August 24, 2010
Radiation Experiments on the General Population
Arthur Hubbard was a white baseball player who played for his small college. He and his wife had seven children, one of whom died from eating mistletoe at Christmas. He had his own business called Hubbard’s Baseball Inn which sold beer and barbeque in Austin, Texas. In June of 1944, he had a swelling under his chin about the size of a hen’s egg. He had it excised four months later. It was squamous cell carcinoma. He had large doses of radiation, but the cancer came back and he underwent another surgical procedure and another round of radiation. A friend who was a surgeon urged him to get treatment at the University of Chicago. The largest study of plutonium was there in a group of buildings that came to be known as the “Met Lab.” The doctors who worked in the lab had privileges at Chicago Billings Hospital.
Arthur and his family knew they were experimenting with a new “treatment,” but none of them suspected the so-called treatment consisted of an injection of top-secret material that would end up being used in a weapon soon to be dropped on Japan. By the spring of 1945, Arthur bore little resemblance to what he had been prior to cancer and the injection. His jaw had been removed, and he was in considerable pain trying to swallow. Five months after the injection, Arthur died in October of 1945 after complaining of chest pains. Twelve hours after he died, his body was autopsied and his organs harvested (I hate that word) and examined for plutonium deposition. The hottest parts of his body were his bone marrow and liver, but scientists were convinced the injection had not affected his disease or hastened his death.
Albert Stevens was a house painter and he had tremendous stomach pain which the doctors believed was a cancerous ulcer. He was told to consult specialists at the University of California Hospital. This was another area of testing for plutonium. Albert underwent a huge battery of tests. He was diagnosed with stomach cancer and although a gastroscopy (today’s endoscope which is inserted in the mouth and down to the stomach with a small camera to look around) was ordered, but it wasn’t done. Albert was 58 years old. The top secret scientists heard about Albert (they thought he was a dying patient, so what did an experiment matter) and decided he’d make a good human plutonium experiment for UC’s plutonium lab. Four days after his injection, he was wheeled into surgery. The surgeons thought they found a huge ulcerating carcinomatous mass that had grown into his spleen and liver, so they removed a portion of his liver, all of his spleen, his 9th rib, part of his pancreas, lymph nodes, and an apron of fat covering his internal organs. The lab found that he did not have cancer, he had a bad ulcer. Albert lived for another 21 years, but could never gain weight. It is a remarkable feat since the injection he received was 858 times what the average person receives in their lifetime. His heart gave out before his thinning and brittle bones.
Edna Bartholf was injected on February 8, 1946 and was diagnosed with rheumatic heart disease. She was only 59 and died nine months later.
Janet Stadt was suffering from scleroderma, a skin disease and was injected in March of 1946 at the age of 41. She died of cancer of the larynx some thirty years later.
Eighteen year old Jean Daigneault was suffering from Cushing’s syndrome, a metabolic disorder when she was injected in November of 1945. She died a year and a half later. Scientists found plutonium in her hair when her body was exhumed many years later.
Simeon Shaw suffered from an osteogenic carcinoma. He and his mother arrived in San Francisco from Australia. He was injected with plutonium and two other radioisotopes on April 26, 1946 when he was two months shy of his fifth birthday. He died eight months later.
Elmer Allen’s leg was amputated because of an osteogenic sarcoma. He was injected with plutonium on July 18, 1947 and lived another forty-four years. He always knew the doctors had injected him with something, but never could prove it until Eileen Welsome found the truth.
Maude Jacobs, mother of seven, who was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was forty-nine, died a painful death twenty-five days after her irradiation at Cincinnati General Hospital. Her deterioration was so rapid that she never had a chance to make arrangements for her children.
Helen Hutchison received a radioactive Vanderbilt “cocktail” when she was six months pregnant. Bizarre health problems plagued both Helen and the child she was carrying for many years after an apparently uneventful birth.
Physicians in Oak Ridge used lead covered syringes and lead-lined gloves to protect themselves from the radiation when they were injecting radioisotopes into human guinea pigs.
In the 1990s, the CIA released classified documents relating to plutonium and other radiation experiments on human subjects.
Terminally ill patients at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston were injected with uranium as part of an experimental program sponsored by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. They all received high doses and their physical conditions worsened and most died. These experiments were conducted, without the patients’ knowledge, by neurosurgeon Dr. William Sweet, a graduate of Harvard Medical School. They were done to see if safety standards could be improved among workers engaged in nuclear energy projects. Sweet received the prestigious Harvey Cushing Medal from the American Association of neurological Surgeons.
Dr. Eugene Saenger led a Pentagon funded study of whole body radiation experiments with 90 terminally ill cancer patients at the University of Cincinnati. Their families received a settlement for $5 million.
In the 1950s, mentally retarded students were given permission by their parents to belong to the Science Club at Fernald School in Waltham, Massachusetts. They were fed radiation with the cereal to determine the pathway of nutrients in the human digestive system. The tests were carried out by the Quaker Oats Cereal researchers from MIT. Other students were injected with radioactive iodine in the thyroid. Quaker settled a lawsuit of $1.85 million with 30 of the students.
In the spring of 1950, the military exploded radioactive lanthanum 140 near Los Alamos, New Mexico, causing human, cattle, water, and land contamination.
In other radiation tests from 1945 to 1949, 829 pregnant women were fed radioactive iron drinks in order to detect their effect on fetal development. Several of the mothers’ children died as a result of the radiation.
In 1961, researchers at MIT injected 20 subjects ranging in age from 63 to 83 with Radium and Thorium as part of a study on aging.
In 1957, northern Alaskan Eskimos and Athabascans, most of whom spoke no English, received an apple and an orange for allowing United States Army doctors to inject into them radioactive Iodine-131.
Prisoners were prime subjects and as one experimenter stated, “Much cheaper than chimpanzees.” One group of prisoners had their testicles irradiated and then later surgically removed for study.
The legal maneuvering of the nuclear establishment reveals a general lack of concern for the public…the fear of liability so haunted the U.S. nuclear weapons establishment that contractors to the AEC demanded and got complete immunity from liability even for gross negligence or violation of contract. Concern about liability even carried over to the human experiments, although nearly none of the test subjects were told what was done to them. Dr. Charles Edington wrote that he was for all the scientific studies and results, as long as they were not held liable. He had approved the irradiation of the testicles of prisoners in both Washington and Oregon State Prisons from 1963 to 1971.
Despite the documentation of hundreds and thousands of cases of unethical conduct resulting in lasting damage to thousands, not a single physician, scientist, technician, nurse, policy maker or administrator has come forward to ever admit wrongdoing.
For over twenty years the law allowed the US Department of Defense (DOD) to use Americans as “guinea pigs.” This law (the US code annotated Title 50, Chapter 32, Section 1520, dated 30 July 1977) remained on the books until it was repealed under public pressure in 1998. The new and revised bill prohibits the DOD from conducting tests and experiments on humans, but allows “exceptions.” One of the exceptions is that a test or experiment can be carried out for “any peaceful purpose that is related to a medical, therapeutic, pharmaceutical, agricultural, industrial, or research activity.” Thus, the 1998 law has obvious loopholes which allow secret testing to continue.
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Unethical and dangerous experimentation undoubtedly continues in secret up to the present time, under the guise of “national security.” Please think twice before signing up for any government sponsored medical studies particularly at leading medical institutions. One might also view doctors and especially scientists with a healthy dose of skepticism and a touch of paranoia.
In Part 5, we’ll look at the number of experiments including radiation, biological weapons, viruses, and vaccines done on our military forces without their knowledge or consent.
The Plutonium Files: America’s Secret Medical Experiments in the
Cold War by Eileen Welsome (direct quotes included)
2- The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code by J. Katz
3- American Ground Zero: The Secret Nuclear War by C. Gallagher
4- A Higher Form of Killing: The Secret Story of Chemical and Biological Warfare by R. Harris and J. Paxman
© 2010 Kelleigh Nelson - All Rights Reserved
Kelleigh Nelson has been researching the Christian right and their connections to the left, the new age, and cults since 1975. Formerly an executive producer for three different national radio talk show hosts, she was adept at finding and scheduling a variety of wonderful guests for her radio hosts. She and her husband live in Knoxville, TN, and she has owned her own wholesale commercial bakery since 1990. Prior to moving to Tennessee, Kelleigh was marketing communications and advertising manager for a fortune 100 company in Ohio. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, she was a Goldwater girl with high school classmate, Hillary Rodham, in Park Ridge, Illinois. Kelleigh is well acquainted with Chicago politics and was working in downtown Chicago during the 1968 Democratic convention riots.