Dowen Nurse Denies Contact With Sylvester, Pathologist Affirms Autopsy Reports

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A nurse at the Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos State, Kafayat Usman, on Monday, told the coroner court investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a pupil, Sylvester Oromoni, that she did not have any contact with the 12-year-old.

The news of Sylvester’s death went viral following a social media post by his cousin, Perry Oromoni, who alleged that some senior pupils of the college beat him up in his hostel because he refused to join a cult.

But the school denied the claim, stating that the boy complained of leg pain following an injury he sustained while playing football.

A coroner’s inquest was set up by the state government to look into the case.

Usman, the second school nurse to testify in the case, said she joined the school on September 4, 2021.

She, however, declined to swear by the Holy Quran, saying she was menstruating.

During cross-examination by the coroner, Mr Mikhail Kadiri, the nurse was asked if she knew Sylvester.

She said, “I do not know the deceased and I have never attended or had any physical contact with him.”

Usman, who works from Monday to Friday from 8am to 3pm daily, said she became aware of the case on November 30, 2021.

The counsel for the deceased’s family, Andrew Efole, asked Usman who attended to the complaints of students during weekends.

She said, “The sickbay is not opened to students during weekends.”

Another witness, Dr Uwom Eze, a forensic pathologist at the University Teaching Hospital, Ibadan, who was an observer at the second autopsy of the deceased, was asked by the lawyer to give an account of the autopsy test carried out on December 14, 2021.

Eze said, “I got to the venue of the autopsy at 9am, but the exercise started around 5pm due to logistics delays as it was important to carry out a full-body X-ray on the deceased.

We had to wait for the hospital to carry out an X-ray on the patient and do a thorough background check before they could attend to the body.”

Eze, who had carried out over 1,000 post-mortem examinations in his career, said he believed and agreed with the report of the post-mortem done in Warri, Delta State, and the findings of the Lagos State pathologist, Dr Sokunle Soyemi.

The pathologist said he was not aware if the videos and pictures he took captured any black substance in the intestine of the deceased.

He added that he relied solely on the toxicology report and nothing poisonous was detected by the report.

The lawyer asked if he confirmed the cause of death of the deceased through physical examination.

Eze said, “There is a difference between physical examination and clinical examination of patients. Physical examination is the head to toe examination of patients when they visit hospitals, while the clinical laboratory examination is taken in the lab where samples of blood and urine are taken.”

Efole asked, “In your opinion, if a patient is given a poisonous substance, can such poison be known by mere physical examination.”

The witness said, “Yes, in some circumstances, but not in the case of a dead person.

The ankle injury I saw at the second autopsy was an infective injury which can lead to sepsis and we do take clotted blood from the heart for toxicology analysis.”

The coroner adjourned proceedings until April 5 for further hearing.

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