SHAH ALAM: The injuries sustained by Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim were most likely not caused by assault, one of the doctors who treated him told the inquest into the fireman’s death.
Dr S. Anand (pic), a cardiothoracic surgeon with Subang Jaya Medical Centre (SJMC), under questioning by Zhafran Rahim Hamzah, who is on the three-member team from the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC), said CT scans on the upper parts of Muhammad Adib’s body showed that they were normal but not his chest area, which would be “less likely” in an assault victim.
He also remarked that it would be unusual if it were to be from an assault as the major injuries were confined to only the chest area.
According to Dr Anand, Muhammad Adib’s injuries to the chest area were caused by blunt trauma.
Zhafran: What could be the cause (of the blunt trauma)?
Dr Anand: There are various mechanisms that could lead to this injury – a crush, fall from a height, rapid acceleration and deceleration, or assault.
Zhafran: Is it possible to distinguish between assault and other causes?
Dr Anand: It’s hard to say. But I find them (Muhammad Adib’s injuries) somewhat unusual (to be from an assault).
In an assault, one would expect other injuries such as self-defence wounds.
It is somewhat unusual to have major trauma that is confined to one section. It’s not impossible (for it to be from being assaulted) but less likely.
Dr Anand, who was the 13th witness called to the inquest, treated Muhammad Adib, 24, at SJMC until he was transferred to the National Heart Institute (IJN).
Muhammad Adib, he said, suffered from intensive lung damage and fractured ribs when he was brought to SJMC in the early morning of Nov 27.
Dr Anand said the patient had lung contusion – which meant that his lung was bruised – pneumothorax, where the space between his chest wall and lung was filled with air, and multiple rib fractures.
He also said that while Muhammad Adib’s condition stabilised, the team of specialists at SJMC felt that the fireman needed to be put on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine that was not available at the hospital.
“The machine takes over the function of the lungs to allow a patient’s lungs to have less work to do and recover.
“IJN has more experience with it,” he added.
Asked by Faten Hadini Khairuddin, who is also from the AGC team, on what he noticed when he first came into the emergency room to treat Muhammad Adib, Dr Anand said the fireman’s chest was “very swollen” due to subcutaneous emphysema, which is air being trapped under the skin.
Faten: Did you see any bruising on his chest?
Dr Anand: I can’t recall seeing bruises or marks but my focus was on his life-threatening injuries.
Emergency physician Dr M.K. Nantha Kumeran, who was the first doctor to treat Muhammad Adib, also testified to the lung damage and fractured ribs.
Dr Nantha Kumeran, the 12th witness, told the coroner’s court that Muhammad Adib was gasping for air, unable to talk and making incomprehensible sounds when he was brought in.
He ordered an X-ray scan on the fireman after seeing a large bruise on his upper right chest.
“And when I touched his chest, I could hear cracking sounds.
“At that time I was looking towards (him having) pneumothorax,” he said.
Judge Rofiah Mohamad sits as coroner for the inquest held at the Shah Alam Sessions Court.
Yesterday was day eight of the inquest.
Muhammad Adib was critically injured when he and his team mates from the Subang Jaya fire station responded to an emergency at Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple where riots were happening last November.
He passed away at IJN on Dec 17.