Timeline of medical ethics
This is a timeline of medical ethics.
The following are some interesting questions that can be answered by reading this timeline:
|Time period||Development summary||More details|
|1588||Pope Sixtus V adopts a papal bull adopting the position of Thomas Aquinas that contraception and abortion are crimes against nature and sins against marriage.|
|1775 – 1780||Field development||German philosopher Immanuel Kant in his lectures on ethics argues against the sale of human body parts.|
|1779||Field development||German physician Johann Peter Frank writes strict ethical guidelines for public health and sanitation to improve the quality of life.||Germany|
|1794||Field development||English physician Thomas Percival writes first modern code of medical ethics.||United Kingdom|
|1796||Case study||English physician Edward Jenner inoculates eight-year-old James Phipps with fluid from a cowpox pustule to immunize him against smallpox.||United Kingdom|
|1847||Policy||The American Medical Association adopts its first code of ethics, with this being based in large part upon the work of Thomas Percival.||United States|
|1874||Notable case||"Robert Bartholomew inserts electrodes into a hole in the skull of Mary Rafferty caused by a tumor. He notes that small amounts electric current caused bodily movements and that larger amounts caused pain. Rafferty, who was mentally ill, fell into a coma and died a few days after the experiment."|
|1885||Notable case||French biologist Louis Pasteur administers an experimental rabies vaccine to nine-year-old Joseph Meister without testing it on animals first.||France|
|1897||Notable case||Italian bacteriologist Giuseppe Sanarelli injects the yellow fever bacteria into five patients without their consent. All the patients develop the disease and three die.||Italy|
|1900||Notable case||United States Army scientist Walter Reed gathers volunteers in Cuba willing to be bitten by mosquitoes to see whether the insects carried yellow fever.||Cuba|
|1900||Notable case||"Walter Reed experiments to determine the cause of yellow fever. Thirty-three participants, including eighteen Americans and six Cubans, were exposed to mosquitoes infected with yellow fever or injected with blood from yellow fever patients. Six participants died, including two researcher-volunteers. The participants all signed consent forms, some of which were translated into Spanish."|
|1918 – 1922||Notable case||Inmates at San Quentin State Prison in California are subjected to numerous medical procedures, including receiving transplanted testicles from recently executed prisoners. During the research, headed by Dr. Leo L. Stanley, many men receive transplanted sex organs from rams, goats, and boars.||United states|
|1920||Policy (reproductive rights)||Vladimir Lenin legalizes all abortions in the Soviet Union||Soviet Union|
|1932||Notable case||""""The Tuskegee syphilis experiment is conducted by the United States Public Health Service and the Centers For Disease Control with the purpose to observe the natural history of untreated syphilis. The study is considered a major violation of ethical standards. Originally projected to last 6 months, the study would continue for 40 years.||United States|
|1932||Notable case||The Tuskegee syphilis experiment begins. Carried out by the Public Health Service at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, the experiment would last 40 years. Nearly 400 hundred of the 600 poor, rural sharecroppers taking part would never be told they had syphilis, nor be treated for it. Instead, they would be given “free healthcare,” meals, and burial money as researchers study how untreated syphilis progress.||United States|
|1932–1945||Notable case||Japanese scientists working at Unit 731 conduct abominable experiments on thousands of Chinese war prisoner. Experiments include biological and chemical weapons experiments, vaccination experiments, and wound-healing and surgical studies, including vivisections.||China|
|1940s||Notable case||Scientists test mustard gas by compelling U.S. Navy men to enter gas chambers. One goes temporarily blind. When nitrogen mustard is discovered, doctors inject it into a patient dying of lymphosarcoma and notice that his tumors recede, sparking the beginning of chemotherapy.||United States|
|1943–1944||Notable case||Nazi human experimentation. "German scientists conducted morally abominable research on concentration camp prisoners, including experiments that exposed subjects to freezing temperatures, low air pressures, ionizing radiation and electricity, and infectious diseases; as well as wound-healing and surgical studies. " "The central leader of the experiments was Josef Mengele, who from 1943 to 1944 performed experiments on nearly 1,500 sets of imprisoned twins at Auschwitz. About 200 people survived these studies."|
|1946 – 1948||Notable case||Guatemala syphilis experiment is conducted by the United States, during the administration of U.S. President Harry S. Truman and Guatemalan President Juan José Arévalo with the cooperation of some Guatemalan health ministries and officials. A team of U.S. doctors infect 700 Guatemalans with syphilis to test penicillin.||Guatemala|
|1947||Treaty||The Nuremberg Code is adopted as a set of research ethics principles for human experimentation. It is set as a result of the Subsequent Nuremberg trials at the end of the Second World War.||Germany|
|1948||Treaty||The Declaration of Geneva is adopted by the World Medical Association.||Switzerland|
|1949||Organization||Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences|
|1954||Literature (book)||Joseph F. Fletcher publishes Morals and Medicine: The Moral Problems of the Patient’s Right to Know the Truth, Contraception, Artificial Insemination, Sterilization, and Euthanasia.|
|1956–1980||Notable case||Research team led by Saul Krugman and Joan Giles conducts hepatitis experiments on mentally disabled children at The Willowbrook State School. The subjects are intentionally infected with the disease and researchers ovserve its natural progression. The experiments are approved by the New York Department of Health.||United States|
|1956 – 1970||Notable case||Mentally retarded children held at the Willowbrook State School in Staten Island, New York are infected with hepatitis so that doctors there could track the spread of the viral infection and how it responds to gamma globulin injections. More than 700 children are infected. The school closes later in 1987 after public outcry about overcrowding and the filthy conditions.||United States|
|1960s||Notable case||Experimentation in prisons become widespread in the United States, which becomes the only Western country that runs tests on inmates after World War II.||United States|
|1961||Case study||The Milgram Experiment is conducted to test how far a subject would go to earn approval of an authority figure. The experiment is thought to violate many ethical standards due to extenuating emotional conflict and stress.|
|1964||Treaty||The Declaration of Helsinki is created in order to provide researchers and physicians with ethical guidelines. It is developed for the medical community by the World Medical Association.||Finland|
|1966||Organization||The Schlesinger Institute for Medical-Halachic Research is founded.||Israel|
|1966||Organization||The first medical ethics committees in Europe emerge in the United Kingdom and Sweden.||United Kingdom, Sweden|
|1966||Field development||American anesthesiologist Henry K. Beecher publishes an article in The New England Journal of Medicine exposing 22 unethical studies in biomedicine, including the Tuskegee syphilis experiment and the Willowbrook hepatitis study.||United States|
|1970||Literature||Paul Ramsey publishes The Patient as Person: Explorations in Medical Ethics.|
|1973||Literature (journal)||The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics is first issued.|
|1974||Policy||The United States Congress passes the National Research Act, which authorizes federal agencies to develop human research regulations.||United States|
|1975||Literature (journal)||American Journal of Law & Medicine||United States|
|1975||Literature (journal)||The Journal of Medical Ethics is launched.|
|1975||The right to die movement begins in the United States with the case of Karen Quinlan, an American woman who was in persistent vegetative state for ten years.||United States|
|1978||Notable case||Louise Brown becomes the world’s first baby conceived by in vitro fertilization.||United Kingdom|
|1978||Organization||The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors is formed.|
|1979||The Belmont Report is published by the U.S. National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. It provides the conceptual foundation for a major revision of the research regulations in 1981 in the United States.|
|1979||Literature||IRB: Ethics & Human Research|
|1979||Organization||The Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences officially establishes its own private central ethical committee.||Switzerland|
|1979||Organization||Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics||United States|
|1979||The Belmont Report is released by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. The Report becomes a key document in human research ethics regulations in the United States.||United States|
|1980||Literature (journal)||Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics|
|1981||Organization||Japan establishes its first ethics committee, at the Medical Institute of Tokyo University.||Japan|
|1981||Organization||MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics||United States|
|1985||Literature (book)||Zhi-zheng Du's Outline of Medical Ethics is published in China as the first systematic textbook of medical ethics after the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 1970s.||China|
|1985||Literature (book)||Tom Beauchamp James Childress Principles of Biomedical Ethics|
|1987||Organization||The European Society for Philosophy of Medicine and Health Care is founded by an international company of philosophers, physicians, ethicists and other interested professionals in the field.|
|1988||Literature (book)||Zhao-xiong He's History of Chinese Medical Morality is published, providing material on medical ethics from ancient to current China.||China|
|1989||Literature (journal)||Peer-reviewed academic journal Accountability in Research is established.|
|1990||Program launch||The Human Genome Project is launched by the United States as a US$20 billion effort to map and sequence the human genome.||United States|
|1990||Notable case||American physician William French Anderson begins the first human gene therapy clinical trial on patients with adenosine deaminase deficiency, a genetic disease that affects the immune system.||United States|
|1991||Policy||"The 1991 Patient Self-Determination Act passed by the US Congress at the request of the financial arm of Medicare does permit elderly Medicare/Medicaid patients (and by implication, all "terminal" patients) to prepare an advance directive in which they elect or choose to refuse life-extending and/or life-saving treatments as a means of shortening their lives to shorten their suffering unto certain death. The treatment refused in an advance directive under US law, because of the 1991 PSDA, does not have to be proved to be "medically futile" under some existing due-process procedure developed under state laws, such as TADA in Texas."||United States|
|1992||Literature (journal)||Peer-reviewed academic journal Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics is established.||United Kingdom|
|1993||Literature (journal)||The Indian Journal of Medical Ethics is launched.||India|
|1993||Notable case||Researchers successfully clone human embryos.|
|1994||Case study||Montreal surgeon Roger Poisson admits to fabricating and falsifying patient data in NIH-funded breast cancer clinical trials in order allow his patients to qualify for enrollment and have access to experimental treatments.||Canada|
|1994||Notable case||The United States Government declassifies information about secret human radiation experiments conducted from the 1940s-1980s and issues an apology.||United States|
|1994||Organization||The Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments is formed to investigate questions of the record of the United States government with respect to human radiation experiments.||United States|
|1994||Literature (journal)||European Journal of Health Law|
|1994||Literature (journal)||Nursing Ethics|
|1994||Literature (book)||American philosophers Tom Beauchamp and James Childress publish The principles of biomedical ethics, in which they state their basic principles of bioethics as "the principle of respect for patient autonomy, which has grounded, in particular, the concept of informed consent; dates back to the Hippocratic principle of “do no harm,” which requires minimization of damage to the patient during the medical intervention; the principle of “do good” (beneficence), emphasizing the physician’s responsibility to take positive steps to improve the condition of the patient; and the principle of justice, emphasizing the need for fairness and equal treatment of patients, and equitable distribution of resources (which are always limited) in the provision of medical care".||United States|
|1997||Notable case||United States President Bill Clinton formally apologizes on behalf of the United States to victims of the syphilis study at Tuskegee.||United States|
|1997||Treaty||Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights|
|1997||Policy||"The Constitutional Court of Colombia decriminalised piety homicide, for terminally ill patients, stating that "the medical author cannot be held responsible for the assisted suicide of a terminally ill patient" and urged Congress to regulate voluntary euthanasia "in the shortest time possible"."||Colombia|
|1997||Policy||"As the health of citizens is considered a police power left for individual states to regulate, it was not until 1997 that the US Supreme Court made a ruling on the issue of assisted suicide and one's right to die. That year, the Supreme Court heard two appeals arguing that New York and Washington statutes that made physician-assisted suicide a felony violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."||United States|
|1998||Literature (book)||American bioethicist Baruch Brody publishes The Ethics of Biomedical Research||United States|
|1998||Literature (journal)||Medicine Health Care and Philosophy is launched by the European Society For Philosophy Of Medicine And Healthcare.|
|1998||Notable case||Methods for growing human embryonic stem cells are perfected. Some countries ban the research; others promote it.|
|1998||Notable case||American biotechnologist Craig Venter forms Celera Genomics and begins a private effort to sequence the human genome, using dozens of automated sequencing machines.|
|1998||Literature (journal)||Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy|
|1999||Organization||Human Genetics Alert is founded in London. It advocates against uses of reproductive technology and human genetics research that it considers harmful.|
|1999||Policy||The National Institutes of Health and the Office for Human Research Protections require all people conducting or overseeing human subjects research have some training in research ethics.||United States|
|1999||Policy||The United States National Institutes of Health and the Office for Human Research Protections require all people conducting or overseeing human subjects research to have training in research ethics.||United States|
|2000||Organization||The Office for Human Research Protections is established.||United States|
|2000||Treaty||Declaration of Helsinki||Finland|
|2001||Notable case||The United States Government announces that the National Institutes of Health will fund research on approximately 64 embryonic stem cell lines created from leftover human embryos.||United States|
|2001||Literature (journal)||Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics is launched.||United States|
|2001||Notable case||The United States Congress starts debating legislation on human cloning.||United States|
|2001||Policy||"The Bush Administration announces that the NIH will only fund human embryonic stem cell research on approximately 64 cell lines created from leftover human embryos."|
|2002||Notable case||The Netherlands legalizes voluntary euthanasia.||Netherlands|
|2003||The International Bioethics Committee issues a second global instrument, the International Declaration on Human Genetic Data, which may be regarded as an extension of the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights.|
|2003||Organization||The Regenerative Medicine Institute||Ireland|
|2004||Literature||Medical ethicist James Hughes publishes Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future, which argues that technologies pushing the boundaries of humanness can radically improve our quality of life if they are controlled democratically.|
|2004||Literature (book)||Nicholas Agar publishes Liberal Eugenics: In Defence of Human Enhancement|
|2004||eTBLAST is established. It is a search engine designed to search similar texts within the MEDLINE database. eTBLAST would lead to research involving plagiarism and duplicate publications of articles in academic journals.|
|2005||Treaty||The Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights is adopted by UNESCO.|
|2006||Literature (journal)||Quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal Clinical Ethics is launched.||United States|
|2006||Literature (journal)||The Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics is launched.|
|2008||The Catholic Church publishes a document entitled Dignitas Personae, about a range of bioethical issues related to the areas of assisted reproduction and human genetics. The paper analizes and comments the bioethical thinking of the Catholic Church.|
|2008||Literature (journal)||Triannual peer-reviewed academic journal Neuroethics is launched.|
|2008||Public Health Ethics|
|2009||Policy||The Obama Administration announces it will significantly expand National Institutes of Health funding of human embryonic stem cell research which was restricted under the Bush Administration.||United States|
|2010||Literature (book)||Nicholas Agar publishes Humanity's End: Why We Should Reject Radical Enhancement. The book argues against the doctrine of radical enhancement sometimes identified with the transhumanist movement.|
|2016||The United States National Institutes of Health places a temporary moratorium on funding for experiments involving human-animal chimeras.||United States|
|2018||The Supreme Court of India legalizes passive euthanasia in the country during a case involving Aruna Shanbaug, a nurse who spent 37 years in a vegetative state as a result of sexual assault.||India|
|2018||"In October, He Jiankui, a scientist of the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, announces the birth of the world’s first gene edited babies, both girls. He claims that he used CRISPR-Cas 9 technology to modify the CCR5 gene to give the girls immunity to HIV. The announcement generates outrage around the world and many scientists and policymakers call for a ban on human germline, genome editing."||China|
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What the timeline is still missing
- The Citadel
- Human experimentation in the United States
- Medical ethics
- List of medical ethics cases
- Clinical research ethics
- Unethical human experimentation
- Project MKUltra
- Applied ethics
- The Citadel
- Clinical Ethics
- Clinical governance
- Do not resuscitate
- Ethical code
- Ethics of circumcision
- Evidence-based medical ethics
- Fee splitting
- Hippocratic Oath
- Human radiation experiments
- Jewish medical ethics
- MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics
- Medical Code of Ethics
- Medical Law International
- Medical law
- Medical torture
- Pharmacological torture
- Military medical ethics
- Nursing ethics
- Patient abuse
- Philosophy of Healthcare
- Political abuse of psychiatry
- Project MKULTRA
- Resources for clinical ethics consultation
- Right to health
- Seven Sins of Medicine
- U.S. patients' bill of rights
- UN Principles of Medical Ethics
- Unethical human experimentation
- World Medical Association
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