A pathologist, Dr. Sokunle Soyemi, on Tuesday, told an Ikeja Coroner’s Court that the first autopsy performed at Warri, Delta State, on the late Sylvester Oromoni Jnr., a 12-year-old student of Dowen College, was botched.
Soyemi said this while testifying for Lagos State Government at an inquest set up to unravel the cause of Oromoni’s death.
“Your honour, these are a few of the things he did not do. I will say that he did a botched autopsy. Your honour, this is the cause of the controversy concerning this case,” Soyemi said.
He was led in evidence by Dr Jide Martins, the Director of the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP).
Soyemi testified that the body of the late Dowen student was obtained at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital on Dec. 13, 2021, and he conducted an autopsy on him the following day in the presence of seven other pathologists.
He mentioned that the first autopsy was not done properly as the pathologist didn’t open the oesophagus (the food pipe) and the trachea (air pipe).
“The conclusion in the first report was chemical intoxication. For someone to be intoxicated with a chemical, that chemical has to pass through the food path.
“If one doesn’t open the food path, one can’t talk about chemical intoxication. The chemical that should be injurious to one should pass through the oesophagus.
“It should not have been anything near chemical intoxication if it didn’t pass through the oesophagus,” Soyemi said.
Soyemi claimed that if the first pathologist had done the above and weighed the lungs, the weight alone would have told him that something was wrong with the lungs.
However, counsel to the Oromoni family, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), objected to the pathologist’s evidence.
He said that Soyemi was testifying on the first autopsy report that was not tendered before the inquest by the DPP.
“We urge the coroner to stop the move by the DPP to turn the witness to an expert in a matter that’s not before the court.
“The DPP should have tendered the first autopsy report and asked the witness to compare it with his own. It is not his duty to speak on another autopsy report,” Falana said.
Responding, the DPP said that the witness, an expert witness, owes the court a duty to explain all the issues that are relevant to the determination of the inquest.
“He needs to explain to this court the findings of the examination he carried out,” Martins said.
In a short ruling, the Coroner, Mr Mikhail Kadiri, allowed the testimony of the pathologist on the first autopsy.
He said the witness was shedding more light on the autopsy he conducted on late Oromoni, particularly the state of the body of the deceased.
The coroner said that the information would aid the inquest in its fact-finding mission.
Following the ruling, Soyemi revealed that Oromoni had lobal pneumonia (infection of the lungs) and infection of the liver.
“He also had an infection of the kidney and an infection of the right ankle, the soft tissue and the muscle covering the bone of the ankle.”
According to Soyemi, the findings proved that Sylvester’s death was ascribed to septicemia, lobal pneumonia with pyelonephritis (infection of the kidney) arising from the pyelonephritis of the right ankle.
“The summary of this is that Sylvester had a generalised infection,” Soyemi said.
He, therefore, adjourned proceedings to Feb. 14 for the continuation of the hearing.
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