Dr. Richard Ward, Professor, Medical Epidemiology, Centre of Appled
Entomology and Parasitology, Keele University, UK
WebPosted Sep 27 2000 2:18 PM EDT
VICTORIA - A genetic researcher at Oxford University has promised to
return the blood samples he collected from nearly 900 Nuu-chah-nulth
donors back in the mid-1980s.
Dr. Richard Ward collected the blood for an arthritis study. The
Nuu-chah-nulth only recently found out that Ward had used the samples
for other research as well, without their permission.
Ward's promise isn't good enough for Chief Larry Baird of the Ucluelet
First Nation. He and his family were among the many donors who gave
blood samples. "We are not going to be used as a bunch of guinea pigs,"
he says. "We are not a bunch of fools. We will do what we have to do to
Chief Baird wants Ward held accountable for what happened to the blood.
He intends to press for that on Friday, when the Nuu-chah-nulth tribal
council meets to discuss the issue.
The promised return of the blood is potentially good news for the many
Nuu-chah-nulth people suffering from arthritis.
Karen Frank is a health worker on the Ahouset Reserve. Arthritis runs in
her family. She wants to see the blood used for new medical research.
"There is always progress happening," says Frank. "Maybe they'll find
some way to help my family, because I see one of my sisters really
suffering with her pain."
It appears B.C. medical researchers are ready to help. The University of
British Columbia and some Vancouver Island doctors say they are willing
to assist the Nuu-chah-nulth in storing the blood, and devising new
research strategies into arthritis.