The Tragic Story of Eben Byers, whose jaw was shattered by radioactive drugs

The Tragic Story of Eben Byers, whose jaw was shattered by radioactive drugs

The period up to the beginning of the 20th century, that is, before modern medicine, was quite interesting and controversial. Even drugs that are scientifically proven to be extremely dangerous today were among the main treatment methods of that period! However, “medicines”, which were in fact no different from poisons, were also used for the treatment of many diseases. Until technology developed and modern medicine became a part of our lives, many people had to struggle with major health problems. In addition, many people lost their lives due to these so-called treatment methods. Eben Byers was one of those who had the misfortune of being “cured” when medicine could not cure people like today.

Byers had to use a “medicine” containing a high amount of radioactive material for a long time due to incorrect treatment. Byers, who was exposed to radioactive material for a long time, died quite tragically in 1932. When Byers’ body was exhumed years later for an autopsy, it still contained radioactive material. Here is the tragic story of Eben Byers, one of the most famous victims of radioactive treatment methods…

Finding the Radithor “medicine”

eben byres

Eben Byers’ death was caused by the so-called “Radithor” drug. Radithor was a radioactive drug containing the very dangerous substance “radium”.

This so-called drug was first produced by a pharmaceutical company owned by a man named William JA Bailey in the US state of New Jersey. Bailey had never been a real doctor as he dropped out of his medical studies at Harvard University! However, he was always lying to people that he was a doctor.

The pharmaceutical company owned by Bailey discovered that radium had very beneficial effects on humans and launched a drug called Radithor. Moreover, this drug was launched with the slogan “a cure for the living dead” to emphasize its benefits for human health! In fact, the pharmaceutical company knew that radium was a very dangerous substance. However, he had the mistaken belief that radium would be “safe” if used with water. The drug went on sale all over America in 1918. Many doctors have prescribed this dangerous drug and many people have used it. Some patients who used the drug for a short time even thought that the drug was quite beneficial due to the placebo effect. Byers’ story, however, was much longer and much more pathetic.

Eben Byers meeting Radithor

eben byres

Born in 1880, Eben Byers was the son of a wealthy family. For this reason, he received a good education. He was also a very successful athlete. After completing his education, he took over the management of the family business…

However, Byers’ life would change completely in 1927. Byers injured his arm at a sporting event that year. Although it looked like a simple sports injury, Eben Byers was in more pain than usual. At this point, he consulted a doctor for treatment. The doctor recommended using Radithor for a more effective and quick treatment. This is how the process that would lead to the death of Eben Byers began.

Eben Byers used the radioactive drug for many years.

Eben Byers felt so good the first time he took the drug that he used it for many years! He started to use one bottle of the drug a day, which he consumed with a small spoon at the beginning, and up to three bottles a day as time passed. Eben Byers, addicted to the dangerous drug, used more than 1,400 bottles of Radithor from 1927 to 1931.

The radioactive material took effect in 1931 and caused Byers’ jaw to disappear!

In 1931, Eben Byers faced the heavy bill of using radioactive materials for many years! Byers’ jaw was destroyed by the use of radioactive material! However, nearly all the internal organs and bones of the unfortunate man were severely dismembered. Also, every nerve in his body had melted! For this reason, Eben Byers felt no pain. The drug, which was launched with the slogan “A cure for the living dead”, had indeed turned him into a living dead.

The tragic death of Eben Byers

Some real doctors tried to help Byres to get out of this preposterous situation. A new chin has been made for Byres! However, his internal organs were irreversibly damaged. For this reason, he died in 1932. Byres had used radioactive material for so long that when his body was exhumed for autopsy in 1965, it still contained radioactive material. After this incident, the company that produced the so-called drug called Radithor was closed. However, the same drug continued to be sold under different names.

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