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tv   Full Measure With Sharyl Attkisson  ABC  February 28, 2016 10:00am-10:30am EST

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[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] sharyl: hello. i'm sharyl attkisson. welcome to "full measure." today we begin with a question of human testing and the dilemma posed by the need to do research for the greater good and the right of human test subjects to know exactly what they're signing up for. our incredible story begins in 1300 extremely premature infants. some parents say had no idea they agreed to a risky experiment that could injure or kill their babies. little dreshan cook came into fighting for his life. his mother sharrissa was barely
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sharrissa cook: i remember the night that i went into labor, i was a hysterical wreck. i was afraid, i was scared, i was in shock. sharyl: how big was he, do you remember? sharrissa: he would fit in your hand. sharyl: shortly after his birth at the university of alabama at birmingham, sharrissa agreed to enroll dreshan in a study called "support." she says the hospital gave the impression she was simply signing up to get "support" in caring for a preemie. your thought was, when you signed the papers, that what was going to happen? sharrissa: that my son would be given the best care possible and that even with his prematurity being as extreme as it was, that it would be okay because i had all of this help. sharyl: she had no clue, she says, that the "support" study was actually a national experiment on the most fragile of test subjects -- 1300 extremely premature infants. bernita lewis also agreed to enroll her baby, christian, in the "support" study at the same bernita: christian was born at sharyl: how much did he weigh? he was very tiny.
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worker told her the study was just to collect data. bernita: she asked would i be interested in christian being in a study. they wanted to use his medical records to help babies in the future. and i told them absolutely, they could use any records they wanted to use. sharyl: did she tell you there was a possible risk of death? bernita: no, there were no risks discussed. sharyl: "support" stands for "surfactant positive airway pressure and pulse oximetry randomized trial." funded with $20.8 million tax dollars, it was a collaboration among the national institutes of health and two dozen research bodies, including duke and yale universities and medical schools. researchers had good intentions. they already knew that without enough oxygen, preemies could get brain damaged or die. but too much oxygen, they could go blind. the "support" study was
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dr. john lantos: the question is -- what level of oxygen would be optimum in order to save as many babies as possible without having the survivors become blind? sharyl: to find out, the infants were randomly assigned, as with the flip of a coin, to either a low oxygen group or a high oxygen group. the study reached a tragic and conclusion -- the babies in the high oxygen group were more likely to go blind. those unlucky enough to have been put in the low oxygen group were more likely to die. when the findings became known, similar research around the world was halted midstream. bioethicist dr. john lantos defended the "support" study as an expert witness against families who unsuccessfully sued for damages, including bernita and sharrissa. dr. lantos: this was a study that was well-designed, conducted to the highest ethical standards, with a completely adequate consent that was conducted without harming any babies and led to an important finding that's gonna save lots of lives.
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dr. michael carome disagrees. he's an internationally recognized expert on research ethics at the watchdog group public citizen. what's wrong with what they did in the study, in your view? dr. carome: the parents of these babies weren't told the exact purpose of the research, the nature of the research, in terms of how experimental it was, and the risks of the research. sharyl: adding to the controversy, researchers didn't tell parents a remarkable fact -- they had altered the infants' oxygen monitors to give false readings so the hospital wouldn't adjust them outside of their assigned low or high oxygen range. babies in the study were put on oxygen monitors that were rigged to give untrue or false readings? dr. carome: that is correct. sharyl: in terms of things that have happened in the past, how bad is this? dr. carome: i think this is extremely serious and about as bad as it gets. dr. lantos: it seems to me that there's a lot of second guessing, arm chair quarterbacking, and playing gotcha here. sharyl: the debate would be
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for an extraordinary turn of events -- after questions were raised, the government agency that polices study ethics sided with critics and issued a searing indictment of the government-led study. in a letter in 2013, the office for human research protections told researchers they violated federal regulations for informed consent for their failure to describe the reasonably foreseeable risks of blindness, neurological damage, and death. dr. carome was once a senior leader at the office for human research protections. the ethics office was in essence saying these consent forms were unethical? dr. carome: absolutely. sharyl: the concept of "informed consent" arose from an american tragedy -- the u.s. government's syphilis experiment on black men in tuskegee, alabama in 1932. for 40 years, the men were neither told they were in a study nor treated for their syphilis. an outcry in 1972 led to new rules.
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disclose risks to test subjects and get their voluntary informed consent. and studies like "support" must be approved by ethics experts where the research is conducted. these were prestigious institutions and the federal government. how does something like this slip past everybody? dr. carome: that is a great concern of ours. we looked at the consent forms from 22 institutions and they all failed in their duty to protect human subjects in this study. dr. lantos: most of the criticism is not coming from parents, but from regulators who, in my opinion, don't really understand the circumstances of oxygen therapy. sharyl: when the "support" parents learned about the true risks, the surviving study children were six years old. what thoughts did you have?
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emotional. a lot of crying, a lot of disbelief, a lot of heartache, and then it was anger. i'm his mom, you know, i'm supposed to protect him, but it was almost like i threw him out to the wolves, you know. bernita: i was angry. and i couldn't believe that some people who vowed, who took oaths to protect people would actually do this. that was mind-boggling. sharyl: if you had been told the risks involved and what they were really going to do, would you have signed him up? bernita: absolutely not. no. sharyl: yet there were no apologies. instead, the "support" researchers made a bold, new claim that's particularly controversial -- they said the babies were actually better off for having been in the study. dr. lantos: the risks of not being in that study were comparable to the risks of being in that study and perhaps even higher. sharyl: dr. carome argues that's simply wrong. dr. carome: there's no doubt that some babies, because they
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result. sharyl: amid the criticism, the "support" researchers and national institutes of health dug in. they launched a public campaign of opinion letters and meetings to attack the office for human research protections and pressured it to suspend enforcement action. >> the sensational claims of calling people unethical further detract from the serious discussion that needs to occur. dr. carome: the research community, many in the bioethics community and nih, have rallied together to defend this unethical research, and so that's part of the problem. sharyl: today, dreshan and christian are both nine and doing well considering their challenges. but they have many lingering health struggles, from respiratory problems to brain disorders. their moms are left asking if the "support" study factors in. bernita: we don't know if it would have happened anyway, or
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and it's just a game of just wondering. sharissa: he was born premature, at 25 weeks. so, we could expect some things, but to know that some others could have been prevented, you know, that makes me angry. and so, to the doctors or to the researchers, best thing i can say is shame on you. sharyl: more than 80 years after the tuskegee experiments, the "support" study has reopened painful wounds and is raising questions as to whether the protections for human test subjects are fundamentally flawed. those who've conducted this study and the federal government at large have basically said they don't think they did anything wrong? sharrissa: i don't see how anyone can say nothing was wrong with playing russian roulette with babies.
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choice, no anything, just trying to survive. sharyl: numerous "support" researchers, the national institutes of health or nih, and the university of birmingham at alabama declined our interview requests. after the study revealed more deaths among babies on low oxygen, the american academy of pediatrics issued new to survive. recommendations to keep preemies on the upper end of the oxygen curve. in other words, doctors should not do what the "support" researchers did to half of the babies. still ahead on "full measure" -- the price of the presidency. this election year will be the most expensive in history. we'll tell you where the
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money. sharyl: political march madness is about to begin. tuesday, voters in more than a dozen states will caucus or cast primary ballots in the 2016 presidential contest. so many delegates are at stake that it is known as super tuesday. super tuesday has a super price tag as well. millions of dollars will be spent to attract voters. scott thuman "followed the money" to find out where all that cash is coming from. >> washington is broken. >> i'm fighting for you. >> no excuses, no surrender. scott: from the television ads to campaign events across the country -- nevada. scott: running for president is expensive -- even for a billionaire. mr. trump: i'm funding my own i'm putting in a fortune and spending a lot of money. scott: and a lot of so-called "outside" money is being pumped into this campaign cycle. that's money spent by campaigns of the candidates.
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election commission, the 2016 presidential candidates and the outside political groups supporting them combined have raised nearly $1 billion so far. with nearly half of that money -- 45% -- coming from so-called super pacs, outside groups that can support candidates but are not allowed to coordinate with their campaigns. and there's no legal limit to the amount of cash super pacs can raise or spend. so, where is all that money coming from? on the democrats' side -- hillary clinton has raised $184.1 million according to the center for responsive politics. $57 million of that is outside money with $50 million alone from priorities usa, the super pac that helped get president obama re-elected in 2012. its top individual donor for this election, at $6 million -- $7 million, is billionaire philanthropist and political activist george soros. bernie sanders has raised $95.4 million -- nearly all from
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sanders has negligible super pac backing. his biggest chunk of outside support is $1.7 million from the union national nurses united. sen. sanders: american democracy is not supposed to be about billionaires buying elections. scott: among the top republicans -- donald trump has $27 million fueling his presidential bid with 70% of that money coming from the candidate himself. trump's biggest outside money, $1.8 million, comes from the super pac, make america great again. ted cruz has $101 million backing his campaign with nearly $50 million coming from outside groups, including four super pacs that share the same name keep the promise. their biggest donor is listed in "open secrets" as the billionaire wilks brothers, at $15 million, who made a fortune in fracking. >> thank you very much. i appreciated. scott: marco rubio rounds out
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with $77 million in his war chest. $34 million of those dollars are from outside groups. the biggest chunk, $32.9 million, from conservative solutions pac -- its biggest donor is a luxury car dealer in south florida -- braman motorcars. but money alone can't guarantee a candidate will win the nomination. just ask jeb bush. the former florida governor far outraised each of the top three republicans who are still in the race -- $152 million with some $118 million coming from the super pac right to rise. sharyl: and all that money gone. thanks, scott. scott: still ahead on "full measure" -- we read the political funny pages and talk with some of the happiest people in america -- the political cartoonists who see this election as a gift. and the president's push to close guantanamo. we'll talk to one influential senator who gives a simple
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sharyl: at president obama's last state of the union, he reaffirmed a commitment that was part of his first campaign -- to
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would do it and why. it's been clear that the detention facility at guantanamo bay does not advance our national security - it undermines it. sharyl: the plan is a blueprint to disperse the 91 remaining detainees, the last of nearly 800 who have either entered or exited since 2002. of the 91, 35 would be transferred to other countries. the rest, deemed to be too dangerous to release, would be moved to a facility, yet to be named, in the united states. the white house claims closing guantanamo would have an added bonus of saving between $65 million and $85 million a year. pres. obama: keeping this facility open is contrary to our values. it undermines our standing in the world.
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broader record of upholding the highest standards of rule of law. sharyl: among those vying to be the next in the oval office -- sen. rubio: we are not going to close guantanamo. donald trump: we are going to loaded up with some bad dudes, believe me. sen. cruz: expand it and let's have some new terrorists there. senator sanders: i think we should shut down guantanamo. in the long run, it will help us. mrs. clinton: we don't need guantanamo hanging out there over our heads. sharyl: wednesday, attorney general loretta lynch testified before congress and confirmed highest standards of rule of law. that transferring detainees to the law. president obama has not been successful in closing gitmo during his seven years in office. recently, we spoke with senator lindsey graham, who sits on both the appropriations and armed services committees, who explained why it's not likely to close now. how can it be stopped? sen. graham: because congress won't let it. there's no way you're going to
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inside america without a plan approved by the congress. three years ago, i sat in the oval office with the president offered to help him close gitmo under one condition -- that the people who are brought into the recently, we spoke with senator lindsey graham, who sits on both united states be held under the held indefinitely without trial, no requirement in a war to let prisoners go as long as they're dangerous. we couldn't get there, so, at the end of the day, the only reason guantanamo bay is not closed is because president obama would not tell the left something they didn't want to hear. sharyl: president obama has shown, though, that he doesn't need your approval, hasn't he? sen. graham: yes, he would. there would be no funds available to transport the prisoners from guantanamo bay into the u.s. we can't make policies, we're not commanders in chiefs, but we do control the purse strings. i don't see any scenario where the congress would agree to fund to transfer the prisoners and set up a new jail. these are not common criminals . they're enemy combatants, the hardest of the hard. if you let them out, they'll go back to the fight of americans and our allies. they need to stay in jail. sharyl: logistically, could he not empty out the prison before he tells you he's done so? sen. graham: no. he'd have to have funds to move them. sharyl: but he's released
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you in advance. sen. graham: he's repatriated prisoners to third countries not inside the u.s. sharyl: can he do that with all of them? sen. graham: no, there's no way that he's going to be able -- 49 are deemed by his own administration to be too dangerous to release. sharyl: do you think congress will take some kind of proactive action to tell him not to? sen. graham: i think there's going to be a bipartisan rejection to president obama's call to move people inside the united states given the conditions we face throughout the world. wherever you put these prisoners, they become a magnet for terrorist attacks. there is talk about moving them to charleston. i can tell you this, there's not a snowball's chance in hell that any of these detainees are coming to the brig in charleston, period. sharyl: that "brig" in charleston is in senator graham's district. the other two potential locations to ship guantanamo prisoners are in kansas and colorado. coming up on "full measure" -- something is seriously funny. we'll see some of the editorial cartoons inspired by this election -- and talk with one
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sharyl: this political season is playing out like a reality tv show. there are already clear winners in the campaign -- the political cartoonists. the political circus was on display at a gathering in washington. as campaigns are in full swing across the country. >> i think they are really
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>> it is funny. >> it really delivers very serious messages. sharyl: the cartoonists were treated like rock stars. tom tolls of "the washington post." matt worker of "politico." >> this is the world series, march madness. it does not get any better for political cartoonists than during a presidential campaign. sharyl: worker let us look over his shoulder at the cartooning of the candidates. >> of this presidential campaign is unlike any i have ever experienced. this week alone, we had hillary barking like a dog. the pope in an airplane starting a twitter war with donald trump. i was expecting to see political cartoonists' heads exploding across the country. in photoshop on the computer, i put the title "where the wild things are." sharyl: one pen stroke and he punctures the image campaigns
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>> it is a cheap shot. i'm sorry. what to drink team. everything is focus grouped. bernie's big issue is reaching out to minorities. maybe he could take a few hints from beyonce. this one was really fun to draw. i like to paint on paper with lots of detail. i think cartooning is still really about the drawing. usually, there is a day when i am standing around going, "come on, dry, so i can put you on the scanner." i had this idea about awing a circular firing squad about the gop debates. with the candidates all shooting across from each other. with donald trump is in the middle, his head spinning around like a machine gun. when the pope popped up at the end of the week, i threw the pope in. i would like to thank that we can bring civilized levity to the conversation. people understand that it is in good humor. he has a remarkable face to draw.
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new outrage industry and that the campaigns and their followers often don't have a sense of humor at all. >> once upon a time, you had to worry about the letters to the editor and people threatening to cancel subscriptions. now it is like that crazy thing in the "wizard of oz" with the flying monkeys. suddenly, there are the flying monkeys coming on twitter and facebook. people should be passionate about their politics, but i think it is really important, in a democracy, that we respect people's differences and treat each other with a certain amount of respect. ideally, a good joke or a witty retort can do that in a way that does not instigate a fight. sharyl: but if it does, he plans on having a ringside seat. >> this is going to remain a really crazy circus right into the conventions and then we have a whole new kind of circus. i'm hoping i get to go to the
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sharyl: but those conventions are still months away. coming up next week on "full measure" -- we tackle one of the biggest topics in america today -- the border. we travel to the 372-mile border between arizona and mexico. where the question is, who is really calling the shots? we will go over some of the most dangerous terrain. that is next week on "full measure." thank you for watching. i'm sharyl attkisson. until next time, we'll be searching for more stories that
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