The Nurses Are Innocent - Dundurn

The Nurses Are Innocent

The Digoxin Poisoning Fallacy

Published November 2011

Description

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.

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Contributors

Gavin Hamilton

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 practising as a private radiologist with the rank of assistant professor until retirement. He lives in London, Ontario.

Book Details

Paperback
November 2011
5.5x8.5 in
240 pp
9781459700574
PDF
November 2011
-
240 pp
9781459700598
ePub
November 2011
-
240 pp
9781459700581