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Principles, progress and harm in the Guatemala Syphilis Study
  1. David Gurnham
  1. Correspondence to Dr David Gurnham, School of Law, University of Southampton, Southampton, Hampshire, UK; D.Gurnham{at}

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The discovery of Dr Cutler's studies in Guatemala is significant for a number of reasons, of which I would like to highlight just two. Historically, the documents represent important evidence about the development of the concepts of bodily integrity and rights. The article asks whether we are entitled to judge practices that took place over 60 years ago: were the norms not different then? Should we not take account of the fact that in those days a different culture existed, with different expectations …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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