As a nine-year-old child, Marta recalled seeing her name on a list to go to the doctor’s office. An orphan, she had been living in the National Education Center since the age of six.
Before long, she would be prodded and poked every week for a year, receiving shots in her hip and shoulder, and having blood drawn.
“My mother tells us that she would ask over and over again, ‘why are you doing this if I am not even sick?'” says Luis Estuardo Vasquez Orellana, one of Marta Lidia Orellana Guerra’s five children. His mother, who is still alive today, also underwent unnecessary back surgery and was left to rest hanging upside down on and off in post-surgery recovery for months.
It was 1946, and Ms. Orellana was one of thousands of Guatemalans who were unwittingly subjected to secret human experiments led by US doctors.