Plutonium Injections – Patient HP-5

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

Paul Galinger

Paul Galinger

Paul R. Galinger was born 4 Jan. 1889 to Henry and Elizabeth Galinger. Paul had a younger sister Mable E. Galinger. The family is living in Waterloo, NY in the 1900 census. Also living with the family is Elizabeth’s mother Elizabeth Sharp, aged 67.

About 1910, Paul marries Allena B. —–, born about 1891. They have just one son, Paul A. Galinger that was born about 1912 and was said to be handicapped.

Paul and his family first show in the Rochester City directories in 1919 as living at 483 Lyell Ave. The 1920 census states that they lived in a rear apartment at that address. Paul is first a mechanic and then a foreman in the machine shop of American Laundry Machine on Buffalo Road. About 1926 they move to a home on Glide Street. The young Paul A. Galinger dies on 14 Aug. 1944.

In 1945 Paul is admitted to Strong Memorial Hospital suffering from pneumonia and ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). He was described as a tall, thin man with trembling hands and slow speech. Then on 30 Nov. 1945 he was injected with .31 microcuries of plutonium. That was 44 times the amount of radiation that a person receives in their lifetime. Paul was released but didn’t live much longer. He died on 29 April 1946 at aged 57 of bronchopneumonia as a complication of his ALS. He is buried in Waterloo, NY. In 1973, Paul’s next of kin (probably his widow) refused government permission to have him exhumed.

His widow, Allena, lived for at least 10 more years on Glide Street and then on Fillmore Street and eventually moved to Hilton, NY. She died in Hilton on 16 April 1985 and she was also buried in Waterloo, NY.