The film “Miss Evers’s Boys”

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The film "Miss Evers's Boys" and the Tuskegee Experiment

The film "Miss Evers's Boys" is anchored on a true story about the Tuskegee experiment(syphilis). The story is about the medical research conducted by U.S. government on poor black men in Macon country Alabama.

The Tuskegee Experiment and its Participants

According to Sargent (1997), the research involved 412 men infected with syphilis. Surprisingly, the victims were not treated leading to their death. The film shows that after 40 years only 127 men remained. The story is narrated by a black nurse called Miss Ever. She was sent to assist Dr. Brodus and Dr. Douglas to conduct the Tuskegee experiment in 1932. Even though she was excited to help the patients, most of them died causing her havoc. Miss. Ever became a friend to four "boys" who were also infected by syphilis. However, in the end, two of those boys died while the remaining two survived.

Ethical Issues in the Tuskegee Experiment

The film "Miss Ever Boys" is a clear example of unethical medical research ever conducted in the medical history. It shows the Tuskegee experiment used to study negro men. Those involved in the experiment suffered from syphilis. The study was longitudinal in nature. It was conducted despite the availability of penicillin medication (Fernández-Roldán, 2005).

The Long-term Impacts and Lack of Treatment

The aim of the researches was identified long-term impacts of the untreated population. As a result, the participants did not receive proper treatment for syphilis, therefore, endangering their lives. Surprisingly, they unknowingly received placebos for four decades. By that time, many of them had succumbed to the illness making the process unfit for a human.

Ethical Guidelines and the Belmont Report

The event in the movie led to the development of medical and ethical guidelines. The guidelines were implemented to protect future harm that could be caused by research studies. From the outcome, ethical guidelines include informed consent, respect for participants and beneficence. Other elements formed include duty-based ethics, rights-based ethics, and virtue-based ethics. Indeed, these requirements became the basis for approving research as indicated by the Belmont report. They ensure participants are protected from any research malpractice.

Critical Analysis of the Tuskegee Experiment

From a critical analysis, the study breached all the ethical principles. First, Miss. Ever despite treating and retaining participants in the survey, she was not fully informed about the main intention of the research. She did not understand the particulars of the study since she was tricked into it. The researcher took advantage of her dedication, passiveness, and color. Miss. Ever continued providing her services even after the funding for the program had expired. She was easily convinced to continue treating the patients despite knowing that the project had ended. As a result, she indicated the concept of informed consent. This concept allows individuals to be informed of the risks and benefits associated with a particular research.

Lack of Justice and Beneficence

The study conducted was against the principle of justice and beneficence. Justice involves treating the participants in a fair manner and allowing them to enjoy the benefits that come with the research. The participants in the film, the participants were selected carefully to ensure that those who ignorantly and poor unknowingly participated in the study. The target group were a section of an ethnic and economic minority; hence they were easy to manipulate. As result, they did not receive justice making them become a victim of the ill-intentioned research.

The principle of beneficence means no to do harm. It involves the ethical principle addressing the concept that an action should always promote good. The participants were harmed since they denied proper treatment and critical information held from them. According to Fernández-Roldán (2005), the tension between the racist problem and the morality of the study becomes real. Inadequate information leads a deceit that made the participants suffer.

Resolving Ethical Dilemmas

If I were called to assist with the resolution of the ethical dilemmas I would ask the following questions. First, I would inquire about the role of researchers in ensuring participants are not harmed. Besides, I would ask about their legal and human rights during the entire research process. More importantly, it would be essential to inform the participants both the risks and benefits associated with the research. In detail, these questions are based on the concept of ethical and moral principles.

Ethical Obligations and Protections for Participants

In a nutshell, the researchers have an obligation to inform, respect, and inform the participants about the reasons for conducting the study. These ethical provisions are meant to protect the client from any harm that may result during research activities. Participants must be informed of both the risks and benefits associated with a research process. They should also benefit from the findings by receiving feedback and solving their problems. The participant should be informed and be treated fairly. In addition, their contribution should be appreciated. Therefore, researchers should not use deception and take advantage of their weakness to lure them into participating in a study. It is ethically and morally wrong to coerce people into a research without informed consent.


Fernández-Roldán, A. d. (2005). Miss Evers’ Boys (1997). Study of the spontaneous evolution. Journal of Medicine and Movies, 12-16. Retrieved from

Sargent, J. (1997). Miss Evers’ Boys. Los Angeles.

October 05, 2023

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