“Dr Saunders, happy with the trials wrote “the results confirm the results obtained by Wellcome with guinea pigs”.
“According to a 1932 medical journal, Wellcome lab workers who prepared the vaccine for diphtheria had a “complete lack of experience of its use with human beings”
“The initial trials were carried out on 436 kids from the general child population in cork”
“Some of the original batches of the alum-toxoid vaccine, which comprised of 9 per cent aluminium, caused severe reaction like fatal abscesses and hard lumps at the injection site.”
“As over one third of children vaccinated didn’t return for subsequent treatments, the severity of many of the side-effects were not known. “
“A spokesman for GSK – formerly Wellcome – said: ‘The activities that have been described to us date back over 70 years and, if true, are clearly very distressing.”
…The trial was published in the ‘British Medical Journal’ in 1962. The final paragraph of it read:
“We are indebted to the medical officers in charge of the children’s homes. . . for permission to carry out this investigation on infants under their care.”
“The trials involved incredibly poor judgment on the part of all involved. We were basically used as human guinea pigs,” Ms Steed told the Irish Independent.”
“It was time the truth came out about the drugs trials.”
“The call came after it emerged a woman adopted from Ireland in 1961, who was involved in a vaccine trial as a baby without the permission of her mother, is to take legal action against the drugs company involved.”
“Mari Steed (50), who lives in the US, is to take action along with three others against GlaxoSmithKline, which as “The Wellcome Foundation” at the time the trials were conducted.”
A few years ago, I drew attention to GSK’s vaccine trials on Irish orphans in the 60’s and 70’s and I thought that the story had disappeared. However with the current spate of scandals in Ireland regarding buried orphaned babies and mass graves (under the care of corrupt nuns) hitting the headlines- it seems that it has been revived. Above is tomorrow’s headline from the Irish Daily Mail. The next story is a link to the current scandal, and underneath are previous links from similar news headlines in previous years, and also the original article I wrote on this blog. I am sure more will come out about this travesty in the coming days, weeks and months ahead.
[Historian Catherine Corless (pic 4) and Tuam author JP Rodgers (above) who was a resident at the Bon Secours mother-and-baby home until he was fostered at the age of six]
Tuam Co Galway this afternoon.
“The grounds where the unmarked mass grave apparently containing the remains of nearly 800 infants who died at the Bon Secours mother-and-baby home in Tuam Co Galway from 1925-1961 rests.
The site is now part of the Dublin Road housing estate and records show that the former mother and baby home’s septic tank was in this location. The names of the children buried here have been confirmed by Catherine’s’ research and she hopes to raise funds to erect a plaque as a memorial to them. JP has written two books on the subject detailing his mother’s life and his own.”
Earlier: What About Dublin
(Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)
Bob Fiddaman over at the ‘Seroxat Sufferers’ blog is hot on the pulse today with his post about GSK’s vaccine trials in Ireland. Although this blog is primarily about the Seroxat Scandal, it seems that the controversial vaccine trials on Irish orphans could become yet another big scandal for GSK. The reason why I’m bringing attention to this is not because it is more bad news for GSK but because I believe that those who were prescribed Seroxat were guinea pigs too. Seroxat was inadequately tested before GSK obtained a license for it. Those who were prescribed Seroxat over the past 20 years were the public clinical trial.
This from the Irish Times:
Call for inquiry into vaccine trials in institutions
AN INDEPENDENT inquiry should be set up to examine vaccine trials carried out on babies and children in orphanages and mother-and-baby homes in the 1960s and 1970s, a former resident has said.
Victor Boyhan, former chairman of Past Residents of Smyly Homes and Cottage Homes, said that after almost 20 years of seeking answers from the State, it was time the truth came out about the drugs trials.
The call came after it emerged a woman adopted from Ireland in 1961, who was involved in a vaccine trial as a baby without the permission of her mother, is to take legal action against the drugs company involved.
Mari Steed (50), who lives in the US, is to take action along with three others against GlaxoSmithKline, which as “The Wellcome Foundation” at the time the trials were conducted.
Ms Steed was administered the experimental vaccine while at the Sacred Heart Convent, Bessborough, Co Cork, between December 1960 and October 1961 when aged between nine and 18 months old. She also hopes to bring legal action against the Sacred Heart order in the Irish courts.
In the 1960s, clinical trials compared a 3-in-1 vaccine for Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis and separate polio immunisation to a 4-in-1 vaccine for the illnesses. The studies in the 1970s looked at two different types of 3-in-1 vaccines.
The trials took place in institutions including the Bessboro home, St Patrick’s Home, Navan Road, Dublin, Cottage Home for Little Children, Dun Laoghaire and the Bird’s Nest Home, Dun Laoghaire.
In 1993, then minister for health Labour Party deputy Brendan Howlin, through his private secretary, wrote to a past resident of one of the homes about the trials. He said his department had inquired into them and he was satisfied there was “no added risk whatsoever” to the children who received the vaccines.
A report published by the Department of Health in 2000, showed that at least 211 children in homes and orphanages were given test vaccines during three separate drug trials in 1960/1961, 1970 and in 1973.
The Laffoy commission on Child Abuse was then asked by the Government to investigate those trials and any others carried out in institutions between January 1940 and December 1987. But the commission’s investigation was dropped following court action taken by the medical practitioners involved.
There has been no further progress in establishing the details of the trials or if the drugs had any long-term effects on the individuals involved.
Mr Boyhan, who is also a councillor in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, called for an independent inquiry to be set up to establish the facts. He said a lot of information had been received by the Laffoy Commission before its investigation was closed down and the records of many of the institutions involved were still “surprisingly intact”.
“Bodily integrity is a fundamental right of every citizen, it is not unreasonable to want to know what happened,” he said.
And from the Belfast Telegraph :
Ireland’s hidden scandal: child vaccine trials
By Patricia McDonagh
Friday, 20 August 2010
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Suspicions that vaccine trials had taken place on vulnerable Irish children — many of whom were in state care — first surfaced in the early 1990s.
As the current decade dawned, former residents of children’s homes began to publicly raise concerns that they had been the subject of experimental trials.
However, it was not until 1997 that the State gave an assurance that it would formally inquire into the issue.
Brian Cowen, who was then Health Minister, directed the chief medical officer at the Department of Health, Dr James Kiely, to investigate the allegations.
In 2000, a report — entitled the “Report On Three Clinical Trials Involving Babies And Children In Institutional Settings, 1960/61, 1970 and 1973″ — was finally drawn up.
The document found that 211 children had been administered vaccines during three separate vaccine trials conducted on behalf of a drugs company, The Wellcome Foundation.
More than 123 of these infants and toddlers were residents in children’s homes in Dublin, Cork and the midlands when the trials took place in the 1960s and 1970s.
Trial one involved 58 children in five children’s homes in Dublin, Cork, Westmeath and Meath. The trial investigated what would happen if four vaccines — diphtheria, pertussis (also known as whooping cough), tetanus and polio — were combined in one overall four-in-one shot.
The trial was published in the ‘British Medical Journal’ in 1962. The final paragraph of it read: “We are indebted to the medical officers in charge of the children’s homes. . . for permission to carry out this investigation on infants under their care.”
Trial two, which was conducted during the summer of 1970, saw 35 children administered with the intra-nasal rubella vaccine.
It involved children from St Anne’s Industrial School in Booterstown, Co Dublin, and children living in the Killucan area of Westmeath.
Published in the ‘Cambridge Journal of Hygiene’ in 1971, the trial attempted to find out if German measles vaccine, administered intranasally, could spread to susceptible contacts.
Both trials were carried out by Professor Irene Hillery and Professor Patrick Meenan, from the department of Medical Microbiology in University College Dublin, and other doctors.
The final trial involved 53 children from institutional homes. The homes were: St Patrick’s Home, Madonna House, Cottage Home, Bird’s Nest and Boheennaburna. A further 65 children living at home in Dublin also took part.
The purpose of the trial was to compare commercially available batches of the three-in-one vaccine, Trivax and Trivax AD, with that of a modified vaccine prepared for the trial.
Dr Kiely’s report said the decision to conduct such clinical trials was acceptable, given the diseases that the vaccines sought to counter.
But, crucially, he insisted the lack of documentation available meant it had not been possible to confirm if consent had been given by the parents or guardians of the children involved or what arrangements were arrived at with managers of the homes.
He added that this lack of information also meant he could not confirm if the Therapeutic Substances Act 1932 had been complied with in relation to the licensing of the trials.
The damning document was laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas on November 7, 2000.
On November 9, the then Health Minister Micheal Martin told the Dail an important part of the probe was to establish if the State had fulfilled its obligations to children in its care.
But he admitted that the report was incomplete.
“It raises as many questions as it answers. Some of those questions go to the heart of our attitudes to children and their rights,” he said at the time
“The report is incomplete because in some areas, the most rigorous interrogation of the system failed to produce documentary records of the trials.”
Mr Martin said the Government had no evidence that any child had contracted a serious illness as a result of the trials.
But he branded the lack of documentation “puzzling” and insisted that the report had to be the “beginning and not the end” of the matter.
The minister referred the report of the investigation to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse — known then as the Laffoy Commission.
A government order was subsequently made on June 19, 2001 to provide the commission with the powers to create a separate module to formally investigate the issues involved.
The ‘Vaccines Module’ initially convened a public sitting on January 23, 2002, to outline its terms of reference. It then began investigating the trials.
It obtained documents from GlaxoSmithKline, the successor of Wellcome, which allowed it to definitively identify the homes and people involved in the trials.
Investigators received so much information relating to trial one that they were able to identify the children given the ‘four-in-one’ vaccine.
It also conducted private interviews with witnesses to get a more accurate picture.
But just before the start of public hearings into the first trials, which were due to begin on June 17, 2003, the work of the commission was dealt a severe blow when the Supreme Court ruled that Prof Meenan did not have to give evidence.
Prof Meenan had appealed a High Court order requiring him to comply with the commission’s direction to give evidence about his involvement in the trial.
The inquiry received a further setback when the Government’s order directing the Laffoy Commission probe was held to be invalid by the High Court in November 2003.
Mr Justice Aindrias O Caoimh gave his decision in a challenge brought by Prof Hillery. However, he ruled that other machinery could exist for an appropriate inquiry.
On November 25, 2003, an undertaking was given to the High Court by the commission that it would not conduct any hearings in relation to matters within the ambit of the order.
It had been hoped that the Government would appeal this decision. But on November 2006, Health Minister Mary Harney ordered the vaccine module to be closed down.
Now, some of the victims have been left with no alternative but to seek redress in a US court after Ms Harney again firmly ruled out any further inquiries into existing or new allegations.
The victims’ basic requests appear to be far from unreasonable; an apology for what was done to them; full medical screening to see if they have suffered any damaging long-term effects from the trials; and psychiatric counselling to help them get over their ordeal.
But even this, it appears, is beyond the capacity or willingness of the State to deliver.
‘I was used as a guinea pig in child vaccine scandal’
A woman subjected to a controversial vaccine trial as a baby without her mother’s consent broke her silence last night to reveal her traumatic decades-long fight for justice.
Mari Steed (50) was effectively used as a guinea pig during the ‘four-in-one’ vaccine trials carried out on her between December 1960 and October 1961 when she was between nine and 18 months old.
She was given up for adoption to a couple in the US shortly afterwards and is now preparing a class action in the US courts against the multinational drugs giant responsible for the medical tests, an Irish Independent investigation reveals.
Ms Steed and three others who were also subjected to the trials are looking to separately sue the Catholic religious order that they claim facilitated the experiments in the early 1960s.
She was administered the vaccine on at least four occasions at the Sacred Heart Convent, Bessborough, in Cork, also known as the Bessborough Mother and Baby Home.
Ms Steed became aware she had been subjected to the vaccine trials after she retrieved her medical documents while trying to track down her mother, Josephine, in the late 1990s.
Josephine, who is now in a nursing home in the UK, last night said the tests were carried out on her baby daughter without her consent or knowledge of her medical history.
“They didn’t ask me for my permission to give her that shot,” she said.
Ms Steed, who now lives in Philadelphia, and a number of other victims in the US are taking the landmark case because repeated attempts to seek justice in the Republic of Ireland have failed.
She and the three others are planning to file a class action against the GlaxoSmithKline drug company in the US courts. GlaxoSmithKline was called ‘The Wellcome Foundation’ when the trials were conducted.
They are also hoping to separately take a case against the Sacred Heart Order — either individually or as a group — in the Irish courts.
Victims have queried if the religious order received any financial payment in return for the children being used in the trials. However, it has never been established if any payment was received.
“The trials involved incredibly poor judgment on the part of all involved. We were basically used as human guinea pigs,” Ms Steed told the Irish Independent.
“There are at least four of us who are aware we were part of the trials, but there are probably more out there who don’t know what happened to them.”
At least 211 children were given the test vaccines during three separate drug trials, says a report commissioned by then-Health Minister Brian Cowen and drawn up by the Republic’s Department of Health in 2000.
Ms Steed was involved in the first trial, which took place between December 1960 and November 1961 on 58 children in five children’s homes. These included St Patrick’s Mother and Baby Home, Dublin; the Bessborough Mother and Baby home in Cork; and St Peter’s Mother and Baby Home, Castlepollard, Co Westmeath. Children from St Clare’s Baby Home in Stamullen, Co Meath, and the Good Shepherd Mother and Baby Home in Dunboyne, Co Meath, also participated.The trial examined what would happen if four vaccines for diphtheria (a life-threatening disorder caused by a highly contagious bacterial infection), pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus and polio were combined in one overall jab, known as the four-in-one shot.
However, the four-in-one jab never went into production after it failed to improve the previous standard vaccine.
Ms Steed’s mother, Josephine, who was forced to give her daughter up for adoption to a US couple just months after the trials took place, insisted she never gave her consent for Mari to be used in the trial.
She added: “What happened to mothers, like myself, and the babies at that home was cruel. I am still angry and would like an apology for what happened.”
However, the report concluded that it had not been possible to find documentation to confirm whether or not trials were licensed or received consent.
After its publication, the report was referred to the investigation of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, then known as the Laffoy Commission. But court challenges from doctors involved in the trials prompted Health Minister Mary Harney to shut down the module without conclusion.
Ms Steed and other victims called on Ms Harney to publicly apologise on behalf of the State for what happened.
However, Ms Harney last night insisted there would be no further inquiries into the allegations already made. The minister also declined to say if she would apologise to the victims, or if the Government would provide life-screening or counselling.Susan Lohan of the Adoption Rights Alliance said Ms Steed and other victims had been treated like “second-class” citizens.
A spokesman for the Sacred Heart Order said they would not make any comment until the case was taken. He said he was not aware of any other live actions against the order and insisted the issue surrounding the trials had been dealt with. A GlaxoSmithKline spokeswoman also refused to comment.
Banished Babies:The Secret History of Ireland’s Baby Export Business
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2010
Mari Steed doesn’t get angry very easily. Her presence has a very calming influence, but when you bring her back 50 years to a harrowing time in a mother-daughter home in Co. Cork she tenses up.
Steed, 50, spoke to the Irish Voice from her home in Levittown, Pennsylvania about intrusive, illegal medical trials that were conducted on her young body as a baby.
Steed says she was used as a human guinea pig for a large medical firm to test and improve vaccines for tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.
Steed presented her medical files to the Irish Voice as proof. They reveal she received her first injection on December 9, 1960 and another on January 6, 1961. Despite being ill after the third injection on January 7, 1961, she was given her fourth and final shot on February 10, 1961, and a booster shot of polio on October 3, 1961.
Steed was born Mary Fitzgerald to a young Co. Wexford woman by the name of Josephine Fitzgerald in 1960. Because Josephine became pregnant with her daughter out of wedlock she was sent to a mother-daughter orphanage style home to have the baby.
Josephine, now in her sixties and also born out of wedlock, was familiar with such homes. She grew up in them and quickly realized she didn’t want her daughter to have the same sort of upbringing. Instead she nursed, played with and loved young Mary until she was 18-months-old.
Josephine then painstakingly handed over her daughter to an Irish American couple in Pennsylvania who promised to take good care of her.
Steed, now director of technology and new media at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, has no memories of her time in Bessborough Mother and Baby Home in Cork, but she does have the doll her mother made for her and other memorabilia she brought with her on the plane journey from Ireland.
Forty years later, during a search for her birth mother, Steed horrifyingly discovered she was used as a guinea pig on a drug trial.
A young Steed was one of 211 children in the care of the Catholic Church that the Wellcome Foundation (now GlaxoSmithKline) frequented to test a four-in-one drug in the sixties and seventies in Ireland.In Steed’s case it was between December 1960 and October 1961, when she was between nine and 18-months-old.
The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, also known as the Laffoy Commission in Ireland, investigated the drug testing in 2001, but a court order by two doctors involved in the trials put a halt to the probe by 2003.
Steed and her birth mother Josephine both presented evidence to the Laffoy Commission before it was disbanded.
However, Steed is hopeful that the case will be reopened in Ireland as calls for the government to deal with the scandal intensifies.
“We were very upset that the investigation was called to a halt. So many mothers and children came forward but nothing more could be done,” said Steed bitterly.
Although putting it on the back burner, Steed said the injustice she suffered as a baby was always in the back of her mind.
She recently teamed up with three other victims living in the U.S. who were also adopted from Ireland to take legal action against GlaxoSmithKline and the Sacred Heart Order, which allowed the tests at the Bessborough Mother and Baby Home and other homes throughout Ireland.
“I feel it’s the right thing to do,” she said.
Steed, a mother of three, isn’t interested in financial gain. She seeks the truth behind her ordeal. Why, she wonders, were such experiments allowed to be carried out, and who gave the permission?
“My mother never gave permission to anyone to test these drugs on me, so why did they do it?” she asks emotionally.
Steed’s own story is remarkable. Seemingly following in her mother’s footsteps Steed, after falling pregnant as a teenager, gave up her eldest daughter, Kerry, for adoption at the request of her adoptive mother.
Steed too was sent to a mother and baby home in Philadelphia and cut off from her family at the time.
“It was when Kerry was born in 1978 that I began getting curious about my own mother. After all, I was walking in her same shoes,” said Steed, who is now back in Kerry’s life.
Her curiosity sparked a journey that turned out to be a blessing. While working at a college in Florida, Steed was introduced to the powers of the Internet and its search engines.
“The very first word I typed into the search engine was adoption. From there I found a few U.S.-based support groups, but no one had any idea how I would go about finding out information from Ireland,” Steed said.
Determined to stay focused, Steed proceeded with her quest and was finally introduced to a heritage researcher in Dublin who pointed her in the right direction.
“This guy was amazing. He was able to fax me my actual birth certificate within 24 hours,” said Steed, adding how emotional it was to see it.
From there Steed become involved with the Adopted People’s Association in Dublin (now Adoption Ireland), which lead her on a journey of self-discovery.
Finally through an Irish contact living in England, Steed was able to locate her mother through her marriage certificate to Swindon in England.
Within a matter of days Steed was reunited, via telephone, with her birth mother after 41 years.
Steed recalls the phone conversation so well.
“It was right after 9/11 and I was due to go up to New York that morning when the phone rang. It was Judy, my friend in England, who called to say she had found my mother,” recalls Steed.
“I was a wreck. I didn’t know what to think or do. Finally I called my mother and it was the oddest thing,” she said with a broad smile on her face.
“The minute I heard her voice the nerves melted away. It was like we just spoke last week and we hadn’t in 41 years.
“I told her I still had the doll she made for me. She couldn’t believe it. It was extremely emotional as you would expect.”
A year later Steed went to visit her mother in England, and since then they have maintained a great relationship.
“I couldn’t believe how alike we were both in personality and physically. It really was unbelievable,” she said.
“We talk at least once a week now,” she said.
Josephine has promised to help Steed right the wrong that was done to her as a child in Cork.
400 babies were dissected at universities
HUNDREDS of dead babies from mother-and-baby homes across the country were dissected in Irish universities — without the knowledge or permission of their mothers.
An RTÉ Prime Time investigation into the vaccine trials carried out in the homes, where unmarried women were sent to have their children, revealed that more than 400 babies were dissected by medical students around the country. The practice continued into the 1960s.
The Adoption Rights Alliance last night called for a state inquiry into how these dissections were sanctioned and into the vaccine trials that were regularly held on infants born in these homes.
“There are many more questions that need to be answered about this time and we are once again asking the Government to open up all adoption records to adopted people,” said spokeswoman Claire McGettrick.
Up to 400 dead babies from St Patrick’s Mother and Baby Home on the Navan Road and the nearby St Kevin’s Hospital were sent for dissection.
In 1942 alone, 57 babies were sent to UCD, 34 to the Royal College of Surgeons and 27 to Trinity College Dublin. Between 1940 and 1965, 35 were sent to UCG.
Mari Steed was born at Bessborough Mother and Baby Home in Cork, but sent to the US to be adopted as a toddler. She has campaigned endlessly for adopted people to be given information on the vaccine trials they were subjected to.
“These latest revelations serve to further hit home how little we were though of. We were little more than a number. We weren’t worthy of a name or a decent burial plot,” she said.
It has previously been revealed how hundreds of children born into these homes were subjected to vaccine trials by established international medical companies. The trials in Ireland were headed up by some of the country’s most eminent medical professionals.
The victims have spent years trying to access data on these trials but the religious orders will not release the files.
The Anatomical Committee of Irish Medical Schools issued a statement last night saying that “today such practices would be unacceptable”.
A joint statement from the Departments of Health and Children said they “deeply regretted” these “outdated practices”.
Earlier this month, the Irish Examiner revealed how adoption files held by the Sacred Heart Convent at Bessborough have yet to be transferred to the HSE — two months after the initial deadline for the transfer.
The files include those involving controversial vaccine trials carried out on children at the then mother-and-baby home.
Watch RTE PrimeTime’s Documentary (Below) On The Hundreds (And Perhaps Thousands) Of Dead Babies Buried, Experimented On, And Incinerated In Ireland…
Thousands of children in Irish care homes at centre of ‘baby graves scandal’ were used in secret vaccine trials in the 1930s
- Scientists secretly gave 2,051 children and babies diphtheria vaccine
- They were used as guinea pigs for drugs giant Burroughs Wellcome in 1930s
- Academic Michael Dwyer uncovered shock truth in old medical records
- He found no evidence of consent, nor of how many died or were affected
- Comes as Irish PM intervenes from U.S. over scandal of mass baby grave
- Hundreds of babies are believed to have been buried at former baby home
- Enda Kenny says he’s ordered his officials to examine ‘if there are others’
Old medical records show that 2,051 children and babies in Irish care homes were given a one-shot diphtheria vaccine for international drugs giant Burroughs Wellcome between 1930 and 1936.
There is no evidence that consent was ever sought, nor any records of how many may have died or suffered debilitating side-effects as a result.
The scandal was revealed as Irish premier, Enda Kenny, ordered ministers to see whether there are more mass baby graves after the discovery that 800 infants may be buried in a septic tank outside a former mother and baby home in Tuam, Co. Galway.
Children at Sean Ross Abbey in Tipperary are thought to have been used in secret drug trials in the 1930s
Children’s homes are under the spotlight since it emerged that 796 babies may be buried at the former mother and baby home at Tuam, Co. Galway – Enda Kenny has ordered officials to see if other mass graves exist
The Irish premier has ordered his officials to examine the possibility that there may be other mass graves, too
The Taioseach intervened from the United States yesterday to say that he had ordered his officials to ‘see what the scale is, what’s involved here, and whether this is isolated or if there are others around the country that need to be looked at.’
Michael Dwyer, of Cork University’s School of History, found the child vaccination data by trawling through tens of thousands of medical journal articles and archive files.
He discovered that the trials were carried out before the vaccine was made available for commercial use in the UK.
Homes where children were secretly tested included Bessborough, in Co. Cork and Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, both of which are at the centre of the mass baby graves scandal.
Other institutions where children may also have been vaccinated include Cork orphanages St Joseph’s Industrial School for Boys, run by the Presentation Brothers, and St Finbarr’s Industrial School for Girls, run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.
In Dublin, it is believed that children for the trials came from St Vincent’s Industrial School, Goldenbridge, St Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys, Cabra, and St Saviours’s Dominican Orphanage.
But Mr Dwyer said: ‘What I have found is just the tip of a very large and submerged iceberg.
‘The fact that no record of these trials can be found in the files relating to the Department of Local Government and Public Health, the Municipal Health Reports relating to Cork and Dublin, or the Wellcome Archives in London, suggests that vaccine trials would not have been acceptable to government, municipal authorities, or the general public.
‘However, the fact that reports of these trials were published in the most prestigious medical journals suggests that this type of human experimentation was largely accepted by medical practitioners and facilitated by authorities in charge of children’s residential institutions.’
Horror: The scandal of the babies in the mass grave was discovered by local historian, Catherine Corless
Innocence: Academic Michael Dwyer found out about the secret drugs trials by going through old medical records – children from the Sean Ross Abbey home in Tipperary, pictured, are thought to have been involved
A spokesman for GSK – formerly Wellcome – said: ‘The activities that have been described to us date back over 70 years and, if true, are clearly very distressing.
‘We would need further details to investigate what actually took place, but the practices outlined certainly don’t reflect how modern clinical trials are carried out. We conduct our trials to the same high scientific and ethical standards, no matter where in the world they are run.’
A spokeswoman for the Sisters of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the order that ran Bessborough and Sean Ross Abbey, said that like GSK, they would also welcome an independent inquiry.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin called on the Irish government to add vaccine trials into the investigative remit of any inquiry into the mother and baby homes.
He said: ‘We need to start with an independent investigation into the mother and baby homes which would be followed by a wider separate investigation into the vaccine testing.’
Historian Catherine Corless, whose discovery of the suspected mass baby grave at Tuam was revealed by the Mail earlier this week, said her study of death records for the St Mary’s home run by Catholic Bon Secours nuns from 1925-1961 pointed to the existence of the mass grave.
Children’s homes in Ireland were often the only place where a woman pregnant out of wedlock could go
Children were looked after by nuns and often adopted abroad – now it seems they were used in drugs trials, too
The Irish PM interrupted a trade visit to San Francisco to order an inquiry in the Tuam home and others, saying that Dublin must decide what is the ‘best thing to do in the interest of dealing with yet another element of our country’s past.’
St Mary’s was one of several such ‘mother and baby’ homes for ‘fallen women’ who had become pregnant outside marriage in early 20th century Ireland.
Another such institution was the Sean Ross Abbey in Tipperary, was where Philomena Lee gave up her son for adoption in the 1950s. Her story was made into the Oscar-nominated film ‘Philomena’ last year.
The ‘mother and baby’ homes accommodated women who were ostracised from their own families and had nowhere else to turn.
Under conservative Catholic teaching of the time, children born outside of marriage were not baptised and were therefore denied a Catholic burial on consecrated ground.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2650475/More-mass-baby-graves-Ireland-Prime-Minister-Enda-Kenny-orders-investigation-memorial-800-dead-babies-planned.html#ixzz33sfN7Ltx
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