One sister's story about how her three year old brother became part of the post WWII Manhattan Project and Human Radiation Experiments.
On November 15, l958 I came home from school to a deafing quiet home. I immediately knew the event that I had dreaded for years had happened. My three year old disabled brother, Mark was gone, institutionalized at Sonoma State Hospital in Eldridge, California. Three years later on May 27, 1961 at 2:45 p.m. he lost his life. As I grew up I couldn't seem to shake off the grief. I lived my life with guilt and sadness and the need to know the truth about Mark's life and death at Sonoma State Hospital. Mentioning Mark's name and the circumstances around his life and death was a topic we never discussed in our family, it was too painful. Once I made up my mind to break the silence about Mark my first step was to go to the Sonoma County Recorders Office to get a copy of his death certificate (1992) and request Mark's medical records from the hospital. Surprisingly there was no record of his death. When I recieved the medical records there was an incomplete form of a death certificate in the file. I contacted the Coroner's office and they found nothing. They were not called out at the time of Mark's death. That was puzzling in itself. What I learned from his badly damaged medical records brought up even more unanswered questions. The autopsy report stated that my brothers brain was being reported on separately! Why? Who took his brain? How could I get it back? How could this happen to a little boy, a disabled little boy?
University of California at San Francisco and HREX
Six years after receiving Marks medical records a Sonoma County Judge ordered the California State Attorney Generals Office to allow my attorney and I to go to Sonoma State Hospital (Now known as Sonoma Developmental Center) to view microfilm specifically a copy of a Neuropathology Report, or brain autopsy. We strained to read the badly damaged report. After a few minutes of trying to read the document we determined that it had an unusual patient number on it "LPNI 8732". I knew that this seemed familiar and it finally came to me that subject numbers used in a study I found on the internet at the HREX website contained numbers proceeded by "LPNI". These were subjects for research at UCSF (University of California at San Francisco). "LPNI" were the initials for "Langley Porter Neurological Institute" located at UCSF. (Now known as Langley Porter Psychiatic Institute) How did this number end up on Mark's report? To answer this question I need to take you back a few years:
In the Summer of l995, I was reading The Press Democrat. An article "16,000 people used in U.S. radiation tests" caught my eye. I learned that mentally retarded children, wards of the State were used in experiments. They were subjects for research called The Human Radiation Experimentation Project (HREX), (Go to the LINKS tab above and visit the HREX website for more information) sponsored by the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Defense and the National Institute of Health. These were experiments conducted after World War II along with the support and experience of the Manhattan Project. I immediately contacted the DOE and asked for information. That Fall another article appeared , "Clinton apologies, plans restitution for radiation tests". The DOE sent me a publication that verified that experiments were done in the UCSF system. Lawrence Livermore Lab as well as Lawrence Berkeley Lab worked along with researchers from UCSF. It was becoming clearer that they may have used disabled children and adults from Sonoma State Hospital, my brother being one of them. With the help of the Regional Library I accessed a website that the DOE gave me to view thousands of documents archived and declassified by the Clinton Administration in l994. When I entered "Sonoma State Hospital" as my "SEARCH" 25 documents appeared. Even though they were badly damaged I printed them and studied them for months to determine what they said. Finally with the cooperation of UCSF , Lawrence Berkeley Lab and Bancroft Library I recieved clear copies. For the first time I was able to determined that children and adults were used in experiments sponsored by the National Institute of Health. One radiation research project may have used my brother for a subject was "An Etiologic and Diagnostic Study of Cerebral Palsy". UCSF sent me the research report that was published. It was in that published report that I found subject numbers starting with "LPNI". The lead researcher in the study was Dr. Nathan Malamud, the pathologist that signed my brother Neurolopatholgy Report or brain autopsy.
Was It Research or a Quiet Passing on a Warm May Day?
Even though I have no solid proof that Dr. Malamud did radiation research on my brother the circumstantial evidence is strong. Mark was in Sonoma State Hospital from l958-l961 during the time Dr. Malamud was collecting information for his research projects . Why would Dr. Malamud do the brain autopsy when he wasn't on staff at Sonoma State Hospital? Why was the patient number LPNI on Marks brain autopsy when he was never a patient at Langley Porter Neurological Institute? And isn't it interesting what one researcher said at the Human Radiation Experimentation Website (www.hss.energy.gov/healthsafety/ohre) in Oral Histories, Dr. John Gofman stated: 'Nathan Malamud, a shy guy..................................said "Yes, we can get the hearts and the brains". And they did.' He also stated in that interview that they got their hearts and brains from people who died in mental hospitals without consent. Radiation was used in Dr. Malamuds study of cerbral palsy. Marks medical records indicated he died of a seizure. He had very high fevers sometimes even l08. In the days leading up to his death his medical records stated that his eyes were red and swollen. These symptoms can be all signs of radiation poisoning. When I contacted the National Institute of Health and asked them to help me understand the brain autopsy report they told me there was no doubt that the report was retrieving information. I believe that my brother was subjected to painful radiation experiments that caused him to suffer and eventually it killed him. When Mark died Dr. Malamud took his brain to retrieve what he hoped would help him answer medical questions both for Medical Research and the Government (HREX).
Another Study and Napa State Hospital
Mark's body was taken to Napa State Hospital after he died. My family and I have never recieved a satisfactory answer as to why that happened. I recently found a study done in l960 by Dr. Malamud, Eunice S. G. Waters, Wei Young and John Gofman all people familiar with the HREX project. It's not clear if this study used radiation or not. The relationship between these doctors and Mark's body going to Napa State Hospital without my parents knowledge has me wondering. Was there research being done at Napa State Hospital involving patients from Sonoma State Hospital? At the very least this study clearly is connected again to Langley Porter Clinic and UCSF. Eunice S.G. Waters worked at Napa State Hospital in the Napa Valley of California. At least two of these doctors had brain collections that ended up somewhere. To this day none of the hospitals have cooperated in helping me locate the collections.
"A Dark Chapter In Medical History"
In February 2005 part of this story was told on CBS 60 Minutes.(Click on the LINK tab above and read the CBS story "A Dark Chapter In Medical History"). It is my hope that between the 60 Minutes story and this website Mark's story will continue to be told.
I invite you to email me if you have any information about HREX or any other research being done that violated human rights in State Hospitals.
John 8:32 ......and the truth will set you free.
Karen (Dal Molin) Alves, Mark Dal Molin's Sister
Welcome to the Finding Mark website. Look back here soon as this page evolves.