Tuesday March 8, 2011
I was wrong, says pathologist
By WANI MUTHIAH
KUALA LUMPUR: Sungai Buloh Hospital’s head of pathology Dr Shahidan Noor told the Commission of Inquiry into the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock that he had erred in stating there were bruises on the political aide’s neck.
Dr Shahidan had said in his report that the marks found on Teoh’s neck appeared to be bruises, after conducting the second post-mortem on the political aide’s remains in Nov 2009.
Dr Shahidan retracted his opinion on Friday and said he would not have given such an opinion if he had been privy to pictures of Teoh’s neck area taken by University Malaya Medical Centre pathologist Dr Prashant Naresh Samberkar.
Dr Prashant, who conducted the first post-mortem on Teoh with Klang Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital forensic department head Dr Khairul Azman Ibrahim on July 17, 2009 had taken pictures of the neck area before and after the autopsy.
“To err is human,” said Dr Shahidan.
“There were marks on Teoh’s neck before the first post-mortem.These marks became more pronounced after the post-mortem was completed.
“But now (after seeing Dr Pra-shant’s pictures), I don’t think it was a bruise.”
The pictures were given to the Commission by Dr Prashant when he testified last week.
According to Dr Shahidan, Dr Prashant’s pictures clearly show that the marks on Teoh’s neck were post-mortem staining due to blood seepage into the muscles.
He explained that blood had seeped through from inside and formed a lesion on Teoh’s neck.
“It’s not a genuine bruise but a collection of blood which seeped out (to the surface of the skin),” he added.
He also said Dr Prashant and Dr Khairul Azman may have overlooked the importance of the red marks on the neck and focused on other things when they had conducted the first post-mortem.
He said he and Thai forensic expert Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand, who had been present during the second post-mortem conducted by him, decided not to remove tissue from the bruised area in the neck to determine what it was because of the time lapse.
“If we wanted to interpret, it would be difficult because of tissue degradation,” he added.
Meanwhile, commission chairman Tan Sri James Foong said Teoh’s forensic psychiatrists would be requested to interview his family and acquaintances.
Justice Foong said that Teoh’s fiancee Soh Cher Wei was an important witness in the case.
“There’s been no statement from her so far. We should look into this. I think this will do us a big favour,” said Justice Foong.
Teoh, who was the political secretary to the DAP’s Seri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah, was taken to the Selangor Malay-sian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) office on the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam for questioning on July 15, 2009.
He was found dead the next day.