Hospital slammed for not releasing autopsy report on navy cadet

Navy officer cadet Soosaimanicckam a/l Joseph died during training at the Lumut naval base.

PETALING JAYA: Lawyers for the family of the late Royal Malaysian Navy officer cadet Soosaimanicckam a/l Joseph have slammed the Seri Manjung Hospital for refusing to release the final post-mortem report.

“Despite repeated requests, the hospital, which conducted the autopsy, has refused to release the final and conclusive post-mortem report to the family of the deceased,” said rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL).

Instead, the hospital officials arranged for a meeting with Soosaimanicckam’s brother, Calvin, on Sept 6.

However, the family’s lawyers were excluded from the meeting, according to a statement today by LFL members Zaid Malek and Mahajoth Singh.

The refusal to allow the lawyers to accompany Calvin at the meeting was ordered by Dr Noorisah Mahat Noor, the deputy director of the Perak Health Department, the statement said.

LFL called the refusal to allow the lawyers to assist Calvin at the meeting unacceptable.

“The reason behind the refusal is nonsensical.

“It reeks of hypocrisy as the hospital had seven people representing it during the meeting, including the deputy director of Hospital Seri Manjung, the medical officer who conducted the post-mortem, several doctors of the hospital as well as a specialist doctor from Ipoh Hospital.

“Yet they insisted that Calvin attend the meeting without any legal assistance,” it said.

LFL said in the end, the lawyers had no choice but to withdraw from the meeting “as it was clearly a farce”.

Soosaimanicckam, 27, died while undergoing training at KD Sultan Idris, which is the RMN’s academy at its base in Lumut, on May 19.

Initial police investigations ruled out foul play as a post-mortem examination found he died of pulmonary oedema, a condition where there is water or liquid in the lungs.

However, his brother, Charles, 32, claimed Soosaimanicckam had told him in a phone conversation on May 13 that he was required to train non-stop, with only an hour’s sleep each day.

LFL said the “highly inappropriate behaviour” of the hospital as well as its overall lack of transparency was disappointing.

“If they had nothing to hide, why refuse to release the final post-mortem report?

“It has put the bereaved family through further unnecessary hardship and the justice that they deserve is again delayed,” it added.

LFL urged the health ministry to look into the “improper conduct” by the hospital and the Perak Health Department.

It also demanded that the final and conclusive post-mortem report be released to the family of Soosaimanicckam immediately.