she remembers being taken from school to some clinic where she was made to drink some kind of medicine...
Płyn Lugola (literally "Lugol's liquid", or more precisely Lugol's solution
, Lugol's iodine
), in Poland we drank it on May 1st during/after the obligatory Labour's Day parade.
It was like Nathan said, the official news was held secret for a long time (days), until the rumour was wide-spread throughout the country and it was impossible to hide the truth anymore.
Interesting views of professor Zbigniew Jaworowski, a member of some radiation laboratory at that time who suggested using this liquid to prevent toxic assimilation of iodine.
He claims it wasn't necessary (in Polish), but at that time they didn't know the full picture (because the Russians didn't inform about the size of the catastrophe and Polish scientists just assumed the worst case scenario).
And an article from Wprost (in English), where they say that according to UNSCEAR (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation) report the meltdown at Chernobyl wasn't a big deal.
I don't know, I guess it's hard believe it, when you read what people, who visited those lands, are saying. We all know the UN is a corrupted organization :(
Edit: Rzeczpospolita article (in Polish) from 2008, some interesting points:
The body of Zbigniew Wołoszyn, a scientist from the Central Laboratory of Radiological Protection, was found on the ground - the window [of his apartment] was open
Edit time of 15 minutes is too short :)
Other fragments of this last article:
There was no investigation, they called it a suicide, but according to his friends, Wołoszyn, underground „Solidarity” member, carried his own measurements of radiation after the Chernobyl disaster and was gathering proves that all the procedures were wrong and the level of contamination higher. He was supposed to write all the notes and results in a notebook that went missing after his death.
Professor Ida Kinalska (Akademia Medyczna in Białymstok) carried studies „Czarnobyl I” (right after the disaster) i „Czarnobyl II” (10 years later), which showed that the thyroid in many people living in the contaminated areas of NW Poland had absorbed radioactive dust and got bigger, in children there were also bening nodules observed [small tumors, usually not cancer]. Bigger than normal presence of antibodies which results in hyperthyroidism, but most of all 10 times bigger number of patients with thyroid cancer!
And I remember a song, heard at some concert, probably in 1986 or 1987, with the text "Płyn Lugola to nie Coca-Cola"