Sylvester Oromoni: Delta Pathologist Testifies, Rules Out Chemical Poisoning As Cause Of Death

Written by on March 15, 2022

Dr. Clement Vhirerhire, the first pathologist, to conduct an autopsy on the body of late Sylvester Oromoni has testified about his findings before the coroner inquiring into the death of the Dowen College Student.

The pathologist who carried out the autopsy on December 2, 2021, put the cause of death as “acute lung injury due to chemical intoxication.”

The medical doctor said his initial finding of chemical intoxication as a cause of death was made before a toxicology result ruled out that possibility.

The pathologist who was summoned by the coroner was testifying as the 12th witness in the proceedings.

While answering questions from the Coroner, Magistrate Mikhail Kadiri, the doctor, who is from the Central Hospital in Warri, Delta State, told the court that his examination of the deceased’s lungs showed that they looked abnormal as the blood vessels were engorged.

He added that he didn’t see any significant signs of bleeding on the corpse which could have indicated blunt force trauma, contrary to the history provided by the father.

“Before dissecting the corpse did you notice any trace of beating or trauma on the body?” the coroner asked.

“No, I only noticed a bruising or scalding of the upper lip. Even when I opened the body, I didn’t see any evidence of significant bleeding or blunt force trauma,” Mr Vhirterhire answered.

The witness who said he was working with information supplied by the father of the boy said he was also told that the boy was forced to ingest an unknown substance.

To confirm this, the pathologist said he took out samples of the liver, as well as “dark-coloured particles” found in the stomach and vitreous fluids from the corpse, which he sent to a toxicology lab.

According to the witness, the toxicology results later ruled out poisoning, a finding which was reflected in the final autopsy report of December 30, identifying acute pneumonia due to severe sepsis as the cause of death.

When asked if death was avoidable and if the deceased could have been treated, the pathologist noted that even with the best of care, death could not be ruled out.

“Apart from being a pathologist, I am also a Pastor. I know people who got the best of care but still died. I don’t dispute sentiments from some people that the boy wouldn’t have died if he had been taken to a good hospital for adequate treatment,” he said.

When asked by Anthony Kpokpo, the counsel to Dowen College, what he would have done differently from the family doctor who managed the deceased at home, the witness said, “I would think of urgent blood transfusion and possible intensive care. The last tests done on him on November 30 showed he was clinically ill and required close monitoring,”.

The coroner has fixed a further hearing for Tuesday, March 15 for further hearing.


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