Infant Radiation for Enlarged Thymus Gland 1940's & 1950

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RE: Infant Radiation for Enlarged Thymus Gland 1940's & 1950

by lsecrist0920 on Wed Feb 18, 2015 04:02 AM

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I, as well, was treated for an enlarged thymus gland with radiation in 1951 at Martins Ferry.  I had thyroid cancer and had the surgery done at Johns Hopkins in Balt., MD.  My surgeon told me he has lots of people from the Ohio Valley that received this treatment and ended up with thyroid cancer.  Everyone is born with an enlarged thymus.  It controls the immune system and keeps baby safe their first 2 months from illness.  I have been overweight (about 20 lbs) all my life. Always tired, have fybromyalgia, and sleep a lot. I called Martins Ferry Hospital to find out how much radiation I was given. I was told a fire has destroyed all their records. Many people have symptons that are a lot worse.  Im not minimizing but we are still here.  I feel strongely Ferry Hospital should be sued for damages.  Our quality of life is poor.  I wish you the best and please keep in touch.



RE: Infant Radiation for Enlarged Thymus Gland 1940's & 1950

by erbsen on Wed Feb 18, 2015 05:31 AM

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Hi Lorraine:

Briefly, my mother told me later that I had been crying as an infant and suddenly stopped and she found me turning blue-wasn't breathing apparently due to large thymus.  The treatment at that time was radiation to shrink it.  That was "standard of care" apparently.  Forget lawsuits!  A touch too late but standard of care would preclude it anyay.

To me the main problem would be thyroid cancer which I watch out for on annual physical-lumps, etc.

Best of luck. 

As I believe I said I'm 74 so so far so good.


RE: Infant Radiation for Enlarged Thymus Gland 1940's & 1950

by Grammie1946 on Wed Feb 18, 2015 06:45 PM

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I wish that I could find out how many treatments I had, but that isn't possible. The hospital has been torn down and my parents have been gone for years. My thymus gland didn't shrink up as it should have, and I my mother said I was making horrible noises. When the doctor finally heard them, he ordered the radiation. I suppose the doctors were really to blame along with the hospitals, but in my case it was so long ago, neither is still around.

RE: Infant Radiation for Enlarged Thymus Gland 1940's & 1950

by aschef on Sat Mar 07, 2015 02:16 AM

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I was born 1953, Dayton Ohio. Radiation done at Good Samariton hospital. Older siblings did not recieve this lovely radition.

Parents told that I needed radiation to thymus because it was "enlarged".

Don't think they were ever told anything different.

Radiation treament was at 6 months of age.  I believe there was only one treatmen- but at excessively high dosage.

Now, I've had complete mastectomy due to this treatment, have enlarged thyroid, mulitple nodules.  All benign - i've been told that the risk for thyroid cancer ends at age 60.

Now have pericardial scaring & fluid- Docs think it is due to radiation.

RE: Infant Radiation for Enlarged Thymus Gland 1940's & 1950

by aschef on Sat Mar 07, 2015 02:43 AM

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Just found this site.  I'm in Orinda CA.   I had radiation in Ohio in 1953.  Any group formed?


RE: Infant Radiation for Enlarged Thymus Gland 1940's & 1950

by robinlynn5 on Sat Mar 07, 2015 03:48 AM

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Hi Anita,

I live in southern California (OC), but radiation was administered in NJ in Nov 1951 due to enlarged thymus. My mother said I was a blue baby, had a 'few' treatments. It's interesting to see the range of health conditions we've all had, many of which have been attributed to the radiation.  Remarkably, I've always had a very strong immune system, rarely sick.  I do have anxiety which I don't believe is radiation-related, it runs in my family. What I strongly suspect how I was affected was damage to my thyroid with an obesity problem all myself starting at about 6 y/o.  Diets have only resulted in minimal weight loss, even had a lapband 5 yrs ago with no results except a weight gain of 15 lbs. I've been on synthroid/generic since the mid 1970's to reduce chance of tumor growing.  A few nodules developed about 8 yrs ago but have not been a problem so far, nothing is growing, in fact 1 has disappeared.  

And that's my story.

RE: Infant Radiation for Enlarged Thymus Gland 1940's & 1950

by smoothmtlion on Sat Mar 07, 2015 06:31 AM

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the enlarged thymus was an excuse to do it, as they knew then but found out all babies have swollen thymus, they also tried to burn out tonsils, which was about the major health burden, never had any problems with me, by thyroid cancer, lung cancer heart transplant and 60 surgeries not a typo later, am pretty healthy amazing but that was their logic as well as everybody was spending their savings kind of like y2k, but on bomb shelters, and that experiment was to show that radiation didn't cause cancer, so wrong, but if you remember the air raid drills in grade school up, they don't and havent had them for years and years, and the air raid sirens, gone most places, some have them still for hurricane and tornado warnings, but .............. that is the rationale behind the whole dam experiment, which made us or most of us life long lab rats, in my case, i alone have advanced medical technology just my afflictions, lol not funny, thyroid ectomy 2001 heart transplant 2002 and lung cancer caught in its infancy, 2013 so far cancer free was just checked 2 weeks ago, but far as i am concerned they should be paying everybody who was subjected to that study, and most were done without the parents consent or they consented to something they were told was ok, doctors were gods to some, so, that is the rest of the story, yes i have done in depth study on this subject.

RE: Infant Radiation for Enlarged Thymus Gland 1940's & 1950

by MaryELO on Sat Mar 07, 2015 05:49 PM

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Hi:   My name is Mary and I also am a victim of the thymus radiation.  My heart bleeds for what you have had to endure.

I discovered later in life the effects of the infant radiation of the enlarged thymus.  I will tell you what I found out.

First, having been in the medical and legal field I have the

ability to see both sides.  The thought at the time was that the enlarged thymus were cause what we now know as "crib death," and parents were encourgaged to have the infants have the radiation treatments to shrink the thymus.  Unfortunately the x-ray machines of the day were not that good just becuase they had not developed better ones.  There was no negigence upon the doctors or radiologists because they did was the standard of care and everyone involved thought they were doing the best that could be done.  As technology developed and better machines were created they discovered the damage from the older radiation.  Also, WWII and damage to survivors of the atomic blasts helped a lot to their knowledge.

But, we are left with the damage.  I have nodules on my thyroid but no cancer yet.  I did develop breast cancer and the cause might be the early radiaiton.  I also developed radiation induced skin damage from the mammograms due to an "accumulation" of ionizing radiation.  I was not aware of that thru the years so I had numberous cat scans etc., which contributed to that.  Unfortunately 6 mammo in 2 years was too much.  Soooooo I am trying to pick up the pieces as it seems you are trying to do also.

Yes, it is sad, but we can support each other and help in any way possible.  One of my worst problems is most physicians do not know anything about this.  If anyone out there knows of a physican that does PLEASE LET ME KNOW...

Sincerely,  Mary

RE: Infant Radiation for Enlarged Thymus Gland 1940's & 1950

by smoothmtlion on Sat Mar 07, 2015 06:19 PM

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hi there so sorry this happened, i know the docs were doing what they were in standards of practice, i to have experience in the medical and legal aspects of medical care i was a disease intervention progam specialist at centers for disease control and prevention. unlike the tuskegee syphilis study, those were cdc doctors, there at that point, they were the folks who, did those experimental things, long before the INSTITUTUION REVIEW BOARD. where all experments or studies as they are calleare d also projects, allowed or not allowed, but the out and about physicians were doing standard of care, they thought, i have radiation for nine, hours on the day of my birth, my dad was in korean war, they knocked out my mom, she woke up i was gone for 12 hours later, looked like a prune she said, aked but they said it was normal from the birth. but in 2002 dr carol wysham of spokane washington told me of all these studies and i was in it and thought i was on the twilight zone, so like the tuskegge syphilis study where they went into tuskegee and paid a whole bunch of african american men to be infected with treponmae pallidum syphilis spyrochete, but they had no cure and followed the disease from infection to the end of their lives through the levels of first degree second and then teriary or neurosyphilis, it is said to be the most studied disease in the history of mankind, so the radiation thing, i believe thymus and crib death were hypotheisis of the time and radiation wouldn't hurt you, that is where they went wrong, i have had a trillion dam ct scans mri pet scans xray a god zillion, of course heart transplant which had radiation burns all over it, was 48 when that occured, but i am not so worried about the xrays and ct scarns etc, as i know now, i have a degree in industrial hygiene, but that is is the exposure, so like arsenic, to much will make a person sick a little bit will kill you, but i believe it was the massive doses that caused the problems, how long, at a time, vs strength of dose, that in my opinion was the offender, and i also after working in that medical field i can't believe that general practioner, internal medicine they are called now, so, anyway that is what i think. i will provide my email to requests if anybody wishes to talk about this, as you can see i have done in depth study on this.

RE: Infant Radiation for Enlarged Thymus Gland 1940's & 1950

by mowatsart on Sat Mar 07, 2015 08:41 PM

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Hello Lorraine, 

Yes I agree with you, there should have been compensation for the damage caused by their treatment. Some were told it was to prevent crib death, some for enlarged thymus and some were radiated as a routine for whatever preventative measure they deemed fit and some I do believed were not even told.

Unfortunately no one took action during the legal time period and nothing can be done on our behalf. 

Personally, I have gone the natural route. My husband swears I would have been in a wheel chair or worse had i not for these last several years. I Do not and have not had any cancer to my knowledge and i get preventative internal checkouts threw my medical doctor.

One can only count their blessings.

We all have free radicals in our bodies, its when we have too much that cause havoc. Google and learn what you can to help yourself. Take charge of your own health.

All the best to you,

Linda Mowat


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