Eben Byers was a well-known socialite in American circles, who led an enviable life. He studied in the best schools and got a brilliant future on a silver platter, how could he not? He is the son of the wealthy industrialist Alexander Byers.
In his youth, his promising talent appeared in the field of golf, when he won the runner-up title in the American Amateur Golf Championship of 1902-1903, before winning the championship later in 1906.
Eben Byers took over his father’s iron and steel company and did not neglect his passion for golf. He continued his sporting activity until the early 1940s.
He constantly traveled across the United States to watch the sports teams he loved; But while he should have continued to live in luxury, enjoying his golf tournament success, the unexpected happened.
In 1927, while returning by train from a Harvard football game, Byers fell and injured his arm. Although he received proper medical care at the time, he constantly complained of constant pain, and it began to affect his athletic activity.
Medicine in his time was not as advanced as it is today. It was common in that period to use the element radium, after its discovery, as one of the treatment methods. On the recommendation of his doctor, he started regularly drinking a drink called Radithor, a medicine containing the radioactive element radium!
Eben Byers develops a condition called radiator jaw, a disease caused by the ingestion of radioactive radium; His jaw dropped and the bones of his face melted, before he died of cancer. His death revolutionized the field of medicine.
Eben Byers and the early life of luxury
Ian Byers was born on 12 April 1880 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. His father, Alexander Byers, was an art collector and owner of one of the largest iron manufacturing companies in the United States.
Byers grew up in a high standard of living, with access to the best privileges money could buy – including attending the prestigious St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire, then known as Yale College.
Byers excelled on the sports field during his youth; He won the American Amateur Golf Championship in 1906. Later, when he needed to rest and retire, Byers’ father put his son in charge of the Iron Company.
Indeed, Eben Byers successfully ran the company in parallel with his sporting interests. Unfortunately, a tragic accident soon leads to an untimely death.
From an early age, Byers showed skill in golf / Wikipedia
Radiator, the radioactive agent that disfigured Eben Beyers’ jaw
In November 1927, Byers was on his way home from the annual Yale-Harvard football game when his train suddenly stopped, causing Byers to fall out of bed and injure his arm.
His doctor, CC Muir, prescribed Radithor – a medicine made from water in which the radioactive element radium has been dissolved – after he complained of constant pain in his arm.
At the time, no one was aware that radioactive materials could lead to genetic mutations and cancers if exposed to high levels. So when William J. Bailey developed dropout at Harvard Radiator, its use quickly became popular.
According to US blogging platform Medium, Bailey falsely claimed to be a doctor and offered doctors a 17% discount on every bottle of Radiator they prescribed to their patients. Which caused a major medical disaster.
Over the course of 3 years, from 1927 to 1930, Eben Byers drank up to 1,400 doses of radium-impregnated water. He drank up to 3 bottles of Radithor daily.
Byers claimed that this product made him feel more powerful and energetic, although some reports indicate that he continued to take it for another reason related to sexual ability.
Over the course of 3 years, Byers drank up to 1,400 doses of radium-infused water
According to records from the American Universities Research Alliance on Nuclear Energy and Radioactivity (ORAU), Byers was known among his Yale colleagues as a “sly grandfather” because of his many female relationships.
Radithor seems to have helped him regain his sexual energy as he reached his late forties. But whatever Byers’ reasons for taking this drug, the side effects were truly devastating.
The terrible fallout of Radithore
After suffering severe weight loss and a chronic headache, Eben Byers faced the shock of his life in 1931 when the bones of his jaw began to gradually disintegrate, until the shape of his face became more brutal as his bones and tissues crumbled.
Perhaps the only positive in all of this is that radium poisoning has the side effect of losing the ability to feel any pain at all.
The medicine that Eben Byers took / Wikipedia
Just as Byers’ jaw began to fall out and he suffered other terrible side effects, the US Federal Trade Commission, a government agency of the US government, began investigating Radithor as a dangerous drug.
Upon learning of his condition, the agency asked Eben Byers to testify, but he was so ill at the time that it sent an attorney, Robert Wynn, to take his statement at his Long Island home.
In his report, Wayne wrote: “It is hard to imagine going through such a horrific experience in such a wonderful place. His entire upper jaw was not present except for the two frontal years, and most of his lower jaw had also fallen off. All the remaining tissue was from His body was disintegrating, holes had already formed in His skull.”
On March 31, 1932, Eben Byers died at the age of 51. Although the medical report indicated that the cause of death was “radium poisoning”, the death actually occurred due to the cancer he developed as a result of doses of “Radithor”.
His body contained such a large amount of radioactive radium that even his breath was contaminated by the radiation; As a result, he was buried in a coffin lined with lead to prevent radiation from seeping into the surrounding soil.
A photo of Byers, after his jaw dropped, can be viewed by clicking here and note that the content is sensitive.
Byers’ death has long been public/Facebook
According to the New York Times, the FTC quickly shut down fake doctor William J. Bailey’s company, although he later claimed he stopped selling cooler because the Great Depression reduced demand for the drug.
The U.S. government also began cracking down on other companies supplying radium-based drugs, especially since Bailey wasn’t the only one at the time.
Bailey continued to defend his estate even after Byers’ death, saying, “I’ve drunk more radium than anyone else alive, and I’ve never experienced any ill effects.” He later died of bladder cancer.
Eventually, the powers of the Federal Trade Commission and the US Food and Drug Administration expanded and the field of drug production and sale became more regulated.
Today, any drug must receive FDA approval to ensure that it is safe enough. Thanks in part to the death of Eben Byers, whose death revolutionized radium therapy and caused the subsequent expansion of the FTC’s powers.
Source: Arabi Post