By Viera Scheibner
The late Dr Archie Kalokerinos, dealt with scurvy in Australian Aboriginal babies. In the early 1970s, Archie was perplexed why so many Aboriginal babies were dying suddenly and apparently without any obvious reason.
In an introduction to his book Every Second Child (1981) he described baby Evelyn, normal at birth, “But at six months she was emaciated, weak, dying…and covered with bruises.” For the medical authorities and the police, this was an open and shut case of child abuse. But Archie knew better and saw the Baby Evelyn case for what it was: Sudden Infant death syndrome or Crib death, resulting from the standard Aboriginal diet of junk food, worthless baby formula and no vitamin C.
Thanks to his evidence, Nancy was declared innocent one month before her sentence for killing her baby was completed.
Archie remembered that at that time the health authorities stepped up their immunization campaign and vaccinated indiscriminately all Aboriginal infants. No wonder that so many of them died. However, the authorities were not prepared to listen and even denied that vitamin C deficiency was part of the problem. Nevertheless, Archie continued administering vitamin C and lowered the rate of SIDS at least in his area.