Herb Green

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Dr 'George Herbert "Herb" Green'

George Herbert "Herb" Green (1916–2001) was the doctor at the centre of the Cartwright Inquiry, a commission set up to examine claims that he had been illegally experimenting on patients without their consent between 1966 and 1987. The inquiry found that he had conducted a study between 1966 and 1987 in which the cases of women with major cervical abnormalities were followed without definitive treatment, in an attempt to prove his "personal belief" that these abnormalities were "not a forerunner of invasive cancer."[1]

After Green retired, a paper[2] was published in 1984 discussing the outcome of Green's management of his patients. This paper came to the attention of Phillida Bunkle and Sandra Coney, who published an article entitled "An Unfortunate Experiment" in Metro Magazine in June 1987.[3] (The full phrase "an unfortunate experiment at National Women's Hospital" first appeared the year before in the New Zealand Medical Journal, in a letter from Professor David Skegg.[4]) The main media then used the term "unfortunate experiment" extensively.

A 2010 study comparing patients diagnosed with cervical carcinoma in situ during Green's study period with those diagnosed beforehand and afterwards found that his patients were at substantially greater risk of cancer and were subjected to numerous extra tests that were intended to observe rather than treat their conditions. It concluded that eight women died as a result.[5][6]

Green graduated from Otago Medical School in 1945 and retired in the early 1980s, before the publication of the article in Metro. His specialities were gynaecology and obstetrics and he wrote a textbook on the subject that underwent several revisions.

He was born in Balclutha on 16 November 1916 and died in St John's Hospital, Auckland on 4 March 2001.[7][8][9]


Various individuals in the industry have confirmed that Green also operated as an abortionist at the Auckland Medical Aid Centre.


  1. http://www.womens-health.org.nz/index.php?page=summary-of-findings-and-recommendations-from-cartwright-report Cartwright Inquiry - Summary of findings and recommendations
  2. Template:Cite journal
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  5. "Unfortunate experiment" led to eight deaths, ONE News, 2 June 2010.
  6. Template:Cite journal
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  8. New Zealand Herald 2001; Death Notice 6 March page C14 & Obituary 8 March page A3
  9. Template:Cite news