Thousands of medical research studies happen every year in the U.S. and around the world. inewsource reporters Brad Racino and Jill Castellano have spent months investigating one human research study at the San Diego VA.
As part of the study, doctors took liver samples from sick veterans without their consent, and VA whistleblowers say the research put patients' lives in danger.
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Brad Racino is a senior investigative reporter and assistant director at inewsource. He has produced investigations on topics including political corruption, transportation, health, maritime, education and nonprofits.
Jill Castellano is an investigative data reporter at inewsource. During the 2018 election, she focused on campaign finance reporting, including political party spending and the money behind the failed gas tax repeal.
An internal report from the San Diego VA reveals liver samples were taken from sick veterans without their permission. The October report found “serious noncompliance occurred” when extra pieces of liver were removed from at least nine veterans. The patients weren’t told those samples would be taken or that it could increase the risk of bleeding.
So far, our investigation has led us to contradictory government reports, confusing timelines and disagreements on basic facts. We hoped talking to Dr. Ramon Bataller would give us the answers we’ve been looking for.