Secrets are something we learned starting at a very young age to never have. Don’t lie to friends or family, don’t cheat on tests, and don’t keep secrets from anyone. Parents used to say “you’re too young to know what’s going on” or “I’ll tell you when you get older”, but when are we “old enough” to know and how long do we have to wait to know important secrets that are being kept. At this point in time, you may not know what secrets are being kept from you whether it’s by the government, your friends or even your family, but I can guarantee that you’re never too young to know the truth about something or what you could be getting yourself into.
Within the medical field, many secrets are kept daily across doctors and different boards. Patients don’t always know the whole truth, which is morally and ethically wrong since the information is regarding them and their health. People have a certain set of expectations regarding the medical field; they assume doctors are going to keep their patients’ health in their best interest and do anything they possibly can to make sure that everything is perfect and goes smoothly. When this expectation is not lived up to or a patient finds out the doctor has not disclosed all important and necessary information, trust will be lost between the doctor and patient and may cause health issues.
Throughout the book Medical Apartheid, there were many cases where people were not aware of what they were getting themselves into and had secrets kept from them which in turn, allowed health issues to develop over time. In my opinion, this is morally and ethically wrong and should never be done; informed consent should always be present in certain studies. Say one is going in for surgery and they are told one thing by the doctor but come out of surgery having something completely different done to them while under anesthesia. The patient was expecting the doctor to stick to their word and follow through with the given consent but in return, was blindsided and did not foresee the actual outcome that was not given by verbal or transcribed consent.
Cases in the past decade have had similar situations, where the patient was told one thing, or nothing, and something was done to them where they had no say. For example, sterilization or birth control techniques. Sterilization became a huge deal in the past few years, although many people had never heard of the matter, or the great significance of it. It was most popular amongst black women and black teenage girls since they didn’t seem fit enough to have an opinion and give consent. In 1991, a procedure occurred that involved planting, the now popular Norplant birth control device, into teenage girls in Baltimore, Maryland in order to “reduce the underclass”. To convey how messed up doctors and people in general were regarding certain procedures, observers applauded this technique and found it fitting and just in order to “reduce the underclass” in such a degrading and subjectifying manner. In just over fifteen years later, a similar study was conducted in 2007 due to the government’s approval. Men, women, and children that were classified as “poor, unwed, and mentally disabled”, had been sterilized because the government decided on its own conscious and say-so. I don’t know where the people involved, including the doctors, figured they had every right to decide who could have children in the future whether they wanted to or not, but they had a skewed view of the world and the people in it. I could never imagine growing up and knowing someone who was already sterilized because the government ruled them fit to be “poor” and/or “mentally disabled”.
After finding out and reading about so many discrete studies, including this one, it makes me think how many others are out there and do I know someone who had gone through something similar to this without anyone even knowing? I had become taken aback by how secretive and selfish these doctors could be conducting such invasive studies and procedures on other humans due to the fact that they purely wanted to or the government told them to. I do not see this issue going away anytime soon but if more insight to this issue was brought forth, I believe something could be done about it or more people would become open to the fact that things like this do truly happen in this day and age.