Acres of Skin: Human Experiments at Holmesburg Prison

Acres of Skin: Human Experiments at Holmesburg Prison

Allen M. Hornblum

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0415923360

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Acres of Skin: Human Experiments at Holmesburg Prison

Allen M. Hornblum

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0415923360

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


At a time of increased interest and renewed shock over the Tuskegee syphilis experiments, Acres of Skin sheds light on yet another dark episode of American medical history. In this disturbing expose, Allen M. Hornblum tells the story of Philadelphia's Holmesburg Prison.

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treat fine wrinkles caused by sunlight and time” and the only one “proven to give skin a smoother texture and rosier glow” pervade the beauty and health sections of many magazines. There remains a broad range of medical opinion about the drug’s wrinkle, reduction capabilities. Many dermatologists swear by it, and one, Dr. Faria Mescar, refers to it as “magic.”60 Others express reservations. Dr. Gerald Wachs says, “Retin-A® is standard therapy for acne. I use it 15 times per day for patients…but

1963. (DOE) 31. John E.Bowyer, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission By-Product Material License, January 8, 1964. (DOE) 32. John E.Bowyer, letter to Holmesburg Prison, attn.: A.M.Kligman, December 2, 1964. (DOE) 33. Albert M.Kligman, Application for By-Product Material License, July 27, 1965. (DOE) 34. Ibid. (DOE) 35. Kligman Application, 1965. (DOE) 36. Interview with Benjamin Calesnick. (DOE) 37. Albert M.Kligman, “Studies of Human Epidermal Turnover Time Using S35 Cystine and H3 Thymidine and

interesting when we consider that for ten years previous to this Army contract, the Holmesburg research unit had been conducting hundreds of medical experiments. V One Army medical officer who was present for those initial inmate experiments and was dismayed by the prison’s general unpreparedness for such delicate scientific testing was James S.Ketchum, a psychiatrist with a long and impressive medical career. A graduate of Columbia College, Ketchum received his medical degree from Cornell

be “the most powerful carcinogen known” to man.4 The lengthy article made several interesting points: Dr. Kligman, the orchestrator of the experiments, was paid $10,000 for his services; the experiment may have been the only instance in which the level of exposure of humans to dioxin was known; the test subjects could be suffering long-term health effects that, if discovered in time, might be possible to arrest; and the current health of the subjects could provide valuable evidence in the bitter

met another member” of the committee. Carpenter says he “became increasingly uncomfortable” and requested a meeting. He became more uncomfortable still when he started to receive money for what he thought was voluntary service. “The checks started to arrive…several hundred dollars. I was surprised… The whole issue became disturbing… There was a total lack of supervision of the protocols and the process. We were left to our own devices with no guidance or direction. When the checks arrived it

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