Vulnerable, first-time single mom Sharrissa Cook signed up for what sounded like a support group after she delivered her son, Dreshan, born at 25 weeks and weighing a feather-light 1 pound, 11 ounces.
Instead, Cook, then 26, unknowingly put her critically ill, preemie son into a federally funded, experimental trial that subjected babies to the risk of brain injury, blindness and even death.
“I was under the impression this was more of a support group … where they would be holding our hand throughout the process,” she told a public meeting hosted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last August.
Cook’s confusion stems from the experiment’s name, SUPPORT, which stands for Surfactant, Positive Pressure and Oxygenation Randomized Trial.
Instead of a support group, what she actually joined was a controversial, federally financed research effort to determine the best oxygen levels for severely premature infants.
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