The Ben Geen case

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gill1109
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The Ben Geen case

Post by gill1109 » Sun Nov 17, 2019 11:35 am

I plan here to post links to data, articles, websites etc. connected to the Ben Geen case. I believe everything I have to show is in the public domain. This particular topic will be open to all to read; members of the NSG are of course entitled to contribute to the discussion. Especially critical comments are welcome.

Ben was a nurse at Horton General Hospital, Banbury; part of the Radcliffe hospital trust (Oxford). He was arrested under suspicion of having deliberately harmed 18 patients in the hospital's emergency room in the months of December 2003, January 2004, and February 2004. Some striking statistics of alarming monthly numbers of cases with the usually less common diagnosis "respiratory arrest" together with the fact that when he was arrested entering the hospital after a long weekend break he was found to be carrying a syringe of a muscle relaxant, together with the atmosphere of paranoia soon after the Shipman case had ended blaming NHS managers for failing to notice a killer at work, together with salacious newspaper reporting, all did their work.

In those three months there were indeed noticeably more cases classified as respiratory arrest than usual. The numbers of cardio-respiratory arrests and the numbers of hypoglyaemic arrests on the other hand were strikingly less frequent (but this was never pointed out in court). The total was what could be expected, an all time high, as the last four years the number of admissions to the emergency ward had nearly doubled, and the winter months of December and February are characterised by large numbers of very old and very sick people being admitted to emergency with one of those three diagnoses. January is also high but always markedly lower than the two adjacent winter months. Everyone simply avoids going out for whatever reason in January. Road accidents are also always low.

A statistician and a medical specialist argued in Ben's defence that the method of investigation used at the hospital - a targeted search for anomalies only in patients handled by Ben - was fundamentally flawed, biased, and indeed illegal; and that various well-known and common biases could easily cause the anomalies in the statistics. The judge instructed the jury to ignore that evidence altogether, since it was merely common sense. Ben lost an appeal, and the CCRC turned down a request to have the case re-opened.

Part of the evidence shown to the jurors by the prosecution was the very suggestive huge number of events in February 2004 ... during which time, Ben was only on duty for four days at the beginning of the month! Most of those February cases had definitely nothing to do with him at all.

This is a beautiful example of "how to lie with statistics". No lie is being told. Just the truth, and nothing but the truth. But not the whole truth.

Supporters of Ben Geen (of whom I am one) run a web-site "Justice for Ben Geen" https://bengeen.wordpress.com/. We also have a Facebook group.

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Re: The Ben Geen case

Post by gill1109 » Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:02 pm

Here are links to a first pair of documents about the case, written by me, and to which I would like to draw special attention. I will later make some comments on the history and the future of the two documents.

https://arxiv.org/abs/1407.2731
Rarity of Respiratory Arrest in ED?
Richard D. Gill
(Submitted on 10 Jul 2014)
Statistical analysis of monthly rates of events in around 20 hospitals and over a period of about 10 years shows that respiratory arrest, though about five times less frequent than cardio-respiratory arrest, is a common occurrence in the Emergency Department of a typical smaller UK hospital. This report has been prepared at the request of lawyers working in the London Innocence Project and is intended to form part of an application to the CCRC for a reopening of the case of Ben Geen: a UK nurse sentenced to 30 years in jail following an apparent cluster of cases always when he was on duty at the Horton General Hospital.

https://www.math.leidenuniv.nl/~gill/Un ... tended.pdf
From killer nurses to quantum entanglement: extended with new results on the Ben Geen case
Richard D. Gill
University of Leiden

(This version: Sunday, 10 November, 2019. Draft, incomplete. Comments welcome.)
This article is based on my farewell lecture as professor of mathematical statistics in Leiden. I reached obligatory retirement age and was honourably relieved of my position. I presented two of my recent research passions (obsessions?); one of which enjoyed some measure of success, the other however ending (for the moment) in failure. There are some links between the two. I add to this document some further (new) investigations into the case of Ben Geen – that’s the case I am so sad about. I was asked to help, and I could do nothing.

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Re: The Ben Geen case

Post by gill1109 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 7:51 am

Here is a link to the expert opinion of statistician Prof. Jane Hutton at Ben's appeal in 2009. The judge did not allow her to present her evidence in court because it was "merely common sense". (Shades of Sally Clark, RIP).

https://www.math.leidenuniv.nl/~gill/Ja ... pinion.pdf

She suggests that epidemiological research should be done studying data from many other hospitals. That's where I came in, after the failed appeal and subsequent application to the CCRC had generated funding to get data using FOI requests and to hire another statistician to analyse it. Like Jane, I did my best not to colour my emotions by finding out more things about the trial; I just did my best to answer the questions which the students in the innocence project thought should be answered. They turned out to be the wrong questions. And the data was a sick-making chaos.

How naive of me.

A prominent medic gave similar evidence to that given by Jane. The judge thought it equally ignorable. David Denison (unfortunately now passed away), here is his report to the court, and two obituaries
https://www.math.leidenuniv.nl/~gill/Da ... pinion.pdf
https://thorax.bmj.com/content/69/6/591
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obitua ... tuary.html

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Re: The Ben Geen case

Post by gill1109 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:59 am

I have revised and extended my farewell lecture "From killer nurses to quantum entanglement", and am slowly converting it into a paper on the Ben Geen case
https://www.math.leidenuniv.nl/~gill/Un ... tended.pdf
with amazing new statistical graphics. Latest version: 3 December 2019. Skip the few well-labelled pages on quantum entanglement if you are only interested in innocent convicted serial killer nurses. See also my new talk on the case
https://www.math.leidenuniv.nl/~gill/bengeentalk.pdf

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