Gavin Hamilton, London, Ontario

Gavin Hamilton, MD

Photo by: Richard Bain


Open Book Ontario - Interview
January 23, 2012

Defining Canada - Q&A
November 17, 2011


Gavin Hamilton attended St. Thomas Collegiate Institute, entering the University of Western Ontario in 1949 with the UWO Board of Governors Prize in Physics and Chemistry and a scholarship in Sciences, Mathematics and Languages, graduating in Medicine in 1955. After a decade in Family Medicine in London, Ontario, he studied Diagnostic Radiology, becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (Diagnostic Radiology) in 1969.

His development of a new technique that showed kidney vascularity during routine x-ray IVP (intravenous pyelography) examinations resulted in his injecting 1,000 patients per year for over twenty years. Intravenous pyelograms (IVPs) were designed to study the structure and function of the excretory portions of the kidneys - and the pathology of the ureters and bladder.

Two severe allergic reactions (1983 and 1987) to injected x-ray dyes led him to uncover a natural rubber contaminant. The allergenic contaminant, MBT, mercaptobenzothiazole, was used routinely as a catalyst in the manufacture of pharmaceutical rubber - in syringes, pharmaceutical ampoule seals and in intravenous fluid and blood administration sets - all in routine use around the world.

Further research indicated that Reepmeyer and Juhl (U.S. National Laboratory for Drug Analysis) found that pharmaceutical rubber parts contaminated the contents of 50 percent of disposable plastic syringes in 1981-83 and that MBT gave falsely high assays for digoxin. His research revealed that, at the same time, Meek and Pettitt found 91 neonatal ward babies in London England with "potentially toxic" blood levels of MBT that originated from pharmaceutical natural rubber in plastic syringes, sealing caps on pharmaceutical ampoules and from three different sites in intravenous administration sets. All of this remained virtually unknown to the medical, dental and nursing professions - each group attributing MBT allergic reactions to the pharmaceutical being injected - the X-ray dyes - the dental local anesthetics - the insulin - the immunization vaccines - because MBT was unknown to them.

The link between the MBT poisoning of babies in London, England and the simultaneous finding by Reepmeyer and Juhl that MBT would be measured as digoxin became significant in his 2011 book "The Nurses are Innocent - The Digoxin Poisoning Fallacy," (Dundurn Press, Toronto). The evidence revealed in the book exculpates Susan Nelles - and all other members of the nursing staff - in the series of baby deaths at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children in 1980-81 that were attributed to murder by intentional digoxin poisoning.

His MBT research and personal experience exposed failure of governmental health protection agencies to prevent the continued use of pharmaceutical natural rubber. In 2010, the U.S. C.D.C listed 28 vaccines with natural rubber contact ("Latex in Vaccine Packaging"). One was associated with four immunization child deaths from anaphylaxis in Japan (2011-12). Japanese health authorities stated that the reactions were not from the vaccine, but from a "contaminant." Although the chemical nature of the "contaminant" was identified, it was not revealed to medical practitioners - or to the public. Thus, Japan's "health protection" body - continued a worldwide pattern that conceals the widespread threat of MBT contamination in pharmaceutical rubber.

A lifelong interest in fundamental fluid dynamics arose through his understanding of the physics involved in a phenomenon encountered by diagnostic radiologists during the rapid injections of x-ray dyes into arteries - arteriographic standing waves. The creation of simple harmonic waves during a rapid injection defied prevailing theory in fluid dynamics that such rapid flows are made up of chaotic motion in the fluid. He saw coherent standing sound waves that coexisted with flow-induced simple harmonic fluid waves. This led to his finding that orderly simple harmonic standing waves extended far beyond arteriographic standing waves.

His research into the fundamental fluid dynamics of transition from laminar flow to turbulent flow led to two unpublished articles and five auto-published monographs, the most recent being "Order in Chaos - The Physics of Transition to Turbulence" (2011) and its supplement (2012). Copies of "Order in Chaos" are in some of the world's major libraries and have been sent to a few of the world's leading fluid dynamics researchers.

In retirement, the abuse of antibiotics in the industrial livestock industry became a major interest. He has observed that, since the 1960s, far more antibiotics have been fed to healthy livestock as growth promoters than are used for the treatment of disease in humans and animals combined and that, although outlawed in Europe, factory farm antibiotic abuse continues in North America. He explains why this is responsible for the rise in the deadly antibiotic resistant bacteria that have contaminated water sources and have invaded our hospitals.

Throughout his career, he has written in peer-reviewed journals (Radiology, The Lancet, the CMAJ, the CARJ and the Canadian Nurse Journal).