In the 1940s, U.S. doctors led experiments that intentionally infected thousands of Guatemalans with venereal diseases. A closer look at how it happened, and who knew:

John Cutler, the young investigator who led the Guatemalan experiments, had the full backing of US health officials, including the surgeon general.

“Cutler thought that what he was doing was really important, and he wasn’t some lone gunman,” says Susan Reverby, a historian at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, whose discovery of Cutler’s unpublished reports on the experiments led to the public disclosure of the research.

“Human Experiments: First, Do Harm.” — Matthew Walter, Nature

See also: “A Deadly Misdiagnosis: Is it Possible to Save the Millions of People who Die from TB?” — Michael Specter, The New Yorker, Nov. 8. 2010