Wednesday, December 03, 2003
DAVID KELLY COULD NOT
HAVE BLED TO DEATH
A retired anaesthetist wrote to me regarding the fact that, if we are to believe the suicide story, Kelly chose not to cut the radial artery (which is the most easily accessible and the one most suicides choose) but rather to cut the ulnar artery which is much deeper inside the wrist. And not only did he cut it, he COMPLETELY SEVERED it (see Nicholas Hunt's testimony). Note what the anaesthetist says about an artery which is completely severed.... RT
I agree with you about the cutting of the ulnar artery --- nothing about it makes any sense. In fact, as you mention, a completely transected artery retracts immediately and thus stops bleeding, even at a relatively high blood-pressure, as against a partially severed vessel which cannot retract. In fact, it is the cutting of the ulnar artery as an apparent act of suicide which arouses one's suspicion that the alleged suicide was not suicide at all. As I understand it, there is also "confusion" as regards the actual amount of blood lost. Some say there was a lot, others say a little and some say there was just a bit of dried blood. I would imagine for a man of the size of Dr Kelly to die from haemorrhage he would have to lose at least three litres of blood. At autopsy, it would also be clear that the subject had bled to death because there would be very little blood in the heart and the large vessels.
And I might add to bleed to death from a cut blood vessel is not as simple as it sounds because as the blood is lost the blood pressure falls and this, in turn, slows the blood loss. In fact, it is extremely difficult to lose significant amounts of blood at a pressure below 50-60 systolic in a subject who is compensating by vaso-constricting (contracting the blood vessels) for the blood loss. And, although the subject may lose consciousness at this BP, he may not necessarily die. As you know, in order to successfully commit suicide in this way the subject has to cut both radial arteries and prevent vasoconstriction by lying in a warm bath, a truly messy business but, clearly, a situation where one could have no doubt about what was intended. In fact, I suggest that it would be impossible to lose a "lethal" amount of blood from an ulnar artery which had been cut in the manner described for Dr Kelly.