Nun admits care home children were involved in medical trials
Almost 300 children resident in care homes in the 1960s and 70s were used in medical trials, it has been reported.
298 children in ten different care homes were involved, it was reported on Dublin radio station Newstalk this morning.
In one of the trials, 80 children became ill after they were accidentally administered a vaccine intended for cattle.
Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline uncovered the experiments after it purchased one of the labs involved.
GSK was in no way involved in the trials.
The show spoke to a Christy, a former child resident of Bessborough House in Cork.
“I remember speaking to my mum and I asked her why I’d do many marks on my body, she said ‘I don’t know’ and said ‘when you arrived your arms were sore and bandaged.’”
He said both his arms were badly scarred that he had 8 injection marks on his arms and two on his legs.
“Most people from my generation have one, if not two, that’s it, not as many as me.”
Documentation from the British Medical Journal thanks the Chief Medical Officers for their consent for the trials, however does not state whether parental consent was sought.
There was no laws on medical testing in Ireland until 1987.
However Sister Sarto, who is former social worker at Bessborough House, said that parental consent was sought there for the trials.
“The doctor would come here and say could they carry out this experiment, and the mothers would bring the child into the doctor’s.
“You couldn’t do it without the mother’s permission.”
She said there was no ill effects on the children there.
When it was put to her that some suggest parental consent was not sought, she replied: “To my knowledge (that was never the case)”.