Reported by: Patricia McDonagh in the “Belfast Telegraph”
20 August 2010
A woman subjected to a controversial vaccine trial as a baby without her mother’s consent broke her silence last night to reveal her traumatic decades-long fight for justice.
Mari Steed (50) was effectively used as a guinea pig during the ‘four-in-one’ vaccine trials carried out on her between December 1960 and October 1961 when she was between nine and 18 months old.
She was given up for adoption to a couple in the US shortly afterwards and is now preparing a class action in the US courts against the multinational drugs giant responsible for the medical tests, an Irish Independent investigation reveals.
Ms Steed and three others who were also subjected to the trials are looking to separately sue the Catholic religious order that they claim facilitated the experiments in the early 1960s.
She was administered the vaccine on at least four occasions at the Sacred Heart Convent, Bessborough, in Cork, also known as the Bessborough Mother and Baby Home.
Ms Steed became aware she had been subjected to the vaccine trials after she retrieved her medical documents while trying to track down her mother, Josephine, in the late 1990s.
Josephine, who is now in a nursing home in the UK, last night said the tests were carried out on her baby daughter without her consent or knowledge of her medical history.
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