In 1996, Hoi Yan “Nicole” Wan, a healthy sophomore at the University of Rochester needed some pocket money. So she decided to sign up, without her parents’ permission, for a clinical trial that paid $150. The researchers inserted a tube down her throat and into her lungs to see the effects of pollution on her respiratory system, a common procedure called a bronchoscopy.
But what Nicole did not know was that they took far more cell samples than originally outlined in the proposal. And as they took more samples from her lungs, they increased the dose of her anesthetic, Lidocaine, far above the levels approved by the FDA. She was released feeling incredibly weak and in enormous amounts of pain, and two days later was found dead. An autopsy revealed that lethal levels of Lidocaine, due to malpractice in the study, had caused her heart to stop beating and the rest of her body to fail along with it.