KUALA LUMPUR, May 5
(Bernama) -- Missing samples. This was the highlight of the inquest
into the death of local actress K. Sujatha as it entered its fourth day
Two doctors of the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital testified that
they could not confirm what actually happened to the samples taken from
First, Dr Vengkata Prathab said he ordered samples of blood, urine
and gastric lavage to be taken from the actress on the first day she
was warded at the hospital's emergency ward on June 19, 2007.
"I had ordered these
samples to be taken immediately after she arrived at the emergency
ward. However, doctors who treated her at the normal ward did not
receive the report on the tests," he said.
Dr Prathab agreed with Deputy Public Prosecutor Anselm Charles
Fernandis who was assisting coroner Mohd Fauzi Che Abu that the results
of the samples were very crucial to conclude conclusively that the
patient died due to poisoning.
Dr Prathab did not stop there.
He told the coroner that personally, he had a bad experience when samples taken from his mother were also reported missing.
He said that although such cases occured occasionally, doctors
should not be singled out for blame as it involved several departments
of the hospital.
"In Sujatha's case, other doctors and I focused more in giving emergency treatment to the patient," explained Dr Prathab.
He was testifying at the inquest into the death of Sujatha, 28,
who died at the hospital in Klang on June 25, 2007, four days after
admission for allegedly drinking weedkiller.
The episode of missing samples did not end there.
Medical officer Dr Lim Ai Wei testified that she had taken urine
samples of Sujatha, the following day, to check for traces of paraquat.
"When I failed to receive the result, the following day, I
personally went to the lab (laboratory) to check what had happened. But
staff at the lab claimed that they did not receive the sample from the
ward where Sujatha was treated," she explained.
The testimony from both doctors resulted in a heated exchange between
Fernandis and counsel Datuk K. Kumaraendran representing Maika Holdings
Bhd chief executive officer Vell Paari when Kumaraendran said it was
not proper blaming doctors for the missing samples.
Fernandis said he was not blaming the doctors but just only
stressed a point to the coroner that in medico-legal cases like
Sujatha's, the issue of missing samples should not be taken lightly.
In reply, Kumaraendran said the inquest was not the right forum to
bring up the issue, adding that the matter should be addressed to the
Earlier, Sujatha's youngest brother told the Coroner's Court that
he and his older brother requested doctors not to conduct a post-mortem
on their sister's body.
Surenthiran, 26, said since the cause of her death was clearly
stated as paraquat poisoning in the death certificate, they had wanted
to stop her body from being cut into pieces during the post-mortem.
The systems engineer with Maika Intellectual Resources, a
subsidary of Maika Holdings Bhd, said he had also sought the assistance
of Dr S. P. Sakthiveloo who is attached to the hospital, in claiming
To a question by Deputy Public Prosecutor Geethan Ram Vincent who
is also assisting the coroner, as to why he allowed Paari to issue a
press statement to say that Sujatha died due to an ovarian cyst,
Surenthiran said it was his family's request.
"My family wanted Paari to issue the statement, mainly to protect
my sister's dignity even though we are aware that the statement was not
accurate and false," he said.
He also told the coroner that he did not suspect foul play in his
sister's death or a possibility that she had committed suicide.
"I was very close to her and she had not related to me any
personal problem...a few months before she passed away, she had, on
occasions, complained of stomach pains," he said.
To another question by Geethan, Surenthiran said Paari paid for his studies in Australia.
The hearing continues tomorrow.