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Dr Timothy R. Killeen

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  • Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
    What of course needs to be addressed here is that the quotation on offer says that "some of the wounds are so narrow that a bayonet WAS FIRST suspected as the weapon. BUT bayonet wounds are quite UNMISTAKABLE".

    The claim is that a number of the 38 lesser wounds (plural) could not possibly have been caused by a bayonet, since the wounds made by such a blade is unmistakable. Nowhere does it say that a bayonet could not have caused the sternum wound, though. So when R J Palmer says "It wasn't a bayonet wound. Killeen, in his inexperience, was simply wrong.", he is attributing what was said to the one wound it cannot be attributed to.

    On the whole, I think the quotation as such is poorly worded. Why would a bayonet have produced narrow wounds? It is not a very narrow weapon at all, is it? It is a wide and sturdy one!
    Hi Fish -- You probably won't accept this, and I am not sure I have the talent to convince you otherwise, but, personally I don't think Killeen ever meant to suggest that two different weapons were used. This is just how his inquest testimony has been (mis)interpreted by historians, because the transcripts we have are brief and incomplete and they leave us with the wrong impression.

    We don't have any official report, so there is scope for great error. The notation mentioned by Ogen suggest that Killeen may, in fact, have suggested a bayonet had been used to make other wounds as well. I can't prove this, since any report he may have written has been lost.

    Think of it this way: Dr. K isn't sure what weapon had been used. And this is entirely natural. He admits this uncertainty to the inquest jury. On the other hand, he notes that most of the wounds look thin and small--and suggests a pen-knife could have been used. BUT, he adds, one wound to the chest looks bigger. It looks like it couldn't have been made with a pen-knife, so--maybe-- the knife wasn't a pen-knife after all, but a bayonet. In other words, a bayonet could explain ALL the wounds...but a penknife couldn't. He is expressing doubt, but we can't see the "doubt" in the testimony we have, as reported by the ELO, etc..

    I think that is all Killeen meant to say. He was going through his mental steps as to why he is thinking it was a bayonet---we only hear "pen-knife" for the lower wounds, and "some sort of dagger" for the sternum--and so historians have been off and running for 70 years or more. But--in my view--- two weapons is not really what Killeen was attempting to express--though it certainly sounds that way in a casual reading!

    No one is going to stab a woman 38 times in a right-handed frenzy and then stop, switch hands, switch weapons, too, and then stab her once again with his 'weak' hand.

    The scenario is an absurdity, and I don't think Killeen was so irrational as to have wanted to suggest this.





    Comment


    • Originally posted by Losmandris View Post
      Question? Was the inquest for MT as thorough as later inquests for the other victims? Did they assign a motive to the attack?

      Tristan
      No, they didn’t. And what’s strangest of all, there wasn’t even a medical cause of death shown on her death cert. That’s either a major oversight, or it shows they weren’t totally sure what killed her.

      Wynne Baxter, the coroner, was a man of enormous experience. So we have to weigh the possibility of he and/or John Hall (the Whitechapel registrar) having made a glaring error or their not being sure what the cause of death was.

      This is where blind faith in professionals lets you down. It becomes toss a coin time.

      Last edited by MrBarnett; 06-29-2020, 12:43 PM.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

        No, they didn’t. And what’s strangest of all, there wasn’t even a medical cause of death shown on her death cert. That’s either a major oversight, or it shows they weren’t totally sure what killed her.

        Wynne Baxter, the coroner, was a man of enormous experience. So we have to weigh the possibility of he and/or John Hall (the Whitechapel registrar) having made a glaring error or their not being sure what the cause of death was.

        This is where blind faith in professionals lets you down. It becomes toss a coin time.

        This makes me wonder if they took a bit of slap dash approach to this? Considering who the victim was, where it happened etc. If it was not for subsequent events, the murder would have probably been all but forgotten. Would the findings of the postmortem/inquest been more conclusive if it had taken place a few months later?

        Tristan

        Comment


        • As I think I suggested before, there’s one apparent error in Killeen’s evidence. He said, or so it was reported, that Tabram had 39 ‘punctured’ wounds. However, one of the wounds he described was not a ‘punctured’ wound, it was an incised wound.


          In layman’s terms, a punctured wound is a stab, distinguished by its depth being greater than its width. An incised wound is a cut or a slash, its width being greater than its depth. The wound to the lower part of Tabram’s body was 3in wide and 1 in depth, so it was an incised wound. Yet there’s no mention of any incised wounds in the versions of Killeen’s evidence that have come down to us.


          A journalistic omission? Or an error by the inexperienced Dr Killeen? Either way, we can’t be certain of how many wounds there were in total. It may have been 39 punctured wounds and x incised wounds. Or 39 wounds in total some (at least one) of which were incised wounds.


          Don’t bother looking to Martha’s death cert for elucidation, for all the info that provides she may have been shot, strangled or bludgeoned to death.

          Comment


          • Benner’s Model of Expertise identifies five stages of learning:


            The NOVICE rigidly adheres to rules or plans, has little situational perception and can’t make judgments. This individual is learning skills in clinical settings and must be closely supervised when delivering patient care.


            The ADVANCED BEGINNER is a new graduate. The person functions with limited situational perception (the ability to put clues together to make decisions) and has difficulty discriminating between what is important.


            The COMPETENT PRACTITIONER can see his or her actions within a broader context, and is capable of making sounder judgments. Conscious deliberate planning takes place along with standardized and routine procedures:


            The PROFICIENT INDIVIDUAL sees the situation holistically rather than in terms of its component parts. This individual more readily makes decisions, perceives differences from the normal pattern of a patient, and functions better with ambiguity. The proficient person has learned from experience and has an easier time making decisions.



            Bearing in mind that Killeen didn’t obtain his midwifery qualification until 1887, but the qualification does not appear in the Medical Directory for that year, he was seemingly still a medical student a few months before he arrived in Whitechapel.


            Where would he fit in Benner’s model? Well, at the time it was said that there was virtually no pathological training available in Dublin, so I can’t see how he could be considered as having been anything other than a novice when it came to conducting PM’s on murder victims.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

              Hi Fish -- You probably won't accept this, and I am not sure I have the talent to convince you otherwise, but, personally I don't think Killeen ever meant to suggest that two different weapons were used. This is just how his inquest testimony has been (mis)interpreted by historians, because the transcripts we have are brief and incomplete and they leave us with the wrong impression.

              We don't have any official report, so there is scope for great error. The notation mentioned by Ogen suggest that Killeen may, in fact, have suggested a bayonet had been used to make other wounds as well. I can't prove this, since any report he may have written has been lost.

              Think of it this way: Dr. K isn't sure what weapon had been used. And this is entirely natural. He admits this uncertainty to the inquest jury. On the other hand, he notes that most of the wounds look thin and small--and suggests a pen-knife could have been used. BUT, he adds, one wound to the chest looks bigger. It looks like it couldn't have been made with a pen-knife, so--maybe-- the knife wasn't a pen-knife after all, but a bayonet. In other words, a bayonet could explain ALL the wounds...but a penknife couldn't. He is expressing doubt, but we can't see the "doubt" in the testimony we have, as reported by the ELO, etc..

              I think that is all Killeen meant to say. He was going through his mental steps as to why he is thinking it was a bayonet---we only hear "pen-knife" for the lower wounds, and "some sort of dagger" for the sternum--and so historians have been off and running for 70 years or more. But--in my view--- two weapons is not really what Killeen was attempting to express--though it certainly sounds that way in a casual reading!

              No one is going to stab a woman 38 times in a right-handed frenzy and then stop, switch hands, switch weapons, too, and then stab her once again with his 'weak' hand.

              The scenario is an absurdity, and I don't think Killeen was so irrational as to have wanted to suggest this.




              Well, we may at least agree that Killeen was probably not an irrational man. However, much as the scenario you outline is not a bad one, I do think that the inquest reports in the papers are quite enough to tell us that Killeen DID speak of two weapons. The Morning Advertiser worded it: "In witness's opinion the wounds were not inflicted with the same instrument, there being a deep wound in the breast from some long, strong instrument, while most of the others were done apparently by a penknife."

              Here, we can see how it seems that Killeen said that in his opinion... und so weiter. Therefore, I believe he used that exact phrasing; the paper would not be likely at all to use it otherwise, simple as.

              When you say that the scenario becomes an absurdity, you step right into the trap I started out by warning against: Rephrasing history to suit our own logic, dismissing a trained medicos view in the process. A medico who saw the wounds, who measured then and tracked them inside the body.

              The thing about absurdities is that they only become absurdities when we are able to rule out alternative non-absurd explanations, if you take my meaning; many times, what we regard as absurd suddenly dissolves into something very non-ansurd once we get the story behind it all. And we do not have tahat story in Tabrams case. Rest assured that Killeen - rational as we bot think he was - would have realized that it will always be unexpected to find a murder victim with 38 wounds made by one blade and a single wound made by another. So much the more reason for us to accept that he would have been absolutely certain before taking that stance!

              Last, but not least, I am as uncertain that I can sway you as you are that you can sway me. So maybe we are both hard to sway...?
              Last edited by Fisherman; 06-29-2020, 01:57 PM.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Losmandris View Post

                This makes me wonder if they took a bit of slap dash approach to this? Considering who the victim was, where it happened etc. If it was not for subsequent events, the murder would have probably been all but forgotten. Would the findings of the postmortem/inquest been more conclusive if it had taken place a few months later?

                Tristan
                My experience of Whitechapel/Spitalfields death certs pre-Tabram suggests otherwise. I have quite a few relating to the poorest of the poor and without exception their medical cause of death is disclosed on them.

                We should also bear in mind that the only other PM we know of that Killeen performed, the death of the infant, led initially (presumably based on the medical evidence) to the mother being charged with murder/manslaughter (I forget which) but it was immediately dismissed in court.

                Two odd results don’t constitute a pattern, but they are there for all to see.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post
                  As I think I suggested before, there’s one apparent error in Killeen’s evidence. He said, or so it was reported, that Tabram had 39 ‘punctured’ wounds. However, one of the wounds he described was not a ‘punctured’ wound, it was an incised wound.

                  Merriam-Webster uses the definition "to pierce with or as if with a pointed instrument or object", and sure enough, the wound to the lower abdomen was a cut, not a stab. But the skin had to be punctured in the process, in the sense that the kinfe had to pass through it. It is not exactly the kind of thing that would make me demand Killeens medical license back, Gary ...


                  In layman’s terms, a punctured wound is a stab, distinguished by its depth being greater than its width. An incised wound is a cut or a slash, its width being greater than its depth. The wound to the lower part of Tabram’s body was 3in wide and 1 in depth, so it was an incised wound. Yet there’s no mention of any incised wounds in the versions of Killeen’s evidence that have come down to us.

                  The wounds Killeen report on are the ones that damaged inner organs, so that will be the reason that the cut - together with numerous other wounds - were left uncommented on. Once again, I am prepared to let Killeen hang on to his license.


                  A journalistic omission? Or an error by the inexperienced Dr Killeen? Either way, we can’t be certain of how many wounds there were in total. It may have been 39 punctured wounds and x incised wounds. Or 39 wounds in total some (at least one) of which were incised wounds.

                  We know precious little about Polly Nicholsī wounds too. Llewellyn was 38 at the time he did the post mortem on her. Was it his inexperience that made him leave out details at the inquest?
                  Was it Phillipīs inexperience that prompted him to tell Baxter that he did not wish to comment on much of the damage done to Chapman?



                  Don’t bother looking to Martha’s death cert for elucidation, for all the info that provides she may have been shot, strangled or bludgeoned to death.
                  I do not think that a witch-hunt for Killeen is justified. Iīm fine with acknowledging that he was relatively young and inexperienced, but not with leaping to conclusions from those facts. Once again, he saw the wounds. You and I didnīt.
                  Last edited by Fisherman; 06-29-2020, 01:55 PM.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post
                    Benner’s Model of Expertise identifies five stages of learning:


                    The NOVICE rigidly adheres to rules or plans, has little situational perception and can’t make judgments. This individual is learning skills in clinical settings and must be closely supervised when delivering patient care.


                    The ADVANCED BEGINNER is a new graduate. The person functions with limited situational perception (the ability to put clues together to make decisions) and has difficulty discriminating between what is important.


                    The COMPETENT PRACTITIONER can see his or her actions within a broader context, and is capable of making sounder judgments. Conscious deliberate planning takes place along with standardized and routine procedures:


                    The PROFICIENT INDIVIDUAL sees the situation holistically rather than in terms of its component parts. This individual more readily makes decisions, perceives differences from the normal pattern of a patient, and functions better with ambiguity. The proficient person has learned from experience and has an easier time making decisions.



                    Bearing in mind that Killeen didn’t obtain his midwifery qualification until 1887, but the qualification does not appear in the Medical Directory for that year, he was seemingly still a medical student a few months before he arrived in Whitechapel.


                    Where would he fit in Benner’s model? Well, at the time it was said that there was virtually no pathological training available in Dublin, so I can’t see how he could be considered as having been anything other than a novice when it came to conducting PM’s on murder victims.
                    A fisherman with a years experience only is more likely to be unable to tell a cod from a mackerel than a fisherman with twenty years experience. Thatīs true.

                    How much experience had Benner had of compiling experience tables when he did this one, by the way...?

                    Once again, we all know that experience helps. But donīt we also know that people with medical licenses are - generally speaking - well suited to perform medical tasks...?

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

                      My experience of Whitechapel/Spitalfields death certs pre-Tabram suggests otherwise. I have quite a few relating to the poorest of the poor and without exception their medical cause of death is disclosed on them.

                      We should also bear in mind that the only other PM we know of that Killeen performed, the death of the infant, led initially (presumably based on the medical evidence) to the mother being charged with murder/manslaughter (I forget which) but it was immediately dismissed in court.

                      Two odd results don’t constitute a pattern, but they are there for all to see.
                      Iīm afraid that only proves that the case for the prosecution was not regarded as strong enough for a conviction. I have not read the material recently, but does it prove Killeen wrong...? If you could - for simplicityīs sake - put it up here, we can all have a glance. Or link to another post where it can be found.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Fisherman View Post

                        I do not think that a witch-hunt for Killeen is justified. Iīm fine with acknowledging that he was relatively young and inexperienced, but bot with leaping to conclusions from those facts. Once again, he saw the wounds. You and I didnīt.
                        When I was looking at this before I consulted an 1888 pathology textbook and the distinction between punctured and incised wounds was very clear.

                        Whatever record of Polly’s inquest has survived, her death certificate is very clear on the medical cause of her death: ‘Syncope from loss of blood from wounds in neck and abdomen inflicted by some sharp instrument.’ As I say, for all her death cert tells us Tabram may have been drowned or deliberately run over by a Pickfords van.

                        There’s no witch hunt going on, Killeen’s inexperience is a interesting fact. Over on the other site I’ve dug into his background in a bit more depth.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
                          A fisherman with a years experience only is more likely to be unable to tell a cod from a mackerel than a fisherman with twenty years experience. Thatīs true.
                          I don't think the analogy is quite on-the-money, Fish. It's more akin to bringing in a deer hunter with one year experience to judge the difference between a cod and a mackerel. You keep implying that a GP would have knowledge of forensic medicine.

                          He wouldn't...but this is hardly an indictment of Killeen.

                          The poor guy probably thought he was going to the slums to cure children with whooping cough and ends up being asked to conducted a post-mortem on a murder victim!

                          The idea that historians shouldn't question the experience/judgement/opinions of historical 'witnesses' is an eccentric one. It's what we do. If we aren't to challenge anyone's judgement, then we might as well conclude that Sir Robert Anderson, who was there, correctly identified the murderer as Kosminski, and leave it at that.


                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Fisherman View Post

                            Iīm afraid that only proves that the case for the prosecution was not regarded as strong enough for a conviction. I have not read the material recently, but does it prove Killeen wrong...? If you could - for simplicityīs sake - put it up here, we can all have a glance. Or link to another post where it can be found.
                            It’s on this thread somewhere, I believe. I’ll see if I can find it. A bit later if that’s OK.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

                              I don't think the analogy is quite on-the-money, Fish. It's more akin to bringing in a deer hunter with one year experience to judge the difference between a cod and a mackerel. You keep implying that a GP would have knowledge of forensic medicine.

                              He wouldn't...but this is hardly an indictment of Killeen.

                              The poor guy probably thought he was going to the slums to cure children with whooping cough and ends up being asked to conducted a post-mortem on a murder victim!

                              The idea that historians shouldn't question the experience/judgement/opinions of historical 'witnesses' is an eccentric one. It's what we do. If we aren't to challenge anyone's judgement, then we might as well conclude that Sir Robert Anderson, who was there, correctly identified the murderer as Kosminski, and leave it at that.

                              A better analogy might be that he went from catching goldfish in a Dublin pond with a net and was then dropped on the banks of the river Tweed and asked to catch a grayling with a dry fly.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

                                I don't think the analogy is quite on-the-money, Fish. It's more akin to bringing in a deer hunter with one year experience to judge the difference between a cod and a mackerel. You keep implying that a GP would have knowledge of forensic medicine.

                                He wouldn't...but this is hardly an indictment of Killeen.

                                The poor guy probably thought he was going to the slums to cure children with whooping cough and ends up being asked to conducted a post-mortem on a murder victim!

                                The idea that historians shouldn't question the experience/judgement/opinions of historical 'witnesses' is an eccentric one. It's what we do. If we aren't to challenge anyone's judgement, then we might as well conclude that Sir Robert Anderson, who was there, correctly identified the murderer as Kosminski, and leave it at that.
                                "The poor guy"?

                                Letīs try and be fair here, shall we? The analogy of a fisherman learning about fishing like a medico learns about medicine is totally appropriate. If you want to bring a deer hunter into the discussion, then we need to look at elements linked to HIS particular area of expertise, right?

                                What you justify your dismissal of the analogy with is a claim that I would have implied (one wonder how...?) that Killeen had knowledge of forensic medicine. The long and the short of it is of course that we do not know how much Killeen knew about it, but regardless of this, I have not made any claims about it, have I?

                                What I have said is that Killeen was a trained medico (and he was), and that his training would have involved the treatment of damages caused by various types of dangers surrounding us, one of them being sharp objects. I donīt think that equals claiming that Killeen had forensic insights.

                                If you believe that Killeen thought that practising in Brick Lane would only involve curing whooping cough in small kids, you are distansing yourself radically from your former statement that he was not irrational.

                                The next misattribution you make is to claim that I would somehow not like historians questioning "the experience/judgement/opinions of historical witnesses". I said before, and I may just as well say it again, that I WELCOMED Alīs doubts about Killeens capacities. That is not saying that historians should not challenge various matters, is it?
                                The true story is that I do not like it when historians - or any other students of the case - take it upon themselves to dismiss what a medico said on the flimsiest of grounds, sgretching their own beliefs into being better and more well-grounded than the medicos judgment. AND without seeing the evidence, even!

                                I equally dislike it when people who should know a lot better than to engage in these kinds of misattributions, but that is of course another matter.
                                Last edited by Fisherman; 06-29-2020, 02:34 PM.

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