Eben Byers was an amateur golfer, an alumnus of Yale, and a notorious ladies man, but he is most famous for literally rotting from the inside out after spending three years drinking radium-infused water.
When Byers fell and hurt his arm in 1927, he was prescribed Radithor, a radium-infused elixir sold by a quack doctor named William Bailey. Radithor was supposed to alleviate aches, pains, and even invigorate one sexually. Yet what happened to Byers fell far afield of the positive effects Radithor was supposed to have. Instead, after three years of incessant use, Byers began rotting from the inside. His teeth fell out; his jaw had to be removed; holes formed in his brain and skull; and he eventually perished in 1932 from radium poisoning. Like the ill-fated Radium Girls before him, Byers demonstrated the clear and unequivocal bodily evidence that exposure to radium was lethal.
Byers's tragic death is a story of medical deception and overdose, and it serves as a cautionary tale that there is, in fact, too much of a good thing - especially if that good thing is actually completely lethal.
"The Radium Water Worked Fine Until His Jaw Came Off"
William Bailey, The Man Who Prescribed Byers Radithor, Was A Known Fraud
Byers Probably Took Radithor To Help His Performance In The Bedroom
Byers's Horrific Death Ended The American Public's Romance With Radium-Infused Products