Willowbrook State School's Hepatitis Experiments
on Mentally Ill Children
Several outbreaks of hepatitis were reported shortly after Willowbrook opened its doors, and continued for almost a decade. The outbreaks should have led to increased medical care for the residents, but instead the residents became subjects of a controversial medical experiment.
Adults and children were knowingly injected with the virus that causes hepatitis for a medical study. Some were forced to eat feces from other residents who were infected with the disease.
New York Sen. Robert Kennedy referred to Willowbrook as a "snake pit" after a visit to the school and witnessed the deplorable conditions. Kennedy called for a five-year action plan to improve treatment of patients and the school following his visit. Still, the school remained open.