And the evil lived on.

“First do no harm” is a term often associated with the Hippocratic Oath. Although the association is technically incorrect, the Hippocratic Oath is nonetheless an oath that Doctors adhere to.

The Hippocratic Oath is an oath of ethics historically taken by physicians. It is one of the most widely known of Greek medical texts. In its original form, it requires a new physician to swear, by a number of healing gods, to uphold specific ethical standards. The oath is the earliest expression of medical ethics in the Western world, establishing several principles of medical ethics which remain of paramount significance today. These include the principles of medical confidentiality and non-maleficence. As the seminal articulation of certain principles that continue to guide and inform medical practice, the ancient text is of more than historic and symbolic value. Swearing a modified form of the oath remains a rite of passage for medical graduates in many countries, and is a requirement enshrined in legal statutes of various jurisdictions, such that violations of the oath may carry criminal or other liability beyond the oath’s symbolic nature. The oath is attributed to the Greek doctor Hippocrates and.

The actual reference to no harm in the oath is really much stronger then ‘first do no harm’ It says the following

“I will use those dietary regimens which will benefit my patients according to my greatest ability and judgment, and I will do no harm or injustice to them. Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course. Similarly I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion. But I will keep pure and holy both my life and my art. I will not use the knife, not even, verily, on sufferers from stone, but I will give place to such as are craftsmen therein.

Into whatsoever houses I enter, I will enter to help the sick, and I will abstain from all intentional wrong-doing and harm, especially from abusing the bodies of man or woman, bond or free. And whatsoever I shall see or hear in the course of my profession, as well as outside my profession in my intercourse with men, if it be what should not be published abroad, I will never divulge, holding such things to be holy secrets.”

Although during the Nazi regime the physicians did not sign up to the oath, on a human level it makes only sense that you try to make a patient better rather then harm them. But several Nazi physicians, although they were ‘human beings’ they only acted inhumanely.

A few months ago I asked the question “Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi experiments?” I think that is a difficult question to answer. Initially I would say no, but what if some of that data was used to save the live of someone in my family. Or what if it was used to find a cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis , something I suffer from? Then the answer would probably be yes.

One thing that I don’t understand that the names of some of these evil men were still used as eponyms to describe some syndromes or disorders, long after the war and some are still being used, despite the fact that they were renamed. Below are just some examples where evil was allowed to live on.

Asperger syndrome- Replacement Term: Autism spectrum disorder.

Hans Asperger “managed to accommodate himself to the Nazi regime and was rewarded for his affirmations of loyalty with career opportunities. He joined several organizations affiliated with the NSDAP (although not the Nazi party itself), publicly legitimized race hygiene policies including forced sterilizations and, on several occasions, actively cooperated with the child ‘euthanasia’ program.

Beck–Ibrahim disease-Replacement Term: Congenital cutaneous candidiasis

Yusuf Ibrahim (May 27, 1877 in Cairo, Egypt – February 3, 1953 in Jena, Germany), also known as Yusuf Bey Murad Ibrahim, was a physician and pediatrician. He was responsible for the description of congenital cutaneous candidiasis, originally known as Beck-Ibrahim disease. The discovery of his association with the Nazi euthanasia program during the World War II resulted in an effort to rename this disease. The clinic for child and adolescent medicine at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena also chose to change its name from Kinderklinik Jussuf Ibrahim after his Nazi past was uncovered.

Cauchois–Eppinger–Frugoni syndrome-Replacement Term: Portal vein thrombosis

Hans Eppinger was born in Prague, the son of the physician Hans Eppinger. His grandmother was Jewish.Eppinger conducted cruel experiments on Romani prisoners in the Dachau concentration camp in order to test the potability of seawater. … Eppinger committed suicide with poison on 25 September 1946, one month before he was scheduled to testify in Nuremberg.

Clara cell-Replacement Term: Club Cell

Max Clara owed his career advancement in no small way to his membership in the Nazi party and active support of its programme. In his 1937 paper, Clara acknowledges that the sample he based his work on “was obtained from a prisoner executed by the Nazi ‘justice system

Hallervorden–Spatz disease-Replacement Term: Pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration.

Julius Hallervorden readily admitted that 697 brains he investigated during the Nazi period were from victims of euthanasia. It is alleged that he was present at the killing of more than 60 children and adolescents in the Brandenburg Psychiatric Institution on 28 October 1940. He was reported to have removed brain material himself from euthanasia victims in a nearby extermination (euthanasia) center.

Hugo Spatz was a German neuropathologist. In 1937, he was appointed director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Brain Research. He was a member of the Nazi Party, and admitted to knowingly performing much of his controversial research on the brains of executed prisoners. Along with Julius Hallervorden.

Reiter’s syndrome-Replacement Term: Reactive Arthritis

Hans Conrad Julius Reiter was a member of the SS. He participated in medical experiments performed by the Nazis. After the Nazis were defeated, he was arrested by the Red Army in Soviet Union-occupied Germany and tried at Nuremberg. During his detention, he admitted to knowledge of involuntary sterilization, euthanasia, and the murder of mental hospital patients in his function as the gatherer of statistics and acting as “quality control” officer, and to helping design and implement an explicitly criminal undertaking at Buchenwald concentration camp, in which internees were inoculated with an experimental typhus vaccine, resulting in over 200 deaths. He gained an early release from his internment, possibly because he assisted the Allies with his knowledge of germ warfare.

After his release, Reiter went back to work in the field of medicine and research in rheumatology. He died at age 88, in 1969, at his country estate in Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe.

Seitelberger disease-Replacement Term: Infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy

“Franz Seitelberger, a Vienna neurologist and former member of the SS, although never involved in the planning or execution of NS-euthanasia, benefited from it scientifically during the post-war period. Examining the brains of 3 ‘euthanasia’ victims from the Landesanstalt Görden in Brandenburg, Seitelberger earned his PhD in 1954 under the supervision of Julius Hallervorden.

Spatz–Stiefler reaction-Replacement Term: Paralysis agitans reaction

Under Spatz’s control and direction, the brain research institute collaborated with the killing institute at Brandenburg-Gorden, obtaining hundreds of brains from the mentally ill of all ages.

Van Bogaert–Scherer–Epstein syndrome-Replacement Term: Cerebrotendineous xanthomatosis

“During the war, Scherer]worked at the Neurology Institute in Breslau, Silesia. Here Scherer was directly involved in neuropathological brain analyses of over 300 Polish and German children euthanized in the nearby Loben Psychiatric Clinic for Youth.

Wegener’s granulomatosis-Replacement Term: Granulomatosis with polyangiitis

The facts which were uncovered do not prove Dr Friedrich Wegener guilty of war crimes. However, the evidence suggests that Dr Wegener was, at least at some point of his career, a follower of the Nazi regime. Dr Wegener’s mentor, Martin Staemmler, was an ardent supporter of the racial hygiene. In addition, our data indicate that Dr Wegener was wanted by Polish authorities and that his files were forwarded to the United Nations War Crimes Commission. Finally, Dr Wegener worked in close proximity to the genocide machinery in Lodz.

Although many of the terms were replaced, some of the original terms are still commonly used. The most common is probably the Aspergers syndrome.

I know there is quite a lot of data in this blog. I do believe it is important to understand that by using these eponyms, we are still keeping the evil alive.


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Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi medical experiments?

The question ‘Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi experiments?’ is one of the most difficult ethical questions to answer. At least for me it is, I am a man who bases a lot of his decisions on his gut feeling. In this case my gut feeling says no.

However if I keep my opinion of this devoid of all emotion, it throws up another question ‘Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi experiments, to safe someone in your family?’. In that case I more then likely would come to a different answer.

I am not going to tell anyone what their answer should be. I will just highlight some of the experiments and how they were conducted. But I’ll start with one experiment and its conclusion.

At the start of August 1942, at Dachau concentration camp, prisoners were forced to sit in tanks of freezing water for up to three hours. After subjects were frozen, they then underwent different methods for rewarming. Many subjects died in this process. The data of this experiment did reveal that body-temperature recovery was fastest with immersion in warm water, but that rewarming and presumably survival were achieved with the other methods, too.

The horizontal axis shows minutes, and the vertical axis temperature (°C). The German title can be translated as “Effect of combined rewarming treatment: warm bath, massage and light box.” The water temperature was 8°C. The arrows and numbers (1 to 6) were superimposed by the present author. Translations of the corresponding notations from the German are: 1, in water; 2, period out of bath (no German notation); 3, warm bath; 4, massage; 5, light box; and 6, response to speech (regaining of consciousness).

Sterilization Experiments: Himmler’s interest in Dr Clauberg’s Cell Block 10 was sterilization. He convinced Clauberg to begin experiments on reversing his infertility treatments and to discover ways to block the fallopian tubes. Clauberg redirected all of his energies toward the single goal of effective mass sterilization. Thousands of inmates had their genitals mutilated in order to discover cheap methods of sterilization. The Nazis hoped that these methods could ultimately be applied to millions of “unwanted” prisoners. Women at Auschwitz were sterilized by injections of caustic substances into their cervix or uterus, producing horrible pain, inflamed ovaries, bursting spasms in the stomach, and bleeding. Young men had their testicles subjected to large doses of radiation and were subsequently castrated to ascertain the pathological change in their testes.

Mustard gas experiments: Between September 1939 and April 1945, many experiments were conducted at Sachsenhausen, Natzweiler, and other camps to investigate the most effective treatment of wounds caused by mustard gas. Test subjects were deliberately exposed to mustard gas and other vesicants (e.g. Lewisite) which inflicted severe chemical burns. The victims’ wounds were then tested to find the most effective treatment for the mustard gas burn.

Poison Experiments: A research team at Buchenwald developed a method of individual execution through the intravenous injections of phenol gasoline and cyanide on Russian prisoners. The experiments were designed to see how fast the subjects would die.

Tuberculosis Experiments: The Nazis conducted experiments to determine whether there were any natural immunities to Tuberculosis (“TB”) and to develop a vaccination serum against TB. Doctor Heissmeyer sought to disprove the popular belief that TB was an infectious disease. Doctor Heissmeyer claimed that only an “exhaustive” organism was receptive to such infection, most of all the racially “inferior organism of the Jews.” Heissmeyer injected live tubercle bacilli into the subjects’ lungs to immunize against TB. He also removed the lymph glands from the arms of twenty Jewish children. About 200 adult subjects perished, and twenty children were hanged at the Bullenhauser Dam in Heissmeyer’s effort to hide the experiments from the approaching Allied Army.

Malaria experiments: Between February 1942 to about April 1945, experiments were conducted at the Dachau concentration camp in order to investigate immunization for treatment of malaria. Healthy inmates were infected by mosquitoes or by injections of extracts of the mucous glands of female mosquitoes. After contracting the disease, the subjects were treated with various drugs to test their relative efficacy. Over 1,200 people were used in these experiments and more than half died as a result .Other test subjects were left with permanent disabilities.

Malaria card of Father Bruno Stachowski from Claus Schilling’s research at Dachau. Approximately 1000 cards were kept back from destruction by the prisoner assistant Eugène Ost.

Epidemic Jaundice experiments: From about June 1943 to about January 1945 experiments were conducted at the Sachsenhausen and Natzweiler concentration camps, for the benefit of the German Armed Forces, to investigate the causes of, and inoculations against, epidemic jaundice. Experimental subjects were deliberately infected with epidemic jaundice, some of whom died as a result, and others were caused great pain and suffering.

Every prisoner of the regime was deemded to be a potential subject for inhuman research. Helpless victims, the inmates of psychiatric hospitals and concentration camps, were available for exploitation while alive. Leading scientists and professors took an active part in this ruthless abuse. Every university anatomical institute in Germany — and probably Austria — was the recipient of the cadavers of victims of Nazi terror, in particular, political victims executed by the Gestapo.

After the war, West Germany allowed Doctor Baron Otmar Von Verschuer to continue his professional career. Doctor Von Verschuer was the mentor, inspiration and sponsor of Mengele. After he executed his victims. Mengele would personally remove the victims’ eyes, while there were still warm, and ship them to Von Verschuer to analyze. n 1951, Verschuer was awarded the prestigious professorship of human genetics at the University of Münster, where he established one of the largest centers of genetics research in West Germany.

The question ‘Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi experiments?’ will remain a controversial one.



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