November 14, 1997
Slobodan Milošević Youth Hospital
Second Floor: Girls Dormitories
This is nothing like drug trials, or any kind of human experimentation that takes place in the states. Sure there are fewer ethical concerns here, that was apparent when I took the job. I didn’t, however, expect to feel so much like a God. UPR has given me virtually unlimited access to the test subjects for experimental trials. I have complete medical records, patient histories, and the full backing of the staff and security to compel patients to participate in any and all testing.
Fortunately, I haven’t needed to use these privileges, yet, but still. I can stroll around any wing of the hospital with impunity. It’s almost like the other staff wants me to exploit my power. Even as I write this, I’m sitting in the common area of the girls dormitories, well after hours. Obviously, that would never fly stateside. Here though the nurses encourage it.
Of course, I would never consider doing anything untowards, but there’s a near sociopathic apathy towards the patients that’s fascinating and tantalizing.
I suspect, as these trials continue, there will be ample opportunity for side experimentation. Though nothing immediately comes to mind, it’s too good an opportunity to pass up.
Patients have adapted quickly to the trial conditions. It’s easy to forget that we are, essentially, working with children, and that they have a proclivity to restlessness, which is compounded by the drug. Over the past two days, patients have quickly adapted to a 24 hour schedule.
While in my previous note, I mused about the ethicality of lounging in the girls dormitories, the reality is that it’s mostly empty at night. The children scurry about the hospital like rats, and the last thing they seem to want is to return to their beds. It makes getting work done particularly difficult.
Aside from that, there’s nothing exceptional to report. Reported side effects include dry mouth, jitters, anxiety, inability to focus, and some minor palpitations. Nothing worse than a small dose of cocaine or amphetamine, or a particularly strong cup of coffee.
Much to my chagrin, a small subset of patients have taken obsessively rambling. It’s not all that unlike the behavior of a cocaine addict, but given the backgrounds that these patients come from. War, dead, abuse, famine, it doesn’t make for the most enjoyable small talk.
There’s also the baby.
No one feels comfortable around the baby.
That is all there is to report for today. Expect additional notes soon.
Dr. William H. Cleary, MD, PhD
Senior Research Scientist, United Pharmaceutical Research