The “missing” Maralinga Hospital nuke test treatment records – a lesson for us and for Fukushima.
December 28, 2011
http://johnkeane.net/47/topics-of-interest/maralingas-afterlife John Keane cites the official historian of the more than 500 “minor trials” (the ones that spread fission fuel over the land), Lorna Arnold. Arnold, according to Keane used the Maralinga Hospital records, among other thngs, the come up with exposure doses for the personnel involved in the experiments. He states “Arnold’s report drew upon blood tests and Maralinga hospital records that have since been destroyed.” Well, Arnold’s report, going on Keane’s account of it, is a paradox. For during the clean up in the 1990s was a hazardous affair. Even today areas north of Taranaki are unfit for humans.
So, one account of the records being destroyed after the official account was written. Not a surprising finding, given what was officially written about exposure doses supposedly based, in part, on the Maralinga Hospital records.
A letter was recieved by the Department of Veterans Affairs on 3 Nov 2008. Written by John Hutton, spokesperson, Australian Ex-Service Atomic Survivors Association, he states: “In August 1957 a number of the troop became ill with persistent vomiting but were
reluctant to seek medical help for fear of being called ‘shirkers’. t was admitted to the
Maralinga Village Hospital. on 29 August 1957 and did not return to work until after
7th September. 1 was treated with Largactil, which 1 now know is used not only for
vomiting but psychosis and radiation sickness. I attach a copy of my in- patient
record, probably the only copy of a Maralinga hospital record available as all others
seem to have completely disappeared.
Over the years I have worked very hard to make sure that the grave injustice to these
Veterans didn’t continue. I even lobbied the schools to have the British Nuclear Tests
in Australia included in the curricutum. It is quite remarkable the number of people
who are not aware that this travesty of justice happened on our own soil. ft was
rewarding last year when the National Museum of Australia included this as one off
the subjects in their Touring History Agenda. 1 also appeared before the Royal
Commission, but recently I have had to curtail my activities due to ill health and
failing eye sight.” The Maralinga Hospital document Mr. Hutton attached to the letter gives the “Firm diagnosis” as “Functional Vomiting”. The record gives Mr Hutton’s age at the time as 20 years, and the date of admission is given as 29 August 1957, the date of discharge as 7 September 1957. The total stay in the hospital is given as ten days. One would think that a “Firm diagnosis” of functional vomitting – for ten days – is not a diagnosis but an observation of a sign of a symptom of an undisclosed cause. Apparently the Maralinga Hospital didn’t treat radiation sickness and its signs and symptoms. A lesson apparently learned well by Japanese authorities today. (Hospitals there have new signs which state “We do not treat radiation sickness”. Just “functional vomiting presumably. Just psorasis, not beta burn.)
The clinical notes written on John Hutton’s condition are as follows: “…history of persistent vomiting. No cause found on full examination. Not controlled by 50mg of Largactil tds. Three day intragastric milk drip successful.” The notes were written by a Captain in the RAMC.
(Pecher (1940) and Hamilton (1942) noted that the displacement of Sr** (all isotopes) was enabled by boosting calcium intake. It was one of the protective measures Hamilton communicated to Stone and Groves until the terms of the directive issued by Compton for protective measures to be identified.) Largactil is also known as chlorpromazine. A bried look at studies of the drug turns up the following:
“The vitamins of the B complex, particularly pyridoxine,
were the first group to show undoubted efficacy in the
treatment of radiation sickness (Maxfield et al., 1943;
Oppenheim and Bjorn, 1946; Van Haltern, 1946;
Shorvon, 1949) and are still widely used.
The anti- histamines, having been proved useful in motion sickness,
were advocated for radiation sickness (Lofstrom and
Nurnberger, 1946), but, although still used by some
radiotherapists, neither cyclizine hydrochloride
(” marzine “) nor diphenhydramine hydrochloride
(” benadryl “) is significantly better than inert tablets
(Ellis and Stoll, 1952; Stoll, 1957a). In 1954 the value
of chlorpromazine (“largactil”) in this condition was
reported (Marks, 1954). Since then the phenothiazine
series has expanded widely and has been tried extensively
in the treatment of radiation sickness, and new types
of central sedatives of the vomiting centre have been
developed….” the report records a radomised trial in which patients suffering the effects of radiation treatment
were given Largactil as an oral dose of 25mg. (Source: “Radiation Sickness. An analysis of over 1,000 controlled drug trials by
Basil A. Stoll, M.R.C.S., F.F.R., D.M.R.T.& D., Peter MacCallum Clinic, Melbourne, British Medical Journal, August 25, 1962, pp 507)
The fact that the drug was administered to Mr Hutton was obviously based upon its established (though unsatisfactory) treatment for exposure to radiation. The effetiveness of vitamin B injections is explained by Stoll quite clearly and was known to the Hiroshima doctors. who, Hersey (1945) reports as administering liver extract for radiation victims whenever they had it available. (Liver extract and Vitamin B is discussed in the paper THE VITAMIN B1 AND B2 G CONTENT OF LIVER EXTRACT AND BREWERS’ YEAST CONCENTRATE
D. K. Miller and C. P. Rhoads
From the Hospital of The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research
Received November 26, 1933. J Exp Med. 1934 February 28; 59(3): 315–331.
For milk as a source of vitamin B, see THE FOLIO ACID AND VITAMIN B12 CONTENT OF
THE MILK OF VARIOUS SPECIES1
R. A. COLLINS, A. E. HABPEB,2 M. SCHEEIBEE AND C. A. ELVEHJEM
Department of Biochemistry, College of Agriculture,
University of Wisconsin, Madison
(Received for publication September 13, 1950) Journal of Nutrition.
All the cited papers are within the era in which the knowledge was being applied to Mr Hutton. It seems to me that the treatments applied were all appropriate ones a doctor who has actually diagnosed or suspected radiation exposure as a cause of the signs exhibited by Mr Hutton. Yet the diagnosis is merely a description of what was happening (vomitting for 10 days).
Hutton in his 2008 letter writes: “Shortly before each bomb was exploded, I and a team of 4 other engineers would
seal the entrance to one of the “Instrument bunkers” with about a thousand sand
bags, which we had previously filled. Then about half an hour after each explosion
we would return in my land rover and removed the sandbags. The bunkers were very
close to the GZ and the task took about an hour. We did not wear protective clothing
and the bulldust was so heavy that we wore handkerchiefs over our mouths. On
return, we were not checked for radiation and had to spend much time in the
showers. Attached is an extract from the list of personnel at the completion of the
countdown for Tadje. I am in charge of Sandbag Party B. It was impossible to work
wearing a respirator for either sandbagging or driving”
In the 1990s. Mr Hutton’s claim against the government was dismissed and in the course of the proceedings, learned gentlemen acting on behalf of our government made statements about their view of Mr Hutton as a drunkard. The sort of person the government would label “not fit and proper”. Crap. The treatment Mr Hutton recieved was the trigger which pulled my pin and started me on this mission to show the truth via the historical record.
Given the facts of the matter, and the uses of the treatments Mr Hutton recieved in the Maralinga Hospital, it is pretty clear that he was being treated for radiation sickness. And this treatment was documented in the records he was allowed to see and possess in such a way that no mention what so ever was made of the actual case of his illness. Any cretin can diagnose vomiting. Even if they do only know enough to label it “chucking up constantly for a phucking long time after inhaling radioactive dirt.”
No wonder the real records from the hospital, the ones sent to England, have gone missing.
So no Mr Keane, it looks like they are not destroyed. One document held by Hutton indicates at least further documents consisting of the secret reports of the condition the personnel, probably despatched monthly to Whitehall or Aldermaston.
As for Lorna Arnold, well…let’s see how her findings of miminal radiation exposure to personnel stack up…
She was, according to the findings of Dr. Roger Cross, the author of at least one proven “whitewash” in regard to radiation exposure. The documents released to Mr Hutton by the Maralinga Hospital are obviously inadequate. It is enough to make me puke….
(of course, the whitewash continues in the law courts, and is aided by people who contact me telling me to forget the past and focus on modern information….information formulated from the whitewash….)
3. The Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk) reporter Kathy Marks.
June 15, 2001 http://reocities.com/rainforest/andes/5563/maralinga3.htm
Thousands of young, inexperienced troops observed nuclear tests in 1950s Australia. They were never informed of the risks. Survivors tell Kathy Marks of the sickness that has never been acknowledged.
“As Peter Webb clambered over dust-coated Centurion tanks at ground zero in his regulation boots, shorts and short-sleeved shirt, he saw other men walking around in full-length white “space-suits” with gloves, hoods, masks and rubber boots. They were the scientists, and they always wore protective clothing in the forward area. The young servicemen who worked there almost never wore any protective gear. Webb was admitted to Maralinga Hospital with nausea and headaches, as were many others; the precise figure is not clear, as the hospital records have disappeared.
The average life expectancy of the men who helped Britain to achieve its place in the nuclear sun is 55.5 years. There are just a few thousand surviving veterans in Britain and in Australia, and they believe that their governments are simply waiting for them to die.”
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
TV PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT
Secret documents detail plan to use servicemen in atomic tests
Reporter: Geoff Hutchison
“ANNE MUNSLOW-DAVIES: What I would really like to see in those documents is the records from the Maralinga hospital.
To date, they have never been found and no-one knows their whereabouts.
PETER WEBB: But every now and again, when something comes up like this, Peter Webb comes up and says, “Hey!
I’m still here, I’m still alive, I’m still breathing’. What are you going to do about it?”
I still get the same answer – “Nothing, bugger off and die,” and that’s the sad part.
KERRY O’BRIEN: We should point out that Veterans Affairs Minister Bruce Scott has been out of the country and unavailable for interview.”
SECRET records detailing the fate of dozens of babies born in the shadow of Maralinga’s nuclear testing hold the key to a case that is building as South Australia’s largest class action.
More than 100 South Australians have joined a class action against the British Ministry of Defence over deaths and disabilities they believe were caused by nuclear testing at Maralinga more than 50 years ago.
Among them are families of the Woomera babies – more than 60 lives lost, many without explanation, during the decade of nuclear testing, up to 600km away.
Lawyers running the case say it is “just the tip of the iceberg”. They have heard only from people who are “very confident” they have a case for compensation, AdelaideNow reports.
Already, families of some of the stillborn children, hours-old babies and toddlers who account for more than half the plots in Woomera Cemetery for the 1950s and 1960s, have come forward.
Edith Hiskins, 79, of Willaston, gave birth to a stillborn daughter, Helene Michelle, in March 1963, and still is not satisfied with the reason given for her baby’s death.
Mrs Hiskins, and her husband John, a serviceman at Woomera, were told the baby girl was stillborn due to “mild toxemia” – a cause not given until years after her death and only after they pushed authorities for a death certificate.
The parents never saw their daughter , who was buried in the cemetery the next day, and they have never seen her medical records. “I would like some answers as to why that happened, because the answers given on her death certificate, I do not find sufficient,” Mrs Hiskins said.
“As far as I know, her records were sealed. It was years before we even got a death certificate.”
Mrs Hiskins said she, or her family, are likely to join the class action. “There are still questions to be answered and reasons to be given,” she said.
In all, the Woomera Cemetery contains 23 graves for stillborn babies born in the hospital between December 1953 and September 1968, and a further 46 graves for other children who died around that period. Autopsies were not always conducted and it is understood the medical records of those 23 stillborn babies remain sealed and held by the National Archives of Australia.
6. British surrender over Maralinga clean-up bill
(The British said the place was perfectly clean and safe. It was not.)
7. Major Alan Batchelor’s submission:
Submission to the Clarke Review
“Not considered, were the actions taken by Government to hide the total range of health and
genetic effects resulting from exposure to ionising radiation and other toxic materials associated
with nuclear weapon tests. Maralinga and other hospital records went missing and those with
dangerous exposures had their names and dosage records removed from the oﬁicial listings.
“ltiere are a number of practical examples where nuclear veterans were exposed to dose rates
many thousands of times higher than the Cancer and Mortality Study’s “ail-purpose‘ dose rate”
and so on.
The google stats on my search for “maralinga hospital records” was 39,800 results (0.26 seconds).
Ms Arnold would be pretty busy these days. And instead we have the hormesis and adaptive response crew writing in telling me to
report on modern stuff instead.
The modern stuff is actually Lorna Arnold’s flock of parrots.
Apparently its ok though if you present with “motion sickness” and “psorasis”. Don’t dare tell the truth, radiation sickness and beta burn or they won’t apparently treat you. Even though the treatments can be the same or similar.
(see above, and Cronkite, AEC, Marshall Islands, 1954.)