The watchdog group Public Citizen has shed light on a controversial study backed by the Obama Administration, which is responsible for the death of premature infants. Obama and his cronies are currently trying to quash the controversy by marginalizing a federal ethics body the government created to monitor the research.
Ironically, the government-backed study responsible for the infant deaths is called “SUPPORT,” which stands for “Surfactant, Positive Airway Pressure, and Pulse Oximetry Randomized Trial.” The Daily Signal reports that it was conducted from 2006 to 2009 on 1,316 extremely premature infants at 23 academic institutions under the National Institutes of Health, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The controversy first came to light in March of 2013, when the government’s own ethics agency dropped an unexpected bombshell. The Office of Human Research Protections found that consent forms designed to protect human subjects violated the government’s own standards. According to the OHRP, the consent forms “failed to describe the reasonably foreseeable risks of blindness, neurological damage and death” to babies involved in the study.
Instead of taking the necessary action to amend the shortcomings of those consent forms, the administration tried to back peddle by pressuring the ethics office that discovered them. A year and a half later, and no action has been taken, except to marginalize the OHRP, which made the critical findings. Moreover, the progressive research community has used the ordeal to push for the loosening of guidelines protecting human subjects.
As these liberal research bodies work to revise the rules, federal authorities have transferred important responsibilities of the OHRP to the National Institutes of Health – the party responsible for the crisis. Public Citizen’s Dr. Michael Carome called the move an “obvious, direct conflict of interest.” He is now calling for the HHS to reverse their decision. “This shift of authority from the regulator to the regulated is unacceptable,” Carome wrote in a November 20 letter.
HHS has not responded to the letter, or to requests for comment. However, several parents have come forward saying that they were severely misled when they enrolled their ill newborns in the study. Shockingly, the parents were told that their infants were only being examined for height and weight, not that they were literally used as guinea pigs. Additionally, the questionable consent forms did not divulge that the oxygen monitors used in the study were intentionally rigged to produce false readings. The reason any legitimate study would seek to produce false data is hard to imagine.
Sharrissa Cook was 26 when her 1-pound, 11-ounce son, Dreshan, was enrolled in the experiment. The single mother was told that SUPPORT was “a support group” which would assist in “the developmental process.” More stories like Cook’s suggest that the government intentionally preyed upon vulnerable, young, single parents with nowhere to turn when their babies were in severe need of help. Of course, not many parents would knowingly consent to procedures likely to lead to the deaths of their infants.
Results published in the New England Journal of Medicine in May 2010 revealed that babies were more likely to experience vision problems or die depending on the random study group they were assigned to. As a result, companion studies in other countries were immediately halted. Dr. Waldemar Carlo, director of the neonatology division at the study’s lead site, the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital, claimed, “Our consent forms were conscientiously drafted according to the Code of Federal Regulations and were based on the best available evidence.” We now know otherwise.
Enter, Kathleen Sebelius, the scorned secretary of the HHS, notorious for her involvement with the failed Affordable Care Act system. Public Citizen is now accusing Sebelius of blatantly interfering with the ongoing ethics investigation into SUPPORT. The scandal runs deep into the Obama Administration.
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A recent investigation into the matter by the Inspector General has found that NIH officials “encouraged” OHRP representatives to reverse their findings regarding the flawed consent forms. Though the IG concluded that no laws had been broken, the NIH bigwigs were successful in their intimidation of the OHRP, as the ethics body effectively backed off of enforcing violations for their findings.
For his part, Dr. Alan Guttmacher at the National Institutes of Health is standing by the SUPPORT study. “We stand by this study as it was conducted and look for ways to do research even better, if there is a better way to do it, in the future,” Guttmacher commented.
In the true fashion of the Obama Administration, Americans were lied to and ultimately taken advantage of. This time, Obama quite literally has blood on his hands – the blood of helpless infants.