It has now been about 75 years since the myelographic agent Pantopaque® (called Myodil® in Europe) was first used on large numbers of patients including unsuspecting US Army personnel suffering from low back pain at the Walter Reed Army Hospital in Bethesda Maryland where many of them were subsequently disabled by the disease entity chemical meningitis resulting in‘Adhesive Arachnoiditis.’ The use of Pantopaque®, which had never been officially approved for use, on unsuspecting hospitalized Army personnel has clearly represented a sad and homegrown version of Human Experimentation. Subsequent to this, Pantopaque® unfortunately became the standard myelographic agent being used in many thousands of patients for spine diagnosis throughout the United States, England, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries. It has been estimated that as many as 450,000 Pantopaque® myelograms a year in were being performed in the United States the United States between its introduction in 1942 and the 1990 labeled expiration date on its packaging.
The following is part of one of many letters which have been received by Burton Report from World War II veterans who experienced Pantopaque® myelography at that time:
It all started in the US Army where I was hurt during exercises and had to have a disc repaired. They did an oil-base mylogram and then I had 5 other surgeries in the service where the same dye was used each time the did a mylogram. I am now wheelchair bound. I had the Medtronic morphine pump for 5 years and it was a God send until it leaked at the cath site at T10 and T11 and it grew a cyst that paralysed my right leg completely and my left leg to the knee. I now have to cath. myself to unrinate as that function never returned. I wear a brace on my right leg for support when I stand. I belong to ASAMS (Arachnoiditis Sufferers Action and monitoring Society) and it is a great place to be.
Although neurosurgeon William Van Wagenen published, in 1942, the information that Pantopaque® actually was responsible for causing a “chemical meningitis” in patients and that the subsequent medical literature further documented that Pantopaque® not infrequently led to death and disability due to the production of associated adhesive arachnoiditis, this information was, and continued to be,suppressed by the drug manufacturers and those who then marketed it. Remarkably, Pantopaque® was never banned from clinical use in the United States.
Despite the valiant efforts of arachnoiditis self-help organizations created around the world by victims of this disease to promote awareness governments who have looked into the issue and who have documented the existence of this remarkably extensive world-wide public health problem have endeavored mightily to suppress public awareness and enlightenment. Their reasons for doing so appears to relate directly to the economic realization that to acknowledge this widespread health disaster and to provide appropriate care for the many sufferers still alive would involve a significant effort involving a high level of expenditure to legitimately identify and medically treat these adhesive arachnoiditis sufferers scattered throughout the globe. So much for the issue of integrity.
Derek Morrison (email@example.com) has been one of the many individuals throughout the world who have been afflicted with adhesive arachnoiditis as a result of ill-advised Myodil oil myelography. Over the years he has endeavored to bring his research and commentary to the attention of fellow patients and the authorities and has now been in the process of publishing a book (from which this advanced segment has been provided) “The Day They Poisoned JFK Article” presenting evidence that “the true reason” JFK suffered from back pain was because of adhesive arachnoiditis due to pantopaque myelography. Mr. Morrison has overcome the denial of full access to JFK’s medical records and has located and presented JFK’s 1944, 1947, and 1951 lumbar x-rays documenting the presence of residual pantopaque in his sub-arachnoid space.