tion of workers who would produce and fashion plutonium metal for use in the early and other documents that were tonium injection study using plutonium-. PDF | On Dec 16, , Harriet A. Washington and others published Book Review The Plutonium Files: America's secret medical experiments in the Cold War. In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Bulletin of the History of Medicine () [Access article in PDF]. Book Review.
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The cumulative radiation dose received by each patient was dependent on two factors: the amount of radioactive material injected into the body and how long the subjects lived.
The longer the patients lived, the larger their cumulative dose. Six weeks following the Rochester meeting, the program became operational when the first patient was injected with plutonium.
In all, eleven patients would be injected there between October 16, , and July 16, But before that first injection could take place, many housekeeping details had to be worked out. The excretion samples, as well as periodic blood samples, were to be collected on a strict schedule and shipped in wooden crates to Los Alamos. According to the protocol prepared by Langham, Stafford Warren had suggested a Lieutenant Valentine perform the injections.
But Hannah Silberstein, a woman who apparently worked on the metabolic ward, wrote that Bassett made the first injection. When Louis Hempelmann was asked about the experiment by AEC investigators in , he said Bassett prepared the syringes and handed them to a physician who injected the patients.
There is no evidence that any of the Rochester patients gave their consent for the experiment or knew what was being injected into them. A proud-looking patriarch, Lovecchio had two fig trees in his backyard. Each fall he bent the trees to the ground and buried them deep in the soil to protect them from the harsh winter.
Each spring he gave the first fig to a pregnant daughter-in-law. Lovecchio was admitted to the hospital after an ulcer hemorrhaged so severely that he required a transfusion.
Code-named HP-1, Lovecchio was injected at P. October 16 by Dr. Lovecchio lived for another fourteen years after the plutonium was administered.
He was working as a maintenance man when he contracted pneumonia and died on January 12, William Purcell, a forty-eight-year-old hemophiliac who was assigned the number HP-2 was injected five days after Lovecchio. Purcell was a cheerful, red-haired Irishman who had been admitted to the hospital thirty-eight times. He was well known and well liked by the staff and was listed as the proprietor of a cigar store on his death certificate.
Bassett confessed in a letter to Wright Langham and Louis Hempelmann that he had been unable to get the three control samples of blood from Purcell prior to the injection. This had led to a thrombosis of one of his veins which we felt should be given time to heal, and hence, we kept our venous punctures down to a minimum.
I will be able to furnish the requisite number of post injection blood [samples]. Charlton, a housewife, was to live for another four decades.
Daigneault, who was only eighteen years old, died on April 19, , a year and a half after the plutonium was administered. She was studied intensively by doctors interested in that disease. On one occasion, when she was put on a rice and raisin diet, she told her sister that she craved a hot dog. Paul Galinger, HP-5, a tall, thin man with trembling hands and slow speech, was fifth in line.
He was a machine shop foreman whose handicapped son had died the previous year.
Even before he was dead, Bassett had begun making plans to retrieve his organs. I presume you would like a sample of blood from the heart or lungs?
This probably holds true for the liver samples as also. I have added a little formalin to each of the intestinal samples to try to reduce formation of gas. But there were still a lot of messy details to work out, even acts of God to cope with. As the holiday season approached, Bassett worried the experiment would grind to a halt.
No one seems to want to be in the hospital on that particular day. I will do what I can, however, to keep the production line going. They resumed February 1, , with John Mousso, HP-6, a gentle-tempered handy-man from East Rochester, a village seven miles east of the city. Mousso was a familiar figure in East Rochester: sweeping out the fire hall, shoveling snow from the church steps, emptying the penny meters along leafy streets named Elm, Oak, and Hickory.
But he returned to the hospital often, and on several occasions, doctors surreptitiously gathered excretion samples from him.
Edna Bartholf, HP-7, was injected February 8. Edna was fifty-nine years old and suffered from rheumatic heart disease. But when Bassett placed his stethoscope to her chest, he heard the irregular heartbeat. Bartholf had spent her life in Morganville, a tiny hamlet near Rochester that today has a population of Bartholf lived another nine months after the plutonium was administered, dying on October 27, , of pulmonary failure.
Next was Harry Slack, a sixty-nine-year-old janitor at a local YMCA and an alcoholic suffering from malnutrition and cirrhosis of the liver.
He enlisted in the Army at the age of twenty-one to fight in the Spanish-American War, but his company made it only as far as Virginia. Slack had been admitted to the hospital on December 12, , because he had been having trouble breathing and his abdomen was enlarged. Six days later he died of pneumonia. No collections of urine or feces were made in this instance. Langham was a little startled by the news.
But he in turn had something even more startling to suggest, which apparently was inspired by rumors he had heard about the experiments taking place in Chicago: Inject the next terminal patient with fifty micrograms of plutonium, he instructed. I have just received word that Chicago is performing two terminal experiments using 95 micrograms each. I feel reasonably certain there would be no harm in using larger amounts of material if you are sure the case is a terminal one.
Slack was actually the eighth person injected but was given the code number HP The reason for the inconsistency is unknown. Perhaps the experimenters originally planned not to include Slack in their study because of the failure to obtain any urine or stool samples but then changed their minds as they were compiling their data for their final report.
The flesh on her hands was so thick and taut her fingers could not uncurl completely. To add to her misery, Janet Stadt received 1, rem of radiation during her lifetime, the highest dose of any of the Rochester patients, according to calculations performed in by the Los Alamos scientists.
She died on November 22, , nearly three decades after the injection was administered. Her death certificate states that the cause of death was malnutrition caused by cancer of the larynx. In the town of Gates, a suburb of Rochester, Sours held the position of supervisor, a job roughly the equivalent to mayor.
He was sixty-four years old and suffering from dermatomyositis, a rare disorder in which the skin becomes inflamed and the muscles grow weak. Nor would it be the universities that provided academic homes for the researchers: Access options available:. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.
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Without cookies your experience may not be seamless. No institutional affiliation. LOG IN. Bulletin of the History of Medicine. In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Robert Martensen University of Kansas Access options available: Additional Information.
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