Intended for healthcare professionals


US compensates subjects of radiation experiments

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 07 December 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1421

The United States federal government has announced that it will pay $4.8m (£3.2m) in compensation to survivors of secret cold war experiments sponsored by the government in which patients were injected with radioactive isotopes without their consent.

The experiments were an offshoot of the Manhattan Project and were developed to gain an understanding of the biological consequences of nuclear warfare. They violated the Nuremberg code, as in most cases patients were unaware that they were experimental subjects and were not only unlikely to derive any therapeutic benefit from their participation but were also subjected to potential harm.

According to the energy secretary, Hazel O'Leary, the compensation is part of an ongoing effort by the government to rectify its past behaviour, but she said: “It in no …

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