A Forensic Pathology at the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Dr Uwon Eze, who was an observer during the second autopsy conducted on Dowen College Student, Sylvester Oromoni Jnr., has said he was not only relying on the toxicology report but that nothing poisonous was detected in the deceased system, according to the report
It will be recalled that the first autopsy was carried out by a pathologist at the Central Hospital, Warri, Delta State, Dr Clement Vhriterhire, while the second and final autopsy, which Eze witnessed as an observer, was carried out by acting Chief Medical Examiner of Lagos State, Dr Sokunle Soyemi.
Eze, who said he had carried out over one thousand post-mortem exercises in his career, maintains that he believed and agreed with the findings of the two autopsies carried out on the deceased.
Testifying on Monday before an Ikeja Coroner’s Court, the pathologist, while responding to questions from the counsel to the Oromoni, led by Mr A. E. Efole, also said the second autopsy started late due to logistics issues.
“I believe in the final report of the first autopsy which was carried out in Warri and I also agree with the findings of the Lagos State pathologist.
“I got to the venue of the autopsy at 9.00 a.m. but the exercise started at 5.00 p.m. due to logistics delays as it was important to carry out a full-body ex-ray on the deceased.
“To do so, we had to wait for the hospital to carry out ex-ray on the patients they had on ground before they could attend to the deceased body,”
The pathologist, who said he was not aware the videos and pictures he took captured any black substance in the intestine of the deceased, noted he would not be surprised to hear that Shoyemi said there was a black substance in the video slide that was shown in the court.
“I rely solemnly on the toxicology report and nothing poisonous was detected by the report,” the witness said.
Efole further asked Eze if he was aware that the toxicology report he said he relied on needed to carry out a biochemical acid to ascertain nothing poisonous was detected, the witness replied in the negative.
He said he was not aware that the black substance in the toxicology report was not taken for toxicology by Soyemi.
“As an expert who has done over one thousand post-mortems, did you confirm the cause of death of the deceased through physical examination?,” Efole asked.
“There is a difference between physical examination and clinical examination of patients. Physical examination is the head to toe examination of patients when they visit hospitals.
The clinical is clinic while laboratory examination takes place in the lab where samples of blood and urine are taken,”
“In your opinion, if a patient is given a poisonous substance, can such poison be known by mere physical examination?,” Efole asked.
“Yes in certain circumstances but you can suspect the case of a dead person.
“The ankle injury I saw at the second autopsy was an infective injury which can lead to sepsis.
“In some circumstances, we do take clotted blood from the heart for toxicology analysis,” he said.
The counsel asked the witness if he agreed with him that the deceased would still be alive if the school had taken proper steps at the initial stage.
He said “My Lord I am unable to answer that because I do not know the clinical stage of the deceased,”
The witness said it was not a usual practice for a pathologist, who was an observer to speak publicly on an autopsy he witnessed.
“I can say what you are doing here is ethically wrong,” Efole asked. The witness replied ‘ I do not agree’,”
The coroner adjourned proceedings till 5th April for the continuation of the hearing.
The Oromoni family insists that the 12-year-old student died on 30th November 2021, from injuries sustained in an attack by five senior students of Dowen College for refusing to join a cult. It was also alleged that he was forced to drink a substance by his attackers.
Advice by the Lagos State DPP released on 4th January however disputed the allegations. It stated that an autopsy attributes the cause of the student’s death to acute bacterial pneumonia due to severe sepsis.