Saturday, February 7, 2009

An observation from a doctor on Kugan's death

I like to thank Mr.Poobalan for his wonderful posting of the video clip taken in the mortuary . After watching that clip I had a restless night and could not sleep the whole night . Adding to that horror I had to company my wife in watching the Horror movie in Star Movies last night . Driving to my other clinic in butterworth this morning , the whole event kept running in my mind .
As a Surgical Medical officer , I have done many post mortems. I had assisted in doing post mortem in murder cases too. The post mortem always gives a clue on what caused the death and the estimated time of death based on the rigor mortis that has set in .
As a student in medical college I have always been fascinated in Forensic Medicine . Looking at Kugan's dead body and the wounds inflicted on him gives a very good clue on what the probable cause of death would be . The most clearest indication of the cause of death is the froth seen coming out of his mouth . Death due to asphyxia ( suffocation ) .The video clip must have been taken before the post mortem . I did not see any mid line insertion on the chest and abdomen . This is my assertion from what we call as external post-mortem . Based on my experience , I did my own external post-mortem from the video clips and the photos that I have received . I wish there was a closer picture of the wound . I managed to zoom in to enlarge the picture to get a better view. We usually start the external post-mortems from top to down but in this case I like to take it from the bottom . First of all , Lets look at the legs . You will notice that below both the knees , the colour was darker then the thigh . That is due to pooling of blood in the lower limbs . At the time of his death the blood did not have a chance to return back to the heart . When a person dies in a lying down position on his back , you will notice this pooling of blood on the dependent sides of the back . In this case it was noticed on his lower limbs . My assumption here is that he had died on a sitting position or was lying down with his feet hanging down . The blood did not have time to return back to the heart . Moving up to the back . There is a huge bruising at the hypochondriac areas of both sides of his abdomen( near the kidney ) . This bruising is caused by the rupture of the capillary veins and arteries , which is probably due to repeated punching or kicking on the area . The wounds on the back are not so fresh . In certain areas , there are granulation tissue showing healing . This are injuries inflicted probably 2 to 3 days prior to his death . The wounds is most probably caused by a blunt object tearing into the skin due to pressure . Probably he was made to lie down on some rough surface and dragged on it .. Moving to the chest . There are some amount of bruises on the chest indicating trauma to the chest . The chest wall appear sunken in . He probably has couple of rib fractures . Post mortem of the chest will confirm . Next interesting thing clearly noticed was the abrasion on the neck with a semi circle bruise . This is probably due to strangulation on the neck probably with a rope which cause the abrasion . The abrasion and the bruise is position exactly on the cricoids cartilage . Probably the force would have caused the cartilage to break . The face did not have any gross deformities . There was not Raccoons eyes ( Black Eye ). He was probably slapped but not punched on his face . The absence of the Raccoons eyes indicates that there was no serious injurious to the head .There was no bleeding from the ears which also rules out any head injuries. What interest me most is the blood oozing out of the mouth and the with froth . The blood is fresh appears as if it was cough out . The blood is most probably is from the tracheal injury . That would have caused choking . The choking had triggered bronchospasm causing his air passages to constrict and difficulty to breath . The froth is not blood stained . That shows there was no injury to lung tissue . Froth is usually seen in death due to asphyxia . Another thing , when there is a tracheal injury, when a person drinks a cold water , the water moves down into the trachea instead of the oesophagus causing vaso vagal inhibition and thus causing broncho spasm.. Fluid accumulation in the lung also explains the white froth . Overall I can see the body is already in Rigor Mortis . The Rigor Mortis takes place after 6 hours and completes in 12 hours . So at the time the video was taken Kugan was already dead for more than 18 hours . No sign of any active resuscitation is noted . His body was most probably discovered after he had died .
The cause of death is due to asphyxia but most definitely not due to asthma.
Historically, law enforcement officials were rarely if ever held to account ... Today, despite increased legal safeguards, law enforcement officers who flout them can still enjoy effective impunity when they are alleged to have abused or even unlawfully killed victims .
Racist Law officers are always brutal and most brutal officers are always racist.
The opinion expressed above is not of an expert opinion of a Forensic Specialist . It was based on the observation and the knowledge of medicine . The opinion is not based on being prejudice towards the Police .
I hope someone from MI Club can provide me further details of the death and what was the post mortem report . Does anybody have the statistics of lock up death in Malaysia..
Kugan , was just a car thief . A waste in the society . Probably a drug addict and a disgrace to our community . Some might say that he deserved to die . If he was caught by the public and beaten to death, the public would have not made so much noise . Some said it was his karma . He had to die a violent death due to his violent life style . Whatever said or done , a human is a human . No human has the right to take another mans life . No matter how cruel a man is , or no matter how gruesome a mans crime is , we have the Law . That separates us from those who live in the jungle . The Law was created not only to protected the innocent but to deliver justice . No man has the right to take the Law himself . The Law punishes the criminal based on the crime committed . Even when a person is sentenced to death by hanging is based on the crime committed and the intention to committed the crime .
There have been deaths in the lock up before . This death got the public attention because we had the chance to see the dead body – for some , they were there and others thru internet . This has become possible because of the growing unity in the community . Kugan's death is an eye opener for everyone . The community should realise that this should not be happening in Malaysia . A prisoner has his rights and we have to know them . Why was Kugan questioned without the presence of a Lawyer . His should have had a Lawyer present to advise him . I hope anybody who is a lawyer will explain regarding the rights of an individual when he is arrested .
The community today is very upset with what they have seen recently with Kugan's death . Are we going to prevent such incident from occurring or prevent others from sharing the same fate as Kugan or are we going to join hands in preventing those unfortunate from becoming someone like Kugan . Who are we going to blame . Is the Government responsible for depriving our community the basic education ? Are the responsible for the increase in poverty among our community . Why our great leaders chosen by us , in the last 30 years have not done anything to elevate our misery and instead are busy elevating their assets. Are we to be blamed for electing the wrong leaders ? Do we blame Kugan's parents for their failure to nurture the son to be a good citizen ?
Kugan is not a hero . He is a thief . His death is of no loss to the society . He is no saint to be made a statue . However he is part of us . He represented our failure and represented our suffering . His death should bring about a greater unity among our community . For the sake of our future we should thrive forward to prevent another soul from taking an early departure . We have to educated the next generation in order to prevent another Kugan from appearing . Let Kugan's death be lesson to all of us and let Kugan be the Ghost of our past . Let us thrive to build unity and prosperity in our community for the sake of our future generation .
What happen to Kugan was a sad event . Whether it was his choice to chose the wrong path or was it the society that drove him to chose the wrong path only he could have answered but those who were responsible for his early departure although they were eager to solve the case had no right to torture another human being ..
My sympathy is to the family who has to live with this traumatic experience for the rest of their life . All we can do is to pray to God to forgive Kugan for his crime for he has paid his due dearly by undergoing a tremendous torture and eventually with his life . As for our community the Ghost of Kugan will remain to haunt us to constantly remind us of our suffering while our elected leaders sleep peacefully dreaming about their bank balance getting bigger .
Justice Not Served