25th Trillium Award

On Writing, with Gavin Hamilton

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Gavin Hamilton

Gavin Hamilton is the author of The Nurses Are Innocent: The Digoxin Poisoning Fallacy (Dundurn), a book for "every Canadian who is interested in public health, justice and a fascinating mystery story."

In his interview with Open Book, Gavin Hamilton discusses contaminated injections, the baby deaths at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children in the early 1980s and future projects.

Open Book:

Tell us about your book.

Gavin Hamilton:

The first part of the book deals with the widespread contamination of injections by a toxic and allergenic chemical, MBT, a catalyst necessary for the manufacture of the natural rubber components of syringes, pharmaceutical ampoule seals and parts of intravenous fluid administration sets. Two patients in my practice almost died from allergic anaphylactic shock reactions from injections contaminated by MBT.

Also, MBT is a poison. Ninety-one babies in a hospital in London, England, had ?potentially toxic? blood levels of MBT at the time of the Toronto baby deaths when an innocent nurse, Susan Nelles, was charged with serial murders by poisoning — but from digoxin. At this time, an FDA national drug analysis lab found MBT was measured as digoxin.

The book shows how the digoxin poisoning theory arose and the gross flaws in the murder theory. It reads like a medical science mystery, but it is indexed and referenced like a law textbook.



What inspired you to write the book?


I started investigating the Toronto baby deaths in 1987, in an attempt to clear the name of an innocent nurse, Susan Nelles, while revealing the pervasive presence of the contamination of injections by MBT. eventually contacting the Canadian Nurse Journal in 1993, resulting in their landmark article, ?The Nurses are Innocent,? November 1993.

In revisiting the Susan Nelles case on the internet a few years ago, I was astonished to find many articles suggesting murder by digoxin poisoning had taken place and that a serial killer was still at large — some still implicating Susan Nelles, or her co-worker, Phyllis Trayner.

From the start, I could not fathom how the murder by digoxin theory became so entrenched and why evidence to the contrary was ignored. I sensed someone in the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario was vigorously driving the murder theory.

When I heard that a pathologist at the the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children — whom Justice Goudge felt was too intimately associated with the Ontario Chief Coroner?s Office — had been exposed as being responsible for numerous false interpretations of child autopsy findings, leading to false murder convictions, I felt I had found the driving force behind the murder theory.

It was then that I decided that a book must be written to reveal the true story behind the Toronto baby deaths!



To whom are the messages in the book directed?


They are directed at a very wide audience — the police, prosecutors, the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario, lawyers, judges, pathologists, physicians, nurses, dentists, the owners of our medical journals and to every Canadian who is interested in public health, justice and a fascinating mystery story.



What impact do you want?


The story is to prove the innocence of Susan Nelles to all Canadians. It also registers a stern warning to police, prosecutors, the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario, pathologists, physicians and our medical journal owners to never allow the elements in this story to occur ever again!


It is to proclaim the abject systemic failure of government health protection agencies to protect citizens. In this specific case, it is regarding protection from a known allergenic and toxic chemical, MBT — a widespread contaminant of injections. It must be made unequivocally clear to the medical, dental and nursing professions — who have been kept intentionally uninformed for 30 years, with our medical journals aiding and abetting by refusing to publish informative articles on public health issues related to MBT contamination of injections.



What was your first published book?


In 1980, Patterns in Fluid Flow Paradoxes — Variations on a Theme, was published by UWO Graphic Services. It describes a Fluid Dynamics theory outlining the proposed cause of the sudden change (transition) from laminar (streamline) flow to turbulent flow. Turbulent flow is associated with a dramatic increase in resistance to flow, which had previously been unexplained.

Coherent  (simple harmonic) sound energy, generated by the flow, is proposed as the physical cause of transition and turbulent flow. For well over 100 years, turbulent flow has been considered to be a state of chaos and sound energy has been considered as an effect of turbulence — not its cause.


What are you working on now?


Allowing the menace of natural rubber contact with injections to continue (Google: ?ActHIB whooping cough vaccine, Japan, 4 child deaths?) is unacceptable. I?m still working on Fluid Dynamics (?Order in Chaos — The Physics of Transition to Turbulence,? Aylmer Express, 2011).

A major interest is the abuse of antibiotics in the industrial livestock industry, where far more antibiotics are being fed to healthy livestock as growth promoters than are used for the treatment of disease in humans and animals combined. Outlawed in Europe, antibiotic abuse continues unabated in North America — in defiance of Fleming?s warning from the very beginning of the antibiotic era, in the closing paragraphs of his 1945 Nobel laureate speech, ?Penicillin? — that the use of sub-therapeutic doses (e.g. growth promoting antibiotics) of antibiotics, will cause mutations of bacteria into deadly antibiotic resistant strains (like the current superbugs, E. coli 0157:H7 and C. difficile — which have now spread from factory farms into the community and thence into our hospitals — where further even deadlier mutations continue to develop). A frightening phenomenon is that totally different species of bacteria can permanently mutually share their antibiotic resistance genetic codes by "gene jumping" when they share environments — in manure piles, in contaminated water and in the throats, colons and manure piles of factory farm animals — or of patients and staff on hospital infectious disease wards. 

Gavin Hamilton grew up in St. Thomas, Ontario, and attended UWO Medical School. After practicing 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.

For more information about The Nurses Are Innocent please visit the Dundurn Press website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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