Medicine: Guinea Pigs?

Surgery in the asylum

The allegations sounded like excerpts from the script of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest. Lawyer Patrick Murphy, who filed a suit in Chicago last week, charged that between 25 and 100 patients in Illinois' Manteno Mental Health Center underwent "unauthorized and secret" experimental surgery in the 1950s and '60s at the University of Chicago's Billings Hospital. The surgery removed their adrenal glands, organs atop the kidneys, which produce cortisone and other hormones. The supervising surgeon: Dr. Charles B. Huggins, 77, winner of a Nobel Prize for his pioneering work on hormonal treatment of cancer.

A University of Chicago...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!