Saturday, October 09, 1999

Plaque doesn't end pain of UC radiation case

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        After years of legal wrangling, the University of Cincinnati this week erected a plaque memorializing cancer patients who unknowingly participated in an 11-year military-sponsored study designed to gauge the effects of a nuclear attack.

        Although the location of the plaque was part of a settlement in May that ended a five-year legal dispute, its placement has angered family members such as Doris Baker, great-granddaughter of research subject Gertrude Newell.

        The plaque is in a courtyard near Burnet and Elland avenues on the University of Cincinnati campus. The courtyard, between Pavilions H and J, includes ventilation units and a tree.

        “If I had known about the location, I never would have signed the settlement papers,” Ms. Baker said Friday. “This was about them doing the right thing by my great-grandmother. I didn't go this far for them to put her in somebody's back yard. I wanted everybody to see what they did to her and these other people.”

        UC has agreed to spruce up the area, according to John H. Metz, an attorney who represents a group of 12 families who called for the plaque.

        A UC spokeswoman said the area has been “prettied up a little bit but that doesn't mean they're finished.”

        The plaque contains about 70 names of research subjects. More than 90 people were tested from 1960 to 1972. Some of the families involved did not want their relatives' names included on the plaque.

        The settlement split more than $3.5 million among the families and their lawyers. Most of the families will wind up receiving about $50,000 each.

Radiation controversy outlasts lawsuit
Chronology of radiation study

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