In 1930 Pedro Albizu Campos investigates rumors at San Juan Presbyterian Hospital, and confirms that a Dr. Cornelius P. Rhoads is injecting Puerto Rican patients with live cancer cells, and that he killed at least 13 of them.
The following letter, written by Dr. Rhoads, is discovered:
“The Porto Ricans (sic) are the dirtiest, laziest, most degenerate and thievish race of men ever to inhabit this sphere…I have done my best to further the process of extermination by killing off eight and transplanting cancer into several more…All physicians take delight in the abuse and torture of the unfortunate subjects.”
In addition to Dr. Rhoads unethical practices, from the 1930s until the 1950s hundreds of thousands of Puerto Rican women were sterilized after giving birth, without their knowledge or consent. It was a form of population control, imposed by the US government. The higher the level of sterilization, the more the hospitals received in federal funding. Approximately one-third of Puerto Rico’s female population of childbearing age undergo “the operation,” the highest rate in the world.
Puerto Rican women are also used for the testing of IUDs and birth control pills. Three women died while participating in the trials but no investigation was conducted to see if the Pill had caused the young women’s deaths. The women had only been told that they were taking a drug that prevented pregnancy, not that this was a clinical trial, that the Pill was experimental or that there was a chance of potentially dangerous side effects.
Within this environment of medical abuse and malpractice, someone like Dr. Cornelius Rhoads could “inject eight patients with cancer” and kill them, with no consequences whatsoever. In fact he was featured on the cover of Time magazine.
#HispanicHeritage #HispanicHeritageMonth #PuertoRico #Independence #Latino #Latina #Latinx #FreePuertoRico #TeachOurChildrenOurHistory #HispanicHeritageMonthDay8