Advertisement

EDITORIAL COMMENT

  • Hadley Wood
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Hadley Wood M.D., Cleveland Clinic, Glickman Urological Institute, 9500 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44195.
    Affiliations
    Cleveland Clinic, Glickman Urological Institute, Cleveland, OH
    Search for articles by this author
      While the space of Retzius may feel familiar to many of the readers, I suspect the name Anders Retzius was unfamiliar to many until they read this manuscript, as it was for me. Some reading this article may label the call to abandon the eponym Retzius another example of “woke” urologic cancel culture.  To those readers, I ask you to consider the entrapments of moral relativism.  The words we use, whether it be a disease description (eg, hypospadias cripple) or an eponym like Retzius describe how we as the medical community feel about a population or honor someone deemed worthy for her or his contributions to the field. In both instances, such verbiage is influenced by the cultural norms of the time which the term is adopted, hinging on what is deemed “normal” and “abnormal.”  While eugenics research originated in northern Europe in the late 19th century, American medicine has a long history of research and practice that has harmed minority populations even up to present day.

      Blair, D. Monkeypox primarily affects gay men. why are we scared to say it? https://www.dailysignal.com/2022/07/28/monkeypox-primarily-affects-gay-men-why-are-we-scared-to-say-it/(accessed 8/2/2022).

      These include purposeful inoculations of prisoners, forced sterilization of mentally ill individuals, the denial of medical care to gay HIV+ men, and the list goes on.
      • Pressel DM.
      Nuremberg and tuskegee: lessons for contemporary american medicine.
      In retrospect, we often can see the harms arising from such practices, and we must acknowledge that the first step to prevent history repeating itself is to adjust our language appropriately and remain constantly vigilant of our own moral relativism.  In research, modern day Institutional Review Boards thankfully work hard to define and protect vulnerable populations, albeit from a distinctly human and Western perspective. However, research priorities are still shaped by availability of funding, which is heavily influenced by the scientific community and often favors diseases that impact specific subsets of individuals deemed more worthy of said investment, leaving the most vulnerable and underrepresented least likely to benefit from scientific discovery.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Urology
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

      1. Blair, D. Monkeypox primarily affects gay men. why are we scared to say it? https://www.dailysignal.com/2022/07/28/monkeypox-primarily-affects-gay-men-why-are-we-scared-to-say-it/(accessed 8/2/2022).

        • Pressel DM.
        Nuremberg and tuskegee: lessons for contemporary american medicine.
        J Nat Med Assoc. 2003; 95: 1216-1225

      Further Reading

        • Sontag S.
        Regarding the Pain of Others.
        2003 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)