Dr. Saul Krugman
(This article appears in the Toledo Blade - Apr 18, 1972)
Protests Shouted At Awards Ceremony; Consent Was Obtained, Physician Says
ATLANTIC CITY (AP) - A New York City Paediatrician, who admitted that he experimented with mentally retarded children in trying to find a preventative vaccine for Hepatitis, was presented Monday with a medical award for his research, while more than 100 young doctors, medical students, and nurses shouted protests.
Several of the demonstrators were dragged away by police when they tried to storm the platform as Dr. Saul Krugman, chairman of the Department of Paediatrics of the New York University School of Medicine, received the award at the opening of convention of the American College of Physicians (ACP).
Dr. Krugman, 60, who conducted his experiments at Willowbrook State School, New York, smiled as the demonstrators brought the opening session to a premature close by shouting a long list of charges against him. One charge was that he coerced parents into having their children experimented on at Willowbrook.
‘’We believe poor and working-class people should be guaranteed adequate treatment and not be forced to turn their children into guinea pigs to obtain treatment,’’ the demonstrators said.
Dr. Krugman denied at a news conference later that anyone was coerced into the experiments. He said that during the 1950’s, the school’s method of obtaining consent was the ‘’conventional one’’ of sending summarised statements of the situation at Willowbrook to parents whose children were about to be admitted, seeking their consent.
He said that one reason research was not carried out on those already in the institution was that the school had found from experience that patients who were not infected with hepatitis became infected within two weeks of admittance. He said that children of consenting parents were admitted to a special unit where they were deliberately exposed to the disease.
In presenting him with the James Bruce Memorial Award, the ACP stated, ‘’It appears likely that this basic clinical research will lead to the development of an effective vaccine and, hopefully, eradication of this permanent disorder.’’
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