When one takes the Hippocratic oath to become a medical doctor, they must swear that "whenever I go into a house, I will go to help the sick, and never with the intention of doing harm or injury."(Chadwick) Ever since the time of the Greeks, this has been the only law preventing doctors from performing cruel or unusual experiments on their patients. Until the mid-twentieth century, this oath remained for the most part, un broken. During the Holocaust, however, German Doctor's preformed malicious research on prisoners in the concentration camps. Following World War II, the United States placed twenty-three of these doctors on trial for crimes against humanity. The judges were faced with the monumental task of determining what laws, if any, the accused had broken and how to justly punish them. In addition to convicting and punishing guilty defendants, the Nuremberg Doctor's Trial created a set of guidelines for legal and just human medical research.
On December 9th, 1946, an American military tribunal opened criminal proceedings against twenty-three German physicians for their participation in crimes against humanity ("Online".) In his opening statement, Brigadier General Telford Taylor stated that, "The defendants in this case are charged with murders, tortures, and other atrocities committed in the name of medical science To their murderers, these wretched people were not individuals at all. They came in wholesale lots and were treated worse than animals." The indictment charged each of the physicians and their administrators with the common design or conspiracy, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and membership in a criminal organization ("Online".) Among the crimes they were on trial for were the medical experiments performed during World War II. Many of these experiments were conducted with no head for human life or comfort. Most of them did not even follow the proper scientific method and were simply random attempts to find "miracle cures", such as transplanting random body parts.