The experiment performed in Charlie Gordon is not an ethical experiment and this is seen in the text Flowers For Algernon. An ethical experiment is defined in The World Book Dictionary and Ethical Intersections: Health Research, Methods and Researcher Responsibility, as an operation for the purpose of discovering something unknown using morally acceptable methods of data collection and analysis. Morally acceptable methods are defined as research carefully planned to amid the possibility of inflicting harm or, where this possible, any possible harm should be carefully explained and justified. Charlie Gordon is a mental handicap who underwent a neurological operation that tripled his iQ within a short period of time. However, as a consequence of the operation. his IQ deteriorated at the same rate it had risen. The experiment performed on Charlie Gordon is not an ethical experiment because Charlie, in light of the text did not fully understand the whole package about he experiment such as the consequences and was not given a consultant to explain to him.
Although, he had voluntarily accepted the experiment, his competence which includes maturity and responsibility should not have been readily accepted as that of a normal adult and he did not know the full information about the experiment. ane ethical experiment is thought to be one in which the costs are equal to the benefits. The costs of the experiment in regards to Charlie’s health outweigh the benefits. In light of the text, Charlie Gordon did not fully comprehend what the experiment was about and what was involved such as the risks or benefits. Form the text, all the readers knows, the that the experiment could make him smarter. Throughout the beginning of the experiment, Charlie did not understand what was happening to and around him such as the Rosarch tests, races with Algeron and listening to televisions at night. Because of the fact that Charlie is a mental handicap , he should have been given a consultant to explain to him about he whole experiment in order for him to understand.
However, this did not happen, Although, we can assume that Miss Kinnain or the tow conductors of the experiment, Doctor Strauss and Doctor Nemur to undertake the role of a consultant to Charlie. However from reference book, Ethical Intersections: Health Research. Methods and Researcher Responsibility, ‘Patients, in particular, are trusting of medical researchers and will volunteer for experiments, drug trials and innovative treatment Without understanding the possible impact of a study on their lives. They need the protection of people who have no investments in the research‘. Therefore, one cannot accept Miss Kinnain or the conductors of the experiment as Charlie’s consultants. Because of a lack of understanding in the experiment and profound trust in the two conductors of the experiment, Doctor Strauss and Doctor Nemur, it is possible that Charlie may have been exploited as the human guinea pig in the experiment this can be seen in one of Charlie’s progress reports. ‘HE had a present orf me.
He said that I got to turn it on when im going to sleep…: But said if i want to get smart I got to do what he says’, In this incident, Doctor Nemur without any adequate reasons, told him what to do. (One can say that it is in a threatening matter because if Charlie did not obey to Doctor Nemur, he would never get the chance to be smart). Therefore. a principle of informed consent rcomprehension was not used in the experiment. Thus, proving that the experiment performed on Charlie is not an ethical experiment. Charlie was not given full information about eh experiment form what we know about the text. All Charlie is told is, ‘Charlie your guing to have a second chance. If you volunteer for this experiment you mite be smart. They don‘t know if it will be permanent ‘, From the text, it seems as if Charlie was unaware or even fully informed about the risks of the experiment, all he knew was that if the experiment was successful- his IQ would increase.
However in any ethical experiment the subject of the research should always be fully informed of the risks, benefits, results and changes to their lives. But, from what we know, Charlie is given little or only an obiective View of the experiment. Acertain question that must be raised about the concept of full information. is whether Doctor Strauss and Doctor Nemur did actually have the full background information to give to Charlie. This neurological experiment was first performed on Algeron. but for some reason, they did not do any extensive trials on the animals and quickly tried it on Charlie. Therefore, they are putting a life at risk, then how can it be still called an ethical experiment? Since the conductors themselves do not have the full background information, thus, they are unable to pass this onto their patients. Hence, a principle of informed consent has not been put into practice.
Therefore, it can be said that this is not an ethical experiment a right to full information is free Withdrawal at any time. But to ponder deeply about his matter, Charlie did not have a chance to withdraw from eh research. As once the operation was performed. the harm would have already been afflicted and could not be reversed, Therefore. the experiment performed on Charlie is not an ethical experiment. Charlie‘s competence should bot have been readily accepted as that of a normal adult because he is a mental handicap. However, We cannot discriminate against Charlie because of his mental capability but with competence, follows other traits such as responsibility and maturity. His immaturity can be seen at the end of the story, where he chooses to evade this trouble and everyone instead of facing them, from eh text, we know that Charlie‘s IQ is 68 which classmes him as a moron.
Form reference book: Modem Health, ‘A moron ranges in intelligence from one of 7 year to a 12 year old. For this reason, a child With a moron level intelligence should be well along in school before he reaches his mental capacity’. Charlie’s mental capability is one of child of 7 to 12 years old, this furthermore enforce the reason why his competence should not be readily accepted as that of a normal adult. If we think about it. a 7 year or 12 year old does not have the maturity or responsibility of an adult to make the right decisions about life threatening experiments, Therefore the conductors of the experiment have used or even in a sense, exploited someone who had the competence of a child. Thus, proving that the experiment performed on Charlie is not an ethical experiment. Charlie Gordon readily accepted the experiment and was told that the operation’s side effect may be temporary.
However he was not told what the effects would be if the operation’s effect was temporary. There has already been expressed concern about the amount of background information the conductors can offer to Charlie. In noway, has the two conductors of the experiment- Doctor Strauss and Doctor Nemur said anything about eh effects of the experiment if they were temporary such as the progressive amnesia, impaired motor ability, reduced granular activity and even, death. Thus a principle of informed consent- voluntarism has not been fully employed in the experiment as voluntarism also involves the patient of research to undertake the exposure to risks knowingly. However. he was never given this information. Therefore, the experiment performed on Charlie is not an ethical experiment. In any ethical experiment. it is thought that the costs and benefits are equal, we must now apply this knowledge to Charlie Gordon‘s experiment.
In regards to Charlie Gordon‘s health, there are possible health damages such as progressive amnesia, impaired motor ability, and co ordination etc, and damages which have already been inflicted including loss of motivation, plunge in self esteem, memory loss and many more. As stated in the introduction, an ethical experiment is one which avoids to inflict any harm or if there are possibilities of harm- they have to be clearly explained and Justified. However, as we can see through the text, Charlie had been inflicted with metal and physical health damages and yet, the conductors of the experiment did not explain and justify the damages. Therefore, it can said that the costs of the experiment out weight the benefits. Thus, the experiment performed on Charlie Gordon is not an ethical experiment. The experiment preformed on Charlie Gordon is not an ethical experiment because it neither used nor fully employ the principles of informed consent which makes an experiment ethical.
In this experiment conducted by Doctor Straus and Doctor Nemur, unethical aspects can be seen including comprehensionr Charlie Gordon did not fully understand the whole package of the experiment and was not give a consultant. The conductors of the experiment did not perform extensive trials of this experiment on animals before tampering With a human life. therefore, it can be said that Doctor Strauss and Doctor Nemur did not have the full background information, then how are they supposed to explain this information to Charlie who is entitled to al this. The conductors of the experiment accepted the competence of a child ( Charlie’s IQ testifies that he is moron who has the mental capacity of 7 to 12-year-old) in order to make the correct decisions of an adult.
Charlie voluntarily accepted the operation. However With the concept of voluntarism- the subject of research is to undertake the risks knowingly and free withdrawal at any time. But in a sense. Charlie is unable to do any of these things because once the operation has been performed, there is no way to reverse it nor did he have the knowledge or competence to understand about he risks. Another key factor which makes this experiment unethical is the fact that the costs of the experiment in regards to Charlie’s mental and physical health outweighed the benefits. As an ethical experiment should not inflict any possible damage to the subject of research. Thus, the experiment performed on Charlie is unethical.