The Nurses Are Innocent: The Digoxin Poisoning Fallacy by Gavin HamiltonThe Nurses Are Innocent: The Digoxin Poisoning Fallacy by Gavin Hamilton

The Nurses Are Innocent: The Digoxin Poisoning Fallacy

byGavin Hamilton

Paperback | November 5, 2011

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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.

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.
Title:The Nurses Are Innocent: The Digoxin Poisoning FallacyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 1 inPublished:November 5, 2011Publisher:DundurnLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1459700570

ISBN - 13:9781459700574

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! The Nurses Are Innocent is a compelling book. It’s like a detective story: what caused the high digoxin levels in the dead babies at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children in 1980 and 1981? And was there any connection with potentially fatal allergic reactions to the dyes used in radiology? The detective who answers these questions is a radiologist from London Ontario, and the story he tells, of identifying a chemical leaching from natural rubber used in syringes and ampoules, is a fascinating one, with far-reaching implications in law and medicine. This is a book likely to rouse the reader’s indignation as well: natural rubber is still being used in many places in mass-produced disposable syringes. An absorbing story of the scientific mind at work.
Date published: 2011-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent This book is absolutely fascinating. The indepth research by Dr. Hamilton is astounding. He has laid the book out so that it reads like a top notch novel. After reading this book, I'm sure it will dispel any doubts there could ever have been about Susan Nelles' innocence.
Date published: 2011-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Engaging! I am not a member of the medical community but I found this book to be approachable and engaging. It read somewhat like a thriller, with a "cover-up" and a string of evidence building throughout. Every member of the medical community needs to be aware of these discoveries. Doctors, dentists, nurses, vets...all could potentially have seen effects of this rubber contamination and not known it. The book is nicely concluded with the connection to Dr. Charles Smith, who has been in the news more recently as having a history of incorrect autopsy interpretations. Don't expect a happy ending though...luckily, Susan Nelles has received her happy ending and freedom, but there are many babies and others worldwide today that may not be so lucky. Inform important read!
Date published: 2011-11-27

Table of Contents

Foreword 13
Preface 17
Introduction 19
Part I: Toxic and Allergenic Medical Rubber Contaminants in Injections 21
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 159
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 215
Notes 219
Index 233

Editorial Reviews

...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 committed at all. That's the conclusion meticulously and persuasively argued by retired physician Gavin Hamilton in The Nurses are Innocent.

- Maclean's magazine