A Consultant Pathologist at the Central Hospital, Warri, Delta State, told a court that deceased Sylvester Oromoni of Dowen College died as a result of acute inflammatory pneumonia due to severe sepsis.
Dr Clement Vhriterhire, who carried out the initial autopsy on late Sylvester Oromoni, gave his testimony on Monday, March 14, at the coroner inquest set up to look into Oromoni's death.
Testifying on Monday before an Ikeja Coroner’s Court, the pathologist, while responding to questions from the Coroner, Mr Mikhail Kadiri, said contrary to social media reports, there were no signs of chemical intoxication found in the deceased.
He said: "This is the final autopsy report that I issued. After I had settled down and reviewed my microscopic slide, in light of nothing significant from the toxicology, I married everything together.
"In the absence of chemical intoxication, and different organs were showing inflammatory processes, I came about acute inflammatory pneumonia due to severe sepsis. This is my final report."
Vhriterhire’s testimony on Monday aligns with that of Dr Sokunle Soyemi, a pathologist at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja.
While being cross-examined, Vhriterhire said he was served coroner papers by the police to carry out a post-mortem on December 2, 2021, on the corpse of Sylvester.
He said prior to the operation, he was told that the deceased was beaten.
Vhriterhire said: "I expected to see clear evidence of severe beating and injury on the corpse as to the alleged cause of death.
"Upon physical examination of the body, externally looking at the body, I did not see any open injury.
"I should be seeing evidence of significant bleeding in the abdominal cavity; by the time I opened the cavities, I did not see signs of beating."
When asked if the victim’s father revealed the nature of beating to the pathologist before he began the autopsy, he replied in the negative.
He said: "Your honour, I can’t remember getting information of the boy being beaten with any instrument.
"I did not see any evidence of ruptured internal organs."
Coroner Mikhail Kadiri then asked Dr. Vhriterhire what he would say to the allegation that beating and chemical poisoning led to the boy’s death.
Vhriterhire told the court that some answers were not simplistic.
Vhriterhire added: "Nothing will give credence to the allegation that he died by chemical intoxication. I didn’t see any injury that can explain death. No evidence of such gravity to explain death."
When being cross-examined by counsel for Dowen College, Mr Anthony Kpokpo, Vhriterhire said septic shock was a possible cause of death.
The Oromoni’s family lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, then asked about the bruise he saw on the deceased.
He said: "When I reflected on the back, there was this hue that may have been inflicted months earlier."
He agreed that a massive dose of antibiotics, blood transfusion, intravenous fluid, and other earlier recommendations of Dr Soyemi could have saved the child.
Magistrate Kadiri adjourned further hearing till March 15, 2022.