British Doctors Doubt Dr Kelly's 'Suicide'

January 27, 2004
The Guardian - UK

As specialist medical professionals, we do not consider the evidence given at the Hutton inquiry has demonstrated that Dr David Kelly committed suicide.

Dr Nicholas Hunt, the forensic pathologist at the Hutton inquiry, concluded that Dr Kelly bled to death from a self-inflicted wound to his left wrist. We view this as highly improbable. Arteries in the wrist are of matchstick thickness and severing them does not lead to life-threatening blood loss. Dr Hunt stated that the only artery that had been cut - the ulnar artery - had been completely transected. Complete transection causes the artery to quickly retract and close down, and this promotes clotting of the blood.

The ambulance team reported that the quantity of blood at the scene was minimal and surprisingly small. It is extremely difficult to lose significant amounts of blood at a pressure below 50-60 systolic in a subject who is compensating by vasoconstricting. To have died from haemorrhage, Dr Kelly would have had to lose about five pints of blood - it is unlikely that he would have lost more than a pint.

Alexander Allan, the forensic toxicologist at the inquiry, considered the amount ingested of Co-Proxamol insufficient to have caused death. Allan could not show that Dr Kelly had ingested the 29 tablets said to be missing from the packets found. Only a fifth of one tablet was found in his stomach. Although levels of Co-Proxamol in the blood were higher than therapeutic levels, Allan conceded that the blood level of each of the drug's two components was less than a third of what would normally be found in a fatal overdose.

We dispute that Dr Kelly could have died from haemorrhage or from Co-Proxamol ingestion or from both. The coroner, Nicholas Gardiner, has spoken recently of resuming the inquest into his death. If it re-opens, as in our opinion it should, a clear need exists to scrutinise more closely Dr Hunt's conclusions as to the cause of death.

David Halpin
Specialist in trauma and orthopaedic surgery

C Stephen Frost
Specialist in diagnostic radiology

Searle Sennett
Specialist in anaesthesiology

http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,3604,1131833,00.html




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