Professor Richard Shepherd BSc MB BS DMJ FRCPath FFFLM
Consultant Forensic Pathologist NW Region UK
Visiting Professor at City University London
Honorary Consultant at The Royal Liverpool Hospital
22nd of June, 2013
Thank you for informing me you had received my letter dated 9thApril 2013 via your card sent on 20th May. The printed messages were your thanks for my communication and that the contents had been noted. I am glad we have established direct contact. However, from my standpoint, I see that we are no further forward.
I have just read - dated March 2011
He is a Visiting Professor at City University London, Honorary Consultant at The Royal Liverpool Hospital and a registered UK Home Office Forensic Pathologist.
As doctors we are aware we have an absolute duty to be part of peer review. That might be informal, most of the time, as it was with me and fellow surgeons at the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Hospital in Exeter; we gathered each Tuesday evening for a case conference with all the training surgeons present. Diagnoses, strategy, procedures and projected operations were all examined critically in relation to three patients.
In your reporting to the Attorney General 16th March 2011 as the key expert witness in the case of Dr David Kelly, the necessity for peer review is acknowledged.
I include with this letter a further copy of my letter to you dated 9thApril 2013.
I should be grateful to have your responses to each of my five concerns. The central one is your assertion that you have “seen many cases of death from haemorrhage following incised injuries to the wrist in [your] career” and the reinforcement of that argument with the citation of case HSL 82 where you said to the Attorney General that 'this young individual died SOLELY as a result of a self inflicted, solitary incision of her left ulnar artery'. On the contrary, your report to the coroner clearly stated a second cause of death – 'alcohol intoxication'. There was good evidence in the alcohol levels of blood and urine to support that conclusion, especially in a sick young woman who had cirrhosis and active hepatitis, and who one could conclude, had been beaten often.
I reiterate that with my best efforts and those of others, we have not been able to trawl up ANY case of death due to haemorrhage from section of the ulnar artery. What I need from you professor, with respect, are post mortem reports and /or scientific articles in good journals which prove this possibility, and where measurement has shown the loss of an appropriate volume of external blood to be the cause of death, as soon as you are able. This highlighted phrase refers to the yardsticks laid down by my colleague Dr Michael Powers QC in my earlier letter.
I trust we can resolve these most important differences on a professional basis. My interest in seeing some finality is sharpened by the fact that the tenth anniversary of the death of this senior public servant is due shortly.
David Halpin MB BS FRCS
PS I also hope to include my observations as to your designation of the two wrist arteries as being 'major' arteries and my calculation of the initial rate of blood flow on section of the ulnar and the subclavian artery. There is an 8 fold difference before other factors cut in.
The forensic pathologists involved in this case and those doctors amongst us who have seen fit to comment using their own knowledge in other fields would appreciate this quotation
If the law has made you a witness remain a man of science. You have no victim to avenge, no guilty or innocent person to ruin or save. You must bear witness within the limits of science.
Paul H. Broussard
Chair of Forensic Medicine
Enclosed 1. My letter to you of 9th April 2013
2. My 9 page letter to the GMC 12th May 2012