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Guatemalans File Class Action Lawsuit against US Government over VD Exposure and Testing

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Mateo Gudiel Pinto and an unknown number of other Guatemalan plaintiffs have filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia before U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, alleging that U.S. Public Health officials deliberately infected hundreds of Guatemalan prisoners, soldiers, and psychiatric patients with venereal diseases. The suit says that victims were not informed of the infections, nor were most treated.

The lawsuit claims that the injured plaintiffs were infected during experiments which ran from 1946 to 1948, and even until 1953, the Washington Times reported. Defendants, including the federal government and Pan-American Health Organization as well as Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, and seven other public health officials have until January 9, 2012 to respond.

A report by the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues showed at least 1,308 Guatemalans were infected with a venereal disease, while only 678 were found to have received treatment for syphilis, gonorrhea, or chancroid. The class action suit says that paid sex workers infected some, while others were infected through germ transfers made by US doctors. According to the Washington Time, the lawsuit claims that none of the infected persons gave informed consent, and that Guatemalan officials permitted access to vulnerable populations in exchange for money, supplies, or benefits.

Piper Hendricks, an attorney for the plaintiffs at Parker Waichman Alonso LLP, said that this case is comparable to the Tuskegee syphilis experiments where US public health doctors did not treat syphilis infections in scores of poor black men so they could observe how the disease progressed. “Just like Tuskegee, there was no remedy [for the victims] until they filed a class-action” lawsuit, she said. “We’re following that pattern again, and hoping to have a positive response from the government sooner, rather than later.”

 

breakinglawsuitnews.com disclaimer: This article: Guatemalans File Class Action Lawsuit against US Government over VD Exposure and Testing was posted on Tuesday, November 15th, 2011 at 9:04 pm at breakinglawsuitnews.com and is filed under Other Lawsuits.

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