POLICE in Lusaka have disclosed that UTH paediatric surgeon Dr Vernon Pashi who died on Sunday this week was found dead in his room with syringes beside his body. According to unconfirmed speculation among some of his close colleagues, Dr Pashi had allegedly been abusing anaesthetic drugs, an allegation that his family has vehemently refused.
Dr Pashi, a paediatric surgeon, who was part of the team that successfully separated conjoined twins Bupe and Mapalo, died on Sunday morning in his bedroom. He was Paediatric Surgery registrar at the time of his death. According to the Ministry of Health, Dr Pashi was found dead in his bedroom around 09:00 hours on Sunday by a family member.
“It is with great sadness to inform you that Dr Vernon Mwape Pashi, 33, has died. Dr Pashi was Registrar in final year MMED (4th) Paediatric Surgery. He was found dead in his bedroom around 09:00 hours this [Sunday] morning by a family member. He graduated in 2010 as a doctor,” University Teaching Hospital senior medical superintendent Dr Clarence Chiluba announced.
Some of his close allies anonymously said Dr Pashi allegedly died from anaesthetic abuse, although hospital authorities are yet to disclose the actual cause of death.
“There was anaesthesia in his room when he was found dead. We wonder what could have caused him to do that. But you know, doctors go through a lot,” said one of his friends.
Police sources said they had no reason to suspect any foul play because the syringes found had no content in them.
“We found him dead on the floor…not on his bed…no! He had fallen from the bed and was on the floor. When we looked around and moved the body, we found syringes without content beside him. It’s like he abused some drugs or something. We cannot say that is what killed him but we suspect he could have abused some drugs because of the syringes that we found in his room,” police officers disclosed.
“We have no reason to suspect any foul play because we found him on the floor…it’s like he fell from his bed or something. We don’t know if he had been abusing some drugs…we are not sure if he committed suicide…but we found syringes without anything inside. To us it looked like he abused some drugs. We will wait until we get post-mortem results but for now we are not very sure except that we found some syringes.”
Police, however, disputed Dr Pashi’s close friends’ allegation that there were drugs found in his bedroom
“We did not find any drugs in his room…like we have said, we only found syringes…empty syringes near his body.”
And Dr Chiluba said post-mortem results would only be availed to family members.
“That is a police issue. If you are found dead anywhere or you are brought-in-dead, that is followed up by the coroners. Usually results are not even disclosed unless family members want to disclose,” said Dr Chiluba.