Infant Medical Experiment is ‘Today’s Outrage’

Robert Weissman

Robert Weissman


Mr. McDonald:

Could you please share this very important matter with your readers:

We now know that premature infants have been subjected to medical experiments without their parents being informed of the risks. Not a century ago or in a faraway country. Within the past eight years.

In the United States of America. At prestigious institutions like Yale, Stanford, Brown and Duke.

With federal funding.

Between 2005-2009 — at 23 hospitals throughout the country run by prominent universities — 1,316 premature infants were subjected to government-funded clinical trials, where SOME received more oxygen than others.

The parents of these helpless research babies were never informed that some newborns would be at increased risk of blindness, lung injury, brain damage or even death.

Add your name to our petition demanding that Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius: (1) apologize to the families of infants who were experimented on without their parents’ informed consent; (2) fully disclose to them the risks the study posed to their children; and (3) ensure that no federally funded studies repeat this tragic breach of scientific ethics.

We have formally asked Secretary Sebelius to take these steps. Make sure she hears from you, too.

Please forward this email to your friends and family members so that they can join you in taking action.

Public Citizen has brought national attention — including front-page coverage today in The New York Times and The Washington Post — to a March 7 letter from an office within the Department of Health and Human Services to the institutions that conducted the study.

The letter highlights serious failings in the consent form used by all 23 hospitals and universities. The form noted only that infants could suffer skin abrasions from an oxygen monitoring device.

As Dr. Michael Carome, deputy director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, put it:

“The word ‘unethical’ doesn’t even begin to describe the egregious and shocking deficiencies in the informed-consent process for this study.”

It is unconscionable that leading university hospitals doing research funded by our tax dollars could so grossly mismanage such a critical aspect of the work we’ve entrusted them to do.

Take action right away:

1. Go to and sign the petition.

2. Forward this email to family and friends or post a link to the petition via Facebook and Twitter.

We simply must not allow fellow human beings — especially the most vulnerable — to be subjected to unethical medical experiments.

Thank you for the work you do.

Robert Weissman
President, Public Citizen

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