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Protecting the Innocent
Children; especially, foster children who have no real identifiable or suitable parents, should definitely not be include in a study for any types of medical drugs research. I was not aware that such a program or process would be possible that would allow for children, who have no statutory means of consent due to their age to be used in medical experimental research studies regardless of whether or not they were HIV positive themselves or not. Solomon mentions in the article that the government-funded experiment “exposed a vulnerable population to the risks of medical research and drugs that were known to have serious side effects in adults and for which the safety for children was unknown” which is a major reason why children should not have been used for such research regardless of their status of being HIV positive. Children are already a known vulnerable group of people in our society for many social problems and foster children are even more vulnerable due to the fact that they have no real stable homes, some have been abused by their biological parents or caretakers and they have been placed in social systems that are not always capable of providing them with all of the necessary resources they may need to live a wholesome life. It is heartbreaking to think that children are exposed to medical research which could and has caused them their lives without being able to give legal consent; only adults should be allowed to give consent to participate in experimental medical research due to their mental capacity to be able to give consent and fully understand the risks versus rewards of the experiment they participate in willingly. The Scriptures warns us that it is a serious matter to take advantage of those who are vulnerable. Matthew 25:40 (King James Version) says “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
The rights of the children who participated in the medical experiment for HIV drugs were violated and their rights were obviously not protected by the government, their parents, the foster care system or any other system that is inherently responsible and has oversight of such risky experiments that are performed on animals in a lab. After reading the article, it was clear to me that the rights of the children were not protected during the government experiment to discover drugs to treat HIV because the foster children should have been appointed advocates while participating in the experiment; however, some were not and those who were appointed advocates, were a very low percentage. I was appalled and heartbroken to discover that there is more controversy surrounding protecting animals in lab experiments that are similar to the experiment performed on the foster children by the government all in the name of finding a cure for a disease that is widely known as incurable. I was elated to discover after reading the article that some states do not even allow children to participate in such medical experiments. Solomon stated in the article “Wisconsin has absolutely never allowed, nor would we even consider, any clinical experiments with the children in our foster care system.”
Society has to do a better job of protecting the vulnerable demographic and as Christians, we must definitely advocate for better protection of the rights of those who have silent voices in society and are unable to speak up for themselves when they are being oppressed and used by the systems and people who should be protecting them. Isaiah 49:25 (English Standard Version) says “For thus says the Lord: “Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken, and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children.”
The families of the foster children who participated in the government sponsored studies for the HIV drug were not well informed about the process and possible side effects of the drugs that were being given to children during the experiment. If they were, there would not have been very many participants due to the risk of mortality for the children who participated. For children, the parents, guardians or caretakers are always the first line of defense against exposure to harm. Foster children are even more vulnerable because they may be in a foster home for short periods of time where there are no real family connections or bonds that nourish the desire to protect the little ones. Because of the follow-up requirements once the child is involved in the research study, foster parents are not well informed about the side effects due to the limited amount of time that they may have custody of the foster child as the article stated which can cause the child to be exposed to the risk and dangers of the drug side effects during the experimental trial of taking the drug.
The side effects and the deaths that occurred during the experiments that were not recorded as deaths due to the experimental drugs taken by the foster children during the research was startling and should be a concern for anyone who knows about the experiments. The article mentions “Researchers reported some children had to be taken off the drug because of “serious toxicity,” others developed rashes, and the rates of death and blood toxicity were significantly higher in children who took the medicine daily, rather than weekly.” Children are precious in the sight of the Lord and they should be protected as precious jewels by adults in our society; however, they are abused on many occasions, and the article is a classic example of how vulnerable children are allowed to be taken advantage of by those who should be protecting them. Matthew 8:10 (New American Standard Bible) says “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.” There is going to be recompense for the abuse of children.
Retrieved 24 April 2017 from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/7736157/#.WP6TuoWcG00
AIDS drugs tested on foster kids
This was an interesting article to read. It is difficult to say whether or not these foster children should have been included in the medical study. It would have been unethical to exclude them because you cannot pick and choose who to provide medical treatment to. Those foster children most likely do not have the same access to adequate healthcare as others do. I do believe that they should have been able to participate. However, those involved should have taken more precautions to protect the children. I do not believe that their rights were fully protected. Every child should have been appointed an advocate before they even participated in their first dose. The states involved, had rules and laws in place that stated the children needed an advocate appointment to them to oversee the study and look out for their best interest. “When you have the most vulnerable subjects imaginable — kids without parents — you really do have to come in with someone independent, who doesn’t have a dog in this fight” (Solomon, 2005). However, there were hundreds of foster children who were never appointed an advocate. I highly doubt that these children were old enough to fully comprehend the magnitude of the side effects they could experience. If you ask a terminally ill child if he or she wants to get better and tell them you have some medicine to cure them, I guarantee that not one child would turn it down.
I also do not believe that the families were well informed about the possible side effects. I think the doctors and those involved tried to cover up for the shortcuts they were taking. The article even states that the medical review boards were overwhelmed and not focused enough on protecting the patients. These foster children did not have families to make these decisions for them. Foster children can typically get bounced around from house to house like it is nothing. So which family gets informed regarding the entire process? When these advocates are not appointed, the responsibility falls solely on the foster parent. The advocate is needed to ensure the child is being taken to follow up doctor appointments. I highly doubt that the families were informed about the increase of deaths in children who received higher doses of the medication. Also, I doubt they were informed about the children who had to stop taking the medication because they started to display serious side effects from the medication.
Overall, I think this research could have been operated so much better. I think at the beginning, the doctors had good intentions. This would have been better if the children had parents or someone else looking out for their best interest. Anyone could make a strong argument that these foster children were taken advantage of. These children are not developed enough to make life altering decisions. We do not allow children to drive until they are 16, so how can we allow them to make decisions like this that could potentially kill them.
Solomon, J. (2005, May 4). Government tested AIDS drugs on foster kids. Retrieved April 24, 2017, from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/7736157/#.WP2pyGb3ahB