Monday, August 14, 2006
RESPONSE TO ANDREW GILLIGAN
LETTER TO EVENING STANDARD
14 August 2006
You would think a journalist who lost his BBC career over the death of Dr Kelly, would be fascinated by medical evidence suggesting the government scientist’s death was not suicide. Not so Andrew Gilligan. Rather than study the medical doubts in depth, he focuses on the dismissive comments of one forensic scientist with no involvement in the case. (‘Evening Standard’ 24/7)
While it is true there was a greater than therapeutic dose of co-proxamol in Dr Kelly's blood, the appointed toxicologist’s evaluation was that it was a third of what would have been needed to kill him.
Concentrations of a drug in the blood increase markedly post mortem (BMJ 2004;329:636-637). Analysis of Dr Kelly's blood took place around 30 hours after death. By this time the concentration of co-proxamol components could have increased as much as tenfold. Thus, at the time of death, the amount in the blood may have been not a third, but a thirtieth of a what is normally considered a fatal dose.
It has been assumed, that because 29 tablets of co-proxamol were missing from the blister packets in Dr Kelly's pockets, that he took all 29. But even if he did, he could not have assimilated all of them, because he threw up a significant part of his stomach contents.
The two key points about the blood are these: the amount lost would have been far too small to cause death, and the distribution was highly unusual.
Four surgeons have concurred that when a single ulnar artery is transected, it quickly constricts, retracts, clotting ensues, and blood-flow ceases - at most Dr Kelly would have lost about a pint of blood.
A transected artery initially pumps out blood under pressure as ‘arterial rain’. Paramedic Dave Bartlett, witness to hundreds of ‘arterial bleeds‘, asserted that in every case, 'there is a lot of blood. It's all over them.' He and fellow paramedic Vanessa Hunt were shocked to find no blood splashing of this type on Dr Kelly. As Bartlett remarked:
‘Whatever he died of he didn’t die of that’.
Kelly Investigation Group