58-year-old Albert Stevens was admitted to UCSFMC in 1945 with a severe gastric ulcer that was misdiagnosed as terminal cancer.
On May 10, 1945, Stevens was secretly administered the largest dose of plutonium any human has ever received; just under one microgram.
The sample consisted of two isotopes of plutonium. Stevens was then given free medical care under false pretense so that they could continue secretly testing the results of the radiation. His health deteriorated over time as the plutonium weakened his spinal column, and as his eyes fogged up with cataracts.
The doctors periodically operated on Stevens under false pretense to remove parts of his liver, spleen, pancreas, and lymph nodes for testing.
Nobody ever told him or his family about the plutonium he was exposed to. Stevens absorbed more radiation than any other human being; 6,400 rem, or 60 times the government’s maximum safe lifetime exposure.