The Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Inquest Report



The appointment of Dr. Andrew Hamilton

In September 1994, Dr. Andrew Hamilton took up a position as an adult cardiac surgeon at the HSC. Because Hamilton's residency training had included pediatric cardiac surgery, Dr. Robert Blanchard and Dr. Helmut Unruh spoke to him before he started at the HSC about his undertaking pediatric cardiac surgery, in addition to his adult cardiac surgery duties. As a result, his contract stipulated that he was to spend 15 per cent of his time performing pediatric cardiac surgery. Blanchard testified that it was initially intended that Hamilton would provide relief for Odim, rather than act as his assistant.

Hamilton took up his position in mid-September. Before that time, despite the implications that such a decision had for Odim, neither Unruh nor Blanchard spoke with him about their intent to have Hamilton look after pediatric cardiac surgery patients.

Despite Unruh's and Blanchard's intentions, Hamilton worked almost exclusively as Odim's assistant. He never did provide any significant relief for Odim, who continued to perform all the pediatric cardiac surgery at the HSC. The nurses and the anaesthetists testified that Hamilton's presence contributed to the smoothness of the procedures that he assisted in. They said that he communicated well and his confidence and competence greatly improved the atmosphere in the Operating Room.

According to Hamilton's evidence, at one point during the fall of 1994 (there is uncertainty about the exact date), Blanchard and Unruh decided that Hamilton would assist Odim at cases where there was a predicted mortality of 10 per cent or higher. The evidence is also unclear as to whether or not this information was communicated to Odim. It would appear that this decision was likely made sometime following the death of Erica Bichel, on October 4.



Current Home - Table of Contents - Chapter 8 - The appointment of Dr. Andrew Hamilton
Next Dr. Brian Postl is appointed head of pediatrics
Previous The case of Marietess Tena Capili - Findings
Section 1 Chapter 1 - Introduction to the Issues
  Chapter 2 - Pediatric Cardiac Issues
  Chapter 3 - The Diagnosis of Pediatric Heart Defects and their Surgical Treatment
  Chapter 4 - The Health Sciences Centre
Section 2 Chapter 5 - Pediatric Cardiac Surgery in Winnipeg 1950-1993
  Chapter 6 - The Restart of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery in 1994
January 1, 1994 to May 17, 1994
  Chapter 7 - The Slowdown
May 17 to September 1994
  Chapter 8 - Events Leading to the Suspension of the Program
September 7, 1994 to December 23, 1994
  Chapter 9 - 1995 - The Aftermath of the Shutdown
January to March, 1995
Section 3 Chapter 10 - Findings and Recommendations
Appendix 1 - Glossary of terms used in this report
Appendix 2 - Parties to the Proceedings and counsel
Appendix 3 - List of witnesses and dates of testimony
Search the Report
Table of Contents