Dr. John Henry Hagmann, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who now teaches soldiers and military medical personnel, has been suspended for a series of deeply fucked-up-sounding experiments that involved torturing live pigs and dosing his students with ketamine and alcohol, then forcing them to perform dubious, highly sexualized medical experiments on each other. He’s been paid more than $10.5 million by the federal government to do all that.

Hagmann’s practices came to light through this extraodinary investigative story by John Shiffman at Reuters. He reports that Hagmann retired from the Army in 2000 and formed the benign-sounding Deployment Medicine International, which focused on teaching military personnel how to treat battlefield wounds. They did that by shooting, stabbing, and otherwise wounding live pigs, a practice which PETA and other animal rights groups have long called barbaric and unncessary.


That’s the last stop Hagmann made in barely-legitimate science before, according to Shiffman, veering into outright quackery. He’s accused of giving his students alcohol and ketamine, sometimes together, to test their impacts on the body, or, as a report from the Virginia medical board put it, so he “could assess the effects of these substances on their cognition.” (They fuck you up, John. That’s how they work.) He also forced the students to catheterize each other and perform penile nerve blocks, which is exactly what it sounds like.

The Virginia medical investigators also accuse him outright of “exploit[ing], for personal gain and sexual gratification,” at least two of his students. In one incidence mentioned in the report, Shiffman reports, he supposedly bragged about his skill in administering rectal exams, then took the student to a warehouse on his property. Shiffman continues:

There, the report claims, the two “continued to consume beer” and Hagmann asked the student “about the effect (the student’s) uncircumcised penis had on masturbation and sexual intercourse.” The student told investigators “that he was inebriated and felt that he could not refuse Dr. Hagmann’s request … to examine, manipulate and photograph his penis.”

Hagmann defended that one in a statement to Reuters by saying that the “historical link between masturbation and circumcision” was a hot topic in scientific research. Mmm, perhaps, but probably not in research on how best to train soldiers on how to dress battlefield wounds.


Hagmann’s medical license has been suspended since March and he stands to lose it for good during a June 19 hearing before the medical board in Virginia. In the meantime, PETA says it obtained an undercover video of the live-pig-torturing in 2013, which they posted to YouTube two days ago. Be warned: it is, as you might expect from the above descriptions, extremely graphic and very disturbing.

Contact the author at anna.merlan@jezebel.com.
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Screengrab via YouTube/PETA