CIA Polio Vaccination Program

Whenever ethicists talk about the practice of medicine, the concept of trust is bound to come up.  It is the fabric of the physician-patient relationship.  Instead of being a purely technical field like, say, software programming, medicine is at its heart an agreement between two persons.  While involving technical prowess (consider a surgical procedure), the subject of the medical endeavor is always a person with whom the physician must be in agreement, at least in some sense.  When the CIA uses fake vaccination programs in the Third World to advance its mission, the very basis of medicine is undermined.  We have a hard enough time convincing people to uphold a standard of ethics in line with a Hippocratic Oath.  It looks like the oath of Hippocrates is not the only oath we have a hard time keeping.

For Further Study

“CIA Stops Fake Vaccination Program as Real Polio Rebounds” by Peter Robison, Businessweek, May 21, 1971



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