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Sunday, Sep 15, 2019

Indian pathologist under fire for autopsy work on Woolmer

Dr Seshaiah has come under criticism from sections of the Jamaican medical fraternity.

india Updated: Mar 23, 2007 15:39 IST


The work of Indian pathologist, Dr Ere Seshaiah, who conducted the autopsy on Pakistan cricket coach Boob Woolmer's body following his death Sunday morning, has come under criticism from sections of the Jamaican medical fraternity.

"On Tuesday when they announced 'inconclusive', I said 'this matter is being badly handled', as there are some things they could say right away," Dr Jephthah Ford, an autopsy expert with 27 years of experience told the Jamaica Gleaner.

He said that after hearing of the discovery of blood, which was reportedly found in Woolmer's vomit, he was wary of speculation that the death may have been a result of suicide.

Ever since Woolmer's body was found on Sunday morning from his room in the Jamaica Pegasus hotel, speculation has been rife regarding the cause of his death, which came a day after Pakistan lost a cricket World Cup Group D match to minnows Ireland.

The loss sent the subcontinental powerhouse crashing out of the World Cup and Woolmer's South Africa-based wife was quoted as saying that the coach was depressed with the result.

Amid speculations as to whether the 58-year-old Woolmer was poisoned or whether he committed suicide or whether he died of a heart attack, the much-awaited autopsy report said that the investigations remained inconclusive, adding that the report from the toxicologist was awaited.

Jamaica police had initially labeled the death as 'suspicious' but the local media widely reported Wednesday, quoting unnamed police sources, that it was actually murder.

The official statement that Woolmer died of asphyxia caused by manual strangulation came Thursday.

Talking to the Gleaner, Ford said that those conducting the autopsy could have at least announced that the victim's heart was in good condition and hence, heart attack could be ruled out.

"They may not be able to say what is the cause of death, but you could say what is not the cause of death," he said.

President of the Jamaican Association of Clinical Pathologists has also said that the autopsy was not handled properly.

"The final conclusion of this being a manual strangulation, I would not expect the first word to be inconclusive. Maybe they just didn't handle the thing properly," he told the newspaper.

"Something like strangulation is clear-cut. Here is a gentleman of fair complexion. I would expect that great force would be employed to strangle, so there would be bruises, scratches on the neck or on the skin. That should be pretty clear cut," he added.

He, however, cautioned people from criticising Seshaiah for producing an inconclusive report in the first instance.

"Probably he has a way of how he operates. Probably he wanted everything, including the toxicology tests results, before he revealed anything."

Seshaiah, 65, from Andhra Pradesh state in India, had moved here 12 years back and is now working as a government pathologist.

First Published: Mar 23, 2007 15:33 IST