Saturday, March 07, 2009

Health Ministry denies hiding Kugan post mortem findings

Updated: Saturday March 7, 2009 MYT 1:49:52 PM
Health Ministry denies hiding Kugan post mortem findings
By AUDREY EDWARDS


PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry has never hid the facts and findings of a post-mortem conducted on A. Kugan, the detainee who died in custody.

Director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said the Ministry confirmed that the Serdang Hospital forensic pathologist had performed his duty ethically and professionally when conducting the post-mortem examination.

There was also no indication that the forensic pathologist was hiding any fact over the post-mortem, he said.

He added post-mortem report had been given to Kugan’s family.

“It is unfair for any party to make wild accusations in this case as the Serdang Hospital forensic pathologist had carried the responsibility professionally and ethically,” he said in a five-page press statement on Saturday.

He added an independent inquiry on the post-mortem reports conducted by Serdang Hospital and the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) would be carried in the interest of justice and fairplay.

The outcome of the investigation would be made public, he added.

Kugan, 22, was arrested on Jan 14 for suspected involvement in a car theft syndicate and was held at the USJ police station.

In follow-up action, police recovered 19 luxury cars. He died during interrogation on Jan 20.

Dr Ismail added while forensic pathologists may have a difference of opinion on the actual cause of death, what was important was that the findings during the post-mortem examination should be almost similar, as was evident in this case.

The ministry also refuted a statement by Kugan’s family, reported in Malaysiakini, that said that the first pathologist found 20 wound marks on the body while the second at UMMC found almost 40 more wounds, burn marks and scratches.

He said the post-mortem done by Serdang Hospital had found 83 wounds and injuries.

Dr Ismail added the number of wounds listed in the UMMC report was inaccurate because it included wounds caused due to the first post-mortem.

These were noted as “post-mortem surgical wounds with sutures.”

He also said the description for the injuries and wounds were more detailed in the Serdang Hospital’s report.

“The port-mortem outcome for the lungs by both forensic pathologists were the same, which was pulmonary hemorrhages, edema and congestion,” he added.

Dr Ismail said while the comprehensive report had been given to Kugan’s family and published by Malaysiakini, the detailed report with photographs of the post-mortem were kept by the hospital for court reference.

On the different causes of death, he said this needed to be referred to independent forensic experts.

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/3/7/nation/20090307134325&sec=nation

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