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TV EXCLUSIVE: Family Says Penn Didn’t Protect Researcher Who Died After Working With Dangerous Radiation

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(credit: CBS) Walt Hunter
Eyewitness News Reporter Walt Hunter is one of the market's ...
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By Walt Hunter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Barbara Boyer’s first thoughts when she learned her 47-year-old husband Jeff was dying: how to tell the two young daughters he adored.

“As Jeff continued to deteriorate, my answer was, ‘Daddy will not get better,’” she told CBS3’s Walt Hunter in a TV Exclusive interview.

Neuroscientist Jeff Ware died on October 23, 2011 from a rare form of brain cancer. A lawsuit filed this week claims it was caused by exposure to radiation as he worked in a research lab at the University of Pennsylvania’s Medical School. Ware, it’s alleged, was not properly protected as, ironically, he searched to find ways to protect astronauts from deadly radiation.

“Penn has withheld documents, withheld data on what radiation levels really were,” Boyer’s attorney, Aaron Freiwald, told CBS 3.

Boyer also claims she was shocked to learn after her husband’s death that, as he underwent surgeries trying to survive, he was in an experimental study without anyone asking permission.

Finally, Boyer says, she fears her husband may not be the only one exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, and she hopes the lawsuit will alert them to dangers they might never have known they were facing.

In an email statement, Susan E. Phillips, Senior Vice President and Secretary of the Board at Penn Medicine, wrote: “We believe these charges are completely without merit and intend to vigorously defend this lawsuit.”

CBS3 reached out to others named in the lawsuit, and those we were able to contact declined comment.

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