Jeffrey Ware, a Penn neuroscientist, and the husband of Inquirer writer Barbara Boyer, died of brain cancer in 2011 at the age of 47. Yesterday his family sued the University of Pennsylvania for causing his death; they claim the university both failed to protect him from radiation during his research and for enrolling him–without his consent–in a trial experiment about brain cancer that they claim also exposed him to unhealthy levels of radiation.
[The] family accuses Penn of failing to properly maintain radiation-emitting equipment, to measure radiation exposure levels, and to give researchers protective gear. Two other people who worked in the lab with Ware were diagnosed with cancer in the same time period – one with lung cancer and the other with multiple myeloma, according to the complaint.
Also named in the lawsuit is a researcher called Gary Kao, “a Penn physician who has separately been disciplined by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for improper use of radiation on prostate cancer patients.” Kao was involved in the trial; the complaint accuses him of giving Ware elevated, unsafe levels of radiation to treat the cancer. Ware, they say, was too cognitively impaired to consent to participating in it. No matter who–if anyone–is to blame for his death, there’s a cruel irony to it. Ware’s work focused on minimizing radiation levels for astronauts exposed to it in outer space. [Inquirer]