The Elephant Man Clinical Trial: Part One

How, in 2006, a Simple Trial in London Turned Disastrous

In 2006, when eight men checked into the Northwick General Hospital in London for taking part in a clinical trial for a new drug, they never thought they would be fighting for their lives.

The trial was independent of the NHS (National Health Service) and was approved by the government. The doctor in charge of conducting the trial was Dr. Daniel Bradford.

When the eight participants came into the PAREXEL office, they weren't properly briefed about the possible side-effects of the drug, because everyone was happy about the two thousand pounds they were going to receive after completing the trial if it went smoothly.

The drug was originally intended for the treatment of leukemia and rheumatoid arthritis, but what was bizarre. As quoted by solicitor Gene Walter, who was brought into the case, "None of the participants had any of the above illnesses."


What the eight participants didn't know was that only six of them were given the actual drug, while the other two were given the placebo, which wasn't the actual drug.

The drug was called TGN1412. It was first administered to David Oakley, who was thirty-one at the time, and engaged. 

There was a ten minute interval between each participant, and during this period of time, David started feeling a headache, which then evolved into a migraine. When he informed the nurse about it, she wasn't allowed to give him medicine, otherwise it would've tainted the drug.

Raste Kahn was the second to receive the drug, but unbeknownst to him, he received the placebo, so didn't face any of the side effects.

Ryan Wilson was the third to receive the drug.

In Dr. Bradford's written testimony in 2016, he had written:

"I was informed of David's worsening condition when I was administering the drug to the seventh participant."

David: "If Dr. Bradford had paid heed to the side effects, then he could've saved a couple of lives."

Eighty minutes into the trial, all eight participants were administered with either the drug or the placebo.

Meanwhile, the six people administered the drug started experiencing migraines, and there began a sheering pain in their backs. Everyone began tumbling, like being dipped in ice.

Dr. Bradford: "They tumbled like dominoes."

Raste: "Everything was happening at once. They were vomiting, screaming in pain, people fainting, and they simply couldn't control their bowels."

Dr. Bradford: "The ward was getting chaotic; the men were in shock."

Nurses were taken off-guard and doctors didn't know what to do. This was catastrophic for the volunteers and scary for the medical staff.

Dr. Bradford: "I tried to reach the medical registrar. I ended up going down a flight of stairs into the ICU and grabbing the first two doctors I saw."

The NHS were unaware of the trial, as mentioned before.

The doctors advised the PAREXEL team to administer fluid, antihistamines, and a treatment dose of hydrocortisone.

The two administered the placebo treatment were sent home.

The remaining six patients were moved from the ward into the ICU so the doctors could monitor them as a team.

David: "The lights were getting dimmer. I'm pretty sure I was falling asleep, waking up, and then falling asleep again."

Rob Oldfield was another person administered the drug, and said: "It was getting dark outside, and then something appeared to be wrong with Ryan. Some surgeon guy came up and they drew a curtain around him. We looked at each other and were worried about what was going on in there. They then wheeled him away, connected to the machine."

END OF PART 1

REFERENCES:

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The Elephant Man Clinical Trial: Part One