Plutonium Injections – Patient HP-3

This biography is in honor of one of the patients that were injected with plutonium in Rochester, NY during WWII.

A young Eda Lach

A young Eda Lach

Eda Wilhelmina (Lach) Schultz Charlton, born 1 April 1897, is the youngest of four daughters born to August Lach and Henrietta Olsowsky. August and Henrietta were probably married in Germany and came to the US in the late 1890s. They were living in Geneva, NY in 1920 but couldn’t be found in earlier census records.

Eda married Luther F. Schultz about 1917 (1930 census) and they had only son, Luther Frederick Schultz Jr. who was born 4 Mar 1920 (SSDI). He was almost always referred to as Fred Schultz. The family was living in Geneva in 1920 and 1930.  They show up in the 1941 Rochester city directory living at 387 Sawyer Street and with Luther as a tool maker. In 1942 they are living at 899 Chili Avenue and Luther is listed as an inspector. They don’t show up in any Rochester directories after that but family members say that Luther died in 1944 and that after he died Eda worked for a short time at Kodak.

Eda

Eda

Eda was admitted to the Strong Memorial Hospital suffering from a rash, hepatitis and hypoproteinemia (a condition with very small amounts of protein in blood plasma). In the medical records, she is described as having dark eyes and wavy brown hair. She was injected 27 Nov. 1945 with .30 microcuries of plutonium. That is 43 times the radiation that a normal person would get in their lifetime. She was released from the hospital 20 Dec. 1945. On 25 July 1946 she fell down her basement steps and suffered from vertigo for the rest of her life.

Eda marries (Joseph) Howard Charlton and they lived in Canandaigua for many years. Howard died 24 May 1962 at aged 67 in Canandaigua but was buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Penfield, NY.

An older Eda

An older Eda

Eda was asked to return to Strong Memorial Hospital for follow-ups and she remained there from 28 Jan. – 28 Feb. 1973. Either at that time or within the next year, Eda was told that she had some radioactive material injected in her in 1945 but probably not told that it was plutonium. From that time until she died, Eda had a fear that she had cancer. Still, she returned to Strong for even more follow-ups 23 – 24 Jan. 1979.

Late in her life, Eda moved into Elm Manor Nursing Home in Canandaigua where she died 24 Jan. 1983 at aged 85 of acute cardiac arrest. She was buried in lot SM 41 of White Haven Memorial Park in Perinton, NY.

Eda's tombstone

Eda's tombstone