KUALA LUMPUR, March 18
(Bernama) -- Rather than refer actress K. Sujatha who consumed
weedkiller to the nearby Kuala Lumpur Hospital (KLH), a medical
specialist recommended she be sent to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah
Hospital (TARH) in Klang to cut red tape and enable him to monitor her
Dr S. P. Sakthiveloo told the Coroner's Court today that he gave this
advice to his cousin, Maika Holdings Berhad chief executive officer
Vell Paari, about 6pm on June 19, 2007, to avoid traffic jams and
unnecessary delays at the KLH.
"As I am attached to
the hospital, I can cut through the red tape for such cases by bringing
her (Sujatha) directly to the 'Yellow Zone', rather than the triage
counter which is managed by a medical assistant," he said.
Questioned by Deputy Public Prosecutor Anselm Charles Fernandis on
whether it would have been a better choice for Sujatha to have been
treated at KLH since it was equipped with the best emergency facilities
and referral centre, Dr Sakthiveloo said the jounrey (to KLH) would
take about 20 minutes, and another 20 to 25 minutes at the triage
"On the way to the Klang hospital which took 45 minutes, I had already
contacted a house officer (doctor) at the emergency department to
prepare the antidote and treatment to wash Sujatha's stomach,
immediately upon arrival," he explained.
Pressed further by Fernandis that since he was attached to the
government hospital, he could do the same at the KLH by avoiding the
triage counter, the doctor said he could not comment on that as he had
never done that.
Dr Sakthiveloo, 35, who is currently operating a clinic in Klang, was
testifying at the inquest of Sujatha, 28, who died at the TARH on June
25, 2007, four days after admission, for consuming weedkiller.
To another question by Fernandis that since Sujatha's case was a
medico-legal case which required a police stamp in one of the admission
forms to indicate it was a police case, Dr Sakhiveloo said normally it
was done by a clerk or nurse at the emergency department.
On another issue, the doctor admitted there was no urine and blood sample sent for toxicology screening.
"Samples of gastric lavage (draining the stomach contents), urine and
blood samples were done but not for the toxicology screening," he said.
Dr Sakthiveloo told coroner Mohd Fauzi Che Abu that at all material
times (a duration of five days), he was updated on Sujatha's medical
condition and also closely monitored her progress.
To another question on post-mortem, Dr Sakthivello said that
normally, in medico-legal cases, if the cause of death was known, the
police would not request for post-mortem.
In Sujatha's case, he said he was unaware that the police had requested for a post-mortem, until about a month later.
However, he said from medical records, one of Sujatha's family members had requested that no post-mortem be carried out.
Dr Sakthiveloo agreed with Fernandis' suggestion that if
post-mortem was conducted, there would have been conclusive evidence
that Sujatha died after consuming weedkiller.
Under cross-examination by Datuk K. Kumaraendran who is representing
Paari, Dr Sakthiveloo said that apart from him, five other specialists
had attended to Sujatha at the Klang hospital.
"Generally, they had the same opinion that Sujatha had consumed
paraquat (weedkiller), based on local and systemic effects on her
body," he added.
He said the outcome would have been the same if Sujatha was admitted at the KLH.
However, Dr Sakthiveloo disagreed that Sujatha might have drunk the paraquat unknowingly.
This, he said, was based on three factors. They were:
* The actress had taken two or three gulps of the weedkiller;
* There was a distinct smell of the poison; and,
* There was evidence to indicate she had consumed it directly from the bottle.
The hearing continues on April 21.