: "What kind of work deemed as accepted today will be denounced by future generations?"


Assuming that the writer had asked that question in good faith, I submitted in the comment section an answer where I described a current child suffocation experiment of oxygen withholding from premature babies without the informed consent of their parents, as follows:

I want to draw your attention to some recent knowingly false statements which the U.S. Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, a self-described "advisory panel of the nation's leaders in medicine, science, ethics, religion, law, and engineering", issued on December 15, 2011, in its report titled "Moral Science". It stated there that current regulations and the requirement for voluntary informed consent generally appear to protect participants in federally funded scientific research from avoidable harm or unethical treatment, and that medical research abuses like those in the "ethically impossible" subject-infecting syphilis experiments in Guatemala in the 1940s could not happen today.


These statements are blatantly contradicted by the report itself. The body of that report describes the methods that should be used for examining the current status of these protections and then declares that the Commission had neither the time nor the resources to even begin such an examination. Yet, after so admitting that it had not looked at the relevant evidence, it gives the President and the public the requested but consciously fabricated assurances that the current safeguards offer generally adequate protections for participants in research on humans, and that abuses like those in Guatemala could not happen today.


Moreover, the Commission offers these vigilance-relaxing bogus assurances about the adequacy of current safeguards while both the universities led by its Chair and Vice-Chair are openly involved in an ongoing series of knowingly lethal medical experiments of withholding oxygen breathing help from premature babies. These present suffocation experiments are even worse than the much denounced wrongdoing in Guatemala. The U.S. version of these multinational child suffocation experiments willfully killed 23 "extra" preemies in the low-oxygen group to protect them from blindness. It also leaves a still uncounted number of the survivors with permanent severe brain damage from the same lack of oxygen, all this without informed consent from the parents.


Even worse than this experimental baby-killing for science is that its fatal results from oxygen withholding led in the U.S. to new guidelines for throttling the oxygen faucets even more tightly, despite the well-known increase in mortality caused by this further restriction. By contrast, the researchers conducting parallel experiments in Australia, New Zealand, and England looked at the same combined mortality data and warned against using the lethal low-oxygen levels in their clearly more preemie-friendly countries.


You find the documentation of these latest medical abuses against preemies at http://retinopathyofprematurity.org/UnethicalBioethics1.htm


The other pages in that group to .../UnethicalBioethics4.htm further describe a series of related ethics violations, willful killing of preemie research subjects, and research frauds. One of these frauds has contaminated the pediatric doctrine for over half a century by now and asphyxiated in its first two decades 150,000 preemies, according to medical estimates. The other fraud discussed on those pages rigged a fake experiment to falsely exonerate the fluorescent nursery lighting from any role in the baby-blinding and so deliberately prolonged that continuing epidemic.


All these research frauds and subject abuses were committed under the mantle of science, and the cover-up continues in Potemkin reports like "Moral Science". The wagon-circling denials of the medical research community against these gross and willfully patient-harming flaws in its allegedly "evidence-based" and "do-no-harm" doctrine are bound to be exposed some day, even at the sub-tectonic speeds of the much touted self-correction in science. The longer it takes to expose and correct these well documented deceptions in medical research on preemies, the more this is likely to further damage public perceptions about the honesty and trustworthiness of medical scientists, and by association also of other scientists in other fields who passively accept the continued killing and maiming of humans for science.
 

I suggest therefore that you help to shine a light on these harmful medical abuses in the name of science, and I thank you in advance for anything you can do to protect future preemies from getting treated as disposable guinea pigs, as well as to restore the now badly and deservedly tattered reputation of science for its alleged integrity and for the supposed honesty of its practitioners. I submitted this comment on February 4 to the editors of Scientific American who said "We'll take a closer look soon." Full disclosure: my now 28-year-old son is blind from retinopathy of prematurity and brain-damaged from oxygen withholding. Sincerely, Peter Aleff.


A few hours later I received a message from "-Nature editors" that my post had been hidden by the moderator because it "Contains unproven allegations".
 

Apparently, that editorialist's question about the future acceptability of present research was merely rhetorical. He or she did not want it answered and had ignored the above link to the documentation of my statements, or else he or she shares the automatic reflex of many so-called scientists in the medical field to summarily deny any examples of wrongdoing by members of their guild, unless these are at least several decades in the past and their perpetrators as well as most victims safely buried.


That moderator had also not bothered to look at the "Moral Science" report I had accurately criticized in my post, as anyone can easily see who reads the self-contradictions by its Bioethics Commission authors. These describe how the evidence for their assurances should be gathered and evaluated, admit that they had neither the time nor the resources to do so, but then give those assurances anyway without any evidence to back them up.


In the hope that not all editors at your science publication group are so hypocritically averse to examine accusations of wrongdoing in present medical research while unctuously denouncing past examples, I am therefore submitting to you below a documentation of the above mentioned current child suffocation experiment, with links to the sources of all the statements.


I trust that you are enough of a scientist to realize that these citations from respected clinical journals and official government sources are not just allegations, and that you will not join the current cover-up of present research crimes while waiting for later generations to denounce in a few decades these current atrocities "How could they do that, and why did they not speak up?"


The knowingly lethal SUPPORT experiment of intentionally reducing the oxygen breathing help for premature babies was conducted from 2005 to 2009 in 16 U.S. hospitals and predictably killed 23 “extra” babies in the low-oxygen group, or “one additional death for every two cases of [blindness] prevented”, as posted at http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0911781

 
The researchers computed a 96 percent probability that it was the oxygen withholding which had killed those 23 hapless preemies, but there was no public outrage over this predictable death toll willfully caused by medical researchers.


Killing a baby to protect the eyes of two others is clearly illegal, but the SUPPORT researchers knowingly accepted the high risks of death and severe disability on behalf of their unsuspecting subjects without any matching potential benefit for these. They wanted to re-test again an old, vague, and never confirmed theory that reducing the oxygen supplements might also reduce the incidence of blinding from retinopathy of prematurity, or ROP.


However, blindness is not a fatal condition, and many blind people consider it an inconvenience rather than a disability. No sane blind person would prefer being dead than just blind, but the researchers made that choice for their subjects, against those preemies’ interest, and without the permission of their parents.
 

As in many earlier medical atrocities based on the academic arrogance that Uebermensch researchers have the right to inflict harm on some people for an alleged greater good to many others, the SUPPORT investigators valued the testing of their theory higher than the welfare and lives of their human research subjects whom they used here as if they were disposable guinea pigs.
 

Withholding life-saving oxygen from babies with breathing problems echoes the ethics of Tuskegee-style withholding a known cure, but it is worse because it kills. Moreover, there is no evidence that oxygen has anything to do with the blinding. Oxygen supplements for premature babies had been introduced in the late 1800s and were from then on routinely and generously given to preemies without ever causing any eye damage.


The epidemic of baby-blinding by ROP had suddenly started in 1940, the year after the introduction of fluorescent lamps in the U.S., and the same parallel repeated itself time and again after the War in other industrial countries as these lamps became available there. For more on the role of nursery lamps in ROP, see http://retinopathyofprematurity.org/Babyblindinglights01.htm and http://retinopathyofprematurity.org/40fraudsinLIGHTROP.htm.


However, the leading American ophthalmologists of the time were convinced the blinding was caused by “defective germ plasm” and argued in a 1948 meeting that nursery doctors should not “zealously preserve” these “defective persons”. The most common and most effective way for “preserving” a preemie with still weak lungs was to give them oxygen supplements to make their breathing easier, so these eugenicist doctors rigged a clinical trial to falsely proclaim in 1955 that this life-saving gas was responsible for the epidemic. See http://retinopathyofprematurity.org/20oxygeneugenics.htm and http://retinopathyofprematurity.org/Bioethics1955oxygen.htm.


Although the methods of science would require repeated replications of such a radical claim, this obviously false slander against the “undeserved subsidy” of “liberal” oxygen instantly became enshrined as medical dogma and started the systematic large-scale elimination of those alleged “defectives”.


Estimates in the medical literature say the first two decades of oxygen withholding killed about 150,000 premature babies, or 16 deaths for every case of blindness prevented. See http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1471-2431-11-6.pdf,  page 2 top right, for these medical estimates of preemies killed by this misguiding doctrine. An independent extrapolation from data of that time yields about double that death toll for the U.S. alone, see http://retinopathyofprematurity.org/26allegedstudyresults.htm.


Despite this admitted but never investigated mass carnage, and despite many further patient-harming attempts to test the limits of just how little oxygen a preemie could survive on without suffering early discernible harm, the question has never been settled what blood oxygen levels would prevent the blinding without severely brain-damaging or even killing the baby. To search for an answer, an international group of doctors started in 2003 to plan a new large-scale multi-national experiment on over 5,000 preemies to better compare the outcomes in five low-oxygen groups with their controls at a more normal level.


The designers of this oxygen withholding experiment knew they could not obtain the informed consent from any parents to sacrifice their children for the planned suffocation tests, and that these parents could not legally have offered up their children anyway for this high-risk experiment which was not at all in those children's or their own interest. The experiment designers had therefore obliquely suggested in their initial 2003 proposal for this new study to avoid the “defensive documentation” imposed by "well intentioned guidelines" that would likely reduce enrollment or make it impossible to begin with. (See page 1418 left at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/112/6/1415.full.pdf.)

 

And indeed, the U.S. National Institutes of Health "cannot locate" the mandated model consent forms for this inhumane research although their own regulations forbid to fund any medical study that has not proved its compliance with this basic ethics rule. For the absence of these forms, see http://retinopathyofprematurity.org/BioethicsConsent.htm.


Adding insult to injury, the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues helped to cover-up this medical mass murder. Its 12/15/2011 report "Moral Science" assured the President and the public that the current regulations and requirements for informed consent are now adequate safeguards against such unethical treatment of unconsenting research subjects. See http://bioethics.gov/cms/sites/default/files/Moral%20Science%20-%20Final.pdf.


By contrast, the page http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01124331?cond=%22Retinopathy+of+Prematurity%22&rank=33 lists the Commission Chair’s University of Pennsylvania as collaborator in the umbrella NeOProM study protocol of which SUPPORT is a part, and the last page at http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0911781#t=articleTop shows the hospitals of its Vice Chair’s Emory University among those participating in the SUPPORT experiment.


That Commission had been repeatedly alerted to the crimes in that study design. See http://retinopathyofprematurity.org/BioethicsOwnViolations.htm and the links on that page to several earlier alerts.


The lopsided result of killing one baby to protect two others from blindness led meanwhile to new guidelines in the U.S. for further restricting this essential breathing help to preemies. The relevant excerpts from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303795304576453932145525052.html  and from http://www.ksby.com/news/local-doctor-explains-how-giving-preemies-less-oxygen-may-save-their-eyesight/ are quoted at http://retinopathyofprematurity.org/UnethicalBioethics2.htm.


The SUPPORT results suggest that these new guidelines will now again cause the killing of many preemies to reduce the rate of blinding among the survivors, as the 1955 oxygen recommendations had done. The lowered oxygen levels are also bound to leave many of the survivors with severe disabilities.


This “better-dead-than-blind” policy in the U.S. contrasts sharply with the conclusion of the researchers in Australia, New Zealand, and England who were conducting parallel oxygen withholding experiments and looked at the same pooled data available to the promoters of the new knowingly lethal U.S. guidelines. When these non-American doctors detected the higher mortality rate in the low-oxygen groups they stopped all enrollment of new subjects for their experiments and recommended to avoid those clearly fatal low oxygen levels in their apparently more baby-friendly and actually life-respecting countries, as compared with the mere lip service to the sanctity of life in the U.S.. See http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMc1101319 (page 1681 right, published on April 28, 2011).


You find a detailed documentation of this and other ongoing ethics violations against premature babies at http://retinopathyofprematurity.org/UnethicalBioethics1.htm to ...4.htm, and I hope that you want to help end them by exposing this double-talk as well as the current revival of the old systematic euthanasia program against the weakest preemies.
 

I tried to alert the FBI to these medical murders of 23 American children in the SUPPORT experiment but received no reaction, so I asked President Obama as well as U.S. Senators Menendez, Lautenberg, and Grassley to request the Department of Justice to investigate and stop these systematic medical crimes.

 

However, I fear that none of these are likely to react unless accredited scientists such as you expose this scandal, and I hope that you have the courage to do so.
Or do you prefer to wait for some future President to apologize publicly for your and your colleagues inaction against the crimes committed under your noses?
 

I am planning to post this open letter on my website at http://retinopathyofprematurity.org/HypocriticalNature.htm  and I would appreciate your kind permission to also post there your reply.
 

Thank you in advance for denouncing these current medical atrocities.

Sincerely,

Peter Aleff,
2097 Cottonwood Drive, Vineland, NJ 08361, USA
prevent@retinopathyofprematurity.org

 

 
 

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