CINCINNATI HUMAN RADIATION EXPERIMENTS, 1960-1971: Let us never forget that ninety (90) cancer patients were subjected to full-body radiation at General Hospital, later named University of Cincinnati Hospital, between 1960 and 1971. Unknown to the patients and their families, the treatment was actually a Department of Defense funded research project meant to examine how high doses of total body radiation could be used to treat soldiers on a nuclear battlefield. The patients ranged in age from 9 to 84. Most of the patients (62%) were African Americans. At least 20% of the patients were Kentucky natives who had moved to Cincinnati later in life, most of whom were white. All ninety patients experienced side effects from the high doses of radiation, such as nausea, diarrhea, hemorrhaging, fatigue, and disabilities. Urine and blood samples were sent to an Army researcher at Fort Knox, KY. Antinausea medications were not administered to the patients for three days after the total-body radiation unless they complained. Each patient's mental state was evaluated immediately after receiving the radiation. This as part of the psychological study portion of the experiments. Thirteen patients received bone marrow transplants; bone marrow was withdrawn from their bodies before the radiation, then returned to their bodies after the radiation. Some of the patients died within weeks and months after the treatment. The patients had been purposely selected based on factors such as their cancer diagnose, their education levels, and their low-income levels. The experiments stopped and the funding was withdrawn in 1972 after University of Cincinnati faculty member Martha Stephens investigated and wrote a report about the radiation project, along with pressure from Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy. For more than 20 years after that, the whole matter was meant to be buried and forgotten. Then, in 1993, investigative journalist Eileen Welsome, with the Albuquerque Tribune, wrote an article about Cold War radiation tests and the Cincinnati Radiation Experiments resurfaced. All but one of the patients were dead when U.S. President Bill Clinton called for a federal investigation. On February 17, 1994, the class action lawsuit was filed against the researchers, the University of Cincinnati, and the City of Cincinnati. The lawsuit was settled for 3.6 million dollars in 1999. During the 1990s, the newspapers in Ohio wrote at least five times as many articles about the whole affair as newspapers in any other state. In Kentucky, it was the Louisville Courier-Journal where the most articles were written. The verified names of the deceased patients from Kentucky are below. (African American – AA)
Franklin D. Bunch - d.11/17/1964
Nina Cline - d.12/28/1968
Ellen E. Conyers (AA) - d.12/21/1962
John Levi Davis (AA) - d.09/16/1961
James Hamlin - d.01/29/1962
America Belle Jackson (AA) - d.03/25/1967
Maude Eldridge Jacobs - d.12/02/1964
Albert Johnson (AA) - d.10/01/1963
Marie Johnson - d.03/18/1969
Mary Laws (AA) - d.09/05/1964
Beatrice Plair (AA) - d.05/23/1965
Geneva P. Snow - d.01/21/1965
Brutus Stamper - d.09/07/1960
Rose E. Strohm - d.03/14/1971
Reed Taylor, Jr. - d.11/17/1965
John Edgar Webster - d.06/03/1962
Flonnie Belle Wells - d.08/12/1963
John Henry Wells (AA) - d.10/28/1962
Zannie Westerfield - d.12/29/1961
1. “The Patients of the UC radiation experiments,” The Cincinnati Enquirer, February 18, 1997, p.4. (attached)
2. (Book) The Treatment: the story of those who died in the Cincinnati radiation tests by Martha Stephens. Durham : Duke University Press (2002). Available at most academic libraries in Kentucky.
3. (Book) The Plutonium Files: America's secret medical experiments in the Cold War by Eileen Welsome. New York, N.Y. : Dial Press (1999). Available at most academic libraries in Kentucky.
4. (Archival Materials) Whole body radiation study records collection, 1960-1994. Available at the University of Cincinnati Libraries.
5. (Archival Materials) Eugene L. Saenger archival collection. Available at the University of Cincinnati Libraries.
6. "1960-1972: Whole-body radiation experiments," an Alliance for Human Research Protection webpage @ https://ahrp.org/1960-1972-whole-body-radiation-experiments-2/?fbclid=IwAR0l02keoA9i68ve-Bohm4Gs9A6IsY0gbTAWoTEOyVaoKwHOPTX9Tjjek_s.
7. Radiation experiments conducted by the University of Cincinnati Medical School with Department of Defense funding: hearing before the Subcommittee on Administrative Law and Governmental Relations of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, second session, April 11, 1994, serial no. 67. Full text online at Hathi Trust Digital Library @ https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/003445446.
8. In Re Cincinnati Radiation Litigation, 874 F. Supp. 796 (S.D. Ohio 1995), a Justia US Law webpage @ https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp/874/796/1478171/.
9. "Cincinnati doctor who led controversial human radiation experiments dies at 90," The Columbus Dispatch, 10/4/2007. Online @ https://www.dispatch.com/story/news/2007/10/04/cincinnati-doctor-who-led-controversial/23371057007/.
10. Cincinnati Human Radiation Experiments, 1960-1972: The Deceased from Kentucky. Online at the Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, University of Kentucky Libraries @ https://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/items/show/300004804.
11. There are many, many more sources available. Ask at your local library.