Guatemalans sue over 1940s US syphilis experiments
Monday, March 14, 2011; 12:10 PM
WASHINGTON -- Guatemalans subjected to U.S. syphilis experiments in the 1940s are suing federal health officials to compensate them for health problems they have suffered.
The lawsuit comes after revelations that U.S. scientists studying the effects of penicillin in the 1940s deliberately infected about 700 Guatemalan prisoners, mental patients, soldiers and orphans. None was informed or gave consent.
Attorneys representing the Guatemalans asked the Obama administration to set up an out-of-court claims process similar to those established in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the 9/11 terror attacks. But they say they got no response by a Friday deadline and so filed the suit Monday morning.
The Guatemalan experiments were hidden for decades, until a medical historian uncovered the records in 2009.