The Nurses Are Innocent: The Digoxin Poisoning Fallacy

The Nurses Are Innocent: The Digoxin Poisoning Fallacy

by Gavin Hamilton MD FRCP(C)

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Overview

Gavin Hamilton’s research shows that a toxin found in natural rubber might well have been the culprit in the 43 babies’ deaths at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children in 1980–81.

In 1980-81, 43 babies died at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children from a supposed digoxin overdose. Serial murder was suspected, leading to the arrest of nurse Susan Nelles. In order to clear Nelles’s name, an investigation was launched to find an alternate explanation.

No one on the Grange Royal Commission of Inquiry had expertise in diagnosis. The post-mortem diagnosis of digoxin poisoning was based on a single biochemical test without knowledge of the normal values. Gavin Hamilton’s extensive research shows that a toxin found in natural rubber, a digoxin-like substance, might well have been the culprit in the babies’ deaths. He clearly demonstrates that explanations other than serial murder account for the cluster of infant deaths at HSC.

What can be learned from this black stain on Canada’s judicial system? One lesson certainly stands out: we can’t ever again allow a group of unqualified amateur diagnosticians make life-and-death decisions about such important matters as potential serial murders.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781459700574
Publisher: Dundurn Press
Publication date: 11/05/2011
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Gavin Hamilton grew up in St. Thomas, Ontario, and attended UWO Medical School. After practising family medicine for nine years, he studied diagnostic radiology, receiving the fellowship diploma, then practicing as a private radiologist with the rank of assistant professor until retirement. He lives in London, Ontario.

Table of Contents

In Memoriam 9

Foreword 13

Preface 17

Introduction 19

Part I Toxic and Allergenic Medical Rubber Contaminants in Injections 27

1 A Simple New Technique to Show Kidney Vascularity 29

2 Physiologic and Allergic Reactions to IVP Dye Injections 41

3 Anaphylactic Shock Following an IVP Dye Injection 47

4 A Hidden and Unsuspected Allergenic Hazard in Pharmaceutical Rubber 49

5 Concealing, Revealing, Then Inaction on the Hazardous Contamination of Medical Rubber MBT in Injected X-Ray Dyes, Pharmaceuticals, Allergy Desensitization "Shots," IV Fluids, and Blood 54

6 A Preventable Repeat Performance 69

7 Inaction on Rubber Contamination Leaching into Pharmaceuticals Worldwide 77

8 Control of Medical Journal Content: Suppressing the MBT Contamination Warning 91

9 An Expensive New X-Ray Dye, Shown by Statistics to Reduce Serious Side Effects 104

10 Misdirected Protection by Government Health Protection Agencies, Allowing the Health Hazard of MBT to Extend Beyond 2000 113

11 A Rubber Contaminant Linked to an Epidemic of Baby Poisoning in Toronto 129

12 "There Were No Murders!" 133

Part II Incorrect Pathological Analysis in the Toronto Sick Kids "Digoxin" Baby Deaths 135

13 An Innocent Pediatric Cardiac Nurse Is Charged with Multiple Patient Murders 137

14 Deaths by Insidious Poisoning, but No Murders 142

15 The Dubin Report on the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children 145

16 The Grange Inquiry Report 148

17 The Digoxin Poisoning Investigation 151

18 Falsely High Digoxin Readings on the Autopsy Digoxin Tests 151

19 A Contaminant Can Be Measured as Digoxin 167

20 A Worldwide Epidemic of Poisoning 172

21 Different Death Rates on HSC Cardiac Ward 4A and Ward 4B 185

22 An Epidemic of Infant Cardiac Deaths Across Canada 188

23 The Canadian Nurse Journal Successfully Challenges the Digoxin Poisoning Theory 191

24 A Summary of the Case Against the Digoxin Poisoning Theory 194

25 False Diagnoses of Baby Poisoning from Interpretations of Autopsy Specimens 198

Conclusion: A Role Model for Nurses Receives an Honorary Degree 205

Postscript: The Irony 207

Appendix: Curriculum Vitae 215

Notes 219

Index 233

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"...The real parallel remains unknown to most Canadians even now; it's not that the wrong person was fingered for murder, but that no murders were commited at all. That's the conclusion meticulously and persuasively argued by retired physician Gavin Hamilton in The Nursses are Innocent.

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