The Plutonium Files: America's Secret Medical Experiments in the Cold War

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The Plutonium Files: America's Secret Medical Experiments in the Cold War

Eileen Welsome "The Plutonium Files: America's Secret Medical Experiments in the Cold War"
The Dial Press | English | October 19, 1999 | ISBN: 0385314027 | 580 pages | azw, epub, lrf, mobi | 4,8 mb

One of the first emotions this book elicits from readers is indignation and shock that physicians and government agencies could let the kind of experiments described in this book occur, and the treatment the patients received. This book will no doubt attract significant attention because of the radiation experiments described, but the book seems be more about the prevailing attitudes of physicians and scientists towards patients and research at the time.
The activities that take place in the book occur during a time when science and medical research came first, and the patient second, and when physicians seemed as gods to their patients. As with other stories of "medical guinea pigs", emphasis is placed on those scientists and physicians for whom the patients just happens to be a convenient vessel to carry out experiments on. It ultimately boils down to a question of whether or not the means justifies the ends. Some of the experiments performed did provide useful information about the effects of radiation on humans, which produced significant advances in diagnostic imaging and radiation therapy and has helped to save and prolong the lives of countless others. Other experiments described sound poorly designed, and seem like they were performed just for the sake of seeing what would happen.
The book starts out with a descriptive history of the atomic weapons program and the Manhattan project, both on the weapons side and the medical side. Focus shifts to the human experiments conducted in the earliest days of atomic weapon research up until the 1970s. The author manages to provide a fascinating insight on the attitudes of the researchers as well as providing a description of the patients experimented on. Read the book and decide for yourself. Those were different times, different attitudes.

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Tags: Plutonium, America, Secret, Medical, Experiments

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