A US government program secretly injected people with plutonium
In early 1945, Ebb Cade, a worker at the Oak Ridge Nuclear Facility, got into a car wreck. He survived, but was bed bound with a broken arm and a broken leg. When doctors interviewed him, they ascertained that the fifty-three-year-old African American man was otherwise perfectly healthy, eating well, drinking well, and had no history of serious illness. And so, having obtained a healthy subject, on April 10th his doctors secretly injected him with 4.7 micrograms of plutonium. Who exactly ordered the injection, and who exactly administered it, has never been determined, with the most likely candidates all contradicting each other.
. . .
Over the next five days after the injection, doctors collected any excretions from Cade to see how much plutonium he retained in his body. Other tests were more invasive. His bones weren't set until April 15th, and before they were set samples were cut out of them to see how much plutonium had moved into the bone tissue. Fifteen of his teeth were pulled and sampled for plutonium as well. Ebb Cade was never informed about the reasons for any of this, but he might have had an idea of what was happening to him. According to one account, one morning a nurse opened his door to find he'd fled during the night. He died in 1953, of heart failure. He was the first person to be injected with plutonium in the United States, but not the last.
The next three injectees were patients suffering from cancer who had come into Billings Hospital in Chicago for treatment. From April through December, a man in his sixties suffering from lung cancer, a woman in her fifties suffering from breast cancer, and a 'young man' suffering from Hodgkin's lymphoma were all injected. Not much is known about the third patient. He was not mentioned in many official reports, nor is the date of his death known. What is known is he was injected with 95 micrograms of plutonium, roughly fifteen times what anyone before had been injected with.
The University of Rochester also became the next facility to start injections of plutonium, as well as other radioactive isotopes, including polonium and uranium. . . .