Imagine living a normal life, and doing things that we perceive as a necessity to live a healthier life and then one day losing our jaw spontaneously without warning. This would indeed be horrific not to say the least. Well let me share, there was a man by the name of Eben Byers, who literally had his jaw fall off. This took place in the beginning of the twentieth century when medical professionals were still experimenting and researching various drugs such as cocaine, and heroin; much of the prescriptions did not have a specified amount needed to take and by today’s standards would be poisonous and even deadly. One particular medication that was often prescribed to patients was a drug called radithor also called radium. Essentially this medication was radioactive water that a patient would be prescribed to drink and ironically it was called “cure for the living dead”. The medication was made in a laboratory based in New Jersey called Bailey Radium who’s founder wasn’t even a medical professional by the name of William J. A. Bailey. William kept lying to his clients about being a doctor, even though he had dropped out of Harvard. He perpetuated a lie that he finished medical school and that the “claims” of him not finishing were erroneous. Of course, the main public trusted him and bought the lie, thinking they would be cured of any type of disease.
The radioactive product was launched in 1918, so called benefits were not elaborated causing mass confusion and false faith in a product. Some even claimed that after a few doses that they were instantly cured and the product was miraculous. News of the product spread all over the country that even an athlete by the name of Eben Byers, who even studied and graduated at Yale believed in the potential of the product. This man had earned many gold metals during the early 1900s. After sometime his father saw him fit and old enough to run his business. Eben took over and became president of Girard Iron Company. In 1927, Eben had a horrible injury on his arm during one of his matches where he developed a wound with too much difficulty with handling the pain. He was then prescribed radithor. The prescription’s directions were to take a small spoonful per day. Suddenly, he began to feel great again, so he thought. This placebo effect that he had and among other had experienced, led him to drink from a spoonful a day to a bottle a day and ultimately, three bottles a day. During the year of 1931, his jaw fell down. Intriguingly enough, he did not feel any pain whatsoever as his major nerves and receptors that were there to control his jaw, were melted away from over time of all the consumption of radioactive water. Apparently he had consumed over 1400 bottles of radithor in a period of a few years. All the nerve damage that he had endured, led him to his demise in 1932 at the age of 51. Of course following the death of the athlete, the company manufacturing (Bailey Radium) was forced to shut down. Shutting down the company didn’t stop Bailey from attempting to rebrand through another marketing name. Whatever is still left of Eben is being studied to this day, high levels of radiation are still contained in his remains.
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