In May 2007, Carrie and Shawn Pratt agreed to sign up their severely premature daughter, Dagen, for a government-funded study being conducted at Duke University Hospital. The Pratts say they were told that researchers simply were gathering information to help other children.
“We never understood the study to be based on manipulating her oxygen level to meet [researchers’] needs,” Carrie Pratt says.
At issue is an experiment in which researchers at two dozen academic institutions randomly manipulated the oxygen levels of 1,316 extremely premature infants without providing their parents the full details of the methods and risks.
Confronted with the reality, which the Pratts discovered just last year, the West Virginia couple remain shell-shocked.