Plutonium Injections – Patient HP-10

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

Daniel Nelson

Daniel Nelson

Daniel H. Nelson was born 31 Oct. 1893 in Rochester, NY. He was the son of John W. Nelson. In the 1900 census Daniel, aged 7 was living with his father, John at 1 Pine Alley in Rochester. The father was aged 42 and born in Georgia. Also living them was John’s wife, Fannie (age 36). The census record states that they were only married 5 years so Fannie is probably Daniel’s step-mother. John Nelson died 15 July 1904 of consumption aged 41 and was buried on 17 July in the Single Grave section of Mt. Hope Cemetery in Rochester. Fannie Nelson died 12 Jan 1909 at age 43.

Daniel served in the Army during WWI as a PFC from 3 Aug. 1918 until 19 Jan. 1919. He would find that military service valuable later in life.

From 1919 to 1945 Daniel lived mostly in Newark, NJ working as a cook according to later government records. His family says that he was a janitor and plasterer. While in Rochester in March 1946 to visit family members, he suffered a heart attack and was admitted to Rochester Municipal Hospital and moved on 7 July to Strong Memorial Hospital. Daniel was injected on 16 July 1946 with .374 microcuries of plutonium. That is 53 times the amount of radiation that a person receives in a lifetime. When discharged 15 Aug. 1945 from the hospital, he had no place to convalesce so he went to a veteran’s facility at Mount McGregor, NY.

Government records said he was “like a rolling stone” and they lost track of him for years. Daniel died 2 June 1957 at aged 63 of heart failure in Philadelphia, PA. He was buried in the Beverly National Cemetery (a veteran cemetery) in Beverly, NJ.