Find here surprises about    

and a documentation of patient-harming frauds in medical research






Baby-blinding retinopathy of prematurity  


reveals dangerous medical bias 


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Hospital nursery abuses of premature babies, and why they continue
by H. Peter Aleff

The brilliant accomplishments of modern medicine are badly tarnished by its antiscientific and dishonest approach to the epidemic of blinding among premature babies which is now called retinopathy of prematurity.  This epidemic broke out in 1940, the year after the introduction of fluorescent lamps at the New York World Fair of 1938/39. Now it accounts in the US for more cases of blindness among children than all other causes combined.

The discoverer of that new eye disease suspected right away that the premature exposure to light outside the dark womb might be the reason for the observed damage to those babies' most light sensitive organ, but several poorly conceived and conducted eye-patching experiments alleged to rule this out.

Instead of correcting the blatant errors in those tests which all had patched the babies much too late, a small group of nursery doctors used the epidemic as a pretext to impose their own agenda which happened to be a survival from the then only recently discredited eugenics movement. 

The leader of that group, a Dr. Algernon Reese, had previously suggested that “defective germ plasm plays an important role” in the blinding.  Then, in the discussion after his lead article about the baby-blinding in the May 1949 issue of the American Medical Association’s Archives of Ophthalmology,  one of his colleagues even recommended to prevent the disease “by selection of parents” and continued (on page 550 top):

let ‘fate’ settle the problem of existence of these defective persons.  Obstetricians and pediatricians should not be so zealous in preserving defective persons, of which the world has a sufficient quantity already.”  (The quote marks around "fate" are in the original;  Reese was the editor of that journal.)

Other like- minded writers in that field at the time described the oxygen supplementation for preemies as an “undeserved subsidy” for "weaklings" who should prove themselves "worthy of survival" by struggling on their own.  To translate their then still openly expressed eugenics views into practice, the trial designers withheld all oxygen supplements from all babies for their first two days.  Then they enrolled only the survivors, after this Draconian asphyxiating had predictably weeded out the babies with the weakest lungs. 

These so killed victims were also those with the most vulnerable eyes who would otherwise have grown up blind, so the trial results reported less eye damage among the more resistant survivors.   They also  omitted to count the babies killed before enrollment,  so the researchers behind this fraud announced that oxygen withholding had not changed the mortality rate and was therefore a safe way to reduce the chances of blinding. 

This knowingly false pronouncement by a prominent panel of leading pediatric ophthalmologists and neonatologists was uncritically accepted by the many doctors who relied on them for guidance, and without further question the oxygen- starving became standard practice virtually overnight in nurseries around the world. 
By so restricting the breathing help for the babies who needed it most, the results of this single and blatantly rigged trial killed year after year many thousands of babies, including more Americans than the Viet Nam war. 
You will find more details about this massacre of the innocents in the two series of web pages which begin at Oxygenwithholding01 and at ResearchFrauds01.

The degree of oxygen withholding is less drastic today than it was during the height of the initial baby- killing spree, but it still leaves many of today's preemies with cerebral palsy and other forms of permanent brain damage from lack of sufficient oxygen during their time of most critical need. 

This cynical research fraud in a study from half a century ago is all the “science” there is behind the long unquestioned doctrine of denying the babies life- saving oxygen supplements in a misguided attempt to prevent damage to their eyes. 

The results of that tricked trial have never been confirmed by any scientific evidence whatsoever.  To the contrary, several later studies that attempted to replicate its results failed to do so, and leading neonatologists admit among themselves that they can neither measure nor control in any way the oxygen concentrations in the retinal vessels where alone they would matter according to their doctrine.  

One of them even wrote in 1988 that the oxygen hypothesis for the blinding is “void of any scientific meaning”

Yet, that meaningless and baby-harming doctrine is still at the core of modern intensive care nursery management.  Many of the practices there revolve around it, to the point where the mostly arbitrary procedures and apparatus devoted to oxygen rationing account for about a third of the billings in what are typically the most profitable departments of their hospitals. 

Oxygen withholding has never been shown to offer the preemies even the slightest benefit against the eye damage, but it often leaves them worse off than if they had merely lost their sight.


On the other hand, there is a mountain of evidence that retinopathy of prematurity is caused directly by the overly bright fluorescent lighting which the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for those nurseries. 

In country after country, the epidemic started soon after the introduction of this then new lighting.  No wonder, because fluorescent lamps happen to concentrate their strongest energy spike in precisely that narrow blue- violet wavelength which inflicts the most damage to all mammalian retinae tested, including those of humans. 
Because the preemies’ eyes are much more transparent to these most damaging short wavelengths than those of older people, they let more of that light through.  As a result, the typical intensive care nursery exposes their retinae in fifteen minutes or less to the amount of damage- weighted retinal irradiance which the US Occupational Safety Guidelines consider as the maximum permissible cumulative daily irradiation dose for the eyes of healthy industrial workers. 

And to make things worse, the still developing retinae of the preemies are much more vulnerable to such radiation damage than the eyes of older people and animals.  (See Babyblinding01.htm and the subsequent pages in that series.) 
An early 1980s study by Glass et al. in two Washington, DC, hospitals found strong correlations between higher light levels and greater incidence as well as severity of blinding.  For the group with the lowest birth weights, and thus highest risk factors, the correlation between eye damage and higher light levels worked out to less than one chance in a hundred that it might be a fluke.  

For all the babies in all the groups, the chances were almost 19 in 20 that the more intense light was connected with the blinding (NEJM, 1985, 313, pages 401 to 404, and see Babyblindinglights07.htm?#next study).

However, the light- defending baby- doctors quibbled about the before- and- after format of the study.  They suddenly found that format invalid although it was the same as in their much touted and unconditionally accepted oxygen- starving show trial which condemned many preemies to a slow and agonizing death by asphyxiation, and again the same in a more recent study of oxygen rationing that was published in 2003 to help justify the strict monitoring of a non measurable quantity. 

Even worse, the medical interpreters of this light- condemning result completely reversed the approach to risk that is normal in all other fields.  The common- sense approach is to remove a suspected agent if there is any hint that it might be connected with harm, particularly if that agent is as unnecessary and obviously unnatural as bright lights for a baby that still belongs in an unlit womb. 

Inexplicably, the Glass study authors as well as all their medical critics spoke of the shading as a treatment to be evaluated.  None of them seemed to realize that the light exposure itself was and is the treatment, as in the common treatment for bilirubin under lamps only two to three times brighter than standard nursery lighting.  

Shading the babies was actually a reduction in dosage of the low- level phototherapy treatment which the nurseries had been administering all along randomly to all their helpless inmates under their standard lighting. 
The nursery lighting prescribed by the American Academy of Pediatrics is a huge undeclared and uncontrolled experiment with a potent therapeutic agent that has known inherent dangers, as demonstrated by the need for eye patches under bilirubin lamps.  This strong medicine gets imposed on the patients indiscriminately, for no discernible benefit, and with devastating effects. 
This semantic confusion between a treatment and its partial withdrawal triggered in the doctors involved their conditioned reflex that a “treatment” must meet certain standards of documenting its efficacy before it can be accepted.  Their dangerously mindless reaction made them ignore all normal logic which would have demanded an immediate alert against the high light levels which were so strongly associated with the blinding. 

Or would you willingly expose your newborn child to those bright lights if you knew there were 19 chances out of 20 that this light could harm her or his eyes?  

Yet, the typical nursery doctors oblige all parents of preemies to accept this danger- associated exposure, without telling them anything about its well documented risks.  


To cover up these potentially embarrassing risks and to falsely exonerate the nursery lights, a group of pediatric retinal surgeons and neonatologists staged from 1995 to 98 another rigged trial, called LIGHT-ROPAs in a Ponzi scheme, they piled on additional frauds to hide the earlier deceptions.
The designers of this trial knew that the damage they claimed to study typically accumulates in just a few minutes, as documented in several of the studies they themselves cited.  However, they delayed the eye- shielding in their allegedly protected group for up to 24 hours and then found, predictably, no difference in blinding between the “protected” and “unprotected” babies which had all been equally over-exposed.

This deliberately misleading approach was approved without question at all the levels of the National Eye Institute's review process.
I obtained through the Freedom of Information Act a copy of the Manual of Procedures for that rigged LIGHT-ROP trial and posted relevant excerpts from it, as well as some letters and reports from its authors, in the series of web pages that begins at

For your convenience, I bookmarked some of the salient passages in that Manual where the authors' own words reveal their willful ignorance of the studies they themselves cite, including those that document the authors’ knowledge of the short exposure times required for the eye damage.

This now electronic paper trail enables you to judge for yourself how callously un- Hippocratic, blatantly hypocritical, and clearly contrary to all common sense or scientific logic this mainstream example of "ethical" modern medical research turns out to be.
Other bookmarked passages in that Manual show
the authors' gross ethics violations towards the babies in their careless care.  For instance, they ask the nursery staff to ensure maximum exposure of the unprotected group to the agent which the authors describe as potentially and probably harmful, and to remove the blankets that parents and compassionate nurses in other nurseries often drape over the incubators to protect the babies in them at least a little from the harsh lights.  

The authors wanted “greater contrast between the groups”, as if human babies were expendable guinea pigs that can be sacrificed for science. 
For a detailed discussion of the scientific frauds and patients’ rights’ violations in that trial, see
Medifrauds01.htm as well as the “Sovereign Doctors” series of pages in that site section.
The alleged governmental watchdog agencies that are supposed to protect the public from such frauds, and from the many other ethics violations in that and other trials, saw nothing wrong with it. 
To the contrary, they let this unethical and fraudulent trial proceed right while President Clinton offered his much publicized apologies for earlier medical abuses of the very same kind

Despite the ritual "never again" rhetoric of those apologies, the U.S. government's allegedly fail- safe protections against medical abuses have again all failed, as they had failed for the infamous Tuskeegee Study and for the Human Radiation Experiments.  And in case you might think such aberrations are safely past, you will discover that the current alleged protections are still designed to fail again

The series on Bogus Bioethics exposes the dishonesty of the medical- governmental complex which projects a façade of concern for patients and for "medical ethics" but disdains its proclaimed mission.  The alleged guardians of the public against medical abuses refused to intervene against the harmful and ongoing abuse of human babies in their country's nurseries.  They helped instead to cover up this widespread medical malpractice.

In the Sovereign Doctors series, you can follow the "progress" of my complaint against the frauds in the LIGHT-ROP trial as it continues to wind its way through the maze of Kafka's castle

The various government agencies and blue- ribbon ethics commissions that were ostensibly created to prevent such violations of patients’ rights and such flagrant scientific fraud, all evaded the questions and saw nothing wrong with that plainly inhumane and dishonest study.  They all sovereignly refused to address any of the objections against the fraudulent trial. 

As the representative of my district,  U.S. Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo made several attempts to obtain official answers to my never refuted charges.  His and his staff's repeated efforts yielded no such answers, but they led instead to the instructive documentation assembled on this site about how the present alleged patient protection system is set up to snuff such complaints.  

The Congressional Research Office even lied to US Congressman LoBiondo about having conducted the investigation of the bogus trial he had requested. They told him that they believed all possible safety precautions had been followed during the course of the study, and that there was no reason not to believe the results of the study are valid and meaningful.

However, when he asked them for the written record of their investigation, such as memos, notes, correspondence, or reports, they were unable to produce any.


The detailed documentation on this site of the above statements and more lets you observe in vivo the medical system at work, and how it failed to detect and correct a guild- protecting nursery myth that passes for medical science.  You can examine here why those doctrine- caused medical malpractices against preemies and the lies to their parents are still a common routine in intensive care nurseries to this day.

Moreover, the current regulations for the public's protection against those harmful breaches of trust are still written in such a way that the infamous Tuskegee Study would be approved again without question if the same protocol was submitted today under a different name.


To help inform parents about some of the dangers to their child in the nursery, our "Protect your baby" page offers you a helpful checklist by Margie Watson, mother of a prematurely born daughter and advocate for the safety of preemies.  She tells you a few simple things which you can do to protect your baby from some of the unacknowledged dangers to preemie eyes in the typical intensive care nursery

If you or one of your relatives or friends are expecting a baby, please read and copy this practical advice and be alert to those dangers.  Prematurity is common and can happen for reasons unknown or unforeseen, and there is always a risk that a baby might happen to arrive too early. 

It helps therefore to be forewarned if s/he has to spend any time in an intensive care nursery.  The environment there is said to represent the doctors' attempt to reproduce that of the womb, and it reflects their apparent belief that wombs are brightly lit.  However, it resembles more that of a factory -- except that intensive care nurseries are less regulated and less safety- oriented than most industrial plants.

The page on Macular Degeneration explores the possibility that prolonged childhood exposure to the same retina- damaging radiation which quickly blinds the preemies may also be involved in the now growing epidemic of much slower retinal damage which accumulates over a lifetime of light exposure.  This slower damage now blinds older people much earlier than usual and in ever greater numbers

The victims come from the first generation that spent its school years under fluorescent lamps, and there are compelling reasons for suspecting a link.  The early retinal damage may use up much of the photo- receptors' limited renewal capacity and so cause these to degenerate significantly sooner than normal. 

Raising school children under fluorescent lamps is therefore an entirely uncontrolled large- scale experiment with a radiation that is known to cause retinal damage and that has the potential to produce disastrous long- term outcomes.


The page titled FAQ on ROP ending discusses some of the reasons why the baby-blinding epidemic continues, and why there has been not more of a public outcry about the casual cruelties in today's intensive care nurseries.

An example of these cruelties against preemies is described in the article by Jill Lawson which is posted here with her kind permission at Preemie Pain

The series about Parents' Concerns reproduces a speech about Environmental Issues and Developmental Care in intensive care nurseries which Helen Harrison, author of the acclaimed Premature Baby Book, gave to a pediatric conference and which she kindly allowed me to include here.

In Skeptics' Test, I applied to the baby doctors' claims a checklist for Baloney Detection which  Michael Shermer, founding publisher of Skeptic magazine and author of a monthly column on skeptical thinking in Scientific American, suggested for screening dubious claims.   I posted the results as an open letter to him and the editors at Scientific American, asking them to speak up against the continuing child abuses by the pediatric priesthood and to help expose the cover- ups by the medical hierarchy.  I received no reply. 

The page Help for Victims? proposes that medical malpractice lawyers take a new look at the intensive care nursery epidemics of baby- blinding retinopathy of prematurity and oxygen- deprivation- caused cerebral palsy.  

The US Supreme Court's rulings against junk science now oblige even big- titled experts to support their assertions, so the nursery doctors can no longer deny their patient- harming routines unchallenged.  The documentation assembled here makes it easy to show that their doctrine has no more substance than the legendary emperor's new clothes.  


The series on TV transcripts reproduces some TV reports about the baby-blinding issue, and that on Print coverage contains a selection of press articles about it.


To help spread the message about the dangers to preemies and other children, all the writings on this site are  free.  You can read and copy them online, or you can download the free e-book in which some of the articles are compiled.  Please pass this information on to anyone who might be concerned.



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