July 27, 1998

Contact: Michael J. Schoenfeld

615-322-NEWS (6397)


Federal judge approves Craft Settlement


NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Federal District Court Judge John Nixon today approved the settlement in Craft v. Vanderbilt et al, a class-action suit filed on behalf of participants in a series of nutrition studies using a radioactive tracer that took place more than 50 years ago. Vanderbilt University contributed $9.1 million toward the settlement.

In a statement on the settlement, Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor for University Relations and General Counsel Jeff Carr today said:

"Judge Nixon's approval today of the settlement in the Craft case as being fair and reasonable concludes this matter.

"The case arose out of medical research conducted in the 1940s, a time when the level of care on the part of scientific researchers in explaining research to patients was much different than it is today. As the case proceeded, we determined that there was a lack of evidence that participants in this research, which examined dietary iron requirements during pregnancy, were told that they were being given a radioactive tracer. Nor were they told of the purposes of a follow-up epidemiology study conducted in the 1960s to assess their subsequent health histories.

"With the conclusion of litigation, it is right and timely for Vanderbilt to apologize to those who unknowingly received radioactive iron and I extend that apology.

"The use of the radioactive tracer was the most accurate scientific tool available in the 1940s for measuring the rate of absorption of nutritional iron. Those conducting the studies believed that the tracer posed no risk of harm to participants, and the study, including the use of the radioactive tracer, was announced by the University, reported at the time in both Nashville newspapers and the results published in the scientific literature. For more than twenty-five years Vanderbilt has had detailed policies requiring informed and documented consent for participants in research."


Vanderbilt University is a private research university of approximately 5,900 undergraduates and 4,300 graduate and professional students. Founded in 1873, the University comprises 10 schools, a public policy institute, a distinguished medical center and The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center. Vanderbilt offers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, education and human development, engineering and music, and a full range of graduate and professional degrees.

For more news about Vanderbilt, visit the News and Public Affairs home page on the Internet at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/News.

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Document updated June 1, 1998.