Millions of people participate in medical research studies every year in the U.S. and around the world. inewsource reporters Brad Racino and Jill Castellano are investigating the shortcomings in the system that's meant to protect those participants.
This is an evolving project that began with an investigation into one research study at the San Diego VA but has now branched out to affiliated institutions and oversight agencies. Sign up below for alerts to new stories, or reach out to the reporters with tips, suggestions or leads.
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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.
Two prominent doctors associated with the University of California San Diego and the local VA used blood and stool samples taken from sick veterans to bolster a paper published in an academic research journal.
Dr. Kang Zhang, chief of eye genetics at the University of California San Diego, is “on leave” after an inewsource investigation exposed how the doctor put medical research subjects in harm’s way for years.
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.
An internal report from the San Diego VA reveals liver samples were taken from sick veterans without their permission. The October 2018 report found “serious noncompliance occurred” when extra pieces of liver were removed from at least nine veterans.