ABC Evening News for Monday, Nov 19, 1984
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(Studio) Questions of medical ethics raised by Baby Fae's baboon heart transplant controversy considered.
REPORTER: Peter Jennings
(NYC) Ethical questions stemming from Atomic Energy Cmsn.'s 27-yr.-long systematic radiation experiments, beginning in 1946, examined; focus of experiments and test subjects' frequent ignorance as to actual dangers involved noted. No. Oregon and Washington prison inmates used between 1963-1973 mentioned. [OR inmate Paul TYRELL - claims he wouldn't have participated had he been informed.] Tyrell reported developing cancer. Early Atomic Energy Commission internal documents quoted on screen, contradicting limited information given test subjects in formal consent forms; Atomic Energy Commission recalled later becoming the Energy Department The individual responsible for most testing said refusing interview. [Energy Department spokesperson Dr. Jim KANE - acknowledges ethical questions come with wisdom of hindsight.] Guidelines for human experimentation issued by Nuremburg and Helsinki courts, developed during AEC's testing, outlined; government said admitting not all subjects were fully informed or aware of risks involved. Several exs. involving cancer-causing radioactive substances listed on screen, described. [KANE - doubts subjects were adequately informed, but excuses that on grounds of subjects' probable scientific ignorance.] Govt.'s lack of knowledge about test subjects' current status detailed. [OR inmate Art CLAWSON - fears cancer now.] [KANE - considers possibility that issue of no government follow-up is legitimate complaint.] Energy Department reported having no plans at present for a follow-up program.
REPORTER: Karen Burnes