U.S. scientists studying the effects of penicillin in the 1940s deliberately infected about 700 Guatemalan prisoners, mental patients, soldiers and even orphans — some as young as 6, according to the lawyers.
Four decades after 700 Guatemalan prisoners, mental patients, soldiers and orphans were intentionally infected with syphilis by U.S. researchers, lawyers representing the Central Americans announced they plan to sue federal health officials.
The lawyers said they are hoping for an out-of-court settlement and are giving the Obama administration until Friday to respond to a settlement offer. But if the administration fails to respond by that day, the lawyers will file a class-action lawsuit by the victims or their survivors, they told Attorney General Eric Holder in a letter.
“We have decided to create one opportunity to see if we can settle the issues presented in this tragic situation without involving the judicial process,” said the letter from attorneys Andres Alonso and Terrence Collingsworth.
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