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Monday, February 27, 2017

Thanaseelan's death 'entirely preventable', say lawyers

The death of the detainee Thanaseelan Muniandy was preventable had the police followed lock-up rules by rushing him to the hospital when health complications occurred, according to his family's lawyers.
They said that a post-mortem had been performed on the deceased at Sungai Buloh Hospital today, and the cause of death was determined to be "septicaemia due to suppurative peritonitis as a consequence of perforated gastric ulcer".
"According to the pathologists - due to the serious gastric, ulcer, perforation and infection, the deceased would have been in considerable pain for at least a week prior to his death. Further, he would have been extremely weak and unable to eat due to his condition.
"Since the medical evidence showed that Thanaseelan would have been in considerable pain, why were the police still keeping him in their lock-up? He should have been rushed to the hospital immediately.
"The police must accept responsibility for his death as it was entirely preventable," the lawyers Eric Paulsen and Melissa Sasidaran said in a joint statement today.
They claimed that this amounts to a breach of the police's lockup rules, which required the force to look after the well-being of its detainees, including informing medical authorities of any illness or injuries afflicting the detainees.
The rules further stipulate that those who are seriously ill and ought to be admitted for medical treatment are not fit for further detention, they said.
Wrong diagnosis
Thanaseelan, 43, was found dead at the Bukit Sentosa police station, Bukit Beruntung, on Feb 25 at 1.50am. His four-day remand order was due to end on the following day.
Septicaemia refers to the infection of the blood. Suppurative peritonitis refers to the inflammation of the abdominal lining that is characterised by the discharge of pus, and may occur as a result of, for example, the perforation of another organ in the abdomen.
The lawyers also claimed that the deceased’s family was not informed of the seriousness of Thanaseelan’s condition, that he was supposedly ill when in fact he was already dead.
"This is another breach of the lock-up rules," they said.
The lawyers also said that Thanaseelan was supposedly admitted to the Kuala Kubu Baru Hospital on the day before his death, but was not given the correct diagnosis.
Instead, they claimed, Thanaseelan was given antacids to treat his gastric pain.

They urged hospitals and the Health Ministry to treat all detainees in a professional manner, as they would with any other patient.
"Remand suspects should not be treated as lesser human beings deserving a lesser level of medical treatment just because they are under police custody.
"In fact, due to the prevalence of custodial deaths and the vulnerable conditions of detainees, the medical authorities ought to pay extra care and attention to all detainees who are brought for treatment," they said.- Mkini

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