“ For the most part, doctors and civil servants simply did their jobs. Some merely followed orders, others worked for the glory of science. ”
— Dr John Heller, Director of the Public Health Service's Division of Venereal Diseases
In the period following World War II, the revelation of the Holocaust and related Nazi medical abuses brought about changes in international law. Western allies formulated the Nuremberg Code to protect the rights of research subjects. No one appeared to have reevaluated the protocols of the Tuskegee Study according to the new standards.
Heller of PHS still defended the ethics of the study, stating: "The men's status did not warrant ethical debate. They were subjects, not patients; clinical material, not sick people."
In October 2010 it was revealed that in Guatemala, Public Health Service doctors went even further. It was reported that from 1946 to 1948, American doctors deliberately infected prisoners, soldiers, and patients in a mental hospital with syphilis and, in some cases, gonorrhea, with the cooperation of some Guatemalan health ministries and officials. A total of 696 men and women were exposed to syphilis without the informed consent of the subjects. When the subjects contracted the disease they were given antibiotics though it is unclear if all infected parties were cured.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC), which by then controlled the study, reaffirmed the need to continue the study until completion; i.e., until all subjects had died and been autopsied.
As a result of public outcry the CDC and PHS appointed an ad hoc advisory panel to review the study. It determined the study was medically unjustified and ordered its termination.
After penicillin was found to be an effective treatment for syphilis, the study continued for another 25 years without treating those suffering from the disease.
After the study and its consequences became front-page news, it was ended in a day.
As of 2007, not a single U.S. government researcher had been prosecuted for human experimentation, and many of the victims of U.S. government experiments have not received compensation, or in many cases, acknowledgment of what was done to them.