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My experience of trying to donate myself to research

By Edward A Forbes

The Bulletin

I once entertained the idea of donating my body to medical science, but I was discouraged when they wanted $100 to take it and $25 a month to keep it. Ha, an exaggeration of course.

I have been receiving emails and texts about participating in clinical trials for new drugs and vaccines for some time and decided to look into DM Clinical Research and what being a participant entailed.

I called DM Clinical Research and was given an 11 a.m. appointment. I chose the Sugarland location because it was the nearest. I decided to vary my route and take FM 521 to Hwy. 6. This actually looked faster, according to the ever-faithful GPS.

The old 521 has changed a lot over the past years. It now features several subdivisions and the subsequent traffic they provide. But it was still a more relaxing drive than the Hwy. 288 racetrack and the Hwy. 6 traffic at that intersection. I felt very peaceful until I turned onto Hwy.

6 and found myself in the stop-and-go but very fast traffic.

I think my GPS decided to get even with me for talking ugly to it, because it took me to an incorrect address - the police station.

I rerouted myself and discovered that I was confused by the sign that announced I was at 1211 and 1111 Hwy. 6. It turns out that it was a building with half of it serving as an emergency room and the other half as medical offices. I verified that I was in the correct building and asked for directions to suite 250.

“Upstairs and next to the elevator,” I was informed.

I sprinted up the flight of stairs; O.K., I walked up the flight of stairs and arrived at the correct place four minutes early. I was awarded with a package of forms to fill out that included the ever-present HIPPA form. I had also filled out forms online when I made my appointment, but this did not excuse me from filling them all out again.

As another reward for being four minutes early, I waited 45 minutes before being seen by a Physician’s Assistant. In my experience, a good PA or Family Nurse Practitioner is not a downgrade from the physician. She began a thorough health survey.

I refused to be outdone by her efficiency, and when she asked about lab work, I produced the last two reports, a typed list of all prescription and over-the-counter medications I take. I also gave her the name, address, and phone number of my Primary Care Physician and a list of all medical diagnoses and hospitalizations.

After all this, she told me I would be paid $100, receive a lunch ticket and a $25 gas allowance if I was accepted in the study for a vaccine for RSV (respiratory syncytial virus).

This was to be a two-year study with four office visits per year at $175 plus some gas money.

Not a fortune, but welcome addition to my Social Security check.

Now, all that remained were my vital signs. Blood pressure was good; the temperature was good; weight (I had lost 8 pounds since April) was also good. My height was 5 feet, 3 inches.

What?? In April, I was 5 feet, 4 ½ inches. How could I shrink 1 ½ inches in three months?

That was not all the bad news. My BMI was two points over the study’s parameters for test subjects. I flunked out.

I received a pat on my short, bald head, a debit card for $100, but no gas money or lunch. I guess they wanted me to start dieting.

The good news was they might have studies in the near future I would qualify for. I was afraid to ask what type of studies they might be.

I can’t wait to see for what I qualify, perhaps the incredible shrinking man, or the study of hair growth on ears. I anxiously await their call.

(Email Edward at or send comments by mail to The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX. 77516.)


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