Page 24 - Volume 69 Number 2
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Paralyzing Summer Book Review
By Eric S. Rabkin
What, and who, really caused all those mysterious deaths?
Paralyzing Summer reports in meticulous, fascinating detail a nationally and historically important case of multiple medical murders and near murders that has somehow fallen out of the public consciousness since they occurred in the mid-1970s. Although the horrific events in the Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Hospital, and the two-year legal aftermath of those events, occupied the national newspapers and airwaves at the time, they are largely forgotten now, perhaps for the very reasons that the case itself raised such passionate controversy, reasons like possible racism, political expediency, and an intolerance of ambiguity that many would like to deny.
Along the way, we learn not only the science involved but also how so complex an institution as a four-hundred bed hospital functions – in the service of patients, as an arm of the government, and as a training ground for medical students and staff who, in this case, were
and are associated with the University of Michigan.
To confirm that specific deaths were murders, a new test for the residue of Pavulon in post mortem tissue was developed, but it was not validated by any scientist other than the developer. In another first, the judge compelled pre-trial testimony from people under grand jury investigation before either dismissal or indictment, despite Constitutional protections against such compulsion. And then there were the allegations of prosecutorial malfeasance in withholding potentially exculpatory evidence from the defense. What about motive for these sane, civilized women? What about the public uproar in their support? Or the confession of another nurse who then killed herself? Or testimony suggesting yet a different possible killer?
Although the trial verdict was unambiguous, it energized major legal and social actions – even in the face of science and law operating in minute and careful ways – among both supporters and detractors of the nurses, the hospital, and even the FBI in Ann Arbor, in America, and in the Philippines. For many readers, especially those who see uncertainty as an inevitable feature of the human condition, this book will serve as a powerful example of historical resurrection well worth our reading – and unavoidably discussing – today.
Dr. Brad J. Uren Makes the Legislative Rounds
Dr. Brad J. Uren, WCMS Immediate Past President and MSMS Chair, Committee on State Legislation and Regulations, and Pino Colone, MD, Chair MSMS Opioid Task Force, met with Lieutenant Governor Calley in late March to reinforce the commitment of the physician community in regards to the opioid epidemic, to express concerns over certain opioid legislative proposals, and to better understand the priorities of the administration in addressing this epidemic. Lt. Governor Calley made it clear that the administration shares many of the concerns of physicians and is committed to significantly increasing the utilization of MAPS by physicians and other prescribers in Michigan.
Dr. Uren also met with Senator Debbie Stabenow and Format: Paperback Congressman Dan Kildee during the AMA National
24 Washtenaw County Medical Society BULLETIN APRIL / MAY / JUNE 2017
Advocacy Conference, attended by other MSMS leaders, to discuss opioid use and addiction in Michigan.

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