Sunday, 22 August 2010

Textbook Censorship

I am not keen on the idea that we should have a "textbook case" for suicide but these were the words used by the pathologist who performed the post-mortem on Dr David Kelly. I have not looked for any books on suicide but I don't think hacking at my wrist would be the nicest way to go. I am not sure that this method would succeed because many doctors have dismissed this cause for Dr Kelly's death.

As I understand it Dr Kelly struggled to cut up meat with his right hand. His left wrist was cut. Now try this yourself (with a blunt instrument). Where are you touching the wrist. Almost certainly you are on the thumb side and the radial artery is likely to be injured. It was Dr Kelly's ulnar artery that was cut and one example of how this may happen is if someone were attacking you and you raised your arm to defend yourself. Try that too and where is your protection? The little finger side of your wrist so that the ulnar artery is under attack. Whether or not you bleed to death is a matter for debate, so I don't think I would find this method in any textbook on suicide.

I could go on at length about the anomolies of the case. You get experts saying one thing about the cause of death and others saying the opposite. The only sure thing to come out of this case is that we should not trust experts. There are so many discrepencies. The highlight for me is the embargo on the post-mortem findings which is supposed to be to protect the family. Rubbish. I would like to know what happened but my interest is nothing to that of the family.

About ten years ago a widow was asked about a post-mortem. The reply was "oh doctor, don't you think he's been through enough?" Well even if it is difficult for the family to have to go through more details of the investigation it is still really important information - more important than your regular post-mortem findings, I am not asking for a further expensive investigation just that we should have the results that are already known. As for the "textbook", I think we can dismiss the notion that this method is a good way to kill yourself and this begs the question of whether we can trust the rest of this pathologist's evidence.

Change the world.

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